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.
The primary characteristics of the H-1B visa include the following:
Sponsoring an international employee for sponsorship under the H-1B visa category takes several steps, including International Center preparation of an H-1B petition for submission to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). <ajor steps and estimated timelines include the following:
Note that due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, US consular processing timelines for H-1B employees have expanded considerably. Consult with the International Center regarding individual situations.
Individual cases may vary depending on case-specific circumstances, seasonal processing trends, and US government processing conditions outside of the International Center's control
The H-1B application process requires several required or potentially required fee components as described below. Departments and employees should be aware of these fees prior to commencing the H-1B sponsorship process. See notes below the table for clarification regarding specific items.
|Fee Type||Amount||Payment Method||Responsibility|
|International Center Processing Fee (1)||$1,500||DeptID||Department|
|International Center Expedited Processing Fee (2)||$500||DeptID||Department|
|Form I-129 Petition Fee||$460||Check made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security" (3)||Department|
|Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee (*initial H-1B applications only)||$500||Check made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security" (3)||Department|
|Premium Processing Fee (4)||$2,500||Check made payable to "US Department of Homeland Security" (3)||Department or Employee|
|Credential Evaluation Fee||Varies||Paid by Employee Directly or Invoiced to Department||Department or Employee|
Once an international employee requiring sponsorship has been identified, the department should contact the International Center to initiate sponsorship processes. To begin a preliminary assessment, the Department should email the appropriate International Center contact (see Section B, below) with the following information:
Based on the information provided, the International Center may explore whether or not other visa options (such as the J-1 scholar visa) exist.
Once the International Center has determined that the employee and position qualifies for H-1B sponsorship, your H-1B advisor will initiate a data collection process that requires submission of information from both the department and the individual employee. Your contact will advise on the specific documents and information that will need to be submitted to the International Center.
Based on the information provided, the International Center will obtain a prevailing wage for the position. To qualify for H-1B status, Tufts must offer a wage that is the higher of the actual or prevailing wage for the position. The actual wage is the wage offered by the employer to employees who have similar credentials and who are performing similar duties as the H-1B worker. The prevailing wage is the regional average wage for persons engaged in the same or similar specialty occupation. The International Center will determine if the position meets the wage requirements. If the position does not meet the wage requirements, the department may need to revise the wage offered to the employee or withdraw the offer of employment.
Once the wage has been determined, the International Center will post a Notice of Intent to Hire an H-1B Employee. The Notice of Intent to Hire is a required notification to US workers regarding Tufts's intention to offer employment to an H-1B employee. The Notice of Intent to Hire will be posted for a minimum of ten business days and is available electronically on the LCA Notification web site.
Once notice has been given, the International Center will file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the US Department of Labor. The Department of Labor will determine if the wage and working conditions are appropriate to the specialty occupation by approving the LCA. In addition, the department is required to post copies of the LCA in two conspicuous locations at the employee's work site for a period of ten days as a part of the LCA approval process.
Once the LCA has been approved, the International Center will submit a Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker to USCIS. USCIS may take several months to process the petition. However, USCIS also provides a premium processing option that will expedite review to a fifteen day response period (see the separate section below on premium processing). The International Center will advise the department if premium processing is either advisable or necessary for an individual case.
USCIS will review the I-129 petition. In many cases, USCIS may request further evidence to clarify different aspects of the University's petition for the employee. Once USCIS receives all required information, it will approve (or deny) the H-1B petition. Once approved, USCIS will send an I-797 Approval Notice to the International Center. The Approval Notice will be sent to the employee who will then need to apply for an H-1B visa at a US consulate overseas (exception: Canadian citizens are not required to apply for visas). If the employee is already in the US in another status, USCIS will approve a change in non-immigrant status to H-1B status.
Once the H-1B employee has obtained their H-1B visa, they may enter the US up to ten days prior to the start of employment. They will request H-1B status upon arrival at a US port of entry. For those employees already in the US in another status, USCIS will indicate when their H-1B status becomes effective. The employee is then expected to commence employment with Tufts on the approved H-1B start date. If there are any delays to the ability of the employee to start employment on the approved H-1B start date, contact the International Center immediately.
To request initial H-1B status for an employee, follow the procedures indicated below.
The sponsoring department should be prepared with the following information prior to starting the H-1B request process:
* Departments may request a maximum of three years of H-1B authorization for an employee at any one time, even if confirmed employment is less than three years. However, if the job opportunity is terminated before the expiration of the H-1B period, the department may be required to pay the reasonable costs of return transportation to the employee's last country of residence.
Once you are ready to initiate a request, please contact the H-1B advisor for your school:
|Sarah Curry (Sarah.Curry@tufts.edu)||Andrew Shiotani (Andrew.Shiotani@tufts.edu)|
The prospective H-1B employee should be prepared to submit the documents listed on the H-1B Employee Documentation Checklist.
H-1B status may be granted for up a maximum of three years and renewed for additional periods up to a maximum of another three years, for a total of six years. An employee may establish eligibility for another six years if they depart the US for a minimum of 12 months before returning for a new period of H-1B authorization.
H-1B extension requests are similar to initial H-1B requests in terms of preparation and processing times. The International Center recommends that departments initiate the H-1B extension process up to eight months before an H-1B employee's current authorization is due to expire, to allow for an extension petition to be prepared and filed with USCIS at the earliest possible date of six months before the expiration of the employee's authorization. Procedurally, the process for obtaining an H-1B extension is the same as requesting the initial H-1B authorization, and departments should follow instructions for requesting an initial H-1B authorization when extending a current employee.
Any request to extend a current employee's H-1B authorization must be received by USCIS no later than the last day of the H-1B employee's current authorization. Once USCIS issues a receipt for the application, the employee's H-1B employment authorization can be extended for 240 days while the extension application is pending. Departments may need to coordinate an I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification extension with TSS in order to ensure that the employee's payroll is not interrupted.
Employees should not travel outside of the US while an H-1B extension application is pending. If travel outside the US is needed for either business or personal reasons, the department and employee should contact the International Center to discuss options. In most cases, the employee must wait until the extension is approved prior to traveling outside the US. In addition, the employee may need to apply for a new H-1B entry visa prior to returning to the US to continue employment at Tufts.
Certain employees who are in the process of obtaining employment-based permanent residence may be eligible for additional one-year extensions beyond the sixth year. Employees should consult the International Center regarding extensions beyond the 6-year limit on H-1B eligibility.
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:
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.
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.