In order to qualify for a specialty occupations visa you must meet several requirements. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you must intend to enter the country to perform services in a specialty occupation. An occupation is considered a specialty occupation if a Bachelor’s degree or higher (or an equivalent educational background) is required for the job, if the degree requirement for the job is common in the job’s specific industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.
Similarly, you may receive a specialty occupations visa to work in the United States if the employer typically requires a degree – or the educational equivalent – for the position. The job is specialized when it is so specific or complicated that the knowledge and experience necessary to perform it properly are associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher degree. When applying for an H-1B specialty occupations visa, your prospective employer must file a Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA) and Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.
In order to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation, you must meet one of several requirements. You may accept a job offer if you have completed a United States bachelor’s degree (or higher educational equivalent) required by the specialty occupation that you wish to pursue. This degree must come from an accredited college or university. Even if you do not meet these criteria, you may still qualify to accept a job in a specialty occupation if:
A specialty occupations visa may be filed for in two steps. First, your employer must complete Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker and submit it to the USCIS. This form must be submitted to the correct USCIS service center. After your employer has submitted Form I-129, you may apply for you visa and admission. If you are outside of the United States, you may apply with the United States Department of State at a United States embassy or consulate. Whether or not a visa is required, you must apply to the United States Customs and Border Protection before you may enter the U.S. under H-1B classification.
Every year, the USCIS approves up to 65,000 H-1B visas. According to the USCIS, the first 20,000 petitions filed for beneficiaries with U.S. master’s degrees or higher are exempt from the cap. If you petition to work at an institution of higher education, or institution affiliated with nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research program, you are exempt from the numerical cap. Government research programs are not subject to the cap as well. For more detailed information about applying for a specialty occupation visa, you can speak to a New York Business Immigration Lawyer from our firm today.
H-1B nonimmigrant workers are allowed to stay in the country for three years. After three years, you may be able to extend your time but USCIS will probably not let you stay longer than six years. Depending on your circumstances, there may be exceptions to this rule. If your employer terminates your occupation before your visa has expired, your employer is responsible to pay for your travel out of the country. If you leave your position of your own free will, your employer does not have to pay for your return travel. If your employer does not follow this rule, you must contact the service center that approved your original petition.