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H-1B Professional

H-1B Professional


This classification allows you to hire professional employees after you have obtained an approved labor condition application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). Professional employment is employment in a speciality occupation. A specialty occupation is one “that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and “attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum. You must also demonstrate that you will pay and have the ability to pay the prevailing wage required. The employee you select must be able to demonstrate that he or she qualifies for the speciality occupation.

There is an annual numerical limitation (cap) of 65,000 for H-1B status, with an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for foreign nationals holding U.S. advanced degrees that is met every year for non-exempt employers. Therefore, this classification is under a lottery system. There is only one time per year you may apply, the first week of April each year. Exempt employers can apply anytime of the year and are not subject to the cap. Exempt employers are institutions of higher education, government research organizations, non-profit research organizations, and non-profit entities that are related to or affiliated with an institution of higher education.

An H-1B petition may be valid for up to three years. Your employee can change employers and keep the H-1B status. You can simultaneously petition for your employee’s permanent residence while he or she is in H-1B status. Recapture of H-1B time is also available. H-1B petitions may be extended for an additional period of up to three years, to a maximum of six years in H-1B status. Limited exceptions allow for continued H-1B extensions until your employee obtains permanent residence. Dependent spouses and children of your employee can hold H-4 status.