H-1B visas are issued to individuals who currently hold a position or are seeking a new position in a specialty occupation and are looking to migrate to the U.S. to work. In order to qualify for this visa type, your job must meet certain criteria before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will even consider issuing one to you. If you are wondering what the criteria are so that you are able to determine if you qualify to apply for an H-1B visa, we have outlined it for you below.
What criteria must my job meet in order to qualify as a specialty occupation?
In order to apply for an H-1B visa, your job must fall into the category of a specialty occupation. How do you know if your position would be classified as such? It must meet one of the following criteria listed below.
- The job must require that you possess a “Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent [that would] normally the minimum entry requirement for the position.”
- The degree that is required for the job “is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree.”
- “The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position.”
- “The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.”
USCIS stipulates that in order for you to qualify to accept a job that would be classified as a specialty occupation, you are required to meet one of the following criteria:
- You must have earned “a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university.”
- You possess “a foreign degree that would be equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in that specialty occupation.”
- You possess an” unrestricted state license, registration, or certification which authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment.”
- You must have obtained “the education, training, or experience in the specialty [occupation] that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.”
How does an individual apply for an H-1B visa?
In order to begin the application process to obtain an H-1B visa, the following steps must be completed:
- The employer or prospective employer will need to fill out Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA) and submit it to the Department of Labor (DOL) for certification.
- Once the DOL approves the application for certification, the employer must then submit Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS along with the DOL-certified Labor Condition Application.
- When the employee is outside of the U.S., he or she may apply with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for an H-1B visa once the Form I-129 has been approved. The employee or prospective H-1B worker will then need to “apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for admission to the United States in H-1B classification.”
If you aren’t sure whether your circumstances qualify you to apply for an H-1B visa, contact New Jersey immigration attorney Eric M. Mark who can clarify this for you. When applying for any type of visa, it is always recommended that you consult with an immigration and visa lawyer who can assure you are applying for the correct type and that your forms are filled out properly. If you would like the opportunity to sit down with an experienced immigration attorney in NJ, simply contact our office to schedule an initial consultation.
The Law Office of Eric M. Mark has locations in:
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Jersey City, NJ 07302
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Newark, NJ 07102
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Cranford, NJ 07016