The Catholic University of America

H-1B Temporary Worker in Specialty Occupation

This information is intended to provide basic, general information only and should not be used as a substitute for professional advice from qualified immigration specialists.

University’s Policy May Be Changed at any Time Without Prior Notice

Purpose

H-1B status is for the temporary employment of internationals in positions that require the application of a specialized body of knowledge.

 

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for H-1B status the following requirements must be met:

  • The position must be one that requires the application of a specialized body of knowledge. The position must require at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field or closely related field.
  • The individual must have the required education/experience at the time of filing.

 

Duration

  • An individual can hold H-1B status for a maximum of 6 years. However, USCIS cannot grant H-1B status for more than 3 years at a time.
  • Extensions beyond the 6th year may potentially be possible if a permanent residency application has been filed and meets certain conditions.

 

The Required Wage

  • Employers sponsoring individuals in H-1B status are required to pay at the prevailing   wage level as defined by U.S. Department of Labor. This wage will vary depending upon occupation, level of responsibility and the relative wages paid by the University and the wages paid by area employers for the position. CUA must do two wage comparisons.
  • Once these wage levels are determined, CUA is required to pay the higher of either the actual wage or the prevailing wage. CUA must pay at least 100% of the prevailing wage

 

Sponsorship Process

There are six steps in applying for H-1B temporary worker status.

  1. To initiate the process the sponsoring department must contact ISSS. 

  2. CUA’s H-1B Request Forms: One part is completed by the department (department request form), the other, by the foreign national.  (Will email questionnaires to the Foreign National).

  3. The process does not officially start until ISSS receives the completed forms and supporting documentation from both the sponsoring department and the foreign national.

  4. ISSS will arrange a meeting with the foreign national to discuss the process.

  5. Once ISSS receives the Department's portion of the form, ISSS can begin the preliminary work of determining whether the wage offered meets the prevailing wage requirements for H-1B. Once ISSS has determined that there are no wage issues, ISSS will prepare and send to the hiring department a posting notice, two copies of which must be posted in two conspicuous locations for two weeks. This is a Federal requirement that we cannot avoid. At the time that ISSS sends the posting notice, ISSS will also send an Acknowledge of Posting for Labor Condition Application that is to be completed by appropriate departmental administrative personnel to confirm that the notices have been posted. 

  6. Once the notices have been posted, ISSS will submit a Labor Condition Attestation to the Department of Labor and prepare for the authorized signature (Provost for academic positions and VP Finance for staff positions) for all of the Immigration forms that will be submitted to the government.

 

Costs

A. Filing Fees

Type of Petition

Filing Fee

Basic H-1B filing Fee (all H petitions must submit this fee)

$325

Security fee (must be paid only for initial H-1B petitions)

$500

Premium Processing (optional-guarantees a response –not a decision- within 15 days)

$1225

  • The basic H-1B filing fee and security fee must be paid by the sponsoring department/school.
  • The Premium processing fee can fall on either the foreign national or the sponsoring department/school.  ISSS must be informed of who will be responsible for this payment.

B. Legal Fees

  • Should outside counsel be used for any reason during the H-1B process those legal fees can fall on either the foreign national or the sponsoring department/school.

 

Timeframe of Application Process

The petition can be filed no earlier than 6 months before the requested start date on the H-1B petition. 

Once USCIS receives the petition, it can take up to 3 to 6 months to adjudicate using their normal processing service.

 

Maintaining H-1B Status

In order to maintain valid H-1B status, temporary workers must:

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
  • Work only for the employer(s) sponsoring the approved H-1B petition. Form AR-11.
  • Report a change of address to ISSS Office within 10 days of the change.
  • Notify their International Scholar (IS) Advisor whenever there is any change in their work situation (change in title, duties, department, hours, if they are leaving the job, etc.) 
  • Apply for an extension before the current H-1B status expires (in order to continue working at CUA). Processing usually takes four months, so allow ample time.  The application must be filed with the USCIS prior to the expiration date on the I-797 Notice of Action Form in order for the employee to be able to continue working without interruption.
  • There is no grace period for foreign nationals in H-1B status after the authorized period of stay ends unless specifically authorized by the DHS at the port-of-entry.
  • If the individual is in CUA-sponsored H-1B status and an extension is filed, then he or she can continue working for CUA for an additional 240 days beyond their current H expiration while USCIS adjudicates the extension. This is known as the 240 day rule.

 

Change of Employer

  • H-1B temporary workers may transfer their status to a different employer.  Before the employee starts work with the new employer, the new employer must first file an I-129 petition with the USCIS and confirm that it has been received.
  • USCIS often requests copies of recent pay stubs for transfer applications, so it is important that foreign nationals continue working for their current employer until the receipt notice has been received.

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