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H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker

The H-1B Specialty Occupation Worker non-immigrant classification allows a foreign national to work in the U.S. in a position considered to be in a "specialty occupation." This means the position must require highly specialized knowledge and skills to perform the position and require a bachelor's degree or its equivalent. In addition, the employer must pay the prevailing wage or higher and attest to certain working conditions under U.S. Department of Labor laws.

The process to apply for an H-1B is complex due to U.S. Government labor and immigration laws and regulations that protect the foreign worker from abuse and ensure jobs for U.S. workers. The amount of time it takes to get an approved H-1B status is often difficult to estimate because processing times of the government agencies fluctuate and change without notice.

The employer, not the foreign national, applies to the government agencies for the H-1B classification. Documentation must be provided to demonstrate the employer is paying the required wage rate and meeting the required working conditions; that the job is a specialty occupation; and that the foreign national meets the requirements for the job. These materials and related forms are compiled into an “H-1B petition” and submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval of the H-1B.

Below are articles describing the H-1B petition process and related regulations. H-1B application materials can be found at Department Guide. For an explanation the related immigration documents and terms see Terms to Know.