H1-B information for international scholars
The H-1B category is designed for the temporary employment in a "specialty occupation". A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires a "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge" along with at least a bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent in the field required for the position.
The H-1B employee must be able to meet this requirement and possess a minimum of a bachelor degree in that field. In some cases a combination of education, specialized training and experience can be used to fulfill this condition. In addition, the employer must meet the prevailing wage required by the Department of Labor and pay the higher of: the prevailing wage or the actual wage. The "actual wage" is defined as the average salary for employees with the same title and similar educational background employed in the same institution.
Applying for H-1B status
Once these conditions are met, the OISS can proceed with applying for H-1B status. The process consists of the following steps:
- Prevailing wage. Determining a prevailing wage for the position
- Certified Labor Condition Application. Securing a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA - Form ETA9035)
- I-129 form. Filing I-129 form with supporting documentation with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Service Center in California
- Apply at U.S. Consulate. Upon approval of the petition, if you are outside the U.S., you may apply for an H-1B visa at the U.S. Consulate. This step is not required for those in U.S.
Role of the department in H-1B status applications
Before the department proceeds with the H-1B petition, we recommend consulting with OISS on prevailing wage requirement for the position. Once the prevailing wage is confirmed, the department and the employee should submit to OISS the following documentation:
- Request Form
- Wage Determination form
- LCA Announcement
- Employment Letter
- Export Control Evaluation form
- OISS and DHS fees
- Employee information sheet and supporting documents listed on the employee checklist
Export Control Evaluation form. The Export Control Evaluation form should be completed by the employee's supervisor and submitted to the Office of Sponsored Projects at the time of sending other H-1B forms to OISS.
LCA Announcement form. The LCA Announcement form should be posted for ten days in two places where "similarly employed workers" may congregate and the information on the announcement must be the same as that given in the addendum and on the wage determination form. A copy of the announcement should be included in the packet sent to OISS and the form should be posted no later than the time of sending the documents to OISS.
Role of OISS in H-1B status applications
OISS provides general advice on H-1B requirements and procedures, reviews submitted documentation, secures prevailing wage, Labor Condition Application and prepares and files I-129 petition with the USCIS Service Center.
OISS also maintains a public inspection file on each H-1B worker required by the Department of Labor. With questions related to H-1B process please contact Patrick O'Rourke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: It can take us up to 3 weeks to prepare the petition from the time we receive a complete application (including the fees) from the department.