H-1B Workers

International Services (IS) processes H-1B petitions for full-time tenure-track faculty and full-time permanent staff, and advises on issues related to H-1B status. This document describes the H-1B petition process for applicants and their hiring departments. The H-1B process should be initiated at least six months prior to the date the employee is expected to begin work in H-1B status. Approval of H-1B immigration status (in the form of a hard copy of the I-797 Approval Notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) must be obtained before the individual can be placed on Montclair State University payroll and begin work unless the individual possesses another immigration status that allows employment while the H-1B petition is pending.

All documents must be submitted in digital form to:         

Elizabeth Gill

Director of International Services

E-mail: gille@mail.montclair.edu 

Phone: 973-655-6862

 

The H-1B Process 

­Steps

Processing Time

1. The hiring department requests the required checks (listed under “Filing Fees”).

The time for processing check requests is determined by Accounting Services, but should be assumed to be at least two weeks. The checks do not need to cut before beginning step 2, so steps 1 and 2 can happen concurrently.

2. The applicant and hiring department submit the H-1B application package to IS. The application includes all the required documents listed under “Required Documents from Hiring Department” and “Required Documents from Applicant.”

 

It usually takes about two weeks for the department and the applicant to gather and prepare documents. However, only the “Required Documents from Hiring Department” are needed for step 3, so the applicant may gather documents while step 3 is being processed.

3. IS will file a Request for Prevailing Wage Determination with the Department of Labor (DOL) to guarantee that MSU is paying the wage required for the individual’s position.

The time needed to obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination from the DOL is approximately 120 days. If the applicant’s position at MSU is covered by a currently valid collective bargaining agreement, this step can be skipped.

4. IS submits a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL) to affirm that MSU will meet the prevailing wage and other legal requirements of the H-1B.

 

The DOL takes up to 30 days to certify the LCA, but the usual processing time is two weeks.

5. After receiving the LCA certification, IS will prepare the H-1B petition for filing.

The IS processing time from the time of the LCA certification to the filing the H-1B petition is two weeks.

6. IS submits the H-1B petition by mail to USCIS, and USCIS adjudicates the application.

With premium processing (additional $1225), an application is adjudicated in no more than 15 calendar days, but please add three days for shipping to CA. With standard processing, the application may take 9 months or longer to be adjudicated. However, premium processing may be requested at any point while the H-1B petition is pending.

7. If the petition is approved, IS will first receive an e-mail notification.

 

8. The paper I-797 Approval Notice arrives in the mail.

This typically arrives within 1 week of the e-mail notice.

9. IS contacts the applicant to receive the I-797 and to participate in H-1B orientation.

IS will contact the applicant within 1 business day of receiving the paper notice if the applicant is unable to work due to the absence of work authorization. IS will provide the H-1B employee with a copy of his or her I-797 Approval Notice and a full copy of the petition filed with USCIS, including the LCA. H-1B orientation consists of guidance as to the rules and responsibilities for maintaining H-1B status.

 

 

Information and Responsibilities

Qualifying for H-1B Classification

  • The position offered must qualify as a “specialty occupation,” which is an occupation that requires “(A) theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and (B) attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.” 
  • In order to qualify as a “specialty occupation,” the position of employment must require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a particular field (the job ad must be more specific than “a bachelor’s degree in a related field”), and the applicant must possess a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in a specific field which is 1) specified in the job description or 2) closely related to the field(s) mentioned in the job description. Additionally, the applicant must possess all of the required qualifications listed in the position description. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree equivalence will be required to provide substantial supporting documentation.

 

Additional Information on H-1B Classification

Employees can be in H-1B status for up to three years at a time, for a total of six years, but an employer may not sponsor an applicant for a period of time that exceeds guaranteed funding. If funding can only be guaranteed for one year at a time, MSU will have to submit a new H-1B petition each year. For more information about what qualifies as “guaranteed” funding, please consult the Director of International Services. 

  • H-1B status is employer-specific, so an H-1B employee may only work for an employer who has an approved H1-B petition on his/her behalf. However, an employee may work for more than one employer as long as each employer has an H-1B Approval Notice for the applicant. 
  • Upon approval of the H-1B petition, the H-1B employee will be given a copy of his or her approved Labor Condition Application (LCA), which lists the employee’s actual wage (what she or he is actually being paid). If the employee is not receiving the actual wage listed on the Labor Condition Application, she or he should contact IS immediately. 
  • An H-1B employee for whom MSU has filed a timely application for an extension of H-1B stay can continue employment while the request for extension of stay is pending with USCIS for a period of up to 240 days beyond the expiration of the prior period of authorized stay as long as the following conditions are met: 
  • The application must be received by USCIS before the expiration of the current period of H-1B status (as per 8 CFR 214.1(c)(4)) AND 
  • The H-1B employee must continue to work only for the same employer that has filed the extension of stay petition on the employee’s behalf. 
  • H-1B immigration status recognizes dual intent, which means that an H-1B employee may apply for Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR or “green card”) while in H-1B status, but applicants should advise IS as to their future plans when initiating the H-1B process so that IS may provide proper guidance.

 

Processing Times

The H-1B processing times are outlined on page one of this document. To allow for sufficient time for IS and government processing, the H-1B process should be initiated with IS at least six months prior to the proposed employment start date or the end date of the employee’s current period of H-1B status. If a complete application package is not submitted to IS in a timely manner, IS cannot guarantee that the application will be processed in time for the employee to start or continue work on schedule. Please note IS processing times may vary depending on current caseload.

