H-1B Eligibility

Position Eligibility

Under USCIS regulations, a “specialty occupation” is:
“. . . an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of 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.”

The position must meet one or more 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 position;
  • The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or 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.

H-1B status is an employer-sponsored non-immigrant status for employment in occupations that require specialized knowledge. H-1B status is typically used for the  following types of positions:

  • Post-doctoral research associates
  • Tenure-track faculty appointments
  • Professional/Professional faculty appointments
  • Visiting professors and lecturers

Note: Some UAMS departments may offer H-1B sponsorship for medical residents / post-doctoral fellows; contact your Resident Coordinator or Fellowship Coordinator for information about sponsorship policies.

Beneficiary Eligibility

In order to qualify in the H-1B visa category, the beneficiary must have earned a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a specific specialty (e.g., Biology, Computer Engineering, Mathematics etc.), and the position for which the beneficiary’s services are sought must require at least a bachelor’s degree in specialized fields.

Additionally, practicing clinicians who are International Medical Graduates must hold an ECFMG Certificate, a valid license to practice medicine, and Steps 1, 2 (CK & CS) and 3 of the USMLE.

The beneficiary must meet one or more of the following criteria:

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


Spouses and children of H-1B workers will be classified as H-4 “dependents.” Holders of H-4 status are not entitled to work in the United States.