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H-1B Specialty Occupation

Note:

On February 24th, 2020, USCIS will implement the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule. This will affect H-1B petitions, requiring new H-1B form versions and additional documentation to be included in all petitions received by USCIS after this date. Any new H-1B requests submitted to IFSO, as well as any currently pending at IFSO, will require additional documentation and IFSO will reach out to departments and scholars.

This new policy will also result in a new I-539 application form for scholars changing to or extending H-4 status.

Only an authorized representative of a UC San Diego department may request that the International Faculty & Scholars Office (IFSO) prepare an H-1B petition.

Overview and Eligibility

IFSO Advisor Breakdown

Any questions about whether a case qualifies for H-1B support should be directed to a scholar advisor at the International Faculty & Scholars Office before submitting an H-1B request via ISD.

Advising breakdown by scholar last name: 

Scholar Last Name Advisor Name
A - H Dalia Alshamas
I - P Marie Manlapaz
Q - Z Lucas Olson
Faculty H-1B cases hired through a national recruitment  Sandra Vargas Tinoco
 Administrative Support:

USCIS and UC San Diego Regulations

USCIS:
  • H-1B petitions are employer-sponsored petitions, and are employer- and position-specific
  • H-1B status is for internationals in a "specialty occupation" that requires "theoretical and practical application of highly specialized knowledge" and a Bachelor's degree
  • Departments may initially petition for up to three (3) years of employment and later request extensions to total six (6) years
UC San Diego:
  • IFSO has the sole authority to represent UC San Diego in filings with the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. An outside attorney cannot be used to file H-1B petitions for which UC San Diego is the employer/petitioner. 
  • H-1B appointments must be full-time and fully salaried (stipends not allowed); part-time exceptions are allowed only for non-exempt positions and with approval from IFSO Director
  • Only certain appointment titles at UC San Diego are eligible for H-1B sponsorship, per institutional policy; see PPM 200-16, "Supplement 1"
  • Most international researchers come to UC San Diego in J-1 Exchange Visitor status, which affords them additional time to build up a strong case for permanent residence, if this is an ultimate intention; in addition, H-1B petitions are very labor-intensive and expensive. To bypass the J-1 classification, please have the scholar read J-1 or H-1B: A Comparison (PDF), and sign the bottom of page 2, and submit with the H-1B initial request. This form is not needed if the scholar is currently in J status or is ineligible for J status.

Policy for Graduates of International Medical Schools

Reminder

Internationals with a medical degree from an accredited U.S. institution do not need to provide IFSO with the items listed below; the U.S. medical degree diploma will serve as evidence of the items below. Also, starting January 1, 2020 the PTL letter will be required.

Graduates of international medical schools may be appointed in clinical positions using the H-1B classification only with departmental support and, if in a training program, approval by the Graduate Medical Education Office. Graduates of international medical schools who wish to pursue postdoctoral scholarly activities involving observation, consultation, teaching or research, with or without incidental patient contact, may do so using the H-1B classification with departmental support.

Graduates of international medical schools in clinical positions and sponsored for H-1B status must:

  • Be currently certified by the ECFMG (unless graduates of a Canadian medical school);
  • Have successfully completed either Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) or Parts I, II, and III of the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) certifying examinations, or the FLEX examination; and
  • Be in full compliance with the licensure regulations of the Medical Board of California.
Note on Canadian Physicians
Canadian physicians cannot use the TN status for appointments involving clinical care. Additionally, to obtain H-1B status, graduates of Canadian medical schools must demonstrate passage of USMLE steps 1-3; Canadian qualifying examinations will not suffice for H-1B status, per federal immigration laws (regardless of California medical board rules and policies).

Policy for Postdoctoral Scholar Employees

Special Considerations for Postdoctoral Scholar Employees
  1. The H-1B is job-specific, so do not request more time on this H-1B request than the institutional 5-year (or 6th-year exception approval from OPRSA) limit would allow for the postdoctoral appointment. Any change in job title from Postdoctoral Scholar requires an amended petition filed with USCIS before the new position begins; this includes new internal recharge and external USCIS filing fees.
  2. Only Postdoctoral Scholar-Employee (3252) appointments are allowed for H-1B sponsorship; joint (with 3253 or 3254) appointments are not allowed.
  3. Postdoc out of Union movement procedures for OPRSA and UAW approval:
Reminder: Postdoc Out of Union Movements
If department wishes to move a current UCSD postdoc to another academic title before their appointment end date, an out of PX unit request must be submitted to the Office of Postdoctoral & Research Scholar Affairs (OPRSA).  Departments will need to provide the information noted below.  Upon receipt, OPRSA will submit the request to Labor Relations who will then submit the request to the UAW.  The UAW has 15 days from the date Labor Relations submits the request to respond if they contest the proposed movement.  Please be sure to provide ample time for review of these request by OPRSA, Labor Relations and the UAW.
  • Name of Postdoc:   
  • Current Title and Title Code: 
  • Department: 
  • Postdoc appointment end date:
  • Proposed Title and Title Code: 
  • Effective date of Proposed title: 
  • New department (if applicable):
  • Department contact to copy on notice to UAW