 

Filing Fees

The hiring department is responsible for paying all H-1B filing fees with the exception of the fee for Form I-539 (where applicable). All fees must be paid by separate checks made payable to the “Department of Homeland Security.” Once the checks are cut, please have them hand-delivered to the IS office; please do not put checks in interoffice mail. The H-1B filing fees are:

  • $325 (through 12/22/2016; for petitions filed on or after 12/23/2016$460) for Form I-129, petition for H-1B worker – Paid by hiring department
  • $500 for Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee (for an initial H-1B at MSU only) – Paid by hiring dept.
  • $1,225 for Form I-907, Premium Processing Fee – Paid by hiring department or applicant (optional; see note below)
  • $290 for Form I-539, application for H-4 dependents – Paid by applicant, if she or he has dependent(s)

Premium processing: For an additional $1,225 USCIS will adjudicate (approve, deny, or send a Request for Evidence) an H-1B petition within 15 calendar days of receipt of the mailed petition.

 

Required Documents from Hiring Department

  • Request check(s) from Accounting Services, payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security” (see “Filing Fees” above):
    • From finance.montclair.edu, select Main Menu -- Procurement à Requisition -- Special Request (select “CR” in category)
    • If an invoice is required, please submit the paper invoice to Accounting Services. A sample invoice can be found here.
    • Once checks are cut, please have them hand-delivered to the IS office; please do not put checks in interoffice mail. 
  • Create a letter of support, and have it signed by the appropriate MSU employee. Before getting a signature on the letter, please send it to the Director of International Services for review. 
  • When requested by the Director of International Services, post a hard copy of the applicant’s Labor Condition Application (LCA) in a conspicuous location in the hiring department and retain posting in aforementioned location for 10 calendar days.

All forms should be completed digitally to facilitate the transfer of information to government forms. Please do not staple any paper documents together.

 

Required Documents from Applicant

The applicant must submit all of the following forms and documents as one complete package to IS. All forms should be completed digitally to facilitate the transfer of information to government forms. Please do not staple any paper documents together.

 

NEW APPLICANTS IN THE U.S.

NEW APPLICANTS OUTSIDE THE U.S.

 

MSU H-1B EMPLOYEES APPLYING FOR AN EXTENSION or EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRING THEIR H-1B STATUS TO MSU

 

 

 

Three copies of:

  • Official employment offer letter signed by the President of MSU
  • Diplomas* and official English translations 
  • I-94: stamp and electronic record and paper card, if applicable
  • Passport ID page (with picture)
  • Visa stamp (with picture)
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé

 

 

 

 

* If your degree was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States, you must submit an official credential evaluation performed by an organization such as World Education Services (WES) stating the U.S. equivalent of your degree.

 

If currently or previously in J-1/J-2 status, three copies of:

  • All Forms IAP-66/DS-2019
  • Proof of having met the requirements of INS 212(e) (the two-year home residence requirement) or a waiver of that requirement (Form I-612)
  • Marriage certificate and translation if currently in J-2 status.

 

If currently in F-1/F-2  status, three copies of:

  • All Forms I-20 (including any accompanying F-2 I-20s, if applicable)
  • EAD card(s), if applicable
  • Marriage certificate and official translation if in F-2 status

 

Completed by dependents (if in the U.S.):

  • Form I-539
  • $290.00 fee payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
  • Proof of dependent relationship(s) to applicant (marriage certificate for spouses and birth certificate for children)
  • Copies of dependent(s)’ I-94:  stamp and electronic record and paper card, if applicable
  • Passport ID page (with picture)
  • Visa stamp (with picture)

 

 

Three copies of:

  • Official employment offer letter signed by the President of MSU
  • Diplomas* and official English translations
  • Passport ID page (with picture)
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé
  • Any former immigration documents   that you obtained from previous       periods of stay in the U.S.

 

 

 

 

 

* If your degree was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States, you must submit an official credential evaluation performed by an organization such as World Education Services (WES) stating the U.S. equivalent of your degree.

                

NOTE: Please contact the U.S. embassy/consulate where you will be applying for the visa and find out what documentation is required at the time of application and how far in advance you must make a visa appointment. (Please note that Canadiancitizens are exempt from the visa requirement.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three copies of:

  • Official employment offer letter signed by the President of MSU along with any annual renewal letters
  • All previous Forms I-797
  • Diplomas* and official English translations
  • I-94: stamp and electronic record and paper card, if applicable
  • Passport ID page (with picture)
  • Visa stamp (with picture)
  • Curriculum vitae or résumé
  • Last 4 paystubs from current employer
  • Form W-2

 

* If your degree was awarded by an educational institution outside of the United States, you must submit an official credential evaluation performed by an organization such as World Education Services (WES) stating the U.S. equivalent of your degree.

 

Completed by dependents:

  • Form I-539
  • All previous Forms I-797
  • $290.00 fee payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
  • Proof of dependent relationship(s) to applicant (marriage certificate for spouses and birth certificate for children)
  • Copies of dependent(s)’ I-94:  stamp and electronic record and paper card, if applicable
  • Passport ID page (with picture)
  • Visa stamp (with picture)