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U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Clarifies H-1B Degree Requirement

August 14, 2019

On August 6, 2019, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that USCIS acted arbitrarily, capriciously, and abused its discretion in denying an H-1B work visa to a Data Analyst on the grounds that Data Analysts do not require a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. USCIS denied the petition on the basis that the beneficiary’s position did not qualify as a specialty occupation under the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) because multiple fields of education are suitable for the position. The Court held that the INA does not require only one type of degree for the position. As such, contrary to USCIS’s view, if the position requires the beneficiary to apply practical and theoretical specialized knowledge and attainment of a higher education degree, it meets the statutory requirements of a specialty occupation.