H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits a company to hire workers in specialty occupations. This visa category requires that the beneficiary (the foreign worker) have a bachelor’s degree, and the petitioner (the U.S. company) can employ the worker for up to six years. Certain professions such as Architect, Lawyer, or Chiropractor require a state or local license so the worker is able to practice in that profession. What happens if an H-1B employer would like to file a registration & H-1B petition for an H-1b employee who does not yet have a license? Example You just graduated from a U.S. university and it usually takes several weeks/months to get a license in your profession. Does this mean I cannot apply for a H-1B visa? Not necessarily. There are several scenarios when your employer could still sponsor you for an H-1B visa even if your occupation usually requires a license and you don’t have the license yet. The scenarios are as follows:
- You could apply for a temporary license (if possible)
This would only be an option, if you would be allowed to perform the normal duties in your specific occupation with this temporary license. Please note that USCIS will look at the duties and if there are any limitations in duties you could perform with the temporary license.
- Some states may allow you to practice temporarily without a license if you work under supervisionof licensed senior or supervisory personnel in your occupation.
- USCIS would still look at the duties you would be performing under the supervision & would look at the qualifications of your supervisor.
- If USCIS concludes that you could fully perform the duties of your occupation under the supervision, USCIS may approve your H-1B visa.
- Your H-1B petition could be approved for up to 1 year even if you don’t have the required license, if:
- You would otherwise be issued a license if you had a valid Social Security number, were authorized to work in the U.S., or if you met a similar technical requirement, and
- You submit evidence from your state licensing authority that the only obstacle to the issuance of a license is some technical requirement that precludes the issuance of the license to an individual who is not yet in H-1B status.
Please note that the employer will still have to demonstrate that you meet all the other requirements to get the license, and the only one outstanding requirement is some technical requirement (e.g. obtaining a SSN). Please click here to see the 2021 H-1B registration Q&A. Please click here to see if you need to be a W-2 employee if the H-1B petition is approved.
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