The H1B visa is one of the most popular employment-based visas for individuals who wish to obtain a temporary visa to work in the United States. An H1B work visa allows individuals who are offered a position with a U.S. employer to work for that employer for a limited number of years. The term “Specialty Occupation” is defined by the Immigration and Nationality Act as an occupation that requires a “theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge; and… attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.” Generally, to be eligible for an H1B visa, the following criteria should be met:
- Applicant possesses a U.S. Bachelor degree or equivalent of a US Bachelor’s Degree or higher, or work experience that are equivalent to a bachelor’s degree;
- The H1B job position requires knowledge that is almost entirely obtained through studies and institution of higher learning;
- The job position requires a precise and specific course of study that relates directly or closely to the position;
- Employer sponsor is willing to pay the Applicant the required H1B Prevailing wage;
- Employer sponsor can afford to pay the H1B Applicant such Prevailing Wage.
Obtaining an H1B Visa can be a competitive process as the Congress only makes an annual fiscal year limitation (H1B cap) of 65,000 visas available for applicants that possess a Bachelor’s Degree and 20,000 Visas for those who have a U.S. Masters or higher Degree. The first date of H1B filing each year is April 1st or the next working day if April 1st falls on the weekend or holiday. As in 2007 for work beginning in October 1, 2007, there was approximately twice the amount of applicants for each Visa within the first two days of filing. In contrast, 2010 the H1B Cap did not fill up until January 26, 2011.
H1B Cap Exemption
It is important to note that not all H1B petitions are subject to the H1B cap. As noted by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”), these cap-exempt categories may be filed at any time during the fiscal year and they commonly include:
- Institutions of higher education;
- Related or affiliated not-for-profit entities;
- Not-for-profit research organizations or governmental research organizations.
Examples of Specialty Occupations:
There are numerous types of specialty occupations. Below is just a sample list as the options are numerous:
- Business Managers
- Computer Scientists
- Computer Systems Analysts
- Graphic Designer
- Hotel Managers
- Medical Technologists
- Music Directors
- Social Workers
Validity of H1B Visa
The H1B visa is generally valid for up to 3 years and may be renewed for another 3 years. The maximum number of years an individual may remain with this status is six years.
The H1B visa Cap is unpredictable, it is important to file as early as you can. As you can see above, possibilities of specialty occupations are extensive but the H1B requirements are extremely detailed. We have over 25 years of combined experience and excellent proven track record of helping individuals and corporations getting their H1B visas approved. You need every advantage you can have to maximize your chance of approval, make sure you contact our experienced Chicago based H1B lawyers today so that your best case can be put forward.