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H-1B Visa (Specialty Occupations)

H-1B Visas are provided by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)[1] to allow US employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.

General Information:

  • Visa Category: Nonimmigrant
  • Applicable to jobs considered “specialty occupation”
  • Employer sponsorship is required, so employers initiate the process

two men at table

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Highly specialized knowledge required to perform the job
  • A US bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited institution (or its equivalent from a foreign institution); or an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification specifically qualifying the prospective employee for the occupation

Typical Petition Filing Process:

  • Step 1 - Employer submits a Labor Certification Application to the Department of Labor for Certification. More info: US Department of Labor Employment & Training Administration website
  • Step 2 - Employer submits the necessary paperwork to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • Step 3 - The prospective employee (you) applies for Visa and/or Admission.

Typical Length of Employment Authorization:

  • H-1B visas are typically issued for an initial period of three years
  • Visa holders can apply for an extension of up to 3 additional years

More Information:

  • Due to the nature of employer sponsorship, if the employee finds a new job, they must file a new H-1B visa petition initiated by the new employer.
  • The most accurate and up to date information regarding the H-1B application/petition process is available from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.
  • For more information about US employers that have submitted petitions to hire employees on an H-1B visa, visit the USCIS Employer Data Hub.
  • This content was last updated on 1/21/2021

This information is not meant to be regarded, interpreted, or relied upon as legal advice. While APS will work to keep this information up to date, be aware that visa and immigration policies are always subject to change and we recommend readers reference official government resources.

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