H1B Specialty Occupation

The H-1B Visa designation is for qualified foreign workers performing work in the United States under a “specialty occupation.” Generally, this means the work performed in the United States requires at least a 4-year degree for entry into the profession. We clarify what a “specialty occupation” is for an H-1B visa here.

What is a “specialty occupation”?

For an H-1B visa a specialty occupation is a an occupation that requires both:

  • Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge; AND
  • Attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

What positions qualify as specialty occupations?

For an H-1B visa the position must also meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:

  • Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the particular position
  • The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
  • The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
  • The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.

How do I qualify for a specialty occupation?

For an H-1B Visa you must also demonstrate that you qualify to perform the services of the specialty occupation by meeting at least one of the following:

  • Hold a US bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a US bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
  • Hold an unrestricted state license, registration, or certification that authorizes you to fully practice the specialty occupation and be immediately engaged in that specialty in the state of intended employment
  • Have education, specialized training, and/or progressively responsible experience that is equivalent to the completion of a US bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.

H-1B Visas for Specialty Occupations

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