H-1B Visa Requirements

H-1B Visa Occupational and Educational Requirements

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa designed to allow non-citizen professionals work in the United States. U.S. employers may employ foreign professionals for any period of time up to six years. The employee must hold a specialty occupation. Specific requirements must be met by both the petitioning employer and the employee to qualify for an H-1B visa. USCIS and the Department of Labor have various regulations with which the employer must comply. Read more about the H-1B visa on our overview section.

Our immigration attorneys in Los Angeles, California have successfully helped hundreds of employers sponsor and obtain H-1B visas for their employees. Contact our office for a free consultation to begin the H-1B visa process.

What are the Requirements of the U.S. Employer to Sponsor an H-1B Visa?

The petitioning U.S. employer must:

  • demonstrate that the employment is offered in a specialty occupation,

  • offer the position on a full or part time basis,

  • be offering an job located within the U.S. and

  • prove that the prospective employee has met the required qualifications.

What are the Specialty Occupation Requirements for an H-1B Visa?

A specialty occupation requires that the individual not only possess a body of specialized knowledge, but also that this knowledge and training is applied on the job. To confirm that someone has obtained this sort of specialized knowledge and has the education to support this claim, USCIS also requires at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. Positions that are normally considered “professional” would most likely qualify as a specialty occupation.

Examples of specialty occupations include, but are not limited to:

  • accountants,

  • architects,

  • attorneys,

  • computer professionals,

  • economists,

  • engineers,

  • physicians,

  • nurses,

  • radiologists,

  • dentists,

  • professors,

  • researchers,

  • teachers,

  • social workers,

  • librarians and other professionals.

Occasionally, a position that would normally not require a bachelor's degree may qualify as a specialty occupation if that particular position has such specialized duties that the knowledge required to perform them is usually gained through a bachelor’s or higher degree. For example, some professions in the business world or medical field may not require a B.A. degree, but they may require specialized knowledge and experience. If you do not see your profession listed above, contact our immigration office so we can see whether you would still qualify for an H-1B visa.

What are the Educational Requirements for an H-1B Visa?

As mentioned above, in general an employee who wishes to work on an H1-B visa should possess a Bachelor's or higher degree from an accredited college or university. Additionally, the employer petitioning for the H1-B visa must show that the non-citizen employee they hire meets the specific educational requirements to be engaged in the specialty occupation that they will be undertaking. The degree that the employee holds must also be a requirement to qualify for the specialty occupation offered by the employer.

If you do not have a Bachelor’s degree, then an equivalent degree or other education that is equivalent to a degree can also be used to justify the specialty of the occupation. For example, some business professionals or computer technicians may have a different, but equally specialized credential or other educational background.

If the educational degree that the employee holds is from an institution that is not located in the U.S., it will have to be evaluated to determine if it should be considered equivalent to a U.S. awarded degree.

In the absence of education or degree, experience or training may be substituted to establish meeting the education requirements of the H-1B Visa. In such cases, three years of professional experience is considered equivalent to one year of college education. Hence, an employee would need nine years of work in the specialized field to equal a 3 year degree or 12 years for a 4 year degree.