H-1B Visa

Employer-Specific Specialty Occupations

 

H-1B status is for employees who work in a “specialty occupation” that requires the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field. At UT Dallas, H-1Bs include (but are not limited to) Professors, Research Associates, Postdoctoral Fellows, and certain technical personnel. Employees in H-1B visa status may choose to pursue permanent residence in the United States. Because H-1B status enables someone to come here with “dual intent”, many scholars believe that the H-1B offers an easier pathway to permanent residence than other visas.

Duration of Stay
Application Process
Wage Requirements
Work Stipulations
Change of Employer
Dependents
Maintaining H-1B Status
Travel Outside the US
Frequently Asked Questions

Duration of Stay

The H-1B visa can be used for a maximum of six years. The initial H-1B can be granted for up to three years (this is determined by the hiring department), and it can be renewed for up to three additional years. Extensions beyond the sixth year may be possible if the applicant has begun the residency process by filing an employment-based permanent residency application and meets certain conditions.

After six years in an H-1B status, the employee must leave the US for one full year before an employer can file a new H-1B to restart a six year period.

Application Process

To obtain an H-1B visa, the following steps are required:

  1. The applicant and department will need to complete the UT Dallas H-1B Worker Request Form (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 168KB), and return to the Office of Human Resources (HR [Human Resources] ) with required documentation. See Frequently Asked Questions and H-1B Petition Check Request (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 63KB).
  2. HR [Human Resources] will begin the process by requesting a prevailing wage determination with the Department of State (DOS [Department of State] ).
  3. After the prevailing wage has been determined, HR [Human Resources] will file the Labor Condition Application (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ) with the Department of Labor (DOL [Department of Labor] ). This will take approximately seven business days.
  4. After the LCA [Labor Condition Application] has been certified, HR [Human Resources] will file a petition (Form I-129) with the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS [Department of Homeland Security] ) / US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS [US Citizenship and Immigration Services] ) at the California processing center. At this time, the beneficiary will receive a tracking number to monitor the delivery of the application. It will take approximately ten days for the receipt notice to be received at UT Dallas.
  5. Once it is received, a copy of the receipt will be sent to the beneficiary. A receipt number can be used to track your application progress.
  6. After the petition is approved, the beneficiary will receive a packet of information with further instructions from HR [Human Resources] .

Wage Requirements

Employers must demonstrate to the DOL [Department of Labor] that they will pay wages to the H-1B nonimmigrant workers that are at least equal to the actual wage paid by the employer to other workers with similar experience and qualifications for the job in question, or the prevailing wage for the occupation in the area of intended employment, whichever is greater. A Labor Condition Application (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ) must be submitted to the DOL [Department of Labor] to attest that the appropriate wages will be paid.

Work Stipulations

H-1B employees can do only the work that is listed on their H-1B petition. The employer, work location, title, and duties must match what is listed on the petition. If the job and/or work location changes, the department will need to file an amended H-1B petition. If there is an additional work site, this location must also be listed on the petition. H-1B visa holders can have “concurrent” employment as long as both employers are able to sponsor an H-1B. The employee should have a separate H-1B visa for each employer.

Change of Employer

If the foreign national is in the United States and seeks to change employers, the prospective new employer must file a petition requesting the classification and extension of the foreign national’s stay in the United States. The H-1B should not resign his current position until the new employer has received a receipt notice or until the new approval notice is received.

Dependents

Spouse and unmarried children who are under the age of 21 may qualify for H-4 dependent status. An H-4 visa does not allow for work authorization or volunteering. A spouse is only eligible to work if they are on a visa that allows work authorization.

Maintaining H-1B Status

To maintain your H-1B status, you must do the following:

  • Continue to perform the work described in your approved H-1B petition. If your position changes (new job duties, a new job title, or a transfer to another department), HR [Human Resources] will help you determine the need to file a new H-1B petition.
  • Maintain a valid passport and I-94 card.
  • Report any changes to your local address within 10 days by completing a Form AR-11 on paper or online.

Travel Outside the US

You can travel outside of the US while on an H-1B visa. When traveling, the employee must be sure to have their passport (valid six months into the future), I-94, an employment verification letter, your I-797 Approval Notice, a copy of your application packet and Labor Condition Application (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ). They must also have a valid visa stamp in your passport (unless they are a Canadian citizen) for reentry into the US, and make sure their visa will be unexpired on their anticipated re-entry date.

If the H-1B petition is pending, travel is not allowed outside of the US until the petition has been approved. If traveling while the application is pending, it will void the process.

If the employee has a valid H-1B and are applying for an amendment or an extension, travel is not allowed out of the country on the day that the application is filed with the processing center. After the visa application has been received by the processing center, as determined by the receipt of the I-797 Receipt Notice, travel is allowed out of the country. The employee will be able to return to the US as long as their I-94 has a current end date. They are not eligible to return to the US on an expired I-94 or an expired passport.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Along with the completed H-1B Request Form, what accompanying documents are needed in order to apply for an H-1B visa?

Copies of the following documents are needed for all applicants:

  • Passport
  • Waiver, if subject to the 2-year home residency requirement
  • UT Dallas job offer letter
  • Highest diploma earned (with translation if not in English, and evaluation of foreign diploma)
  • Curriculum vitae, including list of publications
  • Check for $460 for H-1B petition — to be provided by department
  • Check for $500 for Anti-fraud fee — to be provided by department

If currently in the US, copies of the following additional documents are required:

  • Any immigration documents pertaining to the applicant’s status (such as DS-2019, I-20, I-797, etc).
  • Most recent I-94 (arrival/departure record)
  • Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if applicable
  • Current position’s job description, most recent W-2s, and 3 most recent check stubs (if applying for extension of H-1B or changing employers)

If the applicant has dependents, copies of the following additional documents are required:

  • Dependents’ passport
  • Marriage license with translations
  • Dependents’ most recent I-94, if applicable

 

Who pays for the H-1B visa?

The employer is required to pay the H-1B application fee and the anti-fraud fee. For check processing procedures, see Instructions to Request Checks for H-1B Petitions (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 63KB).

 

How long does it take to apply for an H-1B visa?

The paperwork processing time is approximately 45 days. Once the application has been prepared, it will be submitted to the California Processing Center.

California Service Center Processing Times >>

 

Can my application be processed faster?

Premium Processing is available and guarantees processing of the application within a 15 calendar day time period. The fee for this is $1,225. This is not an employer mandated fee and can be paid by the employer or the employee.

Please Note: Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS [US Citizenship and Immigration Services] will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification. The public will be notified before resuming premium processing for H-1B petitions. More Information >>

 

Is UT Dallas subject to the annual cap on the number of visas issued?

No. Higher Education is exempt from the H-1B Cap.

 

What happens to my H-1B visa if the employee resigns from their job?

If employment is ended because you are changing employers and your H-1B is still effective, you need to notify the Human Resources office.

 

What happens if the employee is terminated?

Your employee’s H-1B status ends when they complete their work at UT Dallas or employment is terminated. If your petition covers a longer period and employment is terminated, that means their visa will end on the date of termination. If the employee’s status is not extended or changed, they should plan to leave the country immediately when their H-1B status ends. Some H-1B employees are granted a 10-day grace period before they must leave the country. This would be indicated on their I-94.

Forms

H-1B Worker Request (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 168KB)

H-1B Petition Check Request (PDF [Portable Document Format File] , 63KB)

USCIS [US Citizenship and Immigration Services] Form AR-11 - Change of Address (paper)