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H-1B Specialty Occupations

The globe is full of workers with skills valuable to the United States. For a U.S. employer to legally employ a foreign worker, they must do so through the H-1B visa program. This visa program is reserved for foreigners who work in specialty occupations.

Because of the growing concerns of administrators in the American government, applicants are required to meet strict requirements. Not only that, the U.S. limits the number of applicants they allow into the country each year. 

Houston, TX Immigration Attorney

Over the years the immigration process in the United States has become more complex. One simple mistake during the application process and it can prevent you from entering the United States. The immigration department at The Gonzalez Law Group wants to ensure you receive your H-1B visa.

The attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group have in-depth knowledge of current immigration laws in the United States. We understand how important it is for you to work in the U.S. That is why we want to be with you every step of the way. The Gonzalez Law Group has over 70 years of collective experience assisting clients with immigration issues in Harris County communities. Some of these communities include Houston, Channel View, Webster and Galena Park.

To schedule a time to speak with the immigration department at The Gonzalez Law Group call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form. 


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Qualifications for an H-1B Visa

An H-1B visa grants foreign citizens in specialty occupations the opportunity to work in the United States. Under the Immigration Act of 1990, American employers can hire foreigners to temporarily work in occupations that require highly specialized knowledge.

In the last five years, applications for an H-1B have skyrocketed, but the visas are not given to just anyone. The United States has strict guidelines for individuals seeking a specialty occupation visa. For starters, the occupation that requires an H-1B must be considered a specialty occupation.

A specialty occupation is a job that requires a bachelor’s degree or a higher level of advanced education. Examples of specialty occupations that qualify for an H-1B include those that involve the following:

  • Engineering
  • Architecture
  • STEM
  • Computer science
  • Science
  • Mathematics

Having a specialty occupation is not the only qualification needed for an H-1B visa. For you to qualify and accept a job in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following:

  • Completed a US bachelor’s degree or higher required for the position
  • Hold a foreign degree equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, certification or registration required to practice the occupation in the intended state of employment
  • Have the education, training or experience equivalent to a degree and be recognized as an expert in the specialty.

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H-1B Application Process

As with any visa application, there is a certain process that needs to be followed. Because each visa requires a different process, it’s imperative you go through the process with an immigration attorney. They can ensure all the necessary information is provided for a successful entry into the United States.

A standard process for obtaining an H-1B visa include the following:

  • A United States employer obtains a Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor
  • The employer files an H-1B petition and gets approval with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • A foreign worker applies for the visa
  • The foreign worker is approved for the visa

This is a simplified version of an H-1B application process. As an applicant, you will be required to have a valid passport, complete the necessary forms, appear for a visa hearing and pay fees.


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H-1B Caps

Due to the growing concern of immigration, the United States government places a limit on the number of H-1B visas they issue every fiscal year. Since 2005, the visa has been capped at 65,000 a year plus an additional 20,000 for applicants with a graduate degree from a U.S university. 6,800 are set-aside for applicants from Singapore and Chile as part of the Free Trade Agreement.

The selection process is rather simple. If the total number of applicants for the fiscal year is over the designated cap, they will all be placed in a lottery and randomly selected by a computer until 65,000 have been selected. Under the American Competitiveness Initiative, universities and government research institution are exempt from the cap.


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Additional Resources for H-1B Specialty Occupations

H-1B Specialty Occupations | U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – Follow this link to learn more about H-1B visas. You can learn more about Labor Conditions Applications, the visas period of stay and family members of H-1B visa holders. You can also learn about other H-1B visas.

Facts About the U.S. H-1B Visa Program | Pew Research Center – The Pew Research Center gathered information about the H-1B visa program. You can find out how many visas have been issued, which countries have been awarded the most H-1B visas and which U.S. states employ the most foreign workers.


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Harris County Immigration Lawyer

If you are planning to apply for an H-1B visa, you should do so under the guidance of an attorney at The Gonzalez Law Group. As immigrants ourselves we understand how intimidating the process can be, and that is why we want to help.

The Gonzalez Law Group assist clients with H-1B visas in communities across Harris County. Call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form to schedule a free case consultation.


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