H-1B Specialty Workers

Specialty Occupation

We're experts in H-1B Specialty Worker visas.

One of the most commonly used visa categories, the H-1B visa (temporary worker qualified to perform services in a specialty occupation) is applicable to members of the professions who are employed in a professional capacity. This visa category is regularly subject to changes in rules and regulations..

Occupations which frequently employ H-1B temporary workers include: accountants, lawyers, computer specialists, scientific researchers, foreign exchange brokers, traders and bankers. Any professional occupation is, by definition, likely to qualify..


A U.S. employer must act as a sponsor and be willing to submit a petition on the employee's behalf to the Immigration and Naturalization Service office having jurisdiction over the area of intended employment. To document a job position as a "specialty occupation", the employer must demonstrate to the Immigration Service that the proposed position requires a Bachelor's degree or its equivalent in a specific field as a minimum qualification for entry in the position and that the proposed employee possesses at least a Bachelor's degree from a U.S. academic institution or its equivalent in a related field. Educational equivalency evaluations from recognized evaluators are required when an alien has a degree from a foreign academic institution or only practical work experience and little or no actual academic experience..


A significant concern in obtaining H-1B classification is proper documentation of a Labor Condition Application which must be completed by an employer and subsequently certified by the U.S. Department of Labor. The employer attests in a Labor Condition Application form to compliance with specific minimum wage and working condition requirements..

Proper documentation of compliance with these working conditions includes: evidence that an employer is willing to pay a proposed employee the "actual wage" or "prevailing wage," whichever is greater; evidence that employment of an H-1B alien will not adversely effect the working conditions of similarly employed workers; evidence there is no strike, lockout or work-stoppage in the H-1B occupation; and evidence that notice has been provided to existing workers employed in the H-1B occupation..


A petition approval may be granted by the Immigration Service initially for three years and extended a total period of six years. Under certain circumstances an H-1B petition may be extended in 1-year increments beyond the 6 year maximum. Dependents of the H-1B beneficiary enter under H-4 classification and are not authorized to work but may enter and remain as long as the underlying H-1B visa is valid. In the event the Immigration Service denies a petition, an appeal may be made to the Immigration Service's Administrative Appeals Unit (AAU)..


With few exceptions, the petition approval becomes the most important supporting document contained in the application for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate General abroad. Generally, the alien must make an application at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate General for a visa. This process varies from consulate to consulate and may vary according to the applicant's country of citizenship. The visa or admission time is usually limited by the validity period of the approved petition (see the Department of State, Visa Reciprocity Document Finder). Upon entry to the U.S., an Immigration Officer at the port of entry notes the classification and period of admission on an Arrival/Departure document..

Extensions of H-1B visa classification are generally available providing the total period in H-1B classification is less than 6 years. Under certain circumstances an H-1B petition may be extended in 1-year increments beyond the 6 year maximum..

Visa re-validations (renewals) may be obtained while abroad or applied for while in the U.S. (See the Department of State, Visa Revalidations)..

The H-1B visa classification can be one of the most beneficial visa categories for an employer who has the need to employ workers with specialized knowledge. The process requires the employer to clearly present and document job position requirements, the alien's credentials and the labor condition application. In cases where permanent resident status is sought concurrently, the H-1B classification permits the important concept of "dual intent". Therefore, permanent resident intent does not violate the H-1B classification.

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Where and How to Apply for a Specialty Occupation Visa?

Contact Fuller and Fuller today to get started on your application.

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Our Process

  • Please reach out to us by email or phone to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.
  • Our attorneys will work with you to select the correct type of temporary nonimmigrant work visa to meet your needs.
  • We will then provide you with a checklist of documents and information needed from the employer and from the prospective foreign national employee. We will also provide you with an estimated flat fee for the case and discuss the filing fees and other disbursement expenses you can anticipate.
  • We will prepare the required documents for your petition or application and will send them to you for review and signature.
  • We will then submit your petition or application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) or will provide the necessary documents to you to make a personal application to a Consular Officer at a U.S. Consular Post or to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer at a U.S. port of entry.
  • We will track the progress of your case and keep you updated and will provide you with instructions for making and attending a visa interview appointment at a U.S. Consular post (if required). We will also provide both the employer and the prospective foreign national employee with information on the employee’s new immigration status.

How To Prepare

Prior to a consultation with one of our attorneys, please be prepared with the following information so that we can best help you determine how to proceed: A copy of the prospective foreign national employee’s most up-to-date resume; Information on the prospective foreign national employee’s current U.S. immigration status (if any) and any previous U.S. visas held; and Information on the type and duration of work that the prospective foreign national employee is expected to complete in the U.S.

Frequently asked Questions

  • How long may I remain in the United States on a H-1B visa?

    As an H-1B Visa holder, you may be admitted for an initial period of up to three years. This may be extended for another three years. However, if you possess a certified labor application (PERM) or I-140 Approval Notice for Immigrant Worker pending for over 365 days, you may obtain a one year extension beyond the six year limit until a decision is made on your PERM or I-140 Petition. Additionally, if your I-140 Petition has already been approved but your priority date is not yet current (immigrant visa is not available to you), you may apply for a perpetual three-year extension of your H-1B status until your priority date becomes current.

  • What is the H-1B Cap?

    The H-1B Cap, also known as the H-1B Quota, refers to the annual limit set by U.S. immigration law on the number of H-1B visas that can be granted in a fiscal year. The total number of H-1B visas and exemptions issued each year amounts to 85,000. These visas are divided into three categories: Regular Cap, Advanced Degree Cap, and the Chile-Singapore Cap. The Regular Cap, also called the General Quota, grants 65,000 visas. The Advanced Degree Cap, also known as the master's degree Cap, grants 20,000 visas. The Chile-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Cap allows for 6,800 visas annually exclusively for applicants from Singapore and Chile.

  • What is a specialty occupation?

    For the purposes of an H-1B visa, a ‘specialty occupation’ is a position that requires one or more of the following: The minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher degree or its equivalent; The degree requirement is common for this position in the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position; The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; and/or The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.