The International and Postdoctoral Services Office (IPSO) has prepared this information to assist departments in determining if H-1B sponsorship is appropriate for their hiring needs and how to facilitate an H-1B petition for adjudication by U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS). If you have any questions or need additional information, please email or call Jonathan Harwood, Sr. Coordinator of International Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-721-0670.
The H-1B nonimmigrant category was established for alien personnel who temporarily come to the U.S. to perform services in “specialty occupations” for which the alien employee is qualified. A “specialty occupation” is defined as work that requires: theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a minimum of a bachelor's degree as a requirement for the specialty occupation.
NOTE: These personnel can hold permanent positions as long as they depart the U.S. when the authorized period of stay expires or another valid nonimmigrant or immigrant status is obtained.
An H-1B petition establishes that Augusta University can hire a specific alien employee for a “specialty occupation” and that the individual qualifies for the occupation.
At Augusta University, positions commonly sponsored by departments for H-1B status include: Postdoctoral Fellow, Research Associate, Research Scientist, Assistant Research Scientist, Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Instructor. Other positions may qualify and are reviewed for eligibility on a case-by-case basis.
Securing H-1B sponsorship for those in Housestaff positions, temporary employees and IT positions have proven problematic in the past. Departments are strongly advised to consider alternatives to the H-1B when contemplating hires for these positions.
To be eligible for H-1B sponsorship, a foreign national must meet the minimum requirements for the position in question. This includes degrees, licenses, certification and experience. Foreign degrees must be evaluated for their U.S. equivalent. All qualifications must be met at the time of the filing of the H-1B petition.
As H-1B is an employer-sponsored status, the hiring department is responsible for starting the H-1B process. IPSO will only petition for qualified personnel whom the department wishes to employ. The hiring department must begin this process on behalf of new and continuing personnel.
Sponsorship requires the department to pay $460 in application fees and $500 in fraud detection fees (for initial applications only, not for extensions). Premium processing is available for $2,500. All fees must be paid by the department. H-1B salary requirements may require adjustments (increases) to salary offered as well.
Normal processing at USCIS is currently taking 4-6 months. Premium processing reduces that to 4-6 weeks. Processing in IPSO takes a minimum of four weeks.
An initial H-1B petition can be approved for a maximum of three (3) years with the possibility to extend up to a maximum period of six (6) years.
An employer sponsoring an employee for H-1B status is obligated to employ the H-1B beneficiary as described in the petition to USCIS. Any change in duty, title, or salary must be cleared by IPSO to ensure compliance with DHS and DOL regulations. Changes may require an amendment to the H-1B petition. To notify IPSO of any change please submit the Change of Duties or Termination Form in AU International prior to the change. Early termination of an employee in H-1B status may incur an obligation to fund the employee's return to their home country.
USCIS now requires employers filing for H, L and O visa status on behalf of foreign nationals to certify that they have (1) reviewed the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), and (2) have made a determination as to whether or not an export control license is required to release any controlled technology or technical data to the foreign national. If an export license is required to be obtained before such release, the employer must attest that the worker will not be exposed to covered technologies without first obtaining an export license covering the foreign worker.
Yes. Permanent Residency is considered an immigrant category, while an H-1B is considered a nonimmigrant category. The H-1B is not a prerequisite for Permanent Residency.
As a professional courtesy, IPSO will petition for dependents (giving them H-4 status). However, the USCIS filing fee of $370 (subject to change) is to be paid by the employee.
Qualifying H-4 members are the spouse and any unmarried children under 21 years of age of the principal H-1 visa holder.
No. An H-4 visa holder cannot legally work in the United States but may engage in full- or part-time study.
Please be aware that every case varies and different documentation may be required for each individual petition. Processing times are subject to change without notice due to changes in regulations/laws and/or backlogs within a particular government agency. IPSO cannot control delays of this nature.
If you have not already done so, please submit an Immigration Consultation Request Form to begin the H-1B sponsorship process. Please wait for a response from IPSO before proceeding. If the response you receive recommends H-1B immigration status, you may proceed with the steps below.
The response to your Immigration Consultation Request Form will provide instructions on accessing the “H-1B Initial Request” in AU International. You must use the link provided in the email to access these e-forms. There are four e-forms in AU International for the department to complete:
All four department forms – including the PI/Supervisor part of the Deemed Export Controls Statement – must be submitted for the department portion of the H-1B Initial Request to be considered complete. Then, IPSO will review the department forms and reach out to the department administrator if there are any issues (such as necessary salary adjustments).
(Note: The salary offered must meet or exceed either the current Prevailing Wage as determined by the Department of Labor, or the Actual Wage as determined by IPSO, whichever is the higher value.)
After IPSO approves the department forms, the H-1B applicant will be notified by email that he/she must log into AU International and complete the necessary e-forms.
The H-1B applicant will log into AU International. There are two required forms and one optional form for the H-1B applicant.
Once the H-1B applicant submits the two required e-forms, IPSO will automatically be notified in AU International that the initial request is complete.
IPSO will review all e-forms submitted by the H-1B applicant and begin preparing the H-1B petition to be submitted to USCIS. The petition letter will include a summary of the position being offered as stated in the Department H-1B Request Form and a description of why the individual uniquely meets the qualifications for the position offered. After the petition letter is written, IPSO will send it to the department administrator for signature by the department chair of institution/center director.
The department administrator should deliver the following to IPSO:
IPSO will complete the necessary USCIS Forms, provide institutional signatures, and mail the completed package to USCIS.