Overview of the H-1B Visa Category
Employers can hire professional workers in a "specialty occupation" using the H-1B category. A "specialty occupation" means an occupation that requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge considered to be equivalent to the attainment of a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent, in a specific field. Jobs which have a minimum hiring requirement of a U.S. Bachelor's degree, or foreign equivalent, in a specific field generally qualify for the H-1B category. The employee must meet the minimum hiring requirements of the position, including the degree(s) in the appropriate field, license, etc., and must prove with an equivalency evaluation that any foreign degree is equivalent to the required U.S. degree.
The H-1B limit is at total length of 6 years. It requires an approved Labor Condition application from the Department of Labor (DOL), an approved petition from DHS, and the payment of various fees to DHS.
Clinical activities as a physician are permitted ONLY by those with faculty appointments in which clinical activities are incidental to their teaching and research activities. Faculty who will have any patient care responsibilities must obtain an appropriate North Carolina license for the appointment from the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners prior to filing the petition.
The physician must be one of the following:
- Graduate of a U.S. Medical School.
- Graduate of an LCME accredited Canadian Medical School who has passed the FLEX exam, OR Parts I, II, & III of the NBMEE, OR Steps 1, 2, & 3 of the USMLE. Combinations of Parts, Steps, or Days do not qualify.
- Graduate of a foreign medical school who has passed the FLEX exam, OR Parts I, II, & III of the NBMEE, OR Steps 1, 2, & 3 of the USMLE AND has a valid, unexpired ECFMG certificate. Combinations of Parts, Steps, or Days do not qualify.
The H-1B has an annual limit or "cap" set by Congress. This cap may affect whether an employer can obtain H-1B status for an employee. Duke University is an institution of higher education and is not subject to the H-1B cap. Duke Health System are affiliates of Duke University and therefore, is not subject to the H-1B.