H-1B Visa Information for Permanent Faculty & Staff

H-1B Employment Non-Immigrant Status:

Information for Prospective Employees

If you have been offered employment at Plymouth State University and the position qualifies for H-1B status, Lisa Ladd, the international Employee Assistant will prepare and submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf. (There may be tax and spousal employment advantages in J-1 Exchange Visitor status, however, which should be explored.) The following information will provide you with an overview of H-1B non-immigrant status and application process.  Our goal is to ensure that PSU is in full compliance with eth DOL (Department of Labor) and the USCIS regulations and procedures.  Every effort will be made to ensure that the hiring of foreign nationals for faculty and staff positions is done in the most effective, timely and professional manner.

Description and Purpose

The H-1B visa is widely used in the United States for the temporary employment of foreign nationals. This status is used for the employment of foreign nationals in “specialty occupations,” defined as those which “require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree as a minimum for entry into the occupation.”

The following categories of workers fall within the H-1B category: health care professionals, university professors and other teachers, engineers, systems analysts and other computer professionals, scientists, librarians, psychologists, journalists, editors, technical publications writers, management consultants, market research analysts, financial analysts and other persons in advanced business specialties, accountants, lawyers and foreign law advisors, architects, and other service professionals.

Length of Stay

H-1B non-immigrant status provides foreign nationals with permission to be employed in the United States for a specific period of time, for a specific employer, with a specific title, at a specific salary, at a specific location. The maximum period of stay for H-1B workers is six years, available in increments of up to three years. At the end of the six-year period, the foreign employee must either:

  • depart the U.S.;
  • apply to change his/her status to another non-immigrant classification; or
  • obtain a green card to become a U.S. permanent resident.

Eligibility Requirements

The U.S. government has set certain standards for use of H-1B non-immigrant classification. To qualify, you must meet both the visa eligibility and position requirements. The position offered must require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree (or higher) for entry into the occupation. In addition, the foreign employee must:

  • have a U.S. degree or a foreign degree equivalent to the U.S. degree;
  • have education, specialized training, or experience that is equivalent to training acquired by attainment of a bachelor’s (or higher) degree;
  • hold full state licensure, registration, or certification which authorizes practice in the occupation, if such licensure is required by state or federal law.

Information and Documentation Required

The employer is required to document that the foreign employee is qualified to assume the position as advertised. Therefore, in order to prepare and file an H-1B petition on your behalf, you must submit the following documentation to the Human Resources Department:

  • A fully completed data collection form;
  • Three copies of your most recent C.V. (curriculum vitae) or resume;
  • A copy of the diploma for the highest degree you have attained, or (if not yet available) an official transcript which documents the awarding of the degree. (If your degree is not from a college or university in the U.S., it might be necessary to submit your education credentials with a fee to a recognized credentialing agency for their formal evaluation.)
  • Copies of passports for yourself and any family members. Send only copies of the following pages: biographic information page showing your name, date of birth, picture, etc.; page containing the passport expiration date; pages with any U.S. visas.
  • If you are in the U.S., send copies of the front and back sides of your most recent I-94 Form (Record of Arrival and Departure).
  • If you have been in the U.S. previously as a student or exchange visitor, send copies of all DS-2019 and I-20 forms issued to you.
  • If applicable (mostly for those previously in H-1B status), copies of all Forms I-797 (Notices of Action) ever issued to you.

All documents must be in English or accompanied by an official, certified translation.

Time Required for Processing

Barring complications, obtaining approval of an H-1B petition will require up to 4 or 5 months. Expedited processing is available if your employing department is willing to pay an additional $1,000 fee to the Human Resources Department. Although we will do are best to accommodate your needs, it is not within our power to circumvent the system or shortcut federal regulations. Therefore, it is imperative that you plan accordingly and submit the required information as quickly as possible.

Possible Complications

J-1 (Exchange Visitor) Non-Immigrant Classification and the Two-Year Home Residence Requirement

If you currently hold J-1 status (or have held it in the past) it is possible that you may be subject to a “Two-Year Home Physical Presence Requirement.” If you are subject to this requirement, you will not be able to obtain H-1B status until you:

  • return to your home country for two years, or
  • obtain a waiver of the requirement from the U.S. Federal Government

In general, this requirement applies to those:

  • whose exchange visitor program was financed by the U.S. Government and/or their home government; or
  • whose skills are in short supply in their home country as determined by that government; or
  • whose purpose in coming to the United States was to receive graduate medical education or training.

If you are subject to the requirement, this might be noted on Form DS-2019 and/or your J-1 visa.

If you are subject to this requirement, you will need to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of State. Grounds for obtaining a waiver are limited, and even when successful, can take six months to a year to obtain.

If you are (or think you might be) subject to this requirement, notify Human Resources immediately! We will review your documents and provide you with information about the steps you must take to apply for a waiver. Remember, this must be done before we can file and H-1B petition on your behalf!

The Application Process

Please complete the requested documents as quickly as possible to the address below.  We look forward to welcoming you to Plymouth State University.

 

Lisa Ladd
International Employee Assistant
Human Resources
MSC #14
Plymouth, NH 03264