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Immigration

H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa

The Office of General Counsel is responsible for assisting with most employment based immigration matters. The most common employer sponsored work authorization at Miami University is for for the H-1B work visa. However, not all positions qualify for H-1B sponsorship and the Hiring Department must be willing to bear the associated costs. In addition, the Office of General Counsel must agree that there is a suitable basis for pursuing H-1B status. The amount of time it takes to obtain authorization depends on the government processing times.

Step 1: The Hiring Department and the Sponsored Employee will Provide Required Information and Documentation. 

The Hiring Department should provide the following:

  • The sponsored employees’ offer letter/acceptance letter
  • The job description
  • The index code to bill the USCIS filing fees
    • USCIS Fees: The H-1B filing fee is $325. New H-1B employment also has an additional $500 anti-fraud fee. Optional premium processing filing fee $1,225. These filing fees must be paid for by the Department.  

The Sponsored Employee should provide the following:

  • The completed Immigration Questionnaire;
  • Copy of the highest degree transcripts related to the sponsored position;
  • Copy of his/her current curriculum vitae or resume; and
  • Copy of his/her current passport identity page.
  • If the sponsored employee ever held J-1 or J-2 status in the United States provide a copy of all Forms DS-2019
    • If the sponsored employee is subject to 212(e) please also provide a copy of the recommendation  for a waiver from the U.S. Department of State or the I-612 waiver approval notice from the USCIS.

If the Sponsored Employee is in the United States:

  • A copy of the most recent visa used to enter the United States;
  • A copy of most recent I-94 (this may need to be printed from cbp website); and
  • If currently employed in the United States please provide the last two paystubs. 

If the Sponsored Employee Is In the U.S. In Another Status:

Prior H-1B or H4 Status

If the sponsored employee previously held H-1B or H-4 status please provide a copy of all previous I-797 approval notices. If the sponsored employee is currently in a dependent H-4 status, please provide the H-1B holder’s I-797 Approval Notice, two most recent paystubs, and an employment verification letter.

Prior F-1Status

If the sponsored employee is currently in F-1 or F-2 status in the U.S., please provide a copy of all Forms I-20. If applicable, please also provide the front and back of the your EAD card.

Prior L-1 status

If you ever held L-1 status please provide a copy of all I-797 approval notices  

Step 2: Labor Condition Application ("LCA")

The LCA is a requirement of the Department of Labor ("DOL") to ensure that foreign nationals are paid the prevailing, or actual wage (whichever is higher) of other U.S. workers in the same position. The Office of General Counsel will work with the Hiring Department to prepare and submit an LCA to the DOL. On average, it takes the DOL 7 days to certify an LCA and notify Miami University of the approval. 

Step 3: Drafting the H-1B Petition

The Office of General Counsel will complete Form I-129, applicable supplements, and the support letter and send the H-1B petition to the Sponsored Employee and the Hiring Department to review. Upon receiving feedback, the Office of General Counsel will make appropriate revisions and mail the petition to the USCIS. Because the Office of General Counsel does not recommend that the Sponsored Employee travel while the H-1B petition is pending please notify us as soon as possible if the sponsored employee has upcoming travel plans. 

Step 4: H-1B Adjudication

The Sponsored Employee and the Department will be notified by the Office of General Counsel when a decision is received from USCIS. If an Approval Notice is received the Office of General Counsel will email the Department  and contact the Sponsored Employee to make arrangements to visit the Office of General Counsel. During this visit, the Sponsored Employee will receive the bottom portion of the Approval Notice, as well as a complete copy of the Approval Notice. The Sponsored Employee should then visit HR or Academic Personnel to update or complete his/her I-9.

Maintaining H-1B Status

Validity Dates/Available Recapture Time

The validity period of your H-1B status is for the duration of time listed on the official I-797 Approval Notice. There is a limit of six years in the H-1B visa category, however the USCIS only grants three years at a time. Upon receiving communication from the Hiring Department that the Sponsored Employee will be reappointed, the Office of General Counsel and Academic Personnel/HR will work together to timely file to extend the Sponsored Employee's status before the end date listed on the I-797 Approval Notice. 

