H-1B Specialty Workers
H-1B specialty workers are employed in many positions at the University of Cincinnati including Professors (tenure track or adjuncts), Post-doctoral fellows, Research Assistants/Associates, and more!
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 status.
You must be able to show your qualifications for an offered UC position with the following documentation:
- A U.S. 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 U.S. 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).
Exemption from the H-1B Cap
There is an annual cap that limits the number of new H-1B petitions that can be approved each year. However, H-1B petitions for employment at UC are exempt from the cap and can be submitted at any time
Portability of H-1B Status
H-1B non-immigrants may change jobs or employers upon the filing of a new petition by the new employer as long as the individual is in lawful H-1B status at the time of filing and has not engaged in any unauthorized employment since his or her last lawful admission. Prior to the filing of such an application, the prospective employee must complete the attestation provided in the Forms tab. The employee cannot begin working at UC until we receive notice from the USCIS.
Petitions filed for individuals currently in the U.S. in another non-immigrant status such as F-1, J-1 or TN typically request a change of status to H-1B. In such situations, the individual may not travel outside of the U.S. while the petition is pending because the departure would result in abandonment of the petition. If the H-1B worker has a need to travel, it may be necessary to request consular processing, which could result in a delayed return date. Our office should be advised of travel plans to ensure appropriate processing.
Six Year Limit & Extension
H-1B specialty workers have a maximum stay of 6 years no matter how many different employers they have.
H-1B non-immigrants can extend their status beyond the six-year limit in one year increments if 365 days or more have passed since the original filing date of their Application for Alien Employment Certification (i.e. Labor Certification) or their Form I-140 (if exempt from the labor certification process). To request this extension, you will need proof of filing and 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 approved I-140’s regardless of the file date, but who 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.
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 time is 90-120 days if everything goes smoothly, but can take as long as 8 months! We recommend that you start the process early.
H-1B petitions can be submitted to USCIS 6 months in advance of the desired start date. Whether a new hire or extension, you should submit the required documents specified below to UC International Services 6 months in advance.
An applicant may not begin work at the University of Cincinnati until an H-1B is approved for UC. An I-129 petition can request H-1B employment in increments of up to three years. There is no minimum. There is also an exception for individuals who currently hold H-1B status as detailed in the Requirements tab.
At an Embassy or Consulate
You will need an H-1B visa stamp in your passport if you need to travel and re-enter the United States. In order to obtain an H-1B visa stamp 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).
You should also 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 stamp 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 for the H-1B specialty worker (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).
Make sure that each time you obtain an H-1B visa stamp and new I-94 card that you provide a copy of it to UC International Services.
All H-1B requests should be submitted electronically by the hiring department through the UC International Services iStart system. After they submit the request and inform you that you have been added to the system, go to https://ibearcatsglobal.uc.edu:
- Follow the system's instructions and provide all requested information. The required supporting documents should be supplied in PDF format.
- Give specific information, such as information about the position, a support letter from your department, and information about your employer.
Additional Instructions For College Of Medicine Workers
- If the position is a dual position that provides teaching for the COM and clinical services for UC Physicians, Inc., both UC and UCP are required to provide separate materials, as described in 1-6 above. In addition, UCP needs to provide a $750 processing fee payable to the University of Cincinnati. The COM staff member coordinating the UC piece of the petition will need to collect the documents from UCP and submit them with the H1-B request.
- If the position is a dual position that provides teaching for COM and clinical services for UCP, the "Information About the Position" form must be completed and attached to the request.
- If you will be providing patient care or receiving clinical training, a license to practice medicine in the State of Ohio is required and must be submitted.
- If you will be providing patient care and are not a graduate of an American medical program, you must submit 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.
After receiving an H-1B request and all required documents, UC International Services will:
UC International Services will contact the hiring department and H-1B worker when we receive approval from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The beneficiary must report to UC International Services with his/her passport to complete the International Visitor’s interview sheet before beginning employment at UC.
Please be prepared for this process to take three to four months, for collection of necessary letters, documents, etc. and processing time at USCIS. Please allow enough time!!! If at any time during the period of authorized employment, you wish to relocate or change your title or dutiesr, a new H-1B petition will need to be submitted to USCIS prior to making the change.
The application fee for H-1B specialty worker petitions is $460.00. This fee must be paid by the hiring department.
Fraud Prevention & Detection Fee ("New" Cases Only)
A fraud prevention and detection fee of $500 is required for all "new" H-1B cases. A "new" case is defined as the first H-1B petition filed by UC for the benefit of a specific employee, it would include someone being hired at UC for the first time (even if they hold H-1B with another employer) or someone who currently holds another nonimmigrant status (J-1, F-1) and wants to change status to H-1B. This fee does not apply to H-1B extension petitions for individuals currently working at UC. The hiring department must pay this fee when it’s applicable and two checks made payable to the Department of Homeland Security (one for $460.00 and one for $500.00) must be submitted.
Fee for Dependents
If dependents will be included in the petition, an additional fee of $370.00, made payable to the Department of Homeland Security, and an I-539 application must be submitted. This is a flat fee regardless of how many dependents the prospective employee has. This fee can be paid by the prospective employee or the hiring department. Please note that an I-539 application is not necessary in consular processing cases.
