The H-1B classification allows individuals to work temporarily in the United States in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement.” The H-1B permits a maximum of six years of employment, including time spent in H-1B status with another employer. An initial application may be made for a period of three years or less. Extension applications may be made for periods of three years or less, for an aggregate of six-years.
As part of the application process, the hiring department must provide documentation to prove that the job requires someone with special qualifications and that the candidate meets those qualifications. USCIS makes the final decision as to whether or not the scholar qualifies for H-1B classification.
The Department of Homeland Security requires that employers provide an export license determination in order to employ certain nonimmigrant workers, including individuals in H-1B status. This determination is made by Stevens’ Export Compliance officer who will review the job description and determine whether an export license is required for the position.
The H-1B is employer specific, and the ISSS office processes all H-1B applications for employees at Stevens.
- Full-Time Faculty or Tenure-Track Faculty and Researcher positions
- Full-Time Staff, with VP or Dean's approval
- An offer of employment
- Job must be in a "Specialty Occupation," as defined by regulation
- Position must require a minimum of bachelor's degree or equivalent
- Employer must pay the required wage, as determined by the Department of Labor Employee must have the minimum requirements for the "Specialty Occupation" in the specific field of endeavor
Remark: An applicant subject to 212(e), the Two-Year Home Residency Requirement, pursuant to J-1 status, is not eligible for an H-1B visa unless:
- A waiver is attained
- The two-year foreign residency requirement is met
Application Process (Initial and Extension)
Departments interested in sponsoring individuals for H-1B status must initiate the process by submitting the Department Request for H1-B Sponsorship to the ISSS along with the required supporting documents outlined on the H-1B Application Checklist. The sponsored employee must complete the H-1B Employee Application Form and submit the documents outlines in Step 2 of the H-1B Application Checklist. It is important to note that the salary paid to an H-1B beneficiary must meet the "prevailing wage" as determined by U.S. Department of Labor standards. H-1B applications are filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Prospective H-1B employees who are currently in the U.S. seeking to change status to H-1B status must be in valid nonimmigrant status at the time of filing the H-1B petition. Employees in H-1B status sponsored by Stevens are eligible to apply for an H-1B extension with departmental support.
An H-1B extension application must be submitted to USCIS before the expiration of the current H-1B approved period. Failure to maintain valid nonimmigrant status may result in a denial of the H-1B extension. Sponsored employees are responsible for initiating the extension application process in a timely manner by contacting their department administrator or supervisor. It is recommended that the process start no later than six (6) months prior to the expiration of the current H-1B. The ultimate responsibility is on the employee and sponsoring department to initiate the extension process with ISSS. Once a timely extension petition is filed with USCIS, an employee is authorized to continue to work for a period of 240 days while the petition is in process.
H-1B Application Overview and Timeline
- Step 1: Prevailing Wage, determined by ISSS (Dept. of Labor) or Stevens' outside counsel.
- Step 2: File a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with Department of Labor once a Prevailing Wage is determined. Processing time: up to 30 days. Post the position in two conspicuous locations at Stevens for 10 consecutive business days.
- Step 3: File the H-1B petition with USCIS once the LCA is approved and the posting period is met. USCIS processing time: 7-10 months if regular filing. If the application is premium processed, 15 calendar days.
Fee Structure (and who pays)
- $ 460.00 H-1B Filing Fee (paid by the department)
- $ 500.00 Antifraud Fee – Initial H-1B only (paid by the department)
- $ 1,440.00 Premium Processing Fee - Optional Fee to expedite the USCIS adjudication process to 15 calendar days (paid by the department)
- $ 370.00 Change of status/extension of stay application for dependents only who are in the U.S. (paid by the scholar/employee)/ +$85 fee for Biometrics
Checks must be made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (do not abbreviate name). Sponsoring departments are responsible for submitting the check request to Accounts Payable and once checks are issued, to deliver them to the ISSS office. Do not mail checks directly to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.