H-1B Application Process
The H-1B application process should start at least six months before the begin date of the proposed employment. Ample lead time is critical since the beneficiary, if outside of the United States, cannot apply for an H-1B visa until the USCIS approves the H-1B; and the IPO receives the approval notice for mailing to the beneficiary. Foreign nationals presently in the US applying for change of status to H-1B cannot work or receive pay for services prior to receiving authorization from the USCIS. Beneficiaries seeking to continue in H-1B status with a new employer cannot receive pay for services from the new employer until the USCIS issues a receipt notice for the petition.
IPO will submit the request for H-1B classification to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (the USCIS) on behalf of Idaho State University. The University is the "petitioner" and the foreign national whose services the University requires on a full-time, temporary basis is the "beneficiary." The beneficiary may receive salary or other compensation only from the University and not from any other employer in the United States. If the H-1B beneficiary is to work for more than one employer, each employer must submit a separate petition and receive an approval before employment can begin.
The documentation required for obtaining H-1B status with ISU is outlined below. Keep in mind, material or significant changes in the job duties or position title of an H-1B temporary worker should be reported to the IPO, as this may necessitate filing a new petition with the USCIS. The fee for the H-1B petition is $325 and the anti-fraud fee is $500. The petitioner is required to pay the anti-fraud fee for all new H1-B employees. This fee is not required for petitions that must be renewed. Those who are using the “portability clause” to transfer from one institution to ISU ARE subject to the fee. Departments should request the anti-fraud fee well in advance so that it is ready when the completed petition is ready for mailing to the USCIS.
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 IPO:
- H-1B Non-Immigrant Questionnaire
- Copy of the 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 which 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.
- If the beneficiary is currently in the US, include a legible photocopy of his/her Form I-94 “Arrival/Departure Record” (both sides) and photocopies of any and all 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 in order to practice medicine in the US, or undertake clinical training in a residency or fellowship. Full licensing is required BEFORE applying for the H1-B status.
- $325 H-1B application fee. This check should be made payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
Foreign language documents must be accompanied with a full English translation certified by the translator as complete and correct.
Download the H-1B Documentation Checklist for an overview of the required documentation from the department and the employee. The forms required by the department can be downloaded here:
- Hiring Department Requests Sponsorship
- Department and faculty member finalize cost details
- Filing fee of $325 to USCIS
- Dependent H-4 filed with principal - Filing fee for I-539 of $290 (one application covers spouse and all children under 21)
- Dependent H-4 filed alone - Filing fee for I-539 of $290 (one application covers spouse and all children under 21)
- Request for Premium Processing – Filing Fee of $1225
- Misc. expenses for courier, copies etc. of estimated $80
- Department notifies IPO of intent to sponsor
- Informs them of need to sponsor faculty member for H-1B
- Confirms arrangements of fee/payment agreement (who is paying what).
- Provides necessary information for attorney to begin paperwork.
- IPO sends Export Control I-129 Compliance Form to department
- Hiring supervisor completes and signs - forwards to Chair
- Department Chair reviews and signs - forwards to Dean
- Dean reviews and signs - forwards to IPO
- IPO sends Export Control I-129 Compliance Form to Office of Sponsored Research (OSR)
- I-129 Completion
The hiring department and faculty member consult with the International Programs Office (IPO) via telephone, e-mail or in person, to ensure that H-1B is the appropriate visa option and that individual meets criteria.
The department and faculty member work out details regarding who will pay what fees/costs. The ISU academic department must pay the $500.00 anti-fraud fee. The faculty member or ISU may pay the following costs:
*Please note that effective Nov. 23, 2010, the filling fees for most petitions and applications increased.
The department sends IPO the Approval to Initiate or Extend H-1B Visa Application for Faculty & Staff form signed by the department chair/head.
NOTE: Utilization of firms that have not been pre-approved need to be cleared through the IPO and General Counsel’s Office.
Questions about completion of the form need to go to the Office of Sponsored Research (OSR)
IPO completes the remainder of the form based on how the form was answered by the department, signs it and forward the form to OSR.
OSR returns the Export Contorl I-129 Control Form to IPO which attests to Part 6 of the I-129 form. IPO will complete the I-129 form.
**H-1B paperwork that will need to be to submitted United States Customs & Immigration Services (USCIS) will be on hold until the “Export Control I-129 Compliance Form” is returned to the International Programs Office.**
The following steps will run concurrently with previous 6 steps
- IPO obtains prevailing wage from the Department of Labor (DOL)
- Initiated LCA and Notice of Filing
- Public Access File
Director of IPO 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 Public Access File.
The Notice of Filing LCA posting is placed in 2 conspicuous locations for 10 business days and HR proceeds to email immigration attorney’s office immediately after posting to confirm that the posting period has begun.
At the same time, IPO will compile the Public Access File for applicant. It is required that the Public Access File is initiated as soon as notices are posted.
- Included in the Public Access File:
- LCA Cover Pages
- Initiated LCA (replaced by Certified LCA when available)
- Wage rate, which is included in LCA
- Description of Actual Wage System
- Copy of prevailing wage and it’s source
- Notices of Filing LCA (2) – when 10 day posting period is completed
- Summary of benefits
IPO will proceed to certify the LCA electronically through the Dept. of Labor’s iCert program, which according to DOL regulations may take 7-10 business days for an official decision to be made about the LCA.
**The IPO 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.** IPO will ask HR to remove the LCA posting notices at appropriate time, sign the notices and add them to Public Access File.
IPO will file the LCA with USCIS attesting on behalf of the University that:
- The H-1B employee will be paid at least the actual wage or “prevailing wage,”whichever is higher.
- The employment of the H-1B individual will not adversely affect the working conditions for other workers similarly employed.
- At the time of filing the LCA there are no layoffs, strikes, lockouts or work stoppages in the H-1B individual’s occupation.
- A copy of the LCA will be posted for 10 business days in two places on the employer’s premises.
- LCA Ceritifcation
- IPO sends hardcopy to faculty member no later than the 1st day of employment.
- Faculty member signs receipt and returns it to IPO as record that the LCA was provided.
- USCIS issues Receipt of Filing to employer
- Approval Notice
- I-797 Approval Notice is received in about 2-5 months (2-5 weeks if it was premium processed).
- IPO will send approval packet to faculty member.
- IPO will contact employee and department regarding approval.
- Faculty member updates records with new visa status (i.e. I-9 Forms, tax status, immigration database, etc.) to HR, Payroll, and IPO.
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.
If H-1B is portable, I-9 can be completed at this time and employment can begin.
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).
If Faculty member ends employment either voluntarily or involuntarily prior to H-1B visa end date (Receipt Notice End Date), IPO must be advised.