H-1 B Visa category is reserved for non-immigrants who are highly skilled and are qualified to serve in a specialty occupation and services demanding exceptional merit or professions requiring distinguished merit or ability. The H-1 B Visa is one of the most demanding and popular visa types amongst non-immigrants, which is granted for a specific period of time. The beneficiary is granted an initial stay period of 3 years which can further be extended to up to 6 years to legally live and work in the U.S.
A job qualifies as a specialty occupation if it meets one of the following criteria:
- The non-immigrant should at least meet the entry level requirement of a Bachelor’s degree or a higher degree or its equivalent for an H-1 B position.
- The beneficiary is required to complete the basic requirement of obtaining a degree which is common to the industry. Also, the job should be categorized as complex, high skilled or so unique that only an individual with a degree is eligible to perform the duties.
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
- The degree requirement is made mandatory by the employer.
- The specific duties required to perform the job are so specialized and complex that only individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher qualify for such a specialized occupation.
Eligibility criteria for H-1B Visa candidate
The non-immigrant has acquired a U.S. bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university as required by the specialty occupation.
- The beneficiary has a foreign degree equivalent to a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or higher in the specialized occupation.
- The petitioner has access to an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which gives them the authorization to practice the specialty occupation
- The non-immigrant is also required to have the necessary education, skills, training or a relevant experience in the specialty occupation which is equivalent to obtaining a degree and also demonstrate recognition of expertise in the specialty through positions in jobs.
H-1B Cap and Family of H-1 B holders
H-1 B Visa lottery has an annual cap limit of 65000 visas each year. Beneficiaries with a U.S. Master’s degree or higher who are amongst the first 20,000 applicants are exempt from the cap. H-1 B petitioner who are employed at institutions of higher education or its affiliate or nonprofit entities or nonprofit research organization or a government research organization also exempt from the cap.
Spouse of H-1 B petitioner and children under the age of 21 years are eligible to file for H-4 Visa category which is reserved for family members of H-1 B holders. If the H-4 Visa holders wish to work in the U.S., they can do so by filing for employment authorization with the USCIS.
Hiring an Immigration attorney in LA
The non-immigrant cannot self-petition for their H-1 B Visa application, instead, their employer should be the petitioner filing for their application. The process also requires the involvement of an Immigration lawyer or attorney. Hence, if you are located and working in Los Angles, it is suggested to hire an immigration attorney in LA or consult an immigration office in Los Angeles who can file the application for you and guide you through the process. There is a USCIS filing fee and the immigration lawyer’s fees which has to be paid for the process.