The USCIS only counts the time that the Sponsored Employee is actually in the U.S. towards the six year limit. The Sponsored Employee may be eligible to recapture the time spent traveling abroad during the validity period if necessary.  The USCIS will require evidence of time spent abroad (arrival/departure records, passport stamps, flight itineraries, etc.) Therefore, the Sponsored Employee should keep a copy of these documents.  

Form I-94

When the Sponsored Employee travels abroad, he/she should always print a copy of their new I-94 card from the CBP website  and verify that "admit until date" matches the expiration date listed on the I-797 Approval Notice. If the date is less than the Approval Notice date the Sponsored Employee should contact the Office of General Counsel as soon as possible. 

*The port of entry admitting officer may at his/her discretion grant an additional 10 day grace period to the I-94. The 10 day grace period is intended to allow the Sponsored Employee additional time to coordinate their departure from the U.S. The Sponsored Employee is not allowed to work during the additional 10 days.  

Passport Validity

The Sponsored Employee is required to have a valid passport at all times in order to maintain H-1B status. The Sponsored Employee may have trouble obtaining a visa to enter the U.S. if the passport is not valid for more than 6 months of the date that the Sponsored Employee seeks to enter the U.S. If the passport expiration date is earlier than the H-1B validity period, the port of entry admitting officer may issue an I-94 that only admits the Sponsored Employee to the passport expiration date instead of the H-1B validity end date.  

Terms of Employment

Miami University must accurately describe the sponsored position in the H-1B petition. If the Hiring Department would like to make changes to the sponsored employees job title, duties, or location, the Hiring Department should contact the Office of General Counsel in advance so that we can determine if an amended H-1B petition should be filed. 

If the Sponsored Employee ends his/her employment with Miami University before the expiration of the H-1B Approval Notice, the Hiring Department should notify the Office of General Counsel. Miami University is required to notify the USCIS that the employment has terminated. Upon receiving notification, the USCIS will revoke Miami University's H-1B petition. 

Change of Address

Sponsored Employees are required by law to notify the USCIS of a residential address change within 10 days of moving to the new address. This may be done electronically on the USCIS website. Sponsored Employees that move while the H-1B petition is pending should update the USCIS regarding the new addressby completing a paper AR-11 and mailing it according to the Form instructions. 

 How to Obtain an H-1B Visa

Please carefully review the U.S. Department of State website when preparing an H-1B visa application to determine the required documentation to acquire an H-1B visa. U.S. Consulates in different countries (and locations within a country) may require different documentation or have different procedures. Miami University recommends that in addition to reviewing the U.S. Department of State website to review the H-1B visa procedure, that sponsored employees:

  • Complete Form DS-160;
  • Provide one passport style photo (this may be uploaded during the DS-160 process);
  • Pay the visa filing fee and the additional reciprocity fee if applicable;
  • Schedule the visa interview ;
  • Bring with you to your interview:
    • A complete copy of Miami University’s H-1B petition;
    • An employment verification letter from Miami University (contact Academic Personnel or HR to request this letter);
    • A copy of Miami University's H-1B Approval Notice (contact the Office of General Counsel to obtain this document); and
    • Three recent paystubs.

The time it takes to obtain an H-1B entry visa can vary. There is usually a wait to attend an interview and an additional waiting period to receive the visa in your passport. It is also possible for an applicant to be selected for administrative processing which can cause a significant delay. Therefore, an H-1B visa may be obtained in as short of a time as a few days or it may take several weeks. 

General H-1B Questions & Answers

Do All Positions Qualify to Sponsor for H-1B status?
A. The position has to qualify as a “specialty occupation.” This generally means that the position must require the minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field.

How long can an individual work in H-1B status?
Individuals may work in H-1B status for a maximum of 6 years; however, in limited circumstances individuals may be eligible for additional time.

Can an H-1B Sponsored Employee bring his/her dependents to the United States?
H-1B Beneficiaries may file an H-4 application on behalf of a legal spouse and dependent children. Miami University does not provide assistance in preparing the H-4 application, or pay the filing fee. However, as a courtesy the Office of General Counsel will include the H-4 application with the H-1B petition in the package to the USCIS.

Is Miami University Subject to the H-1B CAP?
Miami University is Cap exempt. For practical purposes this means that Miami University may file an H-1B petition on behalf of a sponsored employee any time of the year.