HORITSU.COM :: The US Immigration Laws



Section 101 (a)(15)(H) of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides nonimmigrant status for a person who wishes to work temporarily in the United States, who has a residence in a country outside the United States which he/she has no intention of abandoning, and who is of distinguished merit and ability and who is going to the United States to perform for a temporary period services in a "specialty occupation."

H-1B aliens are allowed to have "dual intent," which is both immigrant and nonimmigrant intent at the same time. Thus the fact that the alien intends to apply or has already applied for a U.S. green card does not prevent him or her from obtaining an H visa.

For purposes of this section, the term "specialty occupation" means an occupation that requires

  1. theoritical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and
  2. attainment of a bachelor or higher degree in the specific specialty (or it's equivalent)

as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

The total number of aliens who may be issued visas or otherwise provided nonimmgrant status under this section may not exceed 65,000 per fiscal year. For fiscal year 1999 and 2000, the number was increased to 115,000 per year. For fiscal year 2001 the number increased to 107,500. The fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30.

Furthermore, in the case of nonimmigrants described in this section, the period of authorized admission as such a nonimmigrant may not exceed 6 years. After 6 years the alien must return home for at least 1 year prior to entering in this category again. The alien can, however, change to a different category after the 6 years without returning home.

H-1B aliens are able to work for multiple employers only with prior approval from the INS. H-1B aliens are also able to attend school as long as it does not interfere with the employment. In California some public unversities will allow H-1B aliens to pay in-state tuition after being in the U.S. in H-B status for 1 year.

Please note that Congress recently passed a new legislation that President Clinton signed that affects the H-1B category. This new law

  1. increased the number of visas available for the next three years
  2. created a new distinction between H-1B "dependent" and "non-dependent" employers
  3. added requirements for H-1B dependent employers
  4. mandated a new $500 training / scholarship fee to be paid by the employer for some H-1B petitions filed with the INS between Dec. 1, 1998 and October 1, 2001, and added other new requirements.

For additional details, click here.



The spouse and children of an applicant classified as a temporary worker under this provision of the law may also be classified as nonimmigrants and receive H-4 visas in order to accompany or join the principle applicant. A person who received a visa under this classification as the spouse or child of a temporary worker may not accept employment in the United States in this status. The principle applicant must be able to demonstrate that his/her resources will be sufficient to support himself/herself and his/her family in the United States.

H-4 aliens are able to attend school and do not need to apply for student visas. In California some public universities will allow H-4 aliens to pay in-state tuition after being in the U.S. in H-4 status for 1 year.


According to the law, the term "professional" shall include but is not limited to architects, engineers, lawyers, physicians, surgeons and teachers in elementary or secondary schools, colleges, academies or seminars. [INA Section 101 (a)(32)]

Many other professional occupations have been recognized by the INS as being professional. This list is always expanding so don't give up if you can't find your occupation on this list.

    • Accountant
    • Acupuncturist
    • Administrative Assistant 
    • Administrative Executive
    • Agriculturist / Argronomist
    • Animal Breeder
    • Animal Scientist
    • Apiculturalist
    • Architect
    • Assistant Marketing Manager
    • Assistant Paper Conservator
    • Astronomer
    • Attorney
    • Biochemist
    • Biologist
    • Business Analyst
    • Casino Pit Manager
    • Chemist
    • Chiropractor
    • Clinical Psychologist
    • Computer Programmer
    • Computer System Analyst
    • Contract Specialist
    • Corrective Therapist
    • Corporate President
    • Counselor
    • Dairy Scientist
    • Database Administrator
    • Dentist
    • Dietician
    • Disaster Relief Claims Adjuster
    • Economist
    • Economist (Financial)
    • Engineer
    • Entomologist
    • Environmental Epidemiologist
    • Financial Analyst
    • Fire Protection Engineering Technician
    • Fashion Designer
    • Flight Instructor
    • Forester
    • General Manager
    • Geneticist
    • Geochemist
    • Geologist
    • Geophysicist
    • Graphic Artist
    • Graphic Designer
    • Horticulturist
    • Hotel Manager
    • Industrial Designer
    • Information System Engineer
    • Interior Designer
    • Journalist
    • Land Surveyor
    • Landscape Architect
    • Lawyer
    • Librarian
    • Loan Officer
    • Management Consultant
    • Marketing Analyst
    • Marketing Director
    • Mathematician
    • Medical Doctor
    • Medical Record Librarian
    • Medical Research Assistant
    • Medical Technologist
    • Medicine Herb Specialist
    • Meterologist
    • Minister
    • Nurse
    • Nutritionalist
    • Occupational Therapist
    • Oriental Painting Conservator / Curator
    • Orthopedist
    • Outreach Worker / Social Worker
    • Pathologist
    • Pharmacist
    • Pharmacologist
    • Physician
    • Physicist
    • Physio / Physical Therapist
    • Plant Breeder
    • Poultry Scientist
    • President
    • Programmer Analyst
    • Pyschologist
    • Range Marriage / Conservationist
    • Recreational Therapist
    • Registered Nurse
    • Research Assistant
    • Scientific Technician / Technologist
    • Social Worker
    • Software Engineer
    • Soil Scientist
    • Surgical Assistant
    • Sylviculturist
    • System Analyst
    • Systems Programmer
    • Teacher
    • Technical Consultant
    • Technical Publications Writer
    • Technical Tour Coordinator
    • Telecommunications Specialist
    • Translator (Technical)
    • Urban Planner
    • Veterinarian
    • Vocational Counselor
    • Zoologist

  • Determine the "actual wage" for the job
  • Obtain the "prevailing wage" for the job
    1. Request information from the state employment security agency (SESA)
    2. Locate an independent authoritative source survey
  • Submit Labor Condition Application to goverment for approval.
  • Complete Form I-129 and H supplement

  • Collect evidence about employer
    • Most recent Federal Tax Return
    • Copy of advertisements / brochures / outlines
    • Company organization chart

  • Collect evidence of foreign worker's qualifications
    • Resume
    • Copy of college and university diplomas and trancripts
    • Education evaluation of foreign degrees (if necessary)
    • Education/work evaluation (if necessary)
    • Copy of professional licenses (if any)
    • Copy of INS practical training card (if any)
    • Copy of U.S. visas
    • Copy of passport
    • Copy of INS Form I-94, Arrival/Departure card (if in US)

  • Write company support letter
  • Complete nonimmigrant visa application Form OF-156 for the applicant and each accompanying relative.
  • Obtain one passport-size photo (37 mm x 37 mm) of the applicant and each accompanying relative
  • Pay the $45 "MRV" fee. This fee is payable in yen to the "U.S. Embassy Visa Application Fee," Touza account 3151583 of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Shin-Akasaka branch. The fee may be paid at any Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi branch in Japan at no charge to the visa applicant. Attach the original payment receipt to the visa application.
  • Obtain the original INS I-797, notice of approval.
  • If possible, obtain a copy of documents submitted to the INS
  • Obtain a valid passport for the applicant and each accompanying relative
  • Marriage certificate (if spouse accompanies)
  • Birth certificate (if child accompanies)
  • Divorce certificate (if applicable)
  • Once you obtain the above documents, submit the application and supporting documents to the Embassy using (a) a travel agent, (b) the special drop box at the front gate of the Embassy, or (c) mail the application to the Embassy and address it to "VISAS BY MAIL." Include a self-addressed envelope with sufficient postage so that the passport can be mailed back to you for options (b) and (c).


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