H-1B Specialty occupations
Specialty occupations require theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor’s degree, or equivalent education and experience, in the specialty field. The number of new H-1B employees is limited by an annual quota, and the demand far exceeds the supply.
USCIS begins accepting petitions April 1 each year to use the quota for the next fiscal year and stops accepting them when the quota is filled. H-1B status may be valid for up to 3 years and is renewable up to a maximum of 6 years, longer for an employee who has reached a specified stage in the process of applying for permanent resident status. To qualify as a specialty occupation, the position must meet one of the following criteria:
- A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position;
- The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations or, in the alternative, an employer may show that its particular position 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; or
- The nature of the specific duties are so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.
8 C.F.R. §214.2(h)(4)(iii)(A)