H-1B Work Visa Requirements
Your BestLegalChoice immigration attorney can help answer any questions you have and explain in detail the process for submitting your visa petition.
1. YOU MUST HAVE AN EMPLOYER-EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PETITIONING U.S. EMPLOYER.
As a general rule, employer-employee relationships are validated by how the U.S. employer controls hiring and firing, rate of pay, management and assignment of work of the H-1B worker. Documentation is required by the petitioning entity to show how the employer manages the duties and work assignments of its employees. Some cases, applicants are the sole and/or majority owners of the petitioning entity and must provide the same employer documentation.
2. YOUR JOB MUST QUALIFY AS A SPECIALTY OCCUPATION.
You must have at least a bachelor's degree or higher degree or the academic equivalent credentials required for the specific position. Generally it is a degree commonly obtained in that particular industry or it must be a position that requires at least a bachelor's degree in that field to perform the position. The employer usually requires a four year degree or an equivalent to be considered for the position. By nature, the position requires specific knowledge typically obtained with a bachelor's degree or higher in order to perform the complex duties associated with the job.
3. YOUR JOB MUST BE IN A SPECIALTY OCCUPATION RELATED TO YOUR FIELD OF STUDY.
You can provide various evidence to validate that your credentials are related to your position. You can provide a thorough description of the duties that pertain to your position, as well as the products and services your company provides. Explain the sophisticated role you will have in the position and how your studies contribute to your success in this role. Obtain references from experts in the field to confirm how your studies are related to your position. Collect documentation from reputable sources that describe occupations associated with your degree. Provide examples of other related companies in your industry that require similar credentials in related positions.
4. YOU MUST BE PAID AT LEAST THE ACTUAL OR PREVAILING WAGE FOR YOUR OCCUPATION, WHICHEVER IS HIGHER.
The prevailing wage is determined based on the position in which you will be employed and the geographic location where you will be working (among other factors). The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) maintains a database with applicable current prevailing wage levels based on occupation and work location. To view the wage database and estimate the prevailing wage that may be required for your position, click here.
5. AN H-1B VISA NUMBER MUST BE AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF FILING THE PETITION, UNLESS THE PETITION IS EXEMPT FROM NUMERICAL LIMITS.
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit, or cap, of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education (or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities), a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap. Cap numbers are often used up very quickly, so it is important to plan in advance if you will be filing for an H-1B visa that is subject to the annual H-1B numerical cap. The U.S. government’s fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. H-1B petitions can be filed up to 6 months before the start date, which is generally April 1 for an October 1 start date.
Note: When submitting evidence to USCIS, it is important to fully and clearly explain how the submitted evidence establishes eligibility for petition approval. The more clearly the petitioner can articulate his or her eligibility, the more efficiently and consistently USCIS can review and process the petition and determine eligibility for the benefit sought.