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H-1B Visa Status

The H-1B temporary worker visa is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the United States to perform services in a specialty occupation.

A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement."

The hiring department must provide documentation to prove that the job requires a person with exceptional qualifications and that the foreign scholar meets those qualifications. Further, the department is required to pay a salary to an international scholar. The individual's paycheck must come from the hiring entity (Idaho State University or an affiliated hospital).

The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) makes the final decision on whether the individual qualifies for the H-1B classification.

The H-1B visa is employer-specific, which means that a USCIS approved petition that was submitted by the Office of Equity and Inclusion authorizes the scholar to work only in the position specified in the petition. Further, a scholar who has an H-1B approval from another employer is not automatically eligible to work at Idaho State University.

An H-1B worker may work for more than one employer, but each employer must file a separate H-1B visa petition.

Six-Year Length Of Stay Allowed

H-1B visa holders are eligible for a total maximum stay of six years.

The initial H-1B visa may cover a period of up to three years. Since this six-year limit is strictly enforced, it is vital to plan accordingly.

The six-year limit includes time spent on the H-1B at another institution. It may be possible to begin another six years as an H-1B after the individual has spent at least one year outside the United States.

H-4 Dependents

Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of an H-1B are eligible for H-4 status. H-4 visa holders are not permitted to work.

If an H-4 dependent qualifies for specialty occupation in his or her own right, a change of status to H-1B is necessary before employment can begin.

H-4 dependents may study in the United States, full- or part-time, for the duration of H-1B's period of stay.

Who is Eligible?

H-1B status is an appropriate classification for Idaho State University academic staff, with the following exceptions:

  • Visiting Scientists and Visiting Scholars are ineligible for H-1B status. Visiting scientists and scholars may be selected for participation in the Exchange Visitor Program. For more information on this program, go to our Visiting Scholar page.
  • Alien graduates of foreign medical schools who are coming to the United States to practice medicine, or undertake clinical training in a residency or fellowship, are ineligible for H-1B status unless certain conditions are met, including having passed all three steps of the USMLE. Idaho State University is not approved to accept J-1 Foreign Medical Graduates; therefore, we are unable to sponsor them as a visiting scholar.
  • Research and Clinical Technologists may qualify for H-1B status if the position requires a bachelor's degree or higher. As a general rule, the University will not support H-1B applications for other occupational classifications. The Office of Equity and Inclusion may consider other requests for H-1B status on a case-by-case basis.
  • The University does not support H-1B sponsorship of classified or professional administrative staff.

If you are a prospective employee, please contact your hiring department about beginning the H-1B sponsorship process.

The following documentation must be submitted to the Office of Equity and Inclusion:

  • H-1B Non-IMMIGRANT QUESTIONNAIRE
  • Copy of the job offer letter from the employing department addressed to the beneficiary describing the terms and duration of the employment.
      • The letter should include a description of the services to be performed by the beneficiary, minimum qualifications necessary for performing the duties, and how the beneficiary meets those qualifications, dates of employment, and salary (which must meet or exceed the department of labor prevailing wage for the state).
  • Copy of the beneficiary’s curriculum vitae.
  • Copies of the beneficiary’s degree(s), diplomas and transcripts, or documents that demonstrate that the beneficiary has the academic background and technical training required for the job.
      • The beneficiary must be fully qualified for the position at the time the petition is filed with the USCIS.
  • Foreign language documents must be accompanied by a full English translation certified by the translator as complete and correct.
  • If the beneficiary is currently in the U.S., include a legible photocopy of his/her Form I-94 “Arrival/Departure Record” (both sides) and photocopies of any other immigration documents previously issued to the beneficiary (e.g., forms I-20, DS2019, forms I-797 and notice of action for any previous changes in status that were granted).
  • Copies of passport and visas issued.
  • Graduates of foreign medical schools must provide additional documentation to qualify for H-1B status to practice medicine in the U.S., or undertake clinical training in a residency or fellowship.
      • Full licensing is required BEFORE applying for the H1-B status.
  • $460 H-1B application fee. This check should be made payable to the Department of Homeland Security.

Please review the presentation below for a quick overview of the H-1B Petition Application steps and timeline.

 H-1B Petition Presentation

 

Download the H-1B Non-IMMIGRANT QUESTIONNAIRE to overview the required documentation from the department and the employee.

The forms required by the department can be downloaded here:

NOTE: Utilization of firms that have not been pre-approved needs to be cleared through the Office of Equity and Inclusion and General Counsel’s Office.

