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. Request a Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) from the Department of Labor.
  2. Upon receipt of a PWD, 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 prevailing wage determinations from the Department of Labor. Prevailing wage determinations can take up to 60 days to be processed by the DOL.

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 obtained, 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.

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 for 240 days 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 ito 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 UM 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.
  • In the case of employees currently working for UM 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 UM 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 contact the OIS to obtain advice.

H-1B timing and associated fees chart

All time estimates are from the date that a complete H-1B request is submitted to OIS. All fees listed are required fees unless otherwise noted. Regular processing times at USCIS are constantly fluctuating; our best guess is it will take four or more months from the time we receive a complete request.

 

Fees, Processing Times, and Travel Allowance for Types of H-1B Cases
Case Type
Fees
Premium
Processing
Time
Regular
Processing
Time
Travel
Change of Status
to H-1B
(in the U.S. in another
immigration status)
$460 filing fee.

$500 anti-fraud fee.

$1,225 fee for
premium processing.

2-3 months to
obtain H-1B
petition approval.
4 or more months to 
obtain approval.
May NOT travel
outside the U.S.
while petition is
pending with USCIS.
H-1B transfer
(in the U.S. with 
another H-1B employer)
$460 filing fee.

$500 anti-fraud fee.

$1,225 fee for
premium processing
(optional).
2-3 months to
obtain H-1B
petition approval.
2-3 months to receive 
receipt notice
(may start work before
USCIS approval).

4 or more months to 
obtain approval.
May travel outside
the U.S. while H-1B
petition is pending
as long as H-1B
status with previous
employer has not
expired.
H-1B Extension
(currently employed by
UMB in H-1B status)
$460 filing fee.

$1,225 fee for
premium processing
(optional).
2-3 months to
obtain H-1B
petition approval.
2-3 months to receive 
receipt notice
(may continue working
while petition is pending).

4 or more months to 
obtain approval.
May NOT travel
outside the U.S.
past expiration of
previous petition
until extension is
approved by USCIS.
H-1B Amendment
(substantive change
to terms of employment
for current UMB employee)
$460 filing fee.

$1,225 fee for
premium processing
(optional).
2-3 months to
obtain H-1B
petition approval.
2-3 months to obtain
receipt notice
(does not require
approval to change
terms of employment).

4 or months to
obtain approval.
May travel outside
the U.S. while H-1B
petition is pending
as long as H-1B
status is still valid.
Consular Processing
(prospective employee
currently outside the U.S.)
$460 filing fee.

$500 anti-fraud fee.

$1,225 fee for
premium processing.

2-3 months to
obtain H-1B
petition approval.

Visa issuance
time will vary by
consulate. Please
consult OIS.
4 or more months to
obtain approval.

Visa issuance time
will vary by consulate.
Please consult OIS.
May travel to the
U.S. upon issuance
of H-1B visa
(Canadian citizens
are exempt from
visa requirements;
H-1B petition
approval IS required.)
Concurrent H-1B
Employment
(someone currently in
the U.S. in H-1B status
and wishes to add UMB
as an additional employer)
$460 filing fee.

$500 anti-fraud fee.

$1,225 fee for
premium processing
(optional).
2-3 months to
obtain H-1B
petition approval.
2-3 months to obtain
receipt notice
(may start work at UMB
before USCIS approval).

4 or more months to
obtain approval.
May travel outside
the U.S. while
petition is pending
as long as
H-1B status with
primary employer
is still valid.