H-1B Sponsorship

What is an H-1B?

H-1B status permits a U.S. employer to employ a non-U.S. citizen in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupation is defined as requiring the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge in a field of study.

To qualify for H-1B sponsorship, a position must require at least a bachelor's degree in specific field(s) of study. H-1B petitions are filed by the employer. As such, an individual in the United States in H-1B status is only authorized to work for their sponsoring employer.

Requesting H-1B sponsorship

To request H-1B sponsorship from the OIS, you must have Sunapsis access. Become a Sunapsis User

Please send the employee portion to the individual and, once completed, bring both portions together to the OIS as one package. Once we have received a request, we will begin the first of three steps in the H-1B process:

  1. Perform a prevailing wage analysis.
  2. Upon determining the prevailing wage, the OIS will draft a Labor Condition Application (LCA) for posting. The OIS will email the employing department contact with the LCA and instructions to reply via email with the posting start date, end date, and two locations of the postings.
  3. Upon receipt of a certified LCA from the Department of Labor, the OIS will prepare and file an H-1B petition with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Please see the Department of Labor and USCIS sections below for more information on these processes.

 

Department of Labor issues

Wages
The Department of Labor (DOL) regulations that govern the H-1B process are designed to ensure that the petitioning employer is not placing U.S. workers at a disadvantage in the hiring and employment process. One of the ways that DOL accomplishes this is by placing wage requirements on the H-1B. The University must document in the H-1B process that it is paying either the prevailing or the actual wage to the H-1B employee, whichever is higher.

The prevailing wage rate is defined as the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in the requested occupation in the area of intended employment. The OIS obtains performs a detailed analysis to determine the prevailing wage.

The actual wage is defined as what the university pays to “similarly situated employees” — meaning employees with the same job title in the same department with similar experience, qualifications, and job duties. The employing department completes the actual wage questionnaire included in the H-1B packet to document this. The University is required to pay the higher of the prevailing or actual wage to the H-1B employee.

Payment of Fees Associated with H-1B Sponsorship
The Department of Labor considers the costs associated with H-1B sponsorship to be a business expense to be borne by the employer (i.e., the University). Any fees that the prospective H-1B employee pays in connection with the filing of an H-1B petition are considered a reduction in salary. As such, all required fees associated with H-1B sponsorship must be paid by the employing department. The University cannot be reimbursed for these expenses by the H-1B employee.

If premium processing is required for employment reasons, the employing department also must pay the premium processing fee. In an audit of H-1B employees, the Department of Labor will require the employer to reimburse the fees if paid by the employee or found to be charged to the employee.

Part-Time H-1B Employment
If an H-1B employee will only be employed part time, the University is obligated under Department of Labor regulations to maintain documentation of the number of hours worked each week. This requirement includes both exempt and nonexempt positions as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The employing department will be required to maintain weekly time sheets for part-time H-1B workers. The time sheets must be maintained for three years after the end of employment in the event of an audit by the Department of Labor.

The employing department will be required to provide an estimate of the number of hours per week the H-1B employee will work (a range is acceptable). An annualized salary will be converted to an hourly rate, based on the average number of hours per week the employee is expected to work.

The University is obligated to pay the full annualized salary as listed in the H-1B paperwork. Furthermore, if the employee exceeds the number of hours per week as listed in the H-1B request, the University is obligated to pay the employee for those additional hours at the hourly rate as calculated.

Labor Condition Application (LCA)
Once the prevailing wage has been determined, the OIS must file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor. The LCA affirms that the employer will pay the higher of the prevailing or actual wage and that the employment of the H-1B worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of other workers in the occupation.

LCA regulations require that an announcement of the intention to hire an H-1B worker be posted for 10 consecutive days in at least two conspicuous locations at each place of employment where any H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed during the 30 days before the certification of the Labor Condition Application. 

The OIS will provide the hiring department with a copy of the LCA to post. Once the department has provided the OIS with the dates and locations of the postings, the OIS will submit the LCA to the Department of Labor for certification. The DOL can take up to seven federal business days to certify the LCA. On completion of this step, the application is ready to move forward to USCIS.

