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What are the main requirements for an H-1B visa?

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The main requirements for an H-1B visa are:

  1. The job must be either in a "specialty occupation", i.e., a professional field, or as a fashion model.
    • a "specialty occupation" is one which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation and requires completion of a specific course of education culminating in a baccalaureate degree in a specific occupational specialty, e.g., architects, teachers, engineers, scientists, etc.
    • fashion models, on the other hand, do not have to meet the specialty occupation requirements; instead, they must establish that they possess "distinguished merit and ability," e.g., national or international renown, etc.
  2. The applicant must actually have the necessary credentials, e.g., the baccalaureate degree in the particular specialty.
    • If a license is required to practice the particular occupation, then the applicant must possess the necessary license.
  3. The job must actually require the services of someone who possesses the credentials of a professional, or alternatively of a fashion model. This means that the INS may scrutinize certain job offers as being bogus--if it suspects that the job offer is made for immigration reasons alone.
  4. The applicant must NOT have reached his or her six year limit of stay in either the H-1B category or in the L-1 category. For example, if someone has worked for company X in the L-1 category for three years, and for company Y in the H-1B category for another three years, then that person cannot renew the H-1B visa to work for company Y or for any other company, until he or she remains abroad for a one year period.
  5. The employer must pay the applicant the prevailing wage in the area, or the wage it pays other workers in its company, whichever is greater.
Note that apart from meeting the main requirements, it is also necessary for the H-1B quota to have not run out or that an exemption be available.

Reader Comments

H1B Visa


I just graduated from UC Berkeley in December 2006. I'm using OPT right now and it will end in January 2008. I'm currently working in a private equity firm in NYC. My company pays me based on performance. I wonder whether I'm eligible to apply for H1b visa.

The other question that I have is that if I won't be eligible, what other options I can do so that I can stay in the US next year?


master's quota

i have one more class left for my MBA this semester. Can i get a letter from the school here in INdiana, USA and attach it with my application for to qualify for the masters quota. or how is it done. I graduate this may, 08. I have just one more class left.

Let me know what is the best thing to do

All courses should be completed on date of filing for H1B

The strict current USCIS policy is that all requirements, including courses, must be completed on the date the petition is filed. Normally, the only time that a letter may be accepted in lieu of receipt of the actual degree is if all requirements have been completed but the diploma has not yet been printed.

I have just had a credential

I have just had a credential evaluation performed and they have equated my UK Masters degree MEng to only be equivalent to a US BS degree. Although I only actually need a BS for H-1b, will this cause any confusion or problems when applying for the H-1b visa?


This depends on the requirements for the particular position. It may also depend on the particular officer that adjudicates the case.

Independent Contractor

Can an H-1B perform work as an independent contractor on the side?

No work outside H1B approval

The USCIS would likely consider working as an independent contractor to violate one's H-1B status.  In order to accept employment outside of the main H-1B approval, it is necessary to apply for another CONCURRENT H-1B.

can i work in georgia using the H1b while waiting for my I-140?

i just want to know if i can apply for an H1b visa to work in Georgia even though i have a pending I-140 petition from my employer in New York? does it will not affect my status in immigrant visa? what will happen if im already working in Georgia then suddenly the visa become available, can i transfer to New York right away? and what is the I-129 all about? thanks a lot hope you can help me answering all the questions in mind.

H1B visa for paralegal work

I am a foreigner who will soon be admitted to the NY Bar. I would like to know whether it is legal, or if there are any restrictions, for a foreign NY-licensed attorney to file for an H1B visa for work as a paralegal?

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Search for H1B Visa Employers

You can search for "H1B Visa Employers" using this database, which was compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources. This database identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas in the past, or who have at least started the process by filing for the LCA. If you find an employer you are interested in, you can then contact them to inquire as to whether they have any current job openings in your field. Please tell your friends about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for H1B Visa employers.

"FMG Friendly" Employers

Foreign Medical Graduates ("FMGs") should be aware that there are "FMG Friendly" employers, and "FMG Unfriendly" employers. This database (compiled by Antao & Chuang, Attorneys at Law from government sources) identifies those U.S. employers who have filed for H-1B visas for foreign medical graduates in the past (or at least started the process by filing for the LCA), and who can therefore be deemed "FMG Friendly". Please tell your colleagues about this valuable resource.

Use this form to search for "FMG Friendly" employers in a given state.

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