H-4 Dependents

We will no longer be submitting concurrent I-539 applications with our I-129 H-1B petition filings, except for urgent cases where family members could fall out of status. The I-539 application, supporting documents, and personal checks for dependents will no longer need to be collected and submitted to IFSO. Instead, the beneficiary will submit the I-539 directly to USCIS after receiving the case number from the receipt notice following our filing; in urgent circumstances, the IFSO advisor will reach out directly to the scholar to consult on needed actions.

Please reference the H-4 Family Resources page.

Processing Time Considerations

USCIS Processing:
The H-1B petition is adjudicated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and their processing time varies dramatically and falls outside of IFSO's control; for this reason, departments are encouraged to submit requests to us 7 months prior to the anticipated start date, and/or to pay for USCIS Premium Processing service, which guarantees a 15-calendar adjudication, provided USCIS does not issue a "Request for Evidence."  

IFSO Processing:
H-1B processing takes four to eight weeks. This is an INTERNAL processing time, from receipt of a COMPLETE H-1B request form through mailing TO USCIS. Incomplete submissions will not be processed. Additional time prior to employment eligibility will be required for USCIS to adjudicate the petition and for us to receive the approval notice from USCIS (or receipt notice for those persons currently in H-1B status at another employer; see chart).


H-1B applicants outside the U.S.:
Prospective employees who are abroad will also need time to apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. This can be done only after USCIS has approved the H‑1B petition.

H-1B applicants inside the U.S.:
  • H-1B status is employer- and position-specific. Even if the prospective employee is currently in the US in H-1B status, UC San Diego must still file a new (PORT) H-1B petition.
  • Once the UC San Diego petition is on file at USCIS, the H-1B applicant must begin working at UC San Diego on the petition-proposed start date.
  • If the H-1B applicant is in the U.S. in another status, it may take several months for USCIS to approve a change of status application; the employee may not begin working until the approval notice has been received by UC San Diego.

Fee Considerations

Please note: ALL H-1B fees MUST be paid by the sponsoring department. Fees are not rechargeable to the international scholar and scholars cannot reimburse the department for these fees. 
IFSO Processing Fees (Recharge)
$2,625 IFSO Service Fee (Initial/Extension/Amendment Requests) 
$735 IFSO Rush Processing (Initial/Extension/Amendment Requests) 
IFSO charges a $2,625 recharge fee for internal services. Information on IFSO online recharge. IFSO RUSH processing is available for an additional $735. Any complete H-1B requesting a start date in less than three-month’s time from submission to IFSO must include a rush fee; incomplete requests will not be evaluated until they are complete. Our standard processing time is two months, but mailing and USCIS processing times must also be calculated when planning for an H-1B start date. Consult with IFSO before submitting the payment online. 
USCIS Filing Fees (Check)
$460 I-129 Petition Processing Fee (Initial/Extension/Amendment Requests) 
$500

Fraud Detection & Protection Fee (Initial Requests ONLY) 

$1,440 

Premium Processing Fee - Recommended, but optional (Initial/Extension/Amendment Requests)

*Please note that due to the transition of UC San Diego to the new business systems, checks cannot be requested via MyPayments. During this transition, when IFSO specifies that emergency check(s) are necessary, the department will need to submit a ticket via https://support.ucsd.edu/services. This option is only for rush requests.

The above USCIS fees must be requested by the department from https://blink.ucsd.edu/. All checks must be issued separately for each fee and payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (not "USDHS" or "DHS"). UC San Diego checks now expire within 180 days of issuance. When ordering checks, please include the name of the advisor who is working on the case so checks can be delivered to remote work places.

Instructions for ordering checks:

Please use the link below to reference MyPayments (and other applications) and how it has migrated to the new Financial Information Systems as of the July 1st transition: https://blink.ucsd.edu/finance/fis-project/legacy-deprecation.html.

