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Requirements for Applying for H-1B Visas

Written By The Shapiro Law Group on September 10, 2015

The H1-B Specialty Occupation Visa is a non-immigration visa that allows foreign workers in specialty occupations to temporarily work in the United States.

H1-B Requirements

There are three primary requirements to qualify for an H1-B Visa:

  1. Your employer must pay you the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation
  2. You must have a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent
  3. You must work in a specialty occupation

Actual or Prevailing Wage

USCIS is very concerned about companies that try to bring foreign workers into the United States on H1-B visas only to pay lower wages than if they had hired U.S. citizens to perform the same jobs. For this reason, companies applying for H1-B visas on behalf of foreign citizens must demonstrate that the foreign worker will be paid, at minimum, the prevailing wage in the geographic area in which the worker will be employed.

To demonstrate that the foreign worker will earn the prevailing or actual wage, the employer must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the U.S. Department of Labor. Once that LCA is approved, the employer can then submit the Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker requesting an H-1B visa on behalf of the foreign worker.

Bachelor’s Degree or Equivalent

If you do not have at least a bachelor’s degree, or the foreign equivalent, then you’ll need to show one of two things.

You can fulfill the requirement if you hold an unrestricted state license, registration or certification that allows you to work in the specialty occupation in the state in which you’re being hired. Or you can demonstrate that you education, specialized training, or increasing levels of responsibility — equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree — and are recognized as having expertise in the profession.

Your immigration attorney can help you and your prospective employer demonstrate to the USCIS that you fulfill this requirement.

Specialty Occupation

According to the USCIS, a speciality occupation is one that typically requires a bachelor’s degree or post-graduate degree that is in a related field of study. This would include occupations in:

  • Science
  • Engineering
  • Math
  • Healthcare
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Law
  • Accounting
  • Education

Additionally, fashion models  “of distinguished merit and ability” are also considered to be working in a speciality occupation.

For assistance with H1-B visas and other employment-related immigration issues, contact the Illinois immigration lawyers at The Shapiro Law Group to schedule a free initial consultation. You can contact us online or call us at (847) 564-0712.