USCIS memo HQPRD70/23.12 AD06-24, M. Aytes (May 2, 2006)

This USCIS memo amended the Adjudicator's Field Manual to clarify the definition of "U.S. master's or higher degree" for purposes of qualifying for the 20,000-slot exemption from the annual H-1B cap.

To qualify for the cap exemption, the degree must meet both of the following conditions:

  1. “The degree must be one for which a bachelors degree in any field is required in order to obtain the “masters” degree. This ensures that the “masters” degree is a degree that is at least one level higher than a bachelor’s degree, which is the essential component of a “masters or higher” degree.”
  2. The degree must have been granted by an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965