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General Background of H-1B Specialty Worker Visas

Do You Qualify for an H-1B Visa or Status?

To qualify for an H-1B visa, you must first have a job offer from a U.S. employer for duties to be performed in the UnitedStates. In addition, the requirements for getting an H-1B visa include that:

  • You are coming to (or remaining in) the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation with a college degree or its equivalent in work experience, or to be a distinguished fashion model.
  • You have a job offer from a U.S. employer for work to be performed in the U.S., and you have been offered at least the prevailing wage that is paid in the same geographic area for that type of job (or the actual wage paid to similar workers at that employer—whichever is the higher of the two wages).
  • You have the correct background to qualify for the job you have been offered.
  • Your employer has filed a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL). Your job itself must also meet certain criteria, including at least one of the following:
  • A bachelor’s degree or higher degree (or the equivalent) is the minimum requirement for entry into the position.  
  • The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions mong similar organizations, or the duties of the position are so complex that it can be performed only by a person 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 knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with a bachelor’s or higher degree.

To qualify for H-1B, unless you are a fashion model, you need at least a bachelor’s degree or substantial on-the job experience that is the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. If you’re qualifying through a bachelor’s degree, it’s preferable if it’s not in a liberal arts or general business subject area, which USCIS tends to view as insufficiently specialized.

If you don’t have a bachelor’s degree but will be attempting to qualify through work experience, USCIS usually wants to see three years of specialized training and/ or work experience for every year of college that you would have attended. Therefore, if you have not attended any universities, you must typically show 12 years of professional experience. 

You must be intending to perform services in a so-called specialty occupation. If a license to practice your particular occupation is required by the U.S. state in which you will be working, then, in addition to your educational credentials, you must also have the appropriate license.

Fashion models need not meet the specialty occupation requirements. Instead,they must show that they are nationally or internationally recognized for their achievements, and will be employed in a position requiring someone of distinguished merit and ability. They must be renowned, leading, or well known.

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