H-1B Professional Workers & Fashion Models
H-1B Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models
This visa category applies to people who wish to perform services in a specialty occupation, services of exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project, or services as a fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.
Labor Condition Application Required?
H-1B Specialty Occupations
The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
For you to qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation you must meet one of the following criteria:
Yes. The prospective employer must file an approved Form ETA-9035, Labor Condition Application (LCA), with the Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. See the links to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Foreign Labor Certification and USCIS forms to the right.
For more information see the “Information for Employers & Employees” link to the left.
DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker
The job must meet both of the following criteria to qualify as a DOD cooperative research and development project:
To be eligible for this visa category you must meet one of the following criteria:
The position/services must require a fashion model of prominence.
To be eligible for this visa category you must be a fashion model of distinguished merit and ability.
Yes. The prospective employer must file an approved LCA with the Form I-129. See the links to the Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification and USCIS forms to the right.
*For more information, see 8 CFR §214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A).
**For more information see 8 CFR §214.2(h)(4)(iii)(C).
Step 1: (only required for specialty occupation and fashion model petitions): Employer Submits LCA to DOL for certification.
The employer must apply for and receive DOL certification of an LCA. For further information regarding LCA requirements and DOL's inert process, see the "Foreign Labor Certification, Department of Labor" link to the right.
Step 2: Employer Submits Completed Form I-129 to USCIS.
The employer should file Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, with the correct USCIS Service Center. Please see our I-129 Direct Filing Chart page. The DOL-certified LCA must be submitted with the Form I-129 (only for specialty occupation and fashion models). See the instructions to the Form I-129 for additional filing requirements.
Step 3: Prospective Workers Outside the United States Apply for Visa and/or Admission.
Once the Form I-129 petition has been approved, the prospective H-1B worker who is outside the United States may apply with the U.S. Department of State (DOS) at a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad for an H-1B visa (if a visa is required). Regardless of whether a visa is required, the prospective H-1B worker must then apply to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for admission to the United States in H-1B classification.
Labor Condition Application (LCA)
Prospective specialty occupation and distinguished fashion model employers must obtain a certification of an LCA from the DOL. This application includes certain attestations, a violation of which can result in fines, bars on sponsoring nonimmigrant or immigrant petitions, and other sanctions to the employer. The application requires the employer to attest that it will comply with the following labor requirements:
- The employer will pay the beneficiary a wage which is no less than the wage paid to similarly qualified workers or, if greater, the prevailing wage for your position in the geographic area in which you will be working.
- The employer will provide working conditions that will not adversely affect other similarly employed workers. At the time of the labor condition application there is no strike or lockout at the employer place of business. Notice of the filing of the labor condition application with the DOL has been given to the union bargaining representative or has been posted at the place of business.
Period of Stay
As an H-1B nonimmigrant, you may be admitted for a period of up to three years. Your time period may be extended, but generally cannot go beyond a total of six years, though some exceptions do apply under sections 104(c) and 106(a) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21).
Your employer will be liable for the reasonable costs of your return transportation if your employer terminates you before the end of your period of authorized stay. Your employer is not responsible for the costs of your return transportation if you voluntarily resign your position. You must contact the Service Center that approved your petition in writing if you believe that your employer has not complied with this requirement.
The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit "cap" of 65,000 visas each fiscal year. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a U.S. master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap. Additionally, H-1B workers who are petitioned for or employed at an institution of higher education or its affiliated or related nonprofit entities or a nonprofit research organization, or a government research organization are not subject to this numerical cap.
For further information about the numerical cap, see our Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 H-1B Cap Season Web page.
Family of H-1B Visa Holders
Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may seek admission in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification. Family members in the H-4 nonimmigrant classification may not engage in employment in the United States.
Free Trade Agreement Work Visas (H-1B1) - CHILE
The U.S.-Chile Free Trade Agreement, which took effect on January 1, 2004, created a new class of non-immigrant work visa for Chilean citizens, the H-1B1 Professional Visa. The visa allows qualified Chileans to live and work in the United States, accompanied by their spouse and dependent children. Only Chilean citizens are eligible as principal applicants.
H-1B1 visas are multiple entry and valid for a maximum of 18 months. Extensions and renewals are allowed.
We welcome applicants to apply for this special, FTA visa!
Although we can offer no guarantees about the length of the application process, many applicants for H-1B1 visas have found it faster and easier than the process of applying for traditional work visas.
To qualify for the H-1B1 FTA visa, an applicant must meet the following criteria:
- The position must be a specialty occupation; that is, a position requiring theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. Some examples of specialty occupations are jobs in the fields of engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, computer sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology, and business specialties, such as management and human resources. However, applicants have successfully applied for H-1B1 visas for work in other fields, including teachers and fruit inspectors.
- The applicant must have a post-secondary degree involving at least four years of study in his or her field of specialization. In some instances, a combination of specialized training and experience can constitute alternative credentials.
- The applicant cannot be self-employed or an independent contractor.