A draft I-539 and supporting documents (passport bio/extension page, front and back of I-94 card, current visa, all prior H-4 approved notices, all prior J documents) should be submitted with the H-1B request. You need to submit a photocopy of the front and back of your I-94 card if your most recent entry to the U.S. was prior to April 30, 2013. If your most recent entry occured after April 30, 2013, print out an electronic copy of the I-94 at http://www.cbp.gov/i94.
Premium Processing Fee (Optional)
A premium processing fee is an optional fee of $1,225.00, made payable to the Department of Homeland Security, that may be paid when circumstances warrant a quick approval. Payment of the premium processing fee will ensure that a decision on the H-1B petition or notification for additional evidence is made within 15 calendar days. It usually takes 3 to 4 weeks for UC International Services to receive the formal answer (approval or denial) in the mail.
To expedite receipt of the original notice regarding the USCIS decision, the department can include an express mail label (which contains the dept’s account number) and packaging addressed to our office for use by USCIS in sending the approval notice.
Any department wishing to use the premium processing option must notify UC International Services of the intention when submitting the request for H-1B status by including an additional $1,225.00 with the fees. The premium processing fee must be paid by the hiring department, not the individual being hired, unless the need for expedited processing is personal, not business related.
Business reasons would include, but are not limited to, the worker’s current status expiring before the petition would normally be approved. Personal reasons would include the H-1B specialty worker needing to travel in the near future. The attached "H-1B Premium Processing Policy and Employee Attestation" must be completed and submitted by the employee only in cases where the employee wants to pay the premium processing fee for personal reasons. The attestation is not required if the department is paying the premium processing fee.
Hiring departments should use this checklist to determine the documents that need to be submitted to UC International Services in support of an H1-B application request
Use this form as a compliance tool to certify the hours worked weekly for H-1B specialty workers who are working part-time (i.e. not 40 hours per week) and who are salaried (i.e. hours worked are not being tracked in Kronos).
Use this form to provide detailed information for Faculty Positions in the College of Medicine
The following documents must be provided to the hiring department by the H-1B applicant or uploaded with the “Applicant Information” eForm in iBearcatsGlobal directly by the applicant. NOTE: Make sure that all documents are legible and of good quality. For photo documents, assure that facial features are discernible.
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 U.S., Canada (except Quebec), or United Kingdom, an evaluation of the equivalent U.S. degree level and field of study must be submitted with the H-1B request. A list of companies that prepare credential evaluations can be obtained from the UC International Services website.
- Current curriculum vitae which reflects current employment and credentials.
- Copy of passport picture ID page and expiration date page. Include extension page if applicable.
- If the H-1B applicant has EVER held J-1 or J-2 status, copies of the following documents must be submitted:
- J-1 or J-2 status holders should submit copies of current and ALL previously issued DS-2019 forms.
- J-1 status holders subject to the two-year home residency requirement should also submit a copy of their I-612 waiver approval notice and “No Objection” letter from home government -OR- Proof that the two-year home residency requirement was fulfilled.
- If the H-1B applicant is currently in the U.S. on another status, copies of the following documents must be submitted:
- F-1 or F-2 status holders should submit copies of current and ALL previously issued I-20s.
- Applicants on Optional Practical Training (OPT) should submit a copy of the EAD card (Employment Authorization Document), in addition to all I-20s.
- Statement of all previous non-immigrant statuses held in the U.S. 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.).
- Photocopy of current I-94 card (front and back). If your most recent entry occurred after April 30, 2013, print out an electronic I-94 card at http://www.cbp.gov/i94.
- If the applicant is already in the U.S. per H-1B status with another employer, copies of the following documents must be submitted:
- Proof that the employment is still in effect at the time of application for the UC H-1B petition. Such proof should include copies of the two most recent paycheck receipts/stubs as of the date the UC H-1B petition is filed with USCIS. The applicant must remain employed until the requested UC start date. Once we have received an I-797 Receipt Notice from USCIS, the applicant may leave his/her current position and begin working at UC.
- Copies of all approval notices for all stays in H-1B status in the U.S.
- If the applicant has a spouse and/or children in the U.S. on a dependent status, the following must be submitted:
- Form I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status). This form can be found on the USCIS website at: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539.pdf. Note: The oldest dependent should be listed as the applicant and additional dependents should be listed on Page 5, Supplement.
- One check for $460, made payable to the Department of Homeland Security.
- 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 at http://www.cbp.gov/i94.
- Proof of relationship to the applicant (marriage or birth certificate).
- Copy of all dependents’ passport picture ID page and expiration date page, if different.
- Copy of all dependents’ visa stamps.
- Copy of ALL previous immigration-related documents (I-797 approval notices, I-20’s, IAP-66’s, DS-2019’s, etc.).
- Copy of current and ALL previously issued DS-2019 forms and J visa stamps.
- A list of actual dates of presence in U.S. per J status.
- If the applicant is providing patient care and is not a graduate of an American medical program, evidence that the H-1B specialty worker 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.