The USCIS issued a memo on March 21, 2008, providing guidance to adjudication officers in situations where professional licensure is required for a particular H-1B specialty occupation. USCIS regulations provide that, in a case where an occupation requires a state or local license to fully perform the duties of the occupation, the foreign national must have the license prior to the approval of the petition. However, some states require proof of legal authorization for employment, in order to issue a license. The result is an impossible situation where a professional is unable to obtain H-1B approval without a license, and not being able to obtain a license without an H-1B approval.

Pursuant to the Memo, USCIS adjudicators may now approve an H-1B petition for a one-year period, in cases where a license is required for the profession and the appropriate state or local agency will not grant such license without evidence that the H-1B status has been granted, if two conditions are met. The first being that the foreign national must have submitted a timely application for licensure with the appropriate state or local agency. Secondly, the foreign national must be fully qualified to receive the license and must have all the required education, training, and experience for licensure, as of the time of the filing of the H-1B petition.

If a professional is granted H-1B status, they must still obtain the license prior to engaging in the profession.