The H-1B visa allows companies to employ professional workers in a “specialty occupation.” 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 foreign equivalent.
- Position requires a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent in a specific field of study (example: Software Engineer position requiring a Computer Science or Computer Engineering degree).
- The Beneficiary must possess a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent that is related to the position.
- Granted in increments of up to three years for a total of six years.
- May be extended beyond six years if the H-1B visa holder has an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition or a PERM application pending for one year or longer.
- Spouses and unmarried children under 21 are eligible for dependent H-4 status.
- Spouses of H-1B visa holders are eligible for work authorization if the H-1B visa holder has an approved I-140 and is subject to the green card backlog.
Exempt and Non-exempt categories
- Non-exempt (Annual H-1B Cap):
- 20,000 H-1B visas available per year for foreign nationals holding at least a U.S. Master’s degree in a qualifying field.
- 65,000 H-1B visas available per year for foreign nationals holding at least a Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a qualifying field.
- Foreign nationals working at the following institutions:
- Higher education institution
- A non-profit affiliated with a higher education institution
- Non-profit research or government organization
- Foreign nationals that have an approved H-1B cap case and are filing one of the following petitions:
- Petition to extend an individual’s current H-1B status in the U.S.
- Petition to amend/change the terms of employment of a current H-1B petition
- Petition by an existing H-1B holder to transfer/change employers
- Petition for existing H-1B visa holder to work simultaneously in an additional position/for an additional employer
- Changes to your H-1B position: The H-1B visa is tied to a specific company, worksite, and position. Please contact your Corporate Immigration Partners (CIP) legal team if there are any changes in your job location, and position, as an H-1B amendment may be required.
- Dual Intent: H-1B visa holders may pursue both nonimmigrant and immigrant benefit simultaneously.
- Quota: Annual Quota for non-exempt petitions only (see above).