One of the hallmarks of the H1B visa program is that it is designed for “specialty occupations”, meaning that performing the job requires at least a bachelor’s degree. There are limits each year on the number of H1Bs issued to foreign nationals. The H1B quota system is meant to prevent abuse of the H1B program, and preserve job opportunities for skilled US workers. Another requirement is that the degree program must match the job being sought under and H1B visa, so a worker cannot apply for an IT job if they have a degree in chemistry.
The USCIS does offer some guidance on what will qualify as a “specialty occupation”, and it may be useful to review the following list to gain information about available H1B visa occupations. This list is only partial, and any questions about whether a position will qualify can be answered by us at any time.
H1B Visa “Specialty Occupation” Categories
University Educators and Professors
Computer Software and Hardware Engineers
Physicians and Surgeons
Primary and Secondary School Teachers
Industrial or Mechanical Engineers
Fashion Models (H1B3 Visa)
DOD Research and Development Project Worker (H1B2)
Writers and Editors
Business Management and Administration
Lawyers and Judges
How Do I Find Potential Sponsor-Employers in These Occupations?
Our website has a complete listing of US companies that routinely sponsor H1B visas, and you can search our database for positions in your field of expertise. Even if you have an unusual technical or professional skill, with supporting evidence you can still apply for an H1B visa for your occupation.
FAQs for H1B Visa Occupations
Is there a quota for H1B visas according to occupation or industry?
No. The annual quota of 65,000 visas if for all occupations, and there are no industry specific limits, although a majority of H1Bs are working in the IT industry. There are exemptions to the quota for those applicants working in education or research, but there are no limits on the annual number of H1B cap-exempt visas.
If I get an H1B for one occupation, can I use that visa for another position in a different field?
The H1B visa petition is filed by your prospective employer, and the process is the same regardless of the occupation. If you find another position with a new employer-sponsor then a new (transfer) petition must be filed, whether the job is in the same field or not.
If I don’t have a bachelor’s degree but the position is technical, is it still possible to obtain an H1B visa?
Yes, in some cases. If the employer-sponsor can demonstrate that the position requires a level of education or training equal to a bachelor’s degree, then it may qualify. The USCIS website has more information on H1B job criteria.
If I have a position with an H1B visa, can my spouse also work legally?
Spouses of H1B visa holders that have H-4 visas are permitted to seek employment as long as they are in the process of applying for a green card (permanent residency).
If you have more questions about H1B visas and working in the US please contact us and we will do our best to help you.
- November 14th, 2016