H-1B Process at Texas A&M University San Antonio

 

Obtaining H-1B Status

H-1B status is obtained through the Office of International Affairs. The hiring department will initiate the request to obtain the H-1B petition with the Office of International Affairs. Prior to filing the nonimmigrant petition with USCIS, a prevailing wage must be obtained from the Department of Labor (DOL) and file a Labor Condition Application with the DOL. Once filed, USCIS will issue a receipt notice as evidence that the petition has been received and will be processed. The OIA will forward the receipt number which can be used to check the status of the case.

In order to better assist and insure a smooth transition in obtaining H-1B status, we ask that all possible beneficiaries fill out an H-1B Biodata Form.

Supporting Documents required from Beneficiary for H-1B process

Once the H-1B process has been initiated, the Office of International Affairs will communicate directly with the Beneficiary on the process and will collect the supporting documents needed from the Beneficiary. Depending on the type H-1B process needed, the typical documents required are as follows:

  1. For an F-1 Student or F-2 Dependent changing to H-1B Status include:
    • Copies of all previous I-20's (visa eligibility documents)
    • Copy of most recent visa
    • Copy of most recent I-94 (front & back, if applicable)
    • Copy of Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if applicable
  2. For a J-1 Exchange Visitor or J-2 Dependent changing to H-1B Status include:
    • Copy of all previous DS-2019's (visa eligibility documents)
    • Copy of most recent visa
    • Copy of most recent I-94 (front & back, if applicable)
    • Copy of Employment Authorization Document (EAD), if applicable for J-2s
    • Copy of U.S. Department of State letter recommending waiver of "Foreign Residence Requirement," if applicable
    • Copy of Approval of Waiver of "Foreign Residence Requirement," if applicable
  3. For an Employee currently in H-1B filing for a "Change of Employer" include:
    • Copy of I-797 Approval Notice granting current H-1B status
    • Copy of most recent visa
    • Copy of most recent I-94 (front & back, if applicable)
    • Copy of Social Security Card
    • Copy of most recent pay stub / salary record (to establish employee is currently employed)
  4. For an Extension of current H-1B status include:
    • Copy of I-797 Approval Notice granting current H-1B status
    • Copy of most recent visa
    • Copy of most recent I-94 (front & back, if applicable)
    • Copies of employee's employment documents
    • Copy of Social Security card
    • Copies of pay stubs for the last six (6) months

Duration of H-1B Status

In general, H-1B status may be held for a maximum of 6 years. Exceptions to this include the following instances: 1.) If the foreign national has spent time abroad while in H-1B status, that time is recoverable; 2.) If 365 or more days have elapsed since a labor certification or I-140 benefiting the H-1B holder was filed, he or she may be eligible for a one year extension of his or her H-1B status. 

Premium Processing

H-1B petitions may be processed faster by USCIS for applicants who choose the Premium Processing service. The Premium Processing service provides expedited processing for certain employment-based petitions and applications. Specifically, USCIS guarantees 15 calendar day processing to those petitioners or applicants who choose to use this service. 

Nonetheless, while USCIS guarantees 15 calendar day processing to qualifying petitioners, this two-week period of time only applies to USCIS reviewing of the petition and does not apply to the OIA’s processing time for any required preliminary steps to the preparation and mailing of the petition to USCIS. Preliminary steps include but are not limited to: sponsorship approval, prevailing wage determination, labor conditions application, notice posting, and preparation of appropriate forms. 

Note, Premium Processing can be paid for by either the institution or the beneficiary. 

Amendment of H-1B Employment

When there has been any material changes in the terms and conditions of employment or training or the alien's eligibility as specified in the original approved petition, the petitioner has to file an amended or new petition, with the appropriate filing fee, with the Service Center where the original petition was filed to reflect this change.  

When filing an amended or new H-1B petition, it must be accompanied by a current or new Department of Labor determination. In the case of an H-1B petition, this requirement includes a new labor condition application. 8 CFR § 214.2(h)(2)(i)(E)

Travel/Re-Entry on H-1B Status

Prior to traveling abroad, you are required to inform the Office of International Affairs of your international travel plans at least two weeks prior to your scheduled departing. It is required that you carry all of your original immigration documents as well as appropriate supporting documents when traveling outside the U.S. and upon re-entry.  

It is important that you fully understand the visa requirements to travel to the country you will be visiting.  Any information about visa requirements to travel into a country other than the U.S. must be obtained from your travel agent or by contacting the Embassy or Consulate of the country you will be traveling to.  

To ensure that your Department is aware of any foreign travel that may result in a delay of your return to providing services, the Office of International Affairs strongly encourages you to inform your Department Administrator and immediate Supervisor/Program Director of expected foreign travel. 

Filing Fees

As of July 9, 2019, the filling fees for an H-1B petition are as follows:

  1. $460 – H-1B petition fee (Fee applies to initial and/or H-1B extensions);
  2. $500 – Anti-fraud fee (Fee applies to initial H-1B petitions only);
  3. $1,410 – Premium Processing fee (Fee is optional and can be paid by the department or the beneficiary).

 The employer is responsible for these fees* and must pay each of these fees in the form of checks made payable to "Department of Homeland Security".

*The Premium Processing fee may be paid for by either the employer or the employee.

J-1 Subject to the Two Year Home Residence Requirement Changing to H-1B Status

H-1B applicants who have ever held J-1 status and have been subject to the two year home residence requirement must present evidence of either satisfying the requirement or having the requirement waived. Evidence of having the requirement waived is a Department of State waiver recommendation or a USCIS waiver approval (Form I-612). Those applicants who present a Department of State recommendation must be prepared to show the actual I-612 waiver approval notice when applying for a visa at a U.S. consulate. If evidence satisfying the two year home residence requirement cannot be presented, the H-1B applicant cannot be sponsored for H-1B status.
 
Portability

Individuals who currently hold valid H-1B status with another employer may begin employment at Texas A&M University San Antonio as soon as the petition is filed with USCIS. Under this circumstance, the individual does not have to wait for the new petition to be approved before employment commences. However, if the petition is denied, the employee's work authorization is immediately terminated.