H-1B Specialty Occupation

H-1B Specialty Occupation

UMass Amherst sponsors scholars for H-1B visa status at the request of the hiring department. The H-1B immigration classification is intended for individuals coming to the United States to perform services in what can be considered to be a “specialty occupation.”  Current U.S. immigration regulations define specialty occupation as "an occupation which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree for the specific specialization (or its equivalent in experience)."


  • All H-1B sponsorship requests must be processed through the UMass International Programs Office.  Outside attorneys may not file H-1B petitions on behalf of current or prospective UMass employees without pre-approval and authorization of the IPO.
  • UMass will sponsor current and prospective international employees for H-1B status only if they meet certain eligibility criteria.  As a general rule, UMass will file H-1B petitions for faculty and senior research, managerial and professional positions. 
  • Hiring departments must initiate the H-1B sponsorship process directly through the IPO.  The sponsoring department, in coordination with the IPO and the individual international employee, must provide documentation to establish that the offered position is indeed a “specialty occupation” and that the individual holds the requisite credentials for the position.  The department is also required to offer a salary to the individual that meets the Department of Labor's "prevailing wage" for the position.  
  • The sponsoring UMass department must pay all necessary IPO and United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) application fees.  The international employee may not pay for any of the standard H-1B application fees.


  • H-1Bs can be extended up to 6 years at a time. Upon completion or termination of an H-1B, the scholar can re-apply for a new H-1B after waiting for a period of 12 months outside the U.S. 
  • UMass Amherst does NOT sponsor for H-1Bs for staff position or part-time positions. Minimal exceptions may be made in the case of a part-time H-1B. 
  • H-4 Dependents do not have work authorization
  • Upon submission of the H-1B application, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final determination of the petitioner’s eligibility for H-1B status.
  • Any material change to the H-1B employment, including change in FTE status, job duties, job location or salary must be communicated to the IPO before the change becomes effective.  An amendment to a current H-1B petition may be required for such changes and is not guaranteed

Additional information on H-1B immigration can be found on the USCIS government website.