To be eligible for an H-1B visa, individual(s) applying must work in a “specialty occupation” that requires a “theoretical and practical application” of a unique body of knowledge and hold at least a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent, in the discipline. Any professional level job that usually requires you to have a bachelor’s degree or higher can typically be petitioned for under the H-1B visa. If an individual does not have a bachelor’s degree, they may still be able to show degree equivalence through work experience and/or other qualifications.

Initial H-1B visas are subject to an annual visa cap. Employers can begin applying for the H-1B visa six months before the actual start date of the visa, which is October 1st for cap-subject petitions. Employers must register the beneficiary in the cap lottery to be selected. Current immigration law allows for a total of 85,000 new H-1B visas to be made available each government fiscal year. This number includes 65,000 new H-1B visas available in specialty occupations with at least a bachelor’s degree, with an additional 20,000 visas available for specialty workers with an advanced degree from a U.S. academic institution. If selected in the lottery, the employer will then file the H-1B petition with USCIS. The H-1B visa is initially granted for up to three years and may be extended to a maximum of six years. However, the H-1B visa can be extended for longer if the applicant holds an approved immigrant visa (I-140).

For more information or questions on whether you or your employee qualifies please contact us using the following link.