H-1B Temporary Visa Frequently Asked Questions

The following is taken from an interview with a DC H-1B visa lawyer at our firm. Here, she discusses some of the most frequently asked questions about these visas and the process by which an individual must apply for them. To learn more call our DC law offices today and schedule your initial consultation, through which we can learn more about you and your unique needs and circumstances.

Who is Eligible for an H-1B Visa?

The H-1B application is a non-immigrant visa, which means it is temporary. It does not automatically lead to permanent resident status, though it can in some cases. You can change your status but you have to have a sponsoring employer and you have to qualify as a specialty worker because it is an application for jobs that qualify as specialty occupations. It requires a bachelor’s degree or higher, or work experience that can be proven to be the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. There is also an exception for fashion models of distinguished merit or ability; they do not necessarily require a bachelor’s degree.

How Many H-1B Visas Are Approved Per Year?

There are 65,000 H-1B visas given out per year. The way they determine how many H-1B visas can be approved each year does not have a basis in reality. The limit is well below what it should be compared to the demand.

What Are Specialty Occupations?

The baseline for most positions is that they require a bachelor’s degree or higher as a minimum for entering into the occupation, but there is an exception for that. The first exception is for fashion models, but the more commonly used exception is if the individual has equivalent work experience. If it is a very specific type of job and you have at least two years of work experience, it could qualify as the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in some cases and the bachelor’s degree requirement can be waived. These are rare cases and it really has to be a position that is so complex or unique that only an individual with your specific skill set would be qualified to do the job.

What Do You Need To Prove In Order To Obtain An H-1B Visa?

The first step is to submit the labor condition application correctly and to make sure it has been certified by the Department of Labor before it is submitted. The second requirement is to prove the individual is actually qualified for that position. You have to prove that not only does the person have a bachelor’s degree, but that they have bachelor’s degree in an area of expertise that is directly relevant to their job duties. If you have a bachelor’s degree in chemistry but you are going to be working as an accountant, even though you have met that bachelor’s degree requirement, it’s not in the appropriate field of work. That can be a problem for some people. You have to prove that the skill that you learned during your bachelor’s degree experience will be directly relevant to the job.