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H-1B odds and ends

by Cedric M. Shen

June 6, 2011 | 2:31 pm

Graduate Degrees

In addition to the annual 65,000 H-1B visas, Congress has allotted an additional 20,000 H-1B visas for people with advanced degrees (M.D., J.D., MBA, Ph.D. etc.).  So if you are a foreign national with a medical degree, law degree, or any other graduate degree, you are eligible to be considered for one of the 20,000 Master’s Cap visas beyond the 65,000 regular cap.  This is beneficial because applicants with a graduate degree do not fall into the general pool of applicants - of which there are usually more than the allotted 65,000.  It should also be noted that foreign nationals with a graduate degree have a leg up when it comes to obtaining a green card through employment.  I will be discussing employment-based green cards in the near future.

Fashion Models

International fashion models can also work in the United States on an H-1B visa.  While the H-1B visa generally requires the beneficiary to have a bachelor’s degree or higher, a fashion model under an H-1B does not need to have such a degree.  Instead, the requirements for a fashion model under an H-1B visa are that he/she is of “distinguished merit or ability.”  What does that mean?  Stated simply, the fashion model must be prominent, is nationally or internationally recognized, and has reached a high level of achievement in the field of fashion modeling.  Thus, the requirements for a fashion model under an H-1B visa are very different than “specialty occupations,” where educational level and job duties are more of a determining factor.  Instead, the requirements of an H-1B for fashion models are more like those needed for a beneficiary of extraordinary ability under an O visa.

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