H1B Specialty Occupation

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What is H1B Specialty Occupation visa?

The H1B is a non-immigrant visa in the United States that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. Employers must petition for the individual whom they plan to employ or continue to employ in the United States. The duration of H1B is up to 3 years, generally extendable to maximum 6 years.

H-1B specialty occupations may include fields such as science, engineering and information technology, and fields such as teaching and accounting. For qualifying as a specialty occupation, the job must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or 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

General Requirements for H1B Petitioner

For qualifying to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation, employee must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

H-1B Cap

The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit “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 or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.

Application Process

Under the new process USCIS announced On Dec 6, 2019, prospective petitioners seeking to file H-1B cap-subject petitions for the fiscal year 2021(FY 2021) cap must first electronically register. The registration period for the FY 2021 cap was from noon ET on March 1 to noon ET on March 20, 2020. Selected registrations will need to file H-1B cap-subject petitions within the 90-day period.