H1-B Specialty Occupation

The H1B category is designated for foreign national employees coming to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation (temporary professional workers) or as a fashion model. A “specialty occupation” means an occupation that requires:

  • A theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and
  • Attainment of at least a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in the specialty.

While these requirements appear to be quite simple, the Trump Administration has rendered the H-1B into one of the more complex visa categories requiring extensive experience to navigate its pitfalls. H-1Bs is in fact our largest practice area allowing us to give you very practical and proactive advice relating to the portability, classification, educational background, wage, and travel issues. The below is a general overview of the H-1B.

The H1B category has a 6-year maximum period of stay but is unique from other visa categories in that employers may request post-6th year H1B extensions for employees if certain stages of the permanent residency process are in place for the employee. Periods of time spent in L status count towards the H1B 6-year limit. The United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) grants H1B status in increments of up to 3 years at a time. The H1B nonimmigrant visa is a dual intent visa. As such, H1B employees are allowed to pursue permanent residency in the United States while they hold nonimmigrant H1B status. H1B status requires a sponsoring U.S. employer. Once an employer indicates they wish to pursue sponsorship of an H1B petition on behalf of a candidate, the employer should notify Younossi Law so that relevant fact gathering information may be sent both to the employer and the H1B candidate.

Aside from the documentary requirements involved in the USCIS petition filing itself, H1B employers must be aware of a number of compliance issues that fall under the jurisdiction of both the Department of Labor and the USCIS. These include issues relating to when, at the earliest, or latest an employee can be placed on payroll, as well as how to place an employee on payroll when no Social Security Number has been issued.

Please contact Younossi Law regarding any questions relating to H-1B visa or LCA compliance issues