H-1B Specialty Occupation Status

H-1B status is a non-immigrant classification used by NDSU to employ a foreign national (called beneficiary) in specialty occupations.  H-1B status is employer-specific, meaning that the beneficiary can only work for an employer who submitted an H-1B petition (Form I-129) on the beneficiary's behalf.  The beneficiary cannot receive pay from any outside sources, such as from consulting projects. 

To learn more about H-1B status, visit: Understanding H-1B Requirements

Common Uses 

  • Tenure-track faculty
  • Post-doctoral researchers
  • Permanent lecturers
  • Other permanent, specialized positions


  • Job position to be filled by beneficiary must be a specialty occupation that requires a specialized bachelor's degree at minimum
  • 6-year limit for use of H-1B status
  • Beneficiary's salary must meet prevailing wage for the occupation in this region
  • Preparation and USCIS processing of an H-1B petition (Form I-129) can take, on average, 6+ months (but see "premium processing" option below)
  • NDSU hiring department must pay $460 filing fee and $500 fraud fee (latter fee applies for new employment only).
    • $2,805 "premium processing" option available from USCIS
      • Guarantees a response from USCIS within15 business-days (approval, denial, or request for evidence)
      • Can be paid by FN or hiring department, depending on the circumstances surrounding the need to expedite the petition
  • Generally, H-4 dependents can study but cannot work.  However, in limited circumstances, certain H-4 spouses  can work with employment authorization from USCIS.


  • Hiring department contacts Faculty Immigration Services
  • Faculty Immigration Services coordinates necessary steps to submit H-1B petition (Form I-129) to USCIS
  • Upon approval of petition, an immigration document (I-797 Approval Notice) is issued by USCIS
  • If beneficiary is outside the U.S., an entry visa typically must be obtained from a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad


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