If you have obtained the higher education necessary to work in a highly specialized field and a U.S. company requires those skills, you may qualify for an H-1B visa. If so, you can come to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant for a minimum of three years for the purpose of working in your specialized field. You also stand a good chance of getting your visa extended for an additional three years. 

The American Immigration Council explains that the U.S. government issues 65,000 H-1B visas each April to U.S. employers who apply for them. Given the continuing need for highly-educated and highly-qualified specialty-occupation workers, all of the available visas usually “fly off the shelves” within days. 

Eligible workers 

If you have at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, you may qualify for one of these H-1B visas if you work in one of the following specialty occupations: 

  • Science 
  • Math 
  • Engineering 
  • Technology 

If you hold a master’s or doctorate degree from an accredited U.S. university, you may also qualify to receive one of the 20,000 additional H-1B visas that the U.S. government issues each year to employers who need and hire such highly-educated workers. 

Exempt employers 

Keep in mind that some U.S. employers and their foreign-born workers are exempt from the H-1B visa requirements, including the following: 

  • Higher learning institutions 
  • Government research organizations 
  • Nonprofit research organizations 
  • Department of Defense research and development projects 

Finally, if you come from Singapore or Chile, you may well receive special consideration. Per the free trade agreements the U.S. has with these countries, the U.S. reserves some of its H-1B visas for their citizens.