As per 8 C.F.R. § 214.2(h)(4)(ii), Specialty Occupation means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in the fields of human endeavor including, but not limited to, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts, and which requires the attainment of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific specialty, or its equivalent, as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.

A position must meet only one of the following criteria to be a specialty occupation:

1)         A baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent as the normal minimum requirement for entry into the position;

2)         The degree requirement is common to the industry in parallel positions among similar organizations;

3)         The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position

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.

The fulfillment of even ONE of these above methods alone is wholly sufficient to qualify this position as a specialty occupation.

Below is a snippet of the RFE issued by USCIS recently for Specialty Occupation listing the  documents needed (All confidential and identifying information has been redacted)


Notes for Practical Purposes: 

1.  For 3rd party worksite/end-client based positions, a client letter stating the minimum degree requirements will help satisfy such a requirement if the end client requires a minimum of a bachelor or a higher degree in a very specific field.

2. A very detailed job description listing out the job duties and clearly showing the nexus with a bachelors program in a very specific field (by comparing coursework and duties), a high wage level, ONET/Occupational Outlook Handbook requirements for the position are also very useful in proving the position as a specialty occupation position.

3. AD’s of petitioner for similar positions in the past, Degree Copies of previous hires, AD’s of end client for similar positions etc are also very useful to demonstrate that the job is a specialty occupation job.

4. Expert Opinions by Professors lately don’t seem to be very valuable unless used in addition to other evidence. Expert Opinion by Professor just by itself without other additional evidence might not satisfy USCIS on specialty occupation requirement.

The Law Firm of Sim, Parvathaneni and Brown PLLC


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