Public Access Files
The employer is required to maintain a “public access file” for each H-1B employee. The OIS assumes the responsibility of maintaining these files. Files are maintained for one year beyond the authorized period of employment as stated on the LCA, or for one year from the date the LCA is withdrawn, if employment is ended before the expiration date of the certified LCA. Files include the following information and must be made available to any member of the public who requests to review it:

  • Proof of the Prevailing Wage
  • A certified LCA
  • Evidence of the posted notices and the verification of the posting locations
  • Proof that the employee received a copy of the certified LCA
  • Statement of the wage rate paid to the H-1B worker
  • Actual wage statement
  • Benefits documentation

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues

Termination of H-1B Employment
The University is responsible for the costs of reasonable return transportation to the employee’s country of citizenship or last country of residence if the H-1B employee’s employment is terminated before the expiration of the H-1B petition. Only if the H-1B employee terminates the employment relationship is the University released from this obligation.

The University is required to report the termination to USCIS and to withdraw the LCA from the Department of Labor (DOL). Therefore, the employing department is required to notify the OIS in writing of any changes in the employment so that appropriate actions can be taken with USCIS and DOL. Fill the "Employee/Scholar Resignation and Termination" e-form under the "Active Employee/Scholar Reporting" link in Sunapsis.

H-1B Portability
Since the H-1B is the employer’s application, H-1B status is employer-specific. If the University wishes to employ someone who is currently in the United States in H-1B status with another employer, UMB must file an H-1B petition on the intended employee's behalf. Once the OIS has filed the H-1B petition with USCIS and has received a receipt notice documenting timely filing of the H-1B petition, the H-1B worker can begin work at UMB from the requested start date of the H-1B petition. This provision is called H-1B portability and is useful because the University does not need an approval from USCIS to legally employ the worker. As such, premium processing is not necessary for most H-1B concurrent and transfer petitions. H-1B portability only applies if the H-1B employee continues working for their current employer until UMB has had the opportunity to file an H-1B petition with USCIS.

240-Day Rule for H-1B Extensions
For current UMB H-1B workers who are extending their H-1B status, UMB can continue to employ the H-1B worker for 240 days past the expiration of the prior petition as long as UMB files the extension with USCIS before the expiration date. As such, premium processing is not necessary for timely filed H-1B extensions unless international travel is planned.

H-1B Date Selection
Many questions arise about selecting start and end dates for H-1B petitions. Date selection is a very important part of the H-1B process. The OIS takes date information directly from the request form that the employing department completes.

Start Date

  • In the case of employees who are not currently employed by UMB, whether outside the United  States (consular processing) or inside the United States working for another employer (H-1B transfer, concurrent H-1B employment), the H-1B start date should be the start date of the academic appointment, or the hire date for staff positions. In selecting the employment start date, departments should factor in the time it takes to obtain receipt notices and/or approvals by consulting our H-1B timing and fees chart, below. Please select a start date that coincides with Human Resource Services' onboarding calendar.
  • In the case of employees currently working for UMB either as an H-1B employee or pursuant to a work authorization from another immigration status, the start date is usually the day after the current work authorization expires. For someone currently working for UMB pursuant to another immigration status (i.e., F-1 OPT, J-1, etc.), an earlier start date for the H-1B can be selected to accommodate travel plans if necessary. The OIS must be apprised of concrete travel plans in advance of filing the H-1B petition (i.e., date of departure, date of return) to select the correct dates.

End Date

  • We can petition up to a full three years for an H-1B petition, subject to regulatory limits. H-1B status is limited to six years. The OIS will review the documentation submitted with the H-1B request to determine how much time is available to a prospective H-1B employee.
  • If the University terminates the employment before the expiration of the H-1B petition, the employing department is responsible for providing return transportation abroad for the employee. The employing department is required to notify the OIS in writing of the termination date so that we can withdraw the Labor Condition Application (LCA) and the H-1B petition.

