H-1B Visa

The H-1B allows U.S. companies to hire and petition graduate level foreign workers in specific industries (specialty occupations) that require technical or theoretical expertise in specialized areas of industry.

This includes architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and arts.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) closely scrutinizes whether positions are actually specialty occupations, and it is not enough that the beneficiary simply has a bachelor’s degree.

What are the qualifications for the H-1B Visa?

  • A job offer from a U.S. based employer to occupy a role that requires special knowledge.
  • Proof of a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in work experience in a field related to the job.
  • Your employer must prove that there is a lack of qualified U.S. applicants for the job, which is why you are needed.
  • The job vacancy that you intend to occupy meets the specialty occupation standards.
  • Proof that you are skilled enough to perform the complex duties of the job.

H-1B Cap

The H-1B visa program has an annual cap on the number of visas available. There is a regular cap of 65,000 visas per fiscal year, with an additional 20,000 visas reserved for individuals who hold a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution. This results in a total of 85,000 visas available each fiscal year.

If USCIS receives more H-1B petitions than the available visa numbers within the first few days of the filing period, they will conduct an H-1B Lottery. In 2020, USCIS instituted a lottery process where employers file an abbreviated online application and those selected are invited to file applications.

If you are selected in the H-1B lottery, then you should consider consulting with an immigration attorney to help you prepare and file the petition. 

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