How the H-1B Visa Helps Specialty Occupations, DOD Cooperative Research and Development Project Workers, and Fashion Models

The nonimmigrant specialty occupation classification applies to foreign workers performing services in particular fields. These include positions in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and art categories, but can also apply to services of exceptional merit and ability in the Department of Defense (DOD) research and development and fashion models with claims of merit and ability in the field. One must meet particular requirements to obtain the H-1B visa required to work in these fields.

Requirements for the Specialty Occupation Designation

USCIS has particular factors that must be met before a person can qualify for the specialty occupation designation. The job must consist of “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.” Along with this aspect, the position’s educational requirements are a bachelor’s degree or higher in the specialty or its equivalent.

In addition to these details, the position has to meet at least one of these criteria:

●     A bachelor’s degree or higher, or the equivalent of such degree, is the typical minimum entry requirement for the position in question.

●     The degree is an industry-standard in similar positions, or the job requires complex details that someone with this education can only perform

●     The job position normally requires a bachelor's or higher

●     The specific duties in question are specialized and complex, and the only way to attain the ability to perform said duties is to achieve a bachelor’s degree or higher

Foreign workers who wish to apply successfully for these positions must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher in a US-accredited college or university or a foreign degree equivalent to this certificate. If a state license, registration, or certification is required, they must also hold this. If they don’t have a degree, they must have the experience and/or training equivalent to the degree and recognition of expertise.

The employer petitioning for this occupation must file for a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL).

Requirements for the DOD Researcher and Development Project Worker

In certain situations, the Department of Defense partners with foreign workers to complete research and development projects. Qualified petitioners must hold a bachelor’s or higher, or the equivalent, in the skills required for the position.

Applicants must submit proof of this education and a letter from the DOD project manager stating that the beneficiary intends to work on a specific cooperative research and development or coproduction project through a Government-to-Government reciprocal agreement. No further details are necessary, although a general description of duties and exact dates of employment must be included.

In addition to this documentation, applicants must list the names of noncitizens working on the project in the US, their employment dates, and any noncitizens who completed the project within the last year. The LCA is not part of this H-1B visa category requirement.

Fashion Models and the H-1B Visa

The last specialized category under an H-1B visa is that of the “fashion model of prominence.” This label is a vital designation — you must have distinguished merit and ability attached to your name to qualify to work in the US under the fashion model specialty occupation.

While there aren’t any educational requirements in this field, USCIS can determine if your experience qualifies as a “fashion model of prominence.” It’s in your best interest to work with a legal expert in the immigration law field to ensure your documentation holds up to USCIS scrutiny.

The petitioner must first request and obtain the Labor Condition Application from the DOL before applying for the H-1B fashion model visa.

What’s Next?

Applying for an H-1B visa is an in-depth process requiring vast documentation and a lot of margin for error. Before submitting your first or next form, contact Visa2US to see how we can help streamline this complicated journey.

At Visa2US, our legal experts have helped countless employers and employees fill empty positions in the United States. We know what USCIS expects, where the common mistakes happen, and how to avoid these pitfalls. Contact us online or over the phone today to get started!


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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.