Changes in the Terms of Employment
The H-1B is employer-specific, job-specific, location-specific, and salary-specific. If there are any changes to the job title, job responsibilities, salary, and/or the location of the employment, please complete the "Employment Amendment Questionnaire" under the "Active Employee/Scholar Reporting" link in Sunapsis.

H-1B Filing Fees

There are three types of filing fees for H-1B petitions. 

  • Regular Processing Fee - $460
  • Anti-Fraud Fee - $500
  • Premium Processing Fee - $2,500
H-1B Filing Types, Fees, and Travel Guidance
Filing TypeDescriptionFeesTravel
Change of Status Individual is in the U.S. in another immigration status. Required: Regular, Anti-Fraud, Premium May NOT travel outside the U.S. while petition is pending with USCIS.
Change of Employer (Transfer) Individual is in H-1B status in the U.S. working for another employer Required: Regular, Anti-Fraud, Premium May travel outside the U.S. while H-1B petition is pending as long as H-1B status with previous employer has not expired.
Extension Individual is currently in H-1B status and employed by UMB. Required: Regular, Premium  May NOT travel outside the U.S. past expiration of previous petition until extension is approved by USCIS.
Amendment Individual is currently working for UMB and has substantive change(s) to the terms of employment. Required: Regular, Premium   May travel outside the U.S. while H-1B petition is pending as long as H-1B status is still valid. 
Consular Processing Individual is currently outside the U.S.  or will be at the time the H-1B petition is filed. Required: Regular, Anti-Fraud, Premium  May travel to the U.S. upon issuance of H-1B visa stamp (Canadian citizens are exempt from visa stamp requirements). H-1B petition approval is required.
Concurrent Employment Individual is currently in H-1B status working for another employer and wishes to add UMB as an additional employer.

Required: Regular, Anti-Fraud, Premium 

May travel outside the U.S. while petition is pending as long as H-1B status with primary employer is still valid. 

H-1B Timeline and Work Flow

Timeline

Use our H-1B Start Date and Request Submission Timeline to select an achievable start date when you are submitting the H-1B request e-forms.

Our office needs a minimum of 3 months from the date the department submits a complete H-1B request to receive an approval notice from USCIS.

General H-1B Work Flow

Step 1: Information and Evidence Gathering

  • Department and scholar complete e-forms, gather and prepare supporting documents, letters, fees, etc.
  • Department submits full request in Sunapsis.

Step 2: OIS Review, U.S. Department of Labor Process

  • OIS reviews the request; communicates with department about any questions.
  • OIS conducts a prevailing wage analysis.
  • OIS drafts a Labor Condition Application (LCA) and emails the department to post it, after which OIS submits it to U.S. Department of Labor.
  • OIS prepares final H-1B petition; submits to USCIS

Step 3: Petition Pending at USCIS

  • If filed with premium processing fee, USCIS will adjudicate the petition within 15 calendar days.
    • If they require more information, USCIS will send a Request for Evidence (RFE), which will delay approval.
  • Without premium processing, the processing time at USCIS will be very lengthy (currently 7-9 months).
  • Receipt of the H-1B petition at USCIS allows current UMB H-1B employees to continue working (H-1B extension), and for H-1B employees at other employers to start work at UMB (H-1B transfer).

Step 4: H-1B Approval/Consular Processing Required if Scholar is Outside U.S.

  • Upon approval, international employees (new or continuing) who held a different immigration status may start or continue work (H-1B Change of Status)
  • For scholars outside the U.S., OIS sends the H-1B approval notice to their address abroad.
    • Scholar schedules visa appointment with U.S. Embassy/Consulate (n/a to Canadian citizens).
    • U.S. Embassy/Consulate reviews application, conducts security background check, issues visa stamp.

Step 5: Scholar Arrives at UMB/Begins work in H-1B Status

  • Scholar may enter U.S. up to 10 days before H-1B start date.
  • Scholar completes Form I-9 at HR Service Center within first 3 days of H-1B employment at UMB.