Eligibility Requirements for an H-1B Employee

To get an H1B visa, the individual must have a specific job offer from an employer for work to be performed inside the US.

H1B visas are issued to individuals who are being employed to perform in a “specialty occupation”. Specialty occupation is defined as, “one that requires theoretical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree or higher in the specific specialty as the minimum for entry into the occupation in the US”.

Examples of specialty occupations include accountants, chemists, medical technologists and upper-level business managers but are not limited to these alone. The employee should have the correct background and abilities for the job being offered. For example, if he/she is a qualified nuclear scientist, but is offered a position managing a US automobile factory, he/she will not be granted an H1B visa because he/she does not have background in automobile factory management. However, if the job offered requires a background in nuclear science, then he/she may be eligible for the H1B visa.

Bachelor’s Degree

To qualify to perform services in a specialty occupation, a foreign national should

  • have a US Bachelor’s degree or higher degree from an accredited college or university required to enter the specialty occupation
  • have a foreign degree determined to be equivalent to a US Bachelor’s or higher degree required to enter the specialty occupation; or
  • have education, specialized training, and experience that is equivalent to training attainment of a US Bachelor’s or higher degree in the field.

U.S. Degree

If the applicant has a Bachelor’s degree from a US institution of higher education, he/she should submit proof of this degree with the application.

Foreign Degree

Not all countries operate on the same academic system that is found in the US. So, as part of determining eligibility for an H1B visa, USCIS requires degrees earned at institutions outside of the US to be submitted with an academic credential evaluation. This evaluation can be obtained through a private credential evaluation company and will determine the US equivalent of the foreign degree. It is recommended to seek out a reputable evaluation company that is experienced in issuing credential evaluations for this purpose.

Work Experience

An individual may qualify for an H1B visa even without a US or foreign Bachelor’s degree if he/she has equivalent work experience. Three years of work experience is equal to one year of college-level education. One applying through past experience to qualify for H1B status has to document this experience with letters written by previous employers stating the dates of employment and the job duties. The letters should have details about the specialized knowledge required to perform the job and the progressively responsible nature of the job duties performed.

Licenses

If the occupation requires a “license to practice”, in addition to educational requirements in the US state where the employee will be working, the H1B applicant is required to show that he/she has this license.

Admissibility to the U.S.

Some people are not allowed into the US because the US government has decided that they possess certain traits that are undesirable or may threaten the health and safety of US citizens. These people are considered to be inadmissible and are not allowed to enter the US.

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