H-1B Visas for Professionals
This employer-sponsored visa provides work-authorization to professional-level employees, including STEM-educated individuals. Status is granted in three-year increments, up to six-years. Qualifying H-1B positions are those that require at least a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. The position must be considered a “specialty occupation,” which is defined as “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.”
Typical H-1B occupations are engineers, IT specialists, primary and secondary school teachers, college professors, medical doctors, and accountants. But there are many more occupations that qualify for H-1B.
Initial H-1Bs are issued through a competitive registration/lottery because the employer-demand for H-1B workers has historically exceeded the annual numerical limit (or cap). Some positions, such as university professors, are “cap-exempt” and are not subject to the numerical limit.