H-1B Visa for Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models (Temporary Workers)
For you to come to the United States lawfully as a nonimmigrant to work temporarily in the United States, your prospective employer must generally file a nonimmigrant petition on your behalf if you wish to perform services in:
- A specialty occupation;
- Exceptional merit and ability relating to a Department of Defense (DOD) cooperative research and development project; or
- A fashion model of distinguished merit or ability.
Three types of individuals may have petitions filed on their behalf under the H-1B category:
- Specialty occupations: Typically, companies file for individuals to come to the United States to perform services in specialty occupations. These positions normally require bachelor’s degrees (or higher) in a specialty field;
- DOD research and development project workers: A cooperative research and development project or a co-production project is provided for under a government-to-government agreement administered by the U.S. Department of Defense; and
- Fashion models: Individuals who are fashion models of distinguished merit and ability.
You must meet the following criteria to be classified as an H-1B temporary worker:
- You must have an employer-employee relationship with the petitioning U.S. employer.
- Your job must qualify as a specialty occupation by meeting one of the following criteria:
- A bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for the particular position;
- The degree requirement is common for the position in the industry, or the job is so complex or unique that it can only be performed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree in a field related to the position;
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree (For more information, see 8 CFR section 214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A)).
- Your job must be in a specialty occupation related to your field of study;
- The petitioning employer must submit evidence that the U.S. Department of Labor has certified a labor condition application;
- You must be paid at least the actual or prevailing wage for your occupation, whichever is higher; and
- An H-1B visa number must be available at the time of filing the petition, unless the petition is exempt from numerical limits.
For more information, visit the H-1B Specialty Occupations page.
How to File
To begin the petition process, your employer must:
- Read the instructions for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker;
- Complete and sign Form I-129;
- Pay the filing fee, if applicable; and
- Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation.
The initial length of stay in the United States can be up to three years with subsequent renewals not to exceed six years, with certain exceptions.
Want status updates about your case? Learn how to create a USCIS online account to stay informed.
After You File
Once we receive your Form I-129, we will process your petition and you and your employer will receive a:
- Receipt notice confirming we received your petition;
- Biometric services notice, if applicable;
- Notice to appear for an interview, if required; and
- Notice of our decision.
Forms and Fees
- Form I-129
- Find the fee information on Our Fee Schedule page.