he H-1B or “Specialty Worker” visa is available for a United States company who wishes to directly employ a foreign individual, for a temporary period (initially 3 years) in a “specialty occupation.” A specialty occupation is defined as “an occupation, which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation.”

The position or the job for which the foreign national would be hired must be one that requires a baccalaureate or a higher degree or the equivalent, and the degree requirement must be common to the industry or the company must show that it normally requires the degree in such position.The H-1B specialty worker status is limited to an initial three years period, but can be extended upon application for not more than three more years, for a total stay of six years.

To obtain an H-1B non-immigrant visa, a United States company must file a petition at the regional Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS) service center. When filing the petition the company must post a job-site disclosure, declaring the actual salary paid, and all the locations where the foreign national will be employed. The company must also file a Labor Condition Application with the U.S. Department of Labor, attesting that it is offering the foreign national not less than the prevailing salary for such a position in the region of employment.

The filing process for an H-1B petition is quite complicated and the requirements are quite extensive. Therefore, it is recommended that one should seek professional help to prepare it.