U.S. Immigration Options for Cybersecurity

  • H-1B Specialty Occupation Nonimmigrant Visa for Certain Cybersecurity Occupations – Considered the “default” professional visa, the threshold requirements include that the job is in an occupation which ordinarily requires a Bachelor’s degree in a field possessed by the applicant as a an entry-level requirement.

The H-1B visa category generally requires an annual lottery for new H-1B visa processes. Exceptions are H-1B visa holders who have been counted against the lottery and have time remaining or an exception to the six-year maximum period of H-1B status, in addition to certain employers. Universities, employers which are affiliated with a University, and nonprofit/government research institutions which are exempt from this lottery as well.

Qualified professionals who are citizens of Singapore, Chile, or Australia may have a readily available strategy which is nearly identical to the H-1B visa category, except not subject to this annual lottery, under the nonimmigrant visa categories of H-1B1 Specialty Occupation Professionals from Singapore and Chile and E-3 Specialty Occupation Professionals from Australia.


  • Trade NAFTA (TN) Nonimmigrant Visa for Certain Canadian and Mexican Professionals – The occupations of “Computer Systems Analyst” and “Engineer” would generally be the most viable for cybersecurity professionals to work in the United States.





Except as provided above for O-1 and L-1, the common pathway to sponsor international cybersecurity professionals for permanent residency would be through a PERM Labor Certification formal test of the labor market, followed by an immigrant petition and application for an immigrant visa or permanent resident green card. As permanent residency strategies can take 2-3 years in processing times or longer, it’s recommended to consider whether starting both the short-term nonimmigrant and long-term immigrant strategies at the same time may be recommended.

The above is informational and not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an experienced business immigration attorney on your specific facts and circumstances before proceeding with any U.S. immigration strategy.