H1B Specialty Occupation RFEs: How to Prove Specialization

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A common RFE we see every year is the Specialty Occupation RFE. Last year, we saw an unprecedented number of RFEs that brought up this issue pertaining to computer programmers making level 1 wages, but this issue can affect any H1B job.

To qualify for H1B status, a job must require a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent to gain entry into the occupation. When determining whether a job meets this requirement, CIS references the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook to see what the general industry requirements are for the job at that wage level.

There are several problems that may arise to trigger a specialty occupation RFE here:

  1. While it is not an overall industry standard, this particular job is so uniquely complex that it requires an advanced degree.
  2. Some employers will hire employees for this position without a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree under specific circumstances even though having an advanced degree is an industry requirement.
  3. The wage level set for this particular job is misleading. This was the case with computer programmers making level 1 wages that set off the string of RFEs last season. Just because a job is set at level 1 wages doesn’t mean it’s an entry level position – there are many factors that go into determining wage levels.

If you, or your employee or client receives a Specialty Occupation RFE, make sure to thoroughly read the passage from the Occupational Outlook Handbook about your client’s job to see if the discrepancy that triggered the RFE is in the text. Then, you will need to provide evidence that this job requires an advanced degree. Evidence includes the ad for the job and ads for the same job in similar companies with in the industry that shows the degree requirements. You can also include evidence that the employer in question has a consistent history of hiring employees to this position with this advanced degree as a minimum requirement.

In addition to this evidence, you will also need an expert opinion letter that backs up the evidence provided. At TheDegreePeople, we work with experts who have the highest rate of success in answering Specialty Occupation RFEs. For a free review of your case, visit ccifree.com/ We have experts on hand to help you 24/7.

This article was written by Rebecca Little