University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

H-1B &
Permanent Residence

H1B: The Basics

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for H-1B status, the following requirements must be met:

  • The employee must have an offer of employment from a U.S. employer; an employee may not self-petition.
  • The job must qualify as a "specialty occupation," as explained below.
  • The employee must have the minimum requirements necessary for the specialty occupation at the time of application, which must be at least a bachelor's degree in a specific field of study, and any licenses, certifications, or other specific requirements for the position.
  • The employer must agree to certain conditions, including payment of the required wage (determined by ISSS during preparation of the application).
  • Individuals who have held J visa status and are subject to the 2-year home residence requirement are not eligible for H-1B status until that requirement has been fulfilled or waived.
  • H-1B status is limited to 6 years, inclusive of all employers; the 6-year period starts over after an employee has left the U.S. for one full year. Exceptions to the 6-year limit exist for certain individuals who have reached a specific stage of the "Green Card" process.

What is a "specialty occupation"?

For immigration purposes, a "specialty occupation" is defined as an occupation that requires "a 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." Some U of MN positions clearly meet this definition, and others may require further discussion about eligibility (for example, position descriptions that allow for a combination of education and experience as an alternative to a degree requirement, or that require a degree in an unspecified field). Please contact ISSS if you would like to discuss H-1B eligibility for a particular position.