What Is The H-1B Visa? What Is The Criteria For Qualifying?

An H-1B visa is a limited duration visa that allows someone to come to the US to work in a specialty occupation, which is an occupation that requires a bachelor’s degree. For example, one must have a Bachelor’s degree to practice law in the United States. Therefore, you can be an attorney on an H-1B visa because it’s considered a specialty occupation. There is an occupational handbook called ONET, provided by the Department of Labor, that determines whether an occupation is considered a specialty occupation or not.

There are ways to get an equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree. For every 3 years in a field, the United States honors it as 1 year of education. Therefore, if someone has an AA and worked in a field for an extensive period of time, we can claim they have the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree and can put them in the H-1 classification.

One requirement for the H-1B visa is that the person is only here on a temporary basis, but you can have what is called ‘dual intent’ which means you plan to be here on an H-1B visa and intend to become a permanent resident. For an H-1B visa, the employer must have a Labor Condition Application (LCA) approved by the Department of Labor, which usually states what your pay will be, which must meet Department of Labor guidelines.

There is a cap of 85,000 H-1B visas a year, and they are taken up very quickly. Many people apply on April 1st, which is the opening date for the application. Of those visas, 20,000 are reserved for people who have a Master’s degree. Some organizations are exempt from this cap, so if you are working for a publicly funded entity, you may be able to obtain an exemption.

What is A Specialty Occupation For The Purposes Of An H-1B Visa?

A specialty occupation is one that requires a Bachelor’s degree, as stated on the ONET website from the Department of Labor. The ONET website provides the classification for each job in the United States and what the requirements for that job are.

What Are The Clear Benefits Of The H-1B Visa? Are There Limitations?

One of the limitations of the H-1B visa is the limited duration, which is only 6 years. A primary benefit is that the H-1B can usually lead to permanent residency.

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