- The period of employment in the United States must be temporary. As such, the applicant must demonstrate non-immigrant intent. Note: This requirement makes the FTA Professional Visa (H-1B1) different from the traditional H-1B Temporary Worker visa, as applicants for traditional H-1B visas do not have to demonstrate that they intend to return to Chile when their temporary job is finished. Chileans are still eligible to apply for traditional H-1B visas.
Form I-797 NOT required
As is the case for applicants for traditional H-1B visas, applicants for H-1B1 visas must already have a job offer in their chosen field from an employer in the United States.
However, unlike a traditional H-1B visa, the employer does not have to submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant worker, to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, and the applicant does not need to obtain a Notice of Approval, Form I-797, before submitting their visa application.
Certified form ETA 9035 or 9035E from the U.S. Department of Labor provided by the employer; information on how to file for this can be found at the Department of Labor website.
Spouses and children
Spouses and/or children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of his/her stay require derivative H-4 visas. Couples must be legally married to qualify for such derivative visas. A copy of the marriage certificate and/or birth certificate(s) for the child(ren) will be required. Spouses, partners and/or children who do not intend to reside in the United States with the principal visa holder, but rather visit for vacations only, may be eligible to apply for visitors B-2 visas or if qualified, travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program.
Please note that while only Chileans citizens are eligible as principal applicants for an H-1B1 visa, but non-Chilean spouses and children of qualified Chilean H-1B1 applicants are eligible for H-4 visas as dependent family members.
H-4 visa applicants must appear at the Embassy for their own interview (unless they fit into the category of Applicants Who Does Not Require Interview). Such applicants can be interviewed together with or after the principal visa holder, but not before the principal visa holder. When the spouse of a work visa holder does not apply for his/her visa at the same time as the principal applicant, he/she will need to submit a copy of the principal applicant's visa and proof of marriage or parentage. The spouse and each child will have to submit their own application forms.
There is no requirement that the spouse and/or children of an H-1 visa holder apply for a student (F-1) visa if they wish to study in the U.S.; they may study on an H-4 visa.
The holder of an H-4 visa may not work on a derivative visa. If he or she is seeking employment, the appropriate work visa will be required.
U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement Professional (H1B1) Visa
The U.S.-Singapore Free Trade Agreement, which took effect on January 1, 2004, created a new class of non-immigrant work visa for Singaporean citizens: the H1B1. Only Singaporean citizens are eligible as principal applicants. Singapore Permanent Residents who are citizens of other nations are not eligible for the H1B1, but non-Singaporean spouses and children of qualified Singaporean H1B1 applicants are eligible for H-4 visas as dependent family members.
The visa allows you to live and work in the United States accompanied by your spouse and dependent children.
To qualify for the USSFTA Professional visa, you must meet the following criteria:
- The position must be a specialty occupation; that is, it must require theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge. Some examples of specialty occupations are jobs in the fields of engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, computer sciences, medicine and health care, education, biotechnology, and business specialties such as management and human resources.
- You must have a post-secondary degree involving at least four year of study in your field of specialization.
- You cannot be self-employed or an independent contractor.
- The period of employment in the U.S. must be temporary, so you must demonstrate non-immigrant intent. Note: this requirement makes the USSFTA Professional visa different from the traditional H-1B Temporary Worker visa, as applicants for traditional H-1b visas do not have to demonstrate that they intend to return to Singapore when the temporary job is finished. Singaporeans are still eligible to apply for traditional H-1b visas.
- Unlike a traditional H-1B visa, the employer does not have to submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, to the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (Department of Homeland Security) and you do not need to obtain a Notice of Action, Form I-797.
H1B1 visas are multiple-entry and valid for a maximum of 18 months. Extensions and renewals are allowed.
In addition to the items listed below, all H visa applicants must submit the Standard Non-Immigrant Visa Application Documents.
- Job letter from your U.S. employer specifying the details of the temporary position (including job responsibilities, salary and benefits, duration, description of the employing company, qualifications of the applicant, etc.) and confirming the employment offer.
- Certified form ETA 9035 or 9035E from the U.S. Department of Labor provided by the employer; information on how to file for this can be found at the Department of Labor website. The form must be annotated "SINGAPORE H1B1."
As with many other types of non-immigrant visas, to qualify for the H1B1 you must demonstrate that you do not intend to immigrate to the United States. Every applicant's situation is different, so how individual applicants demonstrate this-including which documents are submitted-will vary greatly from person to person.
Only spouses and children of H1B1 work visa holders are eligible for derivative (H4) visas. Parents and other family members are NOT eligible for H4 visas. They may visit a worker for a temporary period of time if they apply for and receive a tourist visa, or on the Visa Waiver Program if they are eligible.
Spouses and children, whether accompanying or following to join a worker, should submit a visa application and recent passport-size photograph for each person. Spouses and children must present a copy of their marriage certificate or birth certificate, respectively.
PLEASE NOTE: Spouses and children of H visa applicants who are not Singaporean are strongly encouraged to apply for their visas at the same time as the principal applicant, regardless of whether they have firm plans to travel to the United States. If the H visa holder is not present for the application of their non-Singaporean spouse and children, the applicants may be asked to apply in their home country, where their marriage and birth documents can be properly verified.