Immigration Services

Immigration Services

Temporary Work Visas

H-1B Specialty Occupation Nonimmigrant Visa

In order to qualify in the H-1B visa category, the beneficiary must have earned a Bachelor's degree or equivalent in a specific specialty (e.g., Biology, Computer Engineering, Mathematics etc.), and the position for which the beneficiary's services are sought must require at least a Bachelor's degree in specialized fields.

Under USCIS regulations, a "specialty occupation" is
    . . . an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of 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.

Additionally, every H-1B petition must be accompanied by a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA), which, among others, confirms the employer's obligation to pay the required wages to H-1B visa holders.

Lastly, practicing clinicians who are International Medical Graduates must hold an ECFMG Certificate, a valid license to practice medicine, and Steps 1, 2 (CK & CS) and 3 of the USMLE.

The total number of H-1B visas that may be granted each year is 65,000, plus there is an additional set-aside of 20,000 H-1B visas for individuals with a Master's or higher degree from a United States institution. Because of the limited visa availability, it is critical to apply as early as possible. Note that some employers (such as academic institutions) are exempt from this cap and may sponsor H-1B workers even when the cap is reached.

H-1B visas can be granted for an initial period of up to three (3) years, and can be extended for an additional period of three (3) years for a total stay of six (6) years. The H-1B is an "employer-specific" visa, which allows the beneficiary to work only for the sponsoring employer. The beneficiary may change employers by having a new employer file an H-1B transfer petition. Additionally, any changes to the beneficiary's original employment due to a corporate reorganization, merger, promotion or assignment to a new company location may require an amended petition. If any of the above changes occur, please call our office.

Spouses and children of H-1B workers will be classified as H-4 "dependents". Holders of H-4 status are not entitled to work in the United States. If your spouse or child requires employment authorization, we can assess their own visa that allows employment.

21700 Oxnard Street, Suite 860, Woodland Hills, CA 91367 T 818.435.3500 F 818.435.3535