H-1B Visa

The H-1B visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.

An H-1B non-immigrant, may be admitted for a period of up to three years. The time period may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years, though some exceptions do apply.

The employer of the H-1B non-immigrant will be liable for the reasonable costs of return transportation if the employer terminates the H-1B non-immigrant before the end of his or her period of authorized stay. The employer is not responsible for the costs of the H-1B non-immigrant return transportation if he or she voluntarily resign the position. The H-1B non-immigrant must contact the Service Center that approved his or her petition in writing if it is believed that the employer has not complied with this requirement.

Eligibility Criteria

Visa Category General Requirements Labor Condition Application Required?
H-1B
Specialty Occupations
The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
To qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation one of the following criteria must be met:
  • Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
Yes.
The prospective employer must file an approved Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA), with the Form I-129, Petition for a Non-immigrant Worker.
H-1B2
DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker
The job must meet both of the following criteria to qualify as a DOD cooperative research and development project:
  • The cooperative research and development project or a co-production project is provided for under a government-to-government agreement administered by the U.S. Department of Defense
  • A bachelor’s or higher degree, or its equivalent is required to perform duties.
To be eligible for this visa category one of the following criteria must be met:
  • Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
  • Hold an unrestricted State license, registration, or certification which authorizes to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
No.
H-1B3
Fashion Model
The position/services must require a fashion model of prominence.To be eligible for this visa category, the applicant must be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability. Yes.
The prospective employer must file an approved LCA with the Form I-129.

Application Process


H-1B Cap

The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.


Family of H-1B Visa Holders

The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age of H-1B visa holders may seek admission in the H-4 non-immigrant classification. Family members in the H-4 non-immigrant classification may not engage in employment in the United States.


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