What’s an H-1B Visa? Am I Eligible for One?

The U.S. has various visa categories that allow international workers to in the country. Most of the categories will differ on criteria like the eligibility criteria, stay period and purpose of travel like business or vacation. This article will explore what an H-1B Visa or a Temporary Worker Visa is.

So, what exactly is an H-1B Visa?

The H-1B Visa Program for Temporary Workers was enacted by the congress to allow for Multinational Companies to hire highly skilled international workforce, from Specialty Occupations to work in the U.S. The definition of Specialty occupation by the USCIS Law (The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is a workforce with a bachelor or an equivalent level to perform the job. This Visa falls under the non-immigrant category, which will allow the employee to work temporarily without any intentions to immigrate to the U.S. permanently. With a validity period of maximum 6 years, the visa stipulates that employers must pay the workers wages in accordance with the position and rates recommended by the U.S. Department of Labor.

H-1B Visa Requirements

An H-1B visa is petitioned by an employer on behalf of a candidate who fills a specialty occupation; and requires at least a Four year degree or a Bachelor’s degree (or a degree equivalent recognized in the U.S.) related to the position. For example, if a position is for a data scientist then the degree required would be in economics/statistics/math/computer science, etc. Should the worker not have the required education then the U.S. Immigration Law would consider a candidate with good work experience in a related field equivalent to 4 years education. According to the bill, three years of work experience in the related field is equivalent to one year of college. The company needs to produce a report providing an evaluation of the candidate’s credentials (Credentials Evaluation Report). The visa also is designed to allow certain well acclaimed professionals to visit the U.S. without a Bachelor’s degree. In such rare situations, a special H-1B 3 visa is offered, for example – Prominent Models, Sound technicians, etc.

H-1B Visa Process

Petitioning for an H-1B visa is an employer’s responsibility and needs to be submitted on a yearly fiscal basis, starting on the first business day of April. There are some exemptions for candidates who have a master’s degree from the U.S. Universities, which is usually petitioned under the H-1B master’s exemption category. As on today, the H-1B visa has yearly caps as listed below –

Cap Type

Cap Amount

H-1B Regular Cap


H-1B Master’s Exemption


There is no fixed way of ensuring that you get an H-1B visa, as it is a lottery system which runs through a computer algorithm with one in three petitions standing a chance of getting the visa.