H-1B status allows U.S. employers to hire qualified foreign nationals temporarily in "specialty occupations". Specialty occupations require at least a bachelor's degree, or its equivalent, in the field. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is the government agency responsible for consideration of H-1B petitions filed by U.S. employers. Employers must include a approved labor condition application from the Department of Labor with the H-1B petition, along with information about the specific position, the employer, and the beneficiary.
At ISU, the Office of the General Counsel is responsible for filing the H-1B petition. ISU sponsors the employee and the employee is considered the "beneficiary" of ISU's H-1B petition. In cases where additional expertise is required for filing of the petition, the Office of the General Counsel may engage external counsel.
New employees who were most recently in the United States on a student visa may be eligible for work authorization through the OPT (Optional Practical Training) designation of their F-1 Visas. If an individual has OPT, ISU will generally apply for the H-1B visa to begin on the day following expiration of OPT.
Employees and departments are responsible for submitting all documentation before ISU will file any applications or petitions with USCIS or the U.S. Department of Labor.
Following submission of all required documents, ISU will review the documentation and determine: (1) if the position is appropriate for an H-1B and (2) if the salary meets prevailing wage requirements. If all of the information is in order, ISU will submit a prevailing wage determination and a labor condition application to the Department of Labor. This process is done electronically and can sometimes be delayed by government processing times. Please inquire as to current processing time when submitting the required documents.
Once ISU receives an approved labor condition application, the General Counsel's Office will complete the Form I-129, Petition for Non-Immigrant Visa, and assemble all of the documents that will be included with the petition. This process generally takes 1-2 weeks.
Within a few weeks of filing, USCIS will send ISU a Receipt Notice with a Receipt Number. That information will be forwarded to the beneficiary to track progress of the petition on the USCIS website.
Processing of the H-1B is at the discretion of USCIS. Current processing times are about three and a half (3 1/2) months from the date of filing if the USCIS examiner has no questions about the petition. Again, this processing time is only an estimate and delays can and do occur. Individuals are advised not to travel outside of the United States while the H-1B petition is in process.
It is possible that USCIS will have questions about the petition or the beneficiary. If so, ISU will receive a Request for Evidence, which is the formal request from USCIS. If this occurs, the beneficiary will be contacted immediately and together we will work to answer questions posed by USCIS.
Filing fees for the H-1B petition are paid by ISU. In the event that the beneficiary wishes to file H-4 petitions for dependents (spouse, children), the beneficiary will be responsible for advance payment to ISU for the filing fee for each dependent. Failure to make timely payment for the H-4 filing fees will delay filing of the H-1B petition. For a list of current fees, please see the USCIS webpage.
Many individuals are interested in the premium processing the petition. ISU does not generally pay the costs of premium processing. If the beneficiary is interested in Premium Processing, payment must be made to ISU in advance of filing. Please see the USCIS website for the cost of premium processing fee. A USCIS decision on a petition that is filed with Premium Processing should be forthcoming within fifteen (15) business days.
Departments are responsible for completing the H-1B Sponsorship Request Form, including attaching all search information and a copy of the offer letter. Departments also need to submit a letter of support that follows the Departmental Support Letter Guidelines.
The beneficiary is responsible for providing accurate and complete copies of all documents requested, including the H-1B Employee Information Form. Should any employee or dependent information change before the H-1B decision by USCIS (such as address, marriage, birth of a child, etc.), the beneficiary should immediately update the Office of the General Counsel.
The beneficiary will be notified when ISU receives a decision by USCIS. The beneficiary should make an appointment with Tami Weinzapfel-Smith in the Office of Human Resources to receive the I-94 card and to update I-9 information. In addition, the employee will receive a copy of the entire H-1B Petition, which will include a copy of the certified Labor Condition Application.
Following the visit with Human Resources, employees are advised to contact the Payroll Office for information on the tax implications of the H-1B.
Individuals who wish to seek permanent residency based upon ISU sponsorship should review the Permanent Residency Resource Page and have a follow-up discussion with Tami Weinzapfel-Smith and Sally Hunter.
Below are links to all of the H-1B-related forms available on the International Employment at ISU website. If you have questions about any of the forms, please contact Sally Hunter in the Office of the General Counsel.
Departmental Support Letter Guidelines