Hiring Department Process:

  1. Hiring Department Requests Sponsorship.
  2. The hiring department and faculty member consult with the Office of Equity and Inclusion via telephone, e-mail, or in-person to ensure that H-1B is the appropriate visa option and that individual meets the criteria.
  3. Department and faculty member finalize cost details.
  4. The department and faculty members work out details regarding who will pay what fees/costs.   
    The ISU academic department must pay the filing fee and the Fraud Prevention fee. The faculty member may pay the other fees.
    1. $460 Filing Fee to USCIS
    2. $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee to USCIS
    3. $370 Dependent H-4 filed with the principal - Filing fee for I-539 (one application covers spouse and all children under 21)
    4. Separate $85 biometric Fee/application
    5. $2,500 Request for Premium Processing. Premium processing is highly recommended for all applicants with employment start dates within the next eight months.
    6. Misc. expenses for courier, copies, etc. of an estimated $80
  5. Department notifies Office of Equity and Inclusion of intent to sponsor
  6. The department sends the Office of Equity and Inclusion the following all together:
    1. All items outlined in the H1-B Petition Documentation Checklist

      • Hiring supervisor completes and signs, forwards to Department Chair.
      • Department Chair reviews I-129(E) and signs – forwards to Dean
      • Dean reviews and signs – forwards to the Office of Equity and Inclusion
  7. Office of Equity and Inclusion sends Form I-129 (E), ISU Supplemental Export Control Questionnaire, to the Office for Research Export Control Office (ECO) for review and approval.
  8. ECO returns the Form I-129 (E), ISU Supplemental Export Control Questionnaire to the Office of Equity and Inclusion, attesting to Part 6 of the primary I-129 form.

    **H-1B paperwork that will need to be submitted to United States Customs & Immigration Services (USCIS) will be on hold until the “Form I-129 (E), ISU Supplemental Export Control Questionnaire” is returned to the Office of Equity and Inclusion.**
  9. The Office of Equity and Inclusion will complete the I-129 form.

Please note LCA Application Steps take place concurrently with the above steps.

  1. Office of Equity and Inclusion obtains prevailing wage from the Department of Labor (DOL)
  2. Initiated LCA and Notice of Filing
  3. The Office of Equity and Inclusion prepares and emails the initiated LCA and Notice of Filing to Human Resources for posting for 10 days.
      • Included in the email will also be the obtained prevailing wage, which will be included in the Public Access File.
  4. The Notice of Filing LCA posting is placed in 2 conspicuous locations for 10 business days and HR proceeds to email the immigration attorney’s office immediately after posting to confirm that the posting period has begun.
  5. Public Access File
  6. At the same time, Office of Equity and Inclusion will compile the Public Access File for applicants. It is required that the Public Access File is initiated as soon as notices are posted.
    1. Included in the Public Access File: LCA Cover Pages
    2. Initiated LCA (replaced by Certified LCA when available)
    3. Wage rate, which is included in LCA
    4. Description of Actual Wage System
    5. Copy of prevailing wage and the source
    6. Notices of Filing LCA (2) – when 10 day posting period is completed
    7. Summary of benefits
  7. LCA submitted to DOL through iCERT
  8. Office of Equity and Inclusion will proceed to certify the LCA electronically through the Department of Labor’s iCert program, which according to DOL regulations, may take 7 to 10 business days for an official decision to be made about the LCA.
  9. The Office of Equity and Inclusion submits the H-1B petition to USCIS.

**The Office of Equity and Inclusion will hold off on sending the packet if the “Export Control I-129 Compliance Form” has not been returned. This will delay the processing time it takes to get the H-1B for the employee.**

  1. Office of Equity and Inclusion will ask HR to remove the LCA posting notices at the appropriate time, sign the notices, and add them to Public Access File.
  2. Filing of LCA
  3. Office of Equity and Inclusion will file the LCA with USCIS attesting on behalf of the University that:
    1. The H-1B employee will be paid at least the actual wage or “prevailing wage,” whichever is higher.
    2. The employment of the H-1B individual will not adversely affect the working conditions for other workers similarly employed.
    3. At the time of filing the LCA, there are no layoffs, strikes, lockouts, or work stoppages in the H-1B individual’s occupation.
    4. A copy of the LCA will be posted for ten business days in two places on the employer’s premises.

Please note Department Initiation Steps take place concurrently with the above steps.

  1. LCA Certification
  2. Once the LCA is certified, 1 copy is placed in Public Access File and 1 copy is given to Faculty member along with Acknowledgement of Receipt of LCA.
    1. Office of Equity and Inclusion sends a hard copy to faculty member no later than the first day of employment.
    2. Faculty member signs receipt and returns it to the Office of Equity and Inclusion as a record that the LCA was provided.
  3. USCIS issues Receipt of Filing to employer

    If H-1B is portable, I-9 can be completed at this time and employment can begin.
  1. Approval Notice
    1. I-797 Approval Notice is received in about 2-5 months (2-5 weeks if it was premium processed).
    2. The Office of Equity and Inclusion will send an approval packet to the faculty members.
    3. The Office of Equity and Inclusion will contact the employee and department regarding approval.
    4. Approval Packet is ready and can be picked up. (If this is the initial H-1B for this person, I-9 can be completed at this time and employment can begin).
    5. Faculty member updates the record with new visa status (i.e. I-9 Forms, tax status, immigration database, etc.) to HR, Payroll, and the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

If a Faculty member ends employment either voluntarily or involuntarily before the H-1B visa end date (Receipt Notice End Date), the Office of Equity and inclusion must be notified by the department.