As professionals that communicate through various means of visuals, a designer is a profession that is in constant demand from various industries in the U.S., such as the graphic designing industry, advertising industry, gaming industry, media and film industry, fashion industry, manufacturing industry, etc. This is
a big reason why designers receive significant benefits under the H-1B visa among other professions. The H-1B is the most commonly considered working visa for foreigners with a bachelor’s degree or higher. In order to receive H-1B approval, applicants must hold a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree or have equivalent education, specialized training, and/or progressively responsible experience in the field of the said specialty occupation. Also, the proffered position must be a “specialty occupation” that requires a related degree.
Are Graphic Designers considered to be a specialty occupation? Naturally, it is easier for graphic designers employed by large designing companies to claim H-1B specialty occupation. However, this does not mean that applicants working at companies that are relatively smaller in size or seem unrelated to designing are not qualified for H-1B visas. There are numerous cases where applicants have been approved for H-1B status by showing other aspects of their hiring company, such as whether there is a department specializing in in-house graphic designing, the level of difficulty related to designing, minimum level of education employees in similar/same positions hold, and the minimum level of education required by companies of a similar size or the same.
Fashion Designers used to be viewed as not meeting the specialty occupation criteria set forth by the H-1B standards, but are now widely accepted as a specialty occupation following the decision of the USCIS in 1993. However, after the USCIS has become stricter in reviewing H-1B applications during recent years, there has been an increase in the number of Requests for Additional Evidence (RFE) issued for fashion designers. Applicant should provide a thorough and detailed job description. This is necessary to show that the proffered position’s level of difficulty requires at least a bachelor’s degree in a design-related field. Also, providing details of the company’s size, history, and the general minimum educational level of the designers hired can help increase the chances of getting an H-1B approval.
For Industrial Designers, they are more commonly considered to be specialty occupations when compared to Graphic and Fashion Designers. This is mainly because it is widely accepted that industrial designers sought out by companies generally need to have expertise in product designing due to the nature of the industry, and therefore industrial designers are generally required to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a design-related field.
The Immigration Service has been conducting H-1B screening every year for cases that have passed the computer lottery. In other words, more than 40% of all applicants each year do not have the opportunity to even submit documents to the Immigration Office, even if they have an H-1B sponsorship opportunity. If they fail the H-1B lottery, design majors can consider the O-1 visa, the so-called “artist visa”. Designers in the above fields are generally recognized as falling within the category of artists. In fact, there are many of our clients who, despite being eliminated from the H-1B lottery, have prepared and approved an O-1 visa and have been able to continue their activities in the United States without interruption of their careers. For more specific information on the O-1 visa, please see the relevant success story on our website (https://songlawfirm.com/contents/main).
To all of the international students dreaming the American Dream as future professional designers, SONG Law Firm wishes you the best of luck in your 2022 H-1B application. A great idea would be preparing your petition by teaming up with the experienced immigration attorneys at SONG Law Firm, who have extensive collective experience in petitioning for a variety of majors. If you have any further questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.