International

H-1B Worker Visa

H-1B specialty workers are employed in many positions at the University of Cincinnati.

  • Professors (tenure track or adjuncts)
  • Post-doctoral fellows
  • Research Assistants/Associates
  • Many other positions

The position must require at least a bachelor’s degree in a specific field of study. Jobs that don’t require a degree in a specific field (i.e. Liberal Arts or a wide range of fields), do not qualify for H-1B specialty worker status.

You must be able to show your qualifications for an offered UC position with the following documentation:

  • A US baccalaureate degree or higher which is specifically related to and required by the specialty occupation.
  • Work experience can help fulfill the baccalaureate degree requirement, but the work experience must be directly related to the proposed duties at UC. In such cases, three years of direct work experience counts for one year of education. A professional credential evaluation must document this equivalency.
  • A foreign degree which has been evaluated by an accredited firm or organization to be equivalent to a US baccalaureate degree which is specifically related to and required by the specialty occupation, this is required for all foreign degrees except those obtained in Canada or the United Kingdom.
  • An unrestricted state license, registration or certification, authorizing the H-1B nonimmigrant to practice the specialty occupation in the state of intended employment (for positions requiring a license, such as medical doctors primarily).

Application Process

The application process for hiring an international visitor on H-1B specialty worker status is a cooperative effort between the hiring department, UC International Services and the H-1B beneficiary.

The most important thing to keep in mind about the H-1B process is that it is time consuming. Normal USCIS processing times can take as long as 8 months to make a decision. You may not start working at UC until your H-1B is approved.

H-1B petitions can be submitted to USCIS 6 months in advance of the desired start date. To ensure that the international visitor will begin/continue employment as anticipated, the hiring department will:

  • Submit a request to hire an H-1B employee using iBearcatsGlobal
  • Complete an Export Controls form
  • Submit necessary documentation to ask UC International to begin paperwork for the H-1B petition

All H-1B requests should be submitted electronically by the hiring department through the UC International iBearcatsGlobal system. After they submit the request and inform you that you have been added to the system, follow the system's instructions and provide all requested information:

  1. A copy of highest diploma and related transcript. For documents not in English, you should submit a copy of the document in the native language, along with the translation. Neither you nor your dependent family members are permitted to translate these documents. If your degree is not from a university in the US, Canada (except Quebec), or United Kingdom, an evaluation of the equivalent US degree level and field of study must be submitted with the H-1B request. 
  2. Current curriculum vitae which reflects current employment and credentials.
  3. Copy of passport picture ID page and expiration date page. Include extension page if applicable.
  4. If you have EVER held J-1 or J-2 status:
    1. Submit copies of current and ALL previously issued DS-2019 forms.
    2. If you were subject to the two-year home residency requirement, submit proof that the two-year home residency requirement was fulfilled or a copy of your I-612 waiver approval notice and “No Objection” letter from home government.
  5. If you are currently in the US on another status:
    1. F-1 or F-2 status holders should submit copies of current and ALL previously issued I-20s.
    2. Applicants on Optional Practical Training (OPT) should submit a copy of the EAD card (Employment Authorization Document), in addition to all I-20s.
    3. Statement of all previous non-immigrant statuses held in the US. This should include types of visas, dates of stay, and copies of all available documents (such as IAP-66s, DS 2019s, I-20s, I-797A Approval Notices, etc.).
  6. Copy of current I-94 record. 
  7. If you are already in H-1B status with another employer:
    1. Submit proof that you are still employed at the time of application for the UC H-1B petition. Include copies of the two most recent paycheck receipts/stubs as of the date the UC H-1B petition is filed. Remain employed until the requested UC start date. Once we have received an I-797 Receipt Notice from USCIS, you may leave your current position and begin working at UC.
    2. Copies of all approval notices for all stays in H-1B status in the US.
  8. If you have a spouse and/or children in the U.S. on a dependent status, submit:
    1. Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status) and I-539A supplement. Each dependent will need to complete a separate Form I-539A.
    2. One check made payable to the Department of Homeland Security for the I-539 fee, plus fees for each dependent submitting the I-539A supplement.
    3. Photocopy of current dependents’ I-94 cards (front and back). If their most recent entry occurred after April 30, 2013, print out an electronic copy of the I-94.
    4. Proof of relationship to the applicant (marriage or birth certificate).
    5. Copy of all dependents’ passport picture ID page and expiration date page, if different.
    6. Copy of all dependents’ visa stamps.
    7. Copy of all previous immigration-related documents (I-797 approval notices, I-20’s, IAP-66’s, DS-2019’s, etc.).
    8. Copy of current and ALL previously issued DS-2019 forms and J visa stamps.
    9. A list of actual dates of presence in U.S. per J status.
    10. Once the I-539 and I-539A forms are filed with USCIS, each dependent must attend a biometric services (fingerprinting) appointment, which will be scheduled at the Application Support Center (ASC) closest to the applicant’s address. 
  9. If you will be providing patient care and are not a graduate of an American medical program, evidence that you passed the Federal Licensing Examination (FLEX) or the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Parts I, II and III or the National Boards of Medical Examiners Certifying Examinations, Parts I, II and III.

You will need an H-1B visa in your passport if you need to travel and re-enter the United States. In order to obtain an H-1B visa from the U.S. Consulate / Embassy you will need the following documents:

  • The original I-797 H-1B approval notice from the Department of Homeland Security Service (will be provided by UC International Services at check-in or I-9 processing).
  • If the I-797 approval is not recent, a letter from your hiring department stating that you are still employed per the I-129 employment petition, your job title, your current salary and and an indication that your position is still available upon your return to the US.
  • A complete copy of petition--can be provided by USCIS.
  • A valid passport (unless passport exempt).

Check the website for the consulate at which you will apply for the visa to determine if they have any additional requirements. 

Any dependents (spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21) of H-1B workers are eligible for H-4 immigration status. To obtain an H-4 visa for them, the dependent(s) will need to bring the following documents to the U.S. Consulate / Embassy:

  • A copy of the original I-797 H-1B approval notice and I-797 H-4 approval (if applicable).
  • A copy of the I-129 employment petition submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (can be obtained from UC International Services).
  • Proof of marriage to the H-1B specialty worker (for spouses).
  • Birth certificate (for children).
  • A valid passport (unless passport exempt).

Each time you obtain an H-1B visa and new I-94 record, provide a copy to UC International using iBearcatsGlobal.

If you have filed a change of status petition to H-1B from another non-immigrant status, such as F-1, J-1 or TN, you may not travel outside of the U.S. while the petition is pending. Leaving results in abandonment of the petition.

If you need to travel, it may be necessary to request consular processing, which could result in a delayed return date. Contact our office to ensure appropriate processing.


During Your Stay

With an H-1B visa, you may change jobs or employers upon the filing of a new petition by the new employer. To do so, you must be in lawful H-1B status at the time of filing and have not engaged in any unauthorized employment since your last lawful admission.

You have a maximum stay of 6 years no matter how many different employers you work for.

One year after the filing date of your Labor Certification or Form I-140, you can extend your status beyond the six-year limit in one year increments. To request this extension, you will need:

  • proof of filing
  • the status of your Alien Employment Certification application or the USCIS receipt notice for the I-140. 

There is also an exemption for H-1B specialty workers with an approved I-140 regardless of the file date, but cannot file an I-485 application for permanent residence due to per-country ceilings. For those workers, H-1B extensions can be granted in three-year increments until a final decision is reached on their adjustment of status or consular processing application. A copy of the I-140 approval notice is required for an extension.

Need help?

Contact UC International's international worker advisors to ask questions about your H-1B visa status.