USA Immigration: 

H1B Specialty Visas

H1B Specialty Visa Overview

H1B visas allow U.S. employers to obtain the services of a foreign national in a "specialty occupation" for up to six years.  A "specialty occupation" requires, at a minimum, a baccalaureate degree for entry into the occupation in the U.S. In order to obtain an H1B visa for a potential foreign worker, the petitioning employer must commit to paying the worker the "prevailing wage" for the position, as determined by the government.   Currently, the U.S. Government only issues 65,000 H1B visas per year (with an additional 20,000 H1Bs for occupations requiring a Master's or Doctorate degree).  U.S. employers may sponsor H1B employees for permanent residence (a Green Card) in the U.S.

Lebamoff & Associates
218 N. Lee Street
Suite 312
Alexandria, VA 22314,

More Details about H1B Specialty Visas

What are the qualifications for a "specialty" occupation?

The employee must hold a U.S. baccalaureate, or its foreign equivalent, that directly relates to the work for which the employee is being hired.  Also, the position must be one that normally requires a four year degree, or greater, in the U.S.  Typical "specialty occupations" include, but are not limited to, computer scientists, architects, accountants, engineers, medical and healthcare professionals, and economists.

What must a U.S. employer provide when filing a petition for an H1B worker?

The employer must provide: a copy of a Labor Condition Application filed with the U.S. Department of Labor; a copy of the prevailing wage determination by a state workforce agency; copies of all school records and transcripts, certifications and diplomas to prove the individual has the required education in the specified specialty occupation; copies of any employment contracts between the employer and prospective employer; letters or affidavits from current or past employers describing the duties to be performed by the H1B worker, and the skills, knowledge, and experience needed for the occupation.  If the prospective employee is in the U.S. under another status at the time the H1B petition is filed, the employee will have to provide documentation to demonstrate that they are legally present.  

Can H1B employees bring their spouses and children to the U.S.?

Yes.  Spouses and unmarried children 21 years of age are eligible to receive H4 visas.  The H4 visa allows spouses and children to accompany the H1B visa holder to live in the U.S as long as the primary H1B visa holder's status is valid.

Can an H1B employee change jobs?

Yes.  The employee does, however, need to find another sponsor who will file a new H1B petition.  An H1B employee must find a new employer within thirty days of separating from their current employer, or they risk being deemed out-of-status by Department of Homeland Security. Non-citizens must be very careful never to fall "out-of-status" (not have a legal right to be in the US) as that may preclude any future immigration benefit or work visa.

Extra Information

There are special visas for trainees,models, physicians, and individuals that will be providing services to the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting H1B petitions on April 1, 2020 for fiscal year 2020.