Acupuncturist’s I-129 Petition for H-1B Status

Acupuncturist's I-129 Petition for H-1B Status

  • Applicant: Ms. Song
  • Nationality: Chinese
  • Applying for: I-129 Petition for H-1b Status
  • Case Type: Specialty Occupation Response
  • Time: I month
  • Challenges:
    • Proving Acupuncturist is a Specialty Occupation.
    • USCIS prefers specialists, not generalists.
    • Acupuncture clinics do not typically specify the exact major of study required for the position.
    • Acupuncture position does not require a specialized acupuncture degree. Students of generalized medicine and specialties in other areas are accepted into Acupuncture training programs.
    • The California Board of Acupuncture states that a tutorial program would suffice as necessary education for an acupuncture license.


Whenever a patient shares with Ms. Song how her acupuncture treatments have them feeling pain-free for the first time in months, she folds her hands and smiles. Besides reducing pain, her treatments have had a major impact on her clients by reducing stress, improving sleep, lifting or stabilizing moods, or improving energy. Ms. Song always felt great satisfaction in taking her skills and using them to improve lives. Ms. Song wanted to continue improving the client’s lives here in America. However, to continue her work, she needed an H-1b visa., which required her to file an I-129 petition.

There is a hard cap on how many H-1b visas the United States will accept, so Ms. Song felt fortunate to have been selected to apply. However, her company’s petition received a long and detailed Request for Evidence (RFE) from the USCIS and she only had a month to reply. This is when Ms. Song’s fears began to settle in. Many of her acupuncturist friends had been denied in the past so Ms. Song felt riddled with fear that she was not going to receive the H-1b visa. She kept asking herself if all my friends are getting declined, how am I going to get my petition accepted? 



Our office has become familiar with the demanding rules and regulations when it comes to filling out an H-1b Visa. In order to get Ms. Song’s Visa approved, we needed to make sure we went above and beyond explaining why Ms. Song degree is normally a minimum requirement, which was one of the requirements.

We found out the reason why Ms. Song received an RFE (request for evidence) was because according to the USCIS, the evidence submitted did not establish eligibility because O*Net (The Occupational Information Network — an online database containing hundreds of occupational definitions) defined an acupuncturist as Job Zone Five but did not indicate the requirement of a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in any specific specialty, nor a requirement for a particular major or academic concentration.

We had to make sure our evidence was airtight, so we wanted to focus on finding evidence that exemplified that the minimum education to become an acupuncturist was a bachelor’s degree. So, our first piece of evidence that we had put in the RFE was from O*Net describing the acupuncturist profession as one requiring a Master of Arts degree (MA). We had also done an extensive search and gathered from the Department of Consumer Affairs an analysis that explicitly explained how this profession normally requires a BA or higher. Even though we acquired a significant amount of evidence for the RFE, we wanted to do more for Ms. Song. We knew how fearful Ms. Song was about this RFE so we wanted to show her how dedicated we were to her case. So, we searched extensively and assembled professional articles on how complex the profession is and at least requires a Bachelor’s degree. We believed with all of the evidence provided that Ms. Song’s RFE was ready to be turned in. Now it was just a matter of waiting.



Although Ms. Song had been very pessimistic about a positive outcome, she received notice within a week they had approved her H-1b visa. All the fear had drained from Ms. Song, and she was extremely grateful for all the work Tsang & Associates had put in her case. She is back at work using her training and specialized skills in acupuncture to improve the health and wellbeing of her patients. Tsang and Associates are honored to have played an important role in making her American dream come true.