When certain jobs are in demand, or the perfect position becomes available, some non-Americans can legally apply for the job. And live in the U.S. without a green card.
This can happen if they can obtain a work visa. One type of work visa is the H-1B visa. To get an H-1B visa, you and your prospective employer must meet strict criteria, and not all jobs are eligible.
What Is an H-1B Visa?
An H-1B visa lets U.S. employers hire foreign workers for specialty occupations or as fashion models of distinguished merit and ability. A specialty occupation is one that requires the application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The intent of the H-1B provisions is to help employers who cannot otherwise obtain needed business skills and abilities from the U.S. workforce by authorizing the temporary employment of qualified individuals who are not otherwise authorized to work in the United States. This allows nonimmigrants to enter and work in the United States usually for up to six years – letting employers add the world’s top talent to their teams. Typically, positions eligible for an H-1B visa are in technology, engineering, medicine, finance, and others.
General Requirements for an H-1B Visa
The H-1B visa is reserved for specialty occupations. General requirements (among others)::
The occupation requires:
- Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge; and
- Attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
The position must also meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
- Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the particular position
- The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
- 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.
Jobs That Have Been Approved for H-1B Visas
It can be extremely difficult to get approved for an H-1B visa. It requires a lot of work on the employee’s side – as well as by the employer to prove the position requires hiring a non-U.S. citizen.
Even with these tight requirements, many workers are granted H-1B visas each year..
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) publishes statistics on what companies have applied for H-1B visa petitions and what jobs have been approved for visas. According to their Fiscal Year 2021 report, these are some of the categories that have had positions approved for visas:
- Accountants and Auditors
- Civil Engineers
- College Professors
- Database Administrators
- Data Communication and Network Administrators
- Electrical Engineers
- Financial Analysts
- Investment Banking
- Industrial Engineers
- Mechanical Engineers
- Physicians and Surgeons
- Sales Managers
- Software Engineers
- Systems Analysts and Programmers
This list will change as different roles become more in demand, and different jobs gain popularity.
How to Apply
If you find a position that meets the requirements for an H-1B visa, and you are eligible to apply, then you can start the application process.
- Find a sponsoring employer:Before you can apply for a visa, you must have a employer who is willing to sponsor your petition. This can be your current employer or a potential future employer.
- Employer files documents:Your sponsoring employer must first file and obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor.
- Prove your potential wages are fair:Your sponsoring employer will need to prove to the Department of Labor that you will be paid the requires wage rate and that each H-1B worker is provided the same working conditions and fringe benefits that are offered to similarly employed U.S. workers
- Employer files form ETA-9035:Your employer will need to submit the Labor Condition Application through form ETA-9035. The LCA is filed electronically via the Department of Labor’s Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system.
- Employer files form I-129:Form I-129 is the Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker. With this form, the employer must include an employment letter with the position’s description, duties, salary, job requirements, dates of employment, and other relevant information about the job. The employee’s education credentials, certificates, resume, letter of support, and other required documents must also be included.
- Complete the application:If your I-129 is approved, you will receive a USCIS Form I-797, Notice of Action, and you can complete the process. If you are already living in the U.S., your visa will be updated automatically to H-1B. If you are living outside of the U.S., you will need to complete form DS-160, and attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate, as well as potentially complete additional steps.
As you can see, the process of obtaining an H-1B visa can be very difficult. If you are pursuing a visa, it’s essential to hire an immigration attorney to help you through the process.
Why Hire Us
When you need an immigration attorney to help you obtain an H-1B visa, let the experts at Johnstone Adams LLC represent you. Ranked in the 2023 U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list regionally in 12 practice areas, we have experts in many areas of law to give our clients top-notch representation. In business for more than a century, our firm can mix its experience with the ability to evolve with the changing times.
To get started, contact us at 844-682-7682 or firstname.lastname@example.org.