What is H-1B?

The H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification is an employment-based 'visa status' that enables a foreign national to come to the U.S. and temporarily perform services in a specialty occupation.

A specialty occupation is a defined legal term. What this means is that the phrase 'specialty occupation' means what the laws say it means, and not what the normal meanings of the plain words themselves might suggest. A specialty occupation is more than a professional job, a demanding job or even a job that requires an advanced education. It is possible for a job to be extremely complex and require graduate or doctoral level education, and yet for that job not to satisfy the peculiar requirements of H-1B regulations.

The most surprising aspect of H-1B regulation is its emphasis on formal education in determining whether a situation involves a specilaty occupation; the individual's professional experience is not necessarily 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.


H-1B Status and Attending School

To comply with your H-1B status, your H-1B employment must represent the majority of your activities in the USA. You may attend school, but only in a non-degree program and only on a part-time basis. Please email intlscholars@purdue.edu if you have further questions. 

Learn more about your H-4 dependents attending school