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:

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
  • Addendum
  • 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 porourke@unr.edu.

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.

H1-B processing, duration family member and employment information

  • H-1B processing times

    The processing time at California Service Centers for regular petition may vary from approximately two to four months.

    Premium processing times

    A premium processing petition is usually approved within two weeks.

    • We recommend a premium processing option for employees whose contract is to begin shortly and whose current status precludes them from working at the University of Nevada, Reno at this point of time.
    • We also recommend it in situations when the employee or his/her family members plan to travel outside the U.S. in a near future.

    Prospective employees in H-1B status currently working for another employer, or those applying for extension of H-1 status usually do not need premium processing. Please feel free to contact us with questions about the best processing option.

  • H-1B duration of stay

    The maximum length of employment requested at one time is three years. It can be extended for up to six years total. It may be possible to extend H-1 B status beyond six years if a permanent residency petition has been filed and is pending for over one year.

  • H-1B family members and dependents

    Family members, who are residing with the prospective H-1B worker in the U.S., need to file for a change of status to H-4. H-4 dependents cannot work in the U.S.

    Filing for H-4 status

    The dependents should complete the following documentation

    These items should be submitted along with the H-1B petition. 

  • Change of employment

    Change in terms of employment such as different appointment and responsibilities, significant change in salary level or new employment location -- in most cases -- require filing a new H-1B petition. It is very important conditions of employment contained in the personnel file for H-1B worker match those in his/her immigration file.

    If you know the department is considering such changes, please call us ahead of time to discuss the situation and its implications. 

  • Termination of employment

    Termination of employment by the employer prior to expiration date listed on the H-1B approval notice (I-797) ends the worker's legal status in the U.S. In such case the employer is responsible for providing the cost of return transportation to his/her home country.

    If the H-1 B worker is the one who decides to end employment, the university is not responsible for the cost of return transportation.