H-1B Specialty Occupation Nonimmigrant Visa

Immigration Law

The H-1B Specialty Occupation Nonimmigrant Visa Classification is for foreign workers with the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or higher to temporarily live and work in the U.S. in a specialty occupation as a professional.  An H-1B requires an offer of employment in the U.S. in a specialty occupation within the foreign worker’s degree field.


1. Equivalency: Experience or a combination of experience and education can be used to satisfy the Bachelor’s Degree equivalency requirement.

2. Prevailing Wage: U.S. employers are required to pay 100% of the “Prevailing Wage”, as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor to prevent undercutting wages of U.S. citizens.

3. Cap & Availability: Only 65,000 H-1B1 visas are available per year for new employment.

Existing H-1B Workers are Not Subject to the Annual Cap and may file H-1B Petitions to Extend Status or Change Employers.

4. Lottery: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has enacted a Visa Lottery System for H-1B Visa applicants in recent years including for the fiscal year 2017.  The reason is that USCIS has received and is expected to continue to receive more H-1B Petitions per fiscal year than the Cap of 65,000 per fiscal year.  In recent years, USCIS has received over 200,000 H-1B Petitions per year.  Unless U.S. Congress passes a law to increase the H-1B Cap, the lottery, or random selection process, will most likely be used every year for the foreseeable future.

5. Visa & Status Validity: H-1B petition approval and visa issuance is for a maximum of 3 years per application and admission in H-1B1 status are for a maximum of 6 years.

6. Spouses & Children: Spouses and children (under age 21) of H-1B Professionals are entitled to obtain dependent H-4 visas and status.  H-4 spouses are NOT eligible to apply for an “Employment Authorization Document (EAD)” and are NOT allowed work in the United States.

7. Green Card: The H-1B classification can lead to Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card) if the U.S. employer offers permanent sponsorship.

If you are interested in applying for a H-1B Visa or Status, please schedule a Consultation with Serianni Law to discuss the legal requirements and filing procedures.  Also, Contact Us for free initial information and pricing.

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