The H-1B visa category is a temporary work visa for non-US workers in job position that requires at least a bachelor’s degree. The H-1B is typically used for tenure-track faculty, long-term academic researchers, and professional staff. In order to obtain an H-1B for an employee, the employer must document the appropriateness of the wages to be paid, the duties and responsibilities of the position to be filled, and the employee’s qualifications to fill that position.
Prevailing Wage Determination The employer must pay the potential H-1B employee the Prevailing Wage (or higher) as determined by the US Department of Labor (DOL). International Scholar Services will assist you in obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) as part of the H-1B process. If the PWD comes back from the Department of Labor at a wage that you are not willing to pay, then you will not be able to obtain an H-1B for the potential employee.
Length of Stay The employer can request an H-1B for an employee for up to 3 years at a time. However, one can be in H-1B status for a maximum of 6 years.
Changes in Employment The individual can work only in the position that has been described in the H-1B petition and approved by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Any changes in employment status, including job title, transfer to another department, change in full-time vs. part-time status, or termination require the prior review of International Scholar Services to ensure compliance with H-1B regulations.
Processing Time A routine H-1B petition takes 6 to 8 months to complete and gain approval by the USCIS. About 2 months of this time is spent complying with requirements of the DOL concerning gaining a PWD and then certification of a Labor Condition Application (LCA). Following DOL certification of the LCA, the H-1B petition is submitted to the USCIS. The USCIS takes 4 to 5 months to approve a routine H-1B petition. USCIS approval can be speeded up by paying a $1,225 Premium Processing Fee. The USCIS guarantees a response within 15 days of receipt of the petition, or you get your fee back.
Cost of Return Transportation The employer is liable for the cost of return transportation to the alien’s home country if the alien is dismissed for any reason. Therefore, the hiring department should apply for only the time period for which funding is guaranteed.