Preparing Supporting Documentation for H1-B "Specialty Occupation" Petition

As the H1-B season approaches, petitioners are gearing up towards filing for H1-B visa. New recruits who have a degree from an accredited college or university must demonstrate that the proposed position he/she intends to fill qualifies as a specialty occupation and that he/she is qualified for that position.

Specialty occupation is defined in the regulations as one that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent as a minimum requirement for entry into the occupation in the United States.

To qualify as a specialty occupation, the employer must prove that a job is under the H-1B regulations and may need to prove one of the following criteria as suggested by USCIS:

  1. A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular position;
  2. 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;
  3. The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position; or
  4. The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.


However, it is not enough to show that the position requires a baccalaureate or higher degree. The petitioner must also prove relationship between the degree and the specialty occupation. Here is some of the evidence that you may be required to submit with your petition:

  • A detailed explanation of the specific duties of the position, the complex nature of the position and the specialized skill that you require to complete your job.
  • An explanation of how your degree relates to your position. Provide specific references on what skills you learnt and how that helps you perform the duties.
  • Additional printouts from online resources describing the degree normally associated with the occupation
  • Proof that similar companies (i.e., same industry) require a similar degree for similar positions
  • Written opinion from experts in the field  explaining how the degree is related to the occupation

The more documentation you provide that supports the relationship between the specialty occupation and your degree/field of study, the increase in likelihood that USCIS will arbitrate favorably while processing the petition. It may also reduce the occurrence of Request for Evidence. Therefore, when preparing an H1-B provide supporting documentation as much as possible.

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