The H-1B is a non-immigrant visa which allows a US company to employ a foreign individual in a “specialty occupation” for up to six years (in three year increments) so long as they have the requisite qualification/s and experience in the specific field. A Bachelor’s (or higher degree) or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for an H-1B position and the position that you will be filling must require that qualification for minimum entry into the field. Some professions will also require a relevant State or Federal license to practice, for example, architects, psychologists, lawyers, doctors and accountants.

The qualifications for an H-1B visa are very similar to the E-3 visa. In fact, it was the original port of call for Australian professional workers before the generous allocation of professional E-3 visas was made exclusively available to Australians in 2005.

The benefit of the H-1B visa is that holders may apply for permanent residency (Green Card) while in the US and they are otherwise allowed to have “immigrant intent”.  This means that home ties are not an issue with respect to granting an H-1B. However, it is important to note that the H-1B visa is subject to strict annual quotas and is significantly more expensive than the E-3 visa. USCIS imposes fees on the sponsoring employer in addition to ordinary consular visa processing fees payable by the applicant.  For a schedule of fees, visit the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

For more information, contact Cammisa Markel. 

This information is provided as a guide only. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is correct at the time of writing, please consult the relevant authorities to verify the accuracy of the information provided and contact a qualified immigration attorney for legal advice about your specific situation.


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