H1B Visa, Status and Requirements
The H1B visa program offers an opportunity for foreign students and professionals to work in the USA. Under this program, US employers can hire international professionals to work in the USA for a given period, which is maximum six years.
Let’s overview the H1B Visa requirements:
1. Do you share employer-employee relationship?
The petitioning U.S. employer is required by law to have a valid employer-employee relationship with the applicant. Under the immigration law, if the U.S. employer can control the employment of the H1B visa worker by hiring, paying, termination, or supervising their work, they can petition for the applicant.
2. Does your job qualify as a specialty occupation?
Immigration law requires you to demonstrate with proof that your job qualifies as a specialty occupation and that the H1B visa applicant has the required qualifications to be eligible for employment visa in the USA. You must meet any of the following conditions:
- A bachelor’s degree is often the minimum requirement for a specialty position, which may include engineers, lawyers, architects, teachers, and physicians.
- The employer requires a degree or an equivalent.
- A position that does not require a bachelor’s degree may also qualify as a specialty position if the occupation is complex enough to be performed by someone with a degree.
- The specified duties are viewed as complex or specialized enough to require a bachelor’s or higher degree on the part of the work visa applicant to efficiently perform the duties.
3. Is your job related to your field of study?
Immigration law requires that your job in a specialty occupation must be related to your study field. In other words, you must demonstrate that your degree is related to the specialty position by submitting the following evidence:
- An explanation of the duties required to be performed at the stated position, the complex nature of your duties or role.
- Proof that your competitors in the industry also require candidates to have similar degrees for such positions.
- Expert opinion in writing explaining how the degree you have achieved is related to the role you are expected to perform in the occupation.
- Printouts from online resources with information on the degree fields required for employment in the occupation.
If you do not have a bachelor’s degree in a chosen field, you may still qualify if:
- You have education, knowledge, training, and responsible experience equivalent to a bachelor’s degree in the U.S. in the specific specialty occupation. Ideally if you have three years of training or work experience in the field, you will be eligible to qualify, as this is valued as being equal to 1 year of college.
- You keep an unrestricted state license or registration that gives you the permission to take up the specialty occupation as intended employment.
4. Do you get the actual or prevailing wage?
Another H1B visa requirement is that you must be paid either prevailing or actual wage, whichever is higher, depending on your occupation. Two criteria determine prevailing wage – the geographic location and position where you will be employed.
5. Is an H1B visa number available when the petition was filed? Or your petition does not fall under numerical limits or cap requirement.
It is important that at the time of filing of the petition, an H1B visa number is available. The annual numerical limit on employment visa is 65,000 for every fiscal year. H-1B workers employed at a higher education institution, a nonprofit entity, or a government research organization are exempt from the numerical limit.
Should you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a consultation, please contact me by submitting the form or by calling me at (248) 630-3239. I accept clients from across the U.S. and around the world. My law office is conveniently located in Troy, Michigan for in-person meetings. For phone consultation, you can reach me from any part of the United States or abroad.