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USCIS Clarifies Occupations Eligible For H-1B Visas

USCIS has clarified which ‘Specialty Occupations’ are eligible for H-1B visas in response to a lawsuit challenging Trump-era restrictions imposed on hiring foreign workers. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently added a footnote on occupations that “usually” require a bachelor’s degree. That footnote reads:

“Normally,’ ‘common,’ and ‘usually’ are interpreted based on their plain language, dictionary definitions. They are not interpreted to mean ‘always.’”

Why This H-1B Visas Clarification Matters

As technology advances and changes, sometimes highly skilled, advanced technical jobs do not require a degree. As a result of the Trump-era interpretation of the visa requirements, more skilled specialty occupation workers were denied visas because they did not have a bachelor’s degree. In contrast, the previous interpretation had been that a degree was usually, but not always, required.

The new footnote clarifies that the individual does not always require a degree for Specialty Occupation H-1B visas.

The USCIS website says occupation in the H-1B category requires:

“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.”

H-1B Visas

  • Heavily used in the tech industry, these visas are nonimmigrant visas for foreign workers in high-skilled occupations such as technology, engineering or finance.
  • Many people highly covet  H-1B visas. There is a Congressionally mandated 65,000 annual H-1B visa regular cap, and 20,000 H-1B visa advanced degree exemption, known as the master’s cap.

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Godoy Immigration Law Office has offices in Oak Brook, Illinois, and works with clients nationwide. Led by immigration attorney Mario Godoy, we help family-based and employment-based individuals who want to come to the United States to live and work temporarily or permanently. Contact Godoy Law Office at 630-912-0322.

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