H-1B (Specialty Occupation Worker)

The H-1B nonimmigrant visa category applies to an alien coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.


  • The beneficiary must have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S.;
  • The petitioner must submit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) and will pay at least the prevailing wage to the beneficiary;
  • The beneficiary possesses at lease a bachelor’s degree, or its equivalent; and
  • The beneficiary will fill a position that qualifies as a “specialty occupation”, which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of knowledge in professional fields.

Cap for H-1B:

  • The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year (among them 6,800 visas are reserved for nationals from Chili and Singapore).
  • 20,000 visas for beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
  • H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.

Period of Stay:

  • The initial period of stay is up to 3 years. May extend status for a maximum of 6 years.
  • May extend beyond 6 years if the beneficiary is in the process of applying for employment-based permanent residence.
  • It is a nonimmigrant status and permit “dual-intent” (intent to immigrant).

Change of Employment:

  • Change of Employment is allowed.
  • The new employer must file a new LCA and a new H-1B visa application.


  • Spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 may come to the U.S. under H-4 status.
  • They are permitted to attend school or college.
  • The spouse (H-4) is permitted to work if: (1) the main applicant’s I-140 has been approved; or (2) the main applicant’s PERM or I-140 has been submitted for more than one year.