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Do You Qualify for an H-1B Visa?

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What is an H-1B visa? An H-1B visa - Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models – is for persons working in specialty occupations requiring at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in on-the-job experience and distinguished fashion models.

A total of 65,000 H-1B temporary visas are made available each year, plus an additional 20,000 for beneficiaries who have earned a U.S. master's degree or higher. Every year, the volume of applicants exceeds these numbers, making the process of obtaining an H-1B visa highly competitive.

How do you qualify for an H-1B visa? To qualify for an H-1B visa, you must first have a job offer from a U.S. employer for work that is to be performed in the United States. The work you will perform must be in a specialty occupation. What is a specialty occupation? A specialty occupation is an occupation that generally requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for entry-level positions. If you do not have a 4-year bachelor’s degree, or foreign equivalent, you may qualify through equivalent work experience - where three (3) years of experience equals one year of education. As such, a 4-year degree would require twelve (12) years of equivalent work experience. Fashion models are an exception to these requirements - they must simply show that they are recognized for their achievements and will be employed in a position requiring someone of distinguished ability.

The beneficiary’s course of study or experience used to qualify for the H-1B must match the skills and education usually required for the job opportunity.

In order to apply for an H-1B visa for a prospective employee, the employer must be offering at least the prevailing wage for the specific job in the specific geographic area where the prospective employee will work. The prevailing wage is established by the Department of Labor on form ETA-9035, known as Labor Condition Application, or LCA. The LCA includes a number of statements ensuring the fair treatment of foreign workers. Form ETA-9035 can be accessed by following this link:

If you are approved for an H-1B visa, your spouse and unmarried children under 21 can apply for H-4 visas, which would allow them to live and study in the U.S. Please note that, in general, H-4 visa holders cannot work in the United States, with limited exceptions.

The process of qualifying for H-1B can be daunting and perplexing. Our team of experienced immigration attorneys here at KI Legal are dedicated to helping you navigate this process and achieve your goal of becoming a United States citizen, advocating for you each step of the way. If you are concerned about your immigration status or want to learn more about what options are open to you, give us a call at (212) 404-8644 or email




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