What is H-1B

H-1B is a visa status that permits temporary employment in a "specialty occupation".

"Specialty Occupation" is a legal term - the words do not mean their normal dictionary definitions. It is not the same as a "special" occupation, and it is not the same as a profession.

A specialty occupation is one where-

  • The position requires an education level that is not less than a bachelor's degree,
  • The worker holds a bachelor's degree or higher, and
  • The worker's education is in a discipline or subject matter that is relevant to the duties involved in the position (the soft skills acquired during the education are not relevant)

As you can see, the law focuses solely on education. This means the worker's professional experience (if any) is not relevant.

As a result, International Scholar Services will ask about the most recent degree program relevant to the Purdue position, and will request the diploma and transcripts (if any); depending on the situation, we might also ask for the diploma and transcripts for the prior degree program(s) too.  

How Temporary is H-1B

H-1B visa status is a temporary visa status, which means it has an end date associated with each approval or grant of H-1B status. 

However, H-1B status is "dual intent" which means that the worker is assumed to be "temporary for now" even if they are planning to be "permanent in the future".

In other words, the law assumes that the H-1B worker will comply with the law and obey the terms of their current H-1B status, even if the worker is at the same time actively pursuing permission to reside in the USA permanently. In fact, the law not only allows workers to do this, but the law has several built-in mechanisms that help H-1B workers pursue permanent residence. Please review our permanent residence pages for more information. 


How long does an H-1B last

Normally, the law limits a worker to only 6 years of H-1B status, regardless of which employer the individual is working for. The government approves this in increments of not more than 3 years.

When a worker first obtains H-1B status, this is called a "new" grant of H-1B. If the worker wants to continue in H-1B status, this is called "extending" H-1B status. It is not called a "renewal" (the word "renewal" is not used in the laws that govern H-1B status.)

The law permits "post-sixth-year" extensions of H-1B status if the worker has reached a specific point in pursuing permanent residence. The government "post-sixth-year" extensions in increments of either 1 year, or 3 years, depending on the worker's situation. 

What kinds of Purdue positions might be sponsored for H-1B status

H-1B status may be used to sponsor workers in the following categories of employment at Purdue-

  • Tenured faculty
  • Tenure-track faculty
  • Clinical faculty
  • Professors of Practice
  • Research Faculty
  • Visiting Faculty
  • Lecturers
  • Postdoctoral researchers
  • Teaching staff
  • Research staff
  • other staff positions where the Career Stream is professional ("P"), managerial ("M"), or executive ("E")

Administrative and operational support positions, trades are not well eligible for H-1B sponsorship. Most most (but not all) laboratory technician positions are not well suited to H-1B sponsorship.


Fulltime versus Part-Time
Purdue does not sponsor individuals for part-time H-1B employment.