Faculty H-1B Visa Assistance

 

The Office of Equal  Opportunity assists international faculty and staff in obtaining H1-B (Specialty Occupation Workers) and H-4 (Spouse or Dependent of H-1B) visas. To avoid problems and confusion, departments wishing to hire faculty and staff on a H1-B should review the information below and contact Ethan Kuster in the Office of Equal Opportunity before making an offer. To contact Ethan please call 756-7387 or e-mail him at ekuster@calpoly.edu.  The most common non-immigrant visa classifications can be seen by going to the VISA chart (pdf).

For information regarding obtaining an F-1 (Student), F-2 (Spouse or Dependent of F-1), J-1 (Visiting Scholar), or J-2 (Spouse or Dependent of J-1) visa, visit Cal Poly International Center.

General Information Regarding H1-B Visas:

An H1-B visa is a temporary visa for specialty occupation workers.  Foreign faculty and staff can hold an H-1B visa for up to 6 years. H-1B status can be requested in increments up to 3 years. Departments who wish to hire foreign faculty and staff for more than 3 years must request an H-1B visa extension before the end of the 3rd year.

Requirements to be met to submit an H-1B visa petition:

  • The position must require at least a bachelor's degree. If the degree is from another country, it must be comparable to a U.S. bachelor's degree or higher.
  • The person selected for the position must have a degree related to the position. For example, someone with a degree in sociology cannot be hired for a computer science position even though that person may have substantial work experience in computer science.
  • The proposed salary must be within 95% of the prevailing wage for similar positions in this geographic area.
  • If the person selected for the position currently holds a J-1 or J-2 visa and is subject to section 212(e), this person cannot begin employment on an H-1B visa until he/she has received a waiver of section 212(e) from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

H-1B petitions are not always approved and hiring departments must be prepared for this. The applicant's education must match the position. The department may be required to prove that the industry standard requirement for the position is a Bachelor's degree, and, if other people in the same department have the same or similar position, must be prepared to show that the people in those positions also have a Bachelor's degree.

Applying for an H-1B Visa:

Departments wishing to hire faculty or staff on an H-1B visa may provide the following form to the non-citizen applicant. The H-1B Applicant Information Form (pdf) should be completed by the applicant, and the form and applicable documents submitted to Ethan Kuster in the Office of Equal Opportunity.

Costs.  U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fees for an H-1B Visa are the $325 processing fee and a one-time only $500 "anti-fraud" fee. The department is responsible for these fees.  Although both payments are to USCIS, two separate checks must be issued. The petition is completed and submitted by the Office of Equal Opportunity.  The supporting documents required to submit a petition are included at the end of the H-1B Application Information Form referenced above.

Timing.  An H-1B petition can take 3 or more months to process. However, the USCIS offers a "Premium Processing" service which, for an additional fee of $1225, the H-1B petition will be reviewed within 15 calendar days. Premium Processing can be added after the initial submission if necessary.

Spouses and any children under the age of 21 who wish to accompany or join the principal visa holder in the United States for the duration of their stay require derivative H-4 visas. The application procedure is the same for spouses and children under the age of 21.  If applying separately from the principal, a copy of the marriage certificate and birth certificate for each child is required.  The employee is responsible for the related fees.

Please note the hiring department and/or college are responsible for the cost of return transportation to the person's country of origin if the alien is dismissed before the H-1B petition period expires.  This is a requirement of USCIS.

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