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H-1B Cap Gap Employment

H1-B Cap Gap Employment

H-1B- Specialty Occupation Category

  • The H-1B Specialty Category is only intended for paid positions of a specialty nature (individual must have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in the field the job is in).
  • UML must pay prevailing wage for the position as determined by the Department of Labor.
  • This is the visa category most used for long-term faculty positions or tenure-track positions.
  • The maximum amount of time on H-1B status is six years (with a maximum initial period of three).
  • Concurrent employment is permitted; each employer must apply for a separate H1B petition.
  • Dual intent is allowed in H-1B status (i.e., person can intend to immigrate to US).
  • H-4 Dependents are not permitted to apply for work authorization.
  • There are significant employer fees associated with the H-1B Application Process (including the attorney fees – approximately up to $3,500 paid by employer).
  • The H-1B applicant coordinates with their UMass Lowell department and an immigration attorney recommended by the International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) in the preparation of an H-1B petition.
  • The petition is submitted to the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services for approval. Processing can take from 6-12 weeks.
  • All H-1B petitions must be reviewed and approved by the ISSO.

ATTENTION: h-1B Premium processing temporarily suspended

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced that it will temporarily suspend Premium Processing for H-1B petitions filed on or after April 3, 2017. Learn more on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

This will impact new international hires who need to enter the U.S. on H-1B sponsorship or are in the U.S. needing to change from a non-immigrant status to H-1B. Employees already in H-1B status, either extending H1B or transferring from one H-1B employer to another, will not be impacted.

Contact the International Students & Scholars Office by email at: for additional information on the internal UMass Lowell process.