Visas for Specialty Occupations

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign nationals to work temporarily in the United states as specialty professionals or fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. This is one of the fastest way for foreign nationals in/outside the United States to be sponsored by U.S. employers to work in this country. A foreign national in the U.S. with a visa other than an H-1B, for example, student visa (F-1), may be eligible for a change of status to H1-B without leaving the U.S. The holder of an H1-B is allowed to work only for the sponsoring employer. However, if the individual desires to work for another employer, a new H1-B must be filed.

The following professions have been recognized as specialty occupations for immigration purposes: Accountant, Acupuncturist, Chiropractor, Computer Programmer, Dietitian, Electronics specialist, Fashion Designer, General Manager, Graphic Designer, Hotel management, Industrial Designer, Industrial designer, Journalist, Librarian, Medical records librarian, Medical Technologist, Minister, orthopedist, Pharmacist, Social Worker, Technical Publications Writer, Vocational Counsel, Medical Doctors, and Nurses. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, therefore, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney to determine whether a non listed occupation qualifies for the H1-B visa.

The applicant for an H1-B visa must hold a minimum of bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or twelve years of relevant experience in the specialty occupation. The employer must prepare and file a Labor Certification Application (LCA) with the United States Department of labor. The LCA is a form which must be carefully prepared and posted in two conspicuous places at the work site. The form requires the employer to attest to complex facts concerning the wage, working conditions, labor conditions and the giving of notice. If the LCA is approved, the employer must file the H-1B petition with the USCIS having jurisdiction over the intended place of employment. In the petition, the employer has to document that the position being offered requires the services of a person in a specialty occupation.

The H1-B visa may be granted for three years and may be extended for another three years. The H1-B holder’s spouse and unmarried children under 21 years may be granted an H-4 visa.

DISCLAIMER: The information given in this website is intended as general information only and is not a substitute for the services of an immigration attorney in your specific case.