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H-1B

Specialty Occupations

H-1B Cap

New H-1B applications are subject to an annual numerical "cap" (limit) of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 of the 65,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.

Cap-Exempt H-1B

H-1B workers who are employed at one of the following employers are not subject to the annual numerical cap:

  • institutions which offer higher education beyond secondary level;

  • a related or affiliated nonprofit entity of an institution of higher education;

  • a nonprofit research organization, or

  • a government research organization.

In addition, H-1B workers who apply for H-1B transfers to change employers are exempt from the cap, and​ H-1B extensions are also not subject to this numerical cap.

What is a Specialty Occupation?

H-1B visa is designed for workers in specialty occupations. Specialty occupation requires theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge, and to qualify the job must meet one of the following criteria:

  • The minimum entry requirement for the position is a Bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent. The degree must be relevant to the position.

  • The degree requirement for the job is common and similar throughout the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with this degree.

  • The employer normally requires this degree or its equivalent for the position.

  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is typically associated with an individual who attained this bachelor's or higher degree.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the six-year H-1B limit?

Typically, H-1B status entitles the beneficiary to work for a total of 6 years in the U.S. When the 6 year limit is reached, you either have to change to a different status or leave the U.S. If you want to re-enter the U.S. on a new 6 year term H-1B, you must stay outside the U.S. for one year before re-entering on a new H-1B.


However, if you are in the process of applying for a green card, and you have obtained approved Labor Certification and/or I140, you may be granted an extension of H-1B status beyond 6 years.

What is a prevailing wage?

 

The prevailing wage is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the geographic area of the intended H-1B employment. The petitioning employer must pay the H-1B employee a wage that is no lower than the prevailing wage.

What is an LCA?

LCA stands for Labor Condition Application, which is part of the H-1B application process. An LCA is filed with DOL (Department of Labor)and contains a series of attestations including the employer’s agreement to pay the beneficiary at least the prevailing wage. LCA is filed online and approval will be received in about 1 week.

Can I apply for multiple H-1Bs?

Yes, you can apply for multiple H-1Bs. You are allowed to work for more than one U.S. employer, but must have an H-1B approved for each company. If you are in H-1B status and have been counted against the H-1B quota in the past six years, your petition to work for another employer concurrently is not subject to the cap.

Can I work for multiple employers with H-1B?

Yes. With concurrent H-1B’s you will be able to work for multiple employers at the same time. As long as you have an approved H-1B for each employer.