H-1B Visa - Do I Qualify?
Do you have a job offer in the United States?
Does the job require a bachelor's degree, as a minimum requirement?
Do you have a specialized bachelor's degree (or equivalent) that, at least, partially relates to the job duties?
Do you have 3 years professional experience for each missing year of your bachelor's degree?
Congratulations. You appear to meet the basic requirements to begin the processing for your H-1B visa petition.
Even though you do not have a bachelor's degree, it may be possible to establish equivalency to a bachelor degree using one or more of the following criteria:
- An evaluation from an official who has authority to grant college-level credit for training and/or experience in the specialty at an accredited college or university which has a program for granting such credit based on your training and/or work experience;
- The results of recognized college-level equivalency examinations or special credit programs, such as the College Level Examination Program, or Program on Non-collegiate Sponsored Instruction;
- An evaluation of your foreign education credentials by a reliable credentials evaluation service which specializes in evaluating foreign educational credentials;
- Evidence of certification or registration from a nationally-recognized professional association or society for the specialty that is known to grant certification or registration to persons in the occupational specialty who have achieved a certain level of competence in the specialty;
- A determination by the CIS that the equivalent of the degree required by the specialty occupation has been acquired through a combination of education, specialized training, and/or work experience in areas related to the specialty and that you have achieved recognition of expertise in the specialty occupation as a result of such training and experience.
Where experience is substituted for education, it must include the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge required at the professional level. Ordinary on-the-job training is not sufficient. The typical formula used to assess experience against education is three years of specialized training, or work experience (or both), for each year of college-level education lacking.
Please contact our office to discuss your specific situation.
Unfortunately, you cannot apply for an H-1B visa on your own behalf. The H-1B visa requires a sponsoring U.S. employer. However, there are other U.S. visas for which you may qualify on your own behalf, such as a First Preference Immigration Petition or a Treaty Investor Visa.
Please contact our office to discuss your particular situation.
The CIS may issue an H-1B visa only if the position offered qualifies as a specialty occupation. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines the term specialty occupation as an occupation requiring the following:
- A theoretical application of a highly specialized body of knowledge; and
- The attainment of bachelor's or higher degree (or its equivalent) in the specific specialty, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
The list of potential occupations that fall within the term "specialty occupation" is not closed. If an occupation can be shown to fall within the above- specified definition, it can qualify for H-1B status.
To establish that a proposed position is a specialty occupation, the employer-sponsor must document one of the following:
- A bachelor degree or higher degree (or it equivalent) is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position;
- The requirement of a degree for the position is common in the industry or the position is so unique or complex that it can only be performed by someone with a degree;
- The employer normally requires a degree (or its equivalent) for the position; or
- The nature of the job duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with a bachelor or higher degree.
Some occupations easily meet this definition, since the term specialty occupations includes "professions." The INA specifically states that the term "profession " includes, but is not be limited to, architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons, and teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academies, or seminaries. Thus, these occupations easily qualify for H-1B visa status.
Although the position that has been offered to you does not appear to qualify for issuance of an H-1B visa, you may still be eligible for another sort of visa, such as an H-2B visa or Third Preference Immigrant visa.
Please contact our firm to discuss your specific situation.