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

 

Obtaining H-1B Status

You can obtain H-1B status 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.

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 you have 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, you may be eligible for a one year extension of your H-1B status. 

Premium Processing - $2,500 (paid by the employer or employee)

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 either by the institution or by you, the beneficiary. 

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. 

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

If you have ever held J-1 status and have been subject to the two-year home residence requirement, you 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). If you present a Department of State recommendation, you 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, you cannot be sponsored for H-1B status.

Portability

If you currently hold valid H-1B status with another employer, you 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, your work authorization will be immediately terminated.