Main Article: Immigration
Main Article: Non-Immigrant visa types
The H-1B visa allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations. H-1B work authorization is strictly limited to employment by the sponsoring employer. The visa allows the visa holder to stay for 3 years, which can be extended to 6 years. However, the H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa and does not put the visa holder on a path for permanent residency in the United States. H-1B holders who want to continue working in the United States after 6 years but have not obtained permanent residency must leave the U.S. for a full year before re-applying for another H-1B visa.
“Specialty occupation” is defined as an occupation requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in fields including, but not limited to biotechnology, chemistry, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine, education, law, accounting, business specialities, theology, and the arts.
Below are the requirements for applying for an H-1B visa. You must provide forms of evidence for each requirement.
- You must have an employer-employee relationship with the petitioning U.S. employer.
- Your job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting one of the following criteria:
Your job must be in a specialty occupation related to your field of study.
You must be paid at least the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation, whichever is higher.
An H-1B visa number must be available at the time of filing the petition, unless the petition is exempt from numerical limits.
- A bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the particular position;
- The degree requirement is common for this position in the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with at least a bachelor's degree in a field related to the position;
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
- 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.
- 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.