H-1B 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

The OISS will assist departments with applying for H-1B status through a University-approved immigration attorney. The process consists of the following steps:

Role of the department in H-1B status petitions

The department is responsible for the collection of documents and ensuring payment of fees to the attorney and USCIS.

  • The department will contact the OISS (Adilia Ross at adiliab@unr.edu and Puja Shrestha at pujas@unr.edu) to request the immigration attorney referral form.
  • Once the referral form is submitted to OISS, OISS will send the department the selected attorney’s intake form. The department is responsible for getting the formcompleted and sending the form with supporting documents to OISS for the attorney contact.
  • Export Control Evaluation form. The Export Control Evaluation form must be completed by the employing department and submitted to the Office of Sponsored Projects.
  • A copy of the form approved by the Office of Sponsored Projects must be sent to OISS before the referral request is sent to the attorney.
  • OISS will send the referral request along with the intake form and supporting documents to the attorney.
  • OISS will also notify Human Resources of the referral.
  • LCA Announcement form. The LCA Announcement form should be posted for 10 days in two places where "similarly employed workers" may congregate and the informationon the announcement must be the same as that given in the addendum and on the wage determination form. The attorney will send the department the forms to post. A copy of the announcement should be included in the packet sent to OISS and the form should beposted no later than the time of sending the documents to OISS.

Role of OISS in H-1B status petitions

OISS currently does not have the staff to provide in depth advice on H-1B requirements; we may be able to answer general questions. We initiate communication between the immigration attorney and the department for H-1B petitions. We also maintain a public inspection file on each H-1B worker required by the Department of Labor. Please contact OISS at oiss@unr.edu with questions.

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.