The H-1B and Permanent Residency (Green Card) processes are not a promise of tenure to the international faculty hire. The H-1B visa is a temporary work authorization visa which can be held for a maximum of six years (in 3-year increments).
Contact the Office of International Education (OIE)
Connect the faculty hire with the OIE’s Immigration Specialist to obtain the H-1B Application and H-1B Application Supplement as soon as possible since USCIS processing times can take up to 10 months or more for adjudication.
The H-1B Application requires several supplemental documents including but not limited to:
- Copies of all I-20s if individual has ever been in F-1 status (many H-1B faculty hires transition to the H-1B visa after being on one year of F-1 OPT)
- Copies of all DS-2019s if individual has ever been in J-1 status
- Copy of Receipt Notice for any pending petitions with USCIS (such as for a pending green card petition with USCIS)
- Copy of individual’s most recent I-94
- Copy of Passport
- Copy of Visa(s)
- Front and back copy of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, if applicable
- Front and back copy of Social Security Card*** (if they have one already)
- Copy of signed Offer Letter of Employment -Copy of Undergraduate and Graduate Diploma(s)
- Official undergraduate/graduate transcript(s)
- Updated copy of Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)
***PLEASE NOTE: If a new faculty hire does not yet have a Social Security Card, they will need to apply for one as soon as possible after they have entered the U.S. The H-1B visa permits individuals to enter the U.S. up to 10 days before the start of employment but the Social Security Office often needs 10 days for their system to update that the individual has entered the U.S. 20 days may not be enough time to apply for and receive a Social Security Card. Though, faculty may begin teaching while their Social Security Card application is pending.
The OIE does not consult on completing Form I-539 for H-4 Dependents. Faculty hires’ dependents are responsible for completing and submitting Form I-539 separately. Form I- 539 is required to adjust the status of the faculty member’s dependents if they are in the U.S.; if dependents are not in the U.S., Form I-539 does not have to be completed.
Labor Condition Application (LCA)
The first step in filing the H-1B is submitting a LCA with the Department of Labor (DOL). The submitted LCA gets certified by the DOL generally within ten days, and the certified LCA becomes part of the H-1B petition. OIE’s Immigration Specialist provides a copy of the certified LCA to the faculty hire and to the SCSU-AAUP Membership Services Coordinator to notify the Union that an LCA has been filed. Two additional copies of the LCA are maintained: one for the faculty member’s file in the OIE and one for Public Access Files in the OIE, per DOL requirements.
USCIS Form I-129 (H-1B Petition)
OIE’s Immigration Specialist completes Form I-129 with all supporting documents listed above.
USCIS FORM I-907 (Request for Premium Processing)
OIE's Immigration Specialist completes Form I-907 to request expedited processing. With expedited processing, adjudication of the H-1B petition takes 15 calendar days. SCSU covers the Form I-907 filing fee for the faculty member's first H-1B petition with SCSU; the faculty member is responsible for the Form I-907 filing fee for all subsequent H-1B extensions, if the faculty member wishes to expedite USCIS processing. Please note that at any moment, USCIS may suspend premium processing, which would make the H-1B petition subject to normal processing times that can take up to 10 months for USCIS to adjudicate.
Request for Evidence / Information (RFE)
USCIS may issue a RFE if additional information is required or if a section of the Form I-129 needs clarification. This can delay the overall approval process, depending on the information asked.
When the H-1B petition is approved, OIE’s Immigration Specialist receives an email notification from USCIS and the OIE can expect to receive the Form I-797 Notice of Action (H- 1B Approval) in the mail shortly.
Form I-797 and I-94 Express Mailed
Once the H-1B petition has been approved, OIE’s Immigration Specialist retains a copy of the original I-797 and mails a copy of the I-797 Approval Notice, the original I-94 (attached to the bottom of the I-797), and a copy of the LCA via FedEx to the faculty abroad to apply for his/her/their H-1B visa. If the faculty member is in the U.S., the documents will be handed to the faculty member or mailed (depending on what state the faculty member is in at the time).
Change of Address
Any change of address must be submitted to USCIS within 10 days of moving either online via the USCIS website or via Form AR-11: Change of Address Information. OIE’s Immigration Specialist and/or faculty can complete this.
Contact / Updates
H-1B faculty must keep in close contact with OIE’s Immigration Specialist or the OIE’s Director. If specific changes in employment occur, an amended H-1B petition must be filed with USCIS.
Lawful Permanent Residence (Green Card Status)
SCSU supports the following Employment-Based Categories: “EB-1: Outstanding Professors and Researchers” and “EB-2: Advanced Degree.” Faculty pursuing either of those two categories must work with the CSU-retained Immigration Attorney and the OIE’s Immigration Specialist to complete the process. For more information regarding SCSU’s Permanent Residency Process, please contact the OIE’s Immigration Specialist.
Addendum / Memo
PLEASE NOTE: SCSU currently only sponsors international faculty hires who have received an offer of employment for a full-time, tenure-track teaching position at SCSU.
Lawful Permanent Residence (LPR/Green Card) pathway considerations:
- If the position is not for a tenure-track teaching or permanent research position, the position is not eligible for the individual to pursue the “EB-1: Outstanding Professors and Researchers” pathway.
- If the position does not require an advanced degree, the position is not eligible for the person to pursue the “EB-2: Advanced Degree” pathway
The faculty hire must submit the H1-B Application Form and all supporting documents to:
Dr. Erin Heidkamp
Office of International Education
In order to avoid delays or complications, it is recommended that you contact the Director of the Office of International Education, Erin Heidkamp prior to finalizing the job offer: firstname.lastname@example.org. This will enable the OIE to review the employee's immigration history and make an initial assessment of the complexities of the situation.