H-1B Visa: Requirements and Eligibility Criteria

Published On
Feb 21, 2024
Read Time
3.5 Minutes
OnBlick Inc

The H-1B visa is a highly sought-after pathway for foreign professionals to work in the United States. It allows employers in the country to sponsor skilled workers in “specialty occupations” temporarily, typically with the option to extend and potentially transition to permanent residency.

However, sailing across the H-1B visa process is not easy. This blog explains the requirements and eligibility criteria for the H-1B visa, providing a comprehensive overview for potential applicants and employers.  

Who is eligible for an H-1B visa?

To qualify for an H-1B visa, the individual’s chosen occupation must fall under the category of a “specialty occupation”. This means it requires:

Additionally, the position must meet one of the following criteria to be considered a specialty occupation:

How do you meet the educational requirement?

To qualify for performing services in a specialty occupation, one must fulfill one of these criteria:

Additional considerations

Note: Being selected in the lottery doesn’t guarantee visa approval. Each petition undergoes individual scrutiny by USCIS based on eligibility criteria and supporting documentation.

Who Qualifies for Cap-Exempt H-1B Status?

The following entities can employ H-1B workers without being subject to the annual cap:

H-1B Licensing

For certain professions, holding a state or local license is crucial for H-1B beneficiaries to practice their specialty fully. If a license is mandatory in the desired state of employment, obtaining it before the H-1B petition approval is usually necessary, not just during filing. Refer to 8 CFR 214.2(h)(4)(v)(A)–(B) for details.  

Note: USCIS will generally issue a request for evidence (RFE) of the required license if it's missing during the application process.

Key Steps in the H-1B Visa Process

Timeline and Processing

The H-1B visa processing timeline can vary depending on several factors, including USCIS workload, individual case details, and potential requests for additional evidence. Generally, it can take several months to receive a decision after the petition is filed.

For quicker processing, the employer can pay an additional Premium Processing Fee to USCIS for processing in 15 days.

Summing Up

The H-1B visa, while offering a coveted path for qualified foreign professionals to contribute their skills and build careers in the United States, demands thorough preparation and expert guidance. Understanding the eligibility criteria and the competitive application process, and anticipating potential challenges are crucial before embarking on this journey.  

Consulting with an immigration compliance expert is highly recommended to ensure legal compliance and maximize your chances of success. Learn more about OnBlick’s H-1B case management services here.

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