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H-1B Temporary Workers

The H-1B visa is available for employees who can be considered "temporary workers in a specialty occupation." Specialty occupations are positions that require the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge and skills. Tufts uses the H-1B visa to obtain work authorization for most faculty positions, certain research staff, and a limited number of administrative positions requiring specialized knowledge.

H-1B Features

The primary characteristics of the H-1B visa include the following:

  • Specialty Occupation: The individual must be hired to a position that meets the definition of specialty occupation. In most cases, this means that the position must require the minimum of a bachelor's degree (or the equivalent combination of education and experience) in a specific disciplinary area, and the employee must possess the requisite credentials and experience. Positions that do not require the theoretical and practical application of specialized knowledge do not qualify for H-1B status.
  • Wage Requirement: The position must offer the employee the higher of the actual wage (the wage offered to similarly employed and qualified individuals) or the prevailing wage (the regional average for similar occupational positions). The International Center will determine the prevailing wage based on the employee's position characteristics and duties.
  • Authorization Maximum: The employment may be initially authorized up to three years, with the possibility of further extensions up to a maximum of six years. Certain individuals who are in the process of obtaining permanent residence may be eligible for additional time beyond the six-year maximum.
  • Fee Responsibility: The department is ordinarily required to assume responsibility for all International Center and USCIS fees.
  • Deemed Export Attestation (see below): The employer must determine whether a license is required if the employee will have access to items or technology (including data, equipment, software, technology or data)  controlled under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the US Department of Commerce and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the US Department of State.
  • USCIS Authorization Required: The position requires Tufts to submit a petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for approval. USCIS approval must be granted prior to the start of employment.
  • Employer- and Job-Specific: H-1B authorization is employer- and job-specific, which means that the H-1B temporary workers can only work for the specific employer and specific position for which they received USCIS authorization. Any changes to the employer or material changes to the sponsored job or position may not be undertaken without prior authorization from USCIS.
  • Full or Part-time Employment: H-1B status may be requested for employees hired to either full- or part-time positions, but any change in FTE taking an employee from full- to part-time employment (or vice versa) will require Tufts to file an amended H-1B petition prior to implementing the change. In addition, the University is required to maintain payroll records for part-time employees documenting hours worked each day and week. These records should be retained either through payroll timekeep (if hours are typically reported to Payroll) or through an internal department record keeping process.
  • Return Transportation for Terminated Employees: If the H-1B worker is terminated or dismissed before the petition authorization period expires, the employer is required to offer to pay the reasonable costs of one-way return transportation to the worker's last country of residence.

Requesting an H-1B Temporary Worker

Department Compliance Obligations for H-1B Employees

Any department employing an individual for H-1B status is required to offer the employee the job opportunity and wages specified in the original petition submitted by Tufts to USCIS. If the department is unable to maintain the employee in the position, the International Center must be notified immediately.

The International Center should also be notified in advance if any of the following situations may apply to an employee:

  • The employee takes a paid or unpaid leave of absence from work
  • The employee's duties undergo a material change (outside of normal salary progression) such as:
    • Change in the physical site or organizational location of employment
    • Addition of new duties, titles, or job descriptions to the employee's position
    • Change in FTE from full-time to part-time (or vice-versa)
    • Addition of supervisory duties to a previously non-supervisory position
    • Reduction in salary
    • Other changes that are potentially materially significant
  • The employee voluntarily departs from Tufts or is the subject of a bona fide termination

Part-time Employees: If the H-1B employee is employed less than 35 hours per week, Department of Labor regulations require the employer to maintain records showing "time and hours worked each day," except for holidays, weekends, and vacation days. The records should document that the employee is working at the part-time level specified in the Labor Condition Application for the position. Records may be kept in different ways such as payroll timesheets (for workers paid on a timesheet basis), or through an internal department record-keeping form or file.

Bona Fide Termination: If the employee is subject to a bona fide termination from the position prior to expiration of the employee's H-1B authorization, the department may be required to pay for the reasonable costs of the employee's return transportation to his or her country of residence. Contact the International Center immediately in the event an employee is terminated, as there are specific steps the International Center must take in such situations to terminate the employee's H-1B authorization.

Deemed Export (Export Control) Attestations

As a condition of sponsoring an H-1B employee, the department is required to determine if the employee will have access to controlled data and technology (including equipment, instruments, software, and materials) as specified under the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the Department of Commerce, and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) administered by the Department of State. If so, access to such data and technology may be "deemed" an export to the employee's country of citizenship or permanent residence, requiring a license under the appropriate regulations.

Departments are required to make this determination at the time of requesting an H-1B authorization (initial or extension) for an employee, as well as implementing procedures to ensure ongoing compliance with these regulations.

For more information about export controls administration at Tufts, please contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) or review the information on their export controls web site.


H-1B employees may be accompanied by certain dependents who would be eligible for H-4 status. Eligible dependents include the legally married spouse and/or unmarried minor children under 21. Children lose H-4 eligibility upon turning 21. For initial authorization, no additional petitioning needs to be done by the University for dependents. Dependents can apply for H-4 visas once the H-1B employee has been approved for and is eligible for the H-1B visa. Family members would apply for H-4 visas by providing to a US consular officer evidence of the H-1B employee's work authorization plus proof of family relationship. H-4 dependents lose immigration status once the qualifying relationship ceases to exist or the H-1B loses or terminates status.