If you are creating a check payment on behalf of a scholar to USCIS or etc*, please do the following:

  • Go to https://blink.ucsd.edu/
  • Under business tools > Services and Support > Budget & Finance > Get Help
  • You will be directed to SSO via Active Directory > Select: Submit a Ticket
  • Please complete the ticket utilizing the options below:
  • I want to
    • Ask a Question or make a request
  • About
    • Invoices & Payables
  • Related to
    • Non PO Payment
  • More specifically
    • Payment Request Form Inquiries
  • Subject:
    • Checks (used to utilize MyPayment feature)
  • Description:
    • Add your details 
      • Who the check is made out to: “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”
      • Where it should be sent: “please mail to [insert advisors name] home address”
      • Purpose: Visa Type
      • Scholar full name (as it appears on their passport)
    • Click on the submit button
    • The ticket is assigned a Number (you will also receive an email); you can check on the progress of your request via the My Stuff > Tickets screen

***Reminder: all checks must be issued separately for each fee***

The premium processing fee, if paid for, must be paid by the department if continuous employment authorization is in jeopardy.  The scholar may pay in situations where continuity of employment authorization already exists (e.g., extension or portability cases) and personal reasons are motivations (e.g., expiring driver's license or personal travel).  We will require a personal statement from the scholar to this effect.

H-1B Resources

Certificate of Translation

Documentation submitted to IFSO in a foreign language must include a a translation and certificate of translation.

The translation should be structured as similar as possible to the document in a foreign language so that the USCIS officer can easily use the translation along with the document in a foreign language. 

The certificate of translation is an attestation by someone who is knowledgeable in English and the foreign language and can attest to the authenticity of the translation. Please note that IFSO does not require that professional company be hired to complete the translation and certificate of translation. When submitting documents in a foreign language to IFSO please include them in the following order:
  • Translation
  • Certificate of translation 
  • Document in foreign language 

Education and Credential Evaluation

USCIS requires that a prospective H-1B employee's degree is the equivalent of the U.S. degree required for the position; therefore we must submit foreign credentials evaluations with our H-1B petitions. 

UC San Diego and the International Faculty & Scholars Office do not endorse any particular service; evaluations issued by the following organizations, however, have been previously accepted by US Citizenship and Immigration Service:

The evaluation report must include the U.S. equivalent degree with field of study/major and the professional credentials of the evaluator.
Please note that the burden of obtaining the credential evaluation lies with the employee, the beneficiary of the H-1B status.

Form I-9

I-9 procedures for H-1B employees are complex. USCIS has published the Handbook for Employers (M-274) to provide guidance; see H-specific guidance for extension or change of employer situations.  

NOTE: ANY H-1B PETITION APPROVED FOR CONSULAR NOTIFICATION DOES NOT GRANT EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION UNTIL THE PROSPECTIVE H-1B EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY ENTERS THE U.S. AND RECEIVES AN I-94. Any 10-day grace period granted by USCIS does NOT include employment authorization; employment authorization end date is determined by the date on the upper right-hand corner of the I-797 Notice of Action approval notice. 

Please contact ifsoh1b@ucsd.edu if you have any questions.

Ordering USCIS Checks

Public Benefits USCIS Pages

USCIS Public Benefits Pages (PDF) must be completed by the scholar and included with the H-1B request submitted via ISD.

Recapture Chart

An IFSO advisor must first confirm that the scholar can proceed to recapture time. Once the advisor confirms, the scholar is responsible for including evidence of H-1B time spent outside the U.S (I-94 travel history, entry stamps, exit stamps, boarding pass, itineraries, etc.) as well completing the H-1B recapture chart (PDF).

Sample Letter from Employer (Chair Letter)

Initial H-1B Letter from Employer

Research Position Example:
Date

To: US Citizenship & Immigration Services
Re: Dr. XXX [First Name, Middle Initial, & Last Name]

We would like to temporarily employ Dr. XXX in H-1B status from [Sept 1, 2017] until [Aug 31, 2020 —three years maximum] to study [brain ion channels, the critical molecules which underlie the electrical excitability of neurons. Techniques used will include, but are not limited to, cloning, expression, mutagenesis and generation of transgenic and knockout mice models relevant to human neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson and Huntington diseases —Please include detailed information on specific techniques and methodologies used. Dr. XXX’s expertise will accelerate the progress of our programs on the structure and function of brain ion channels and to acquire insights into the alteration of channels in mutants of channels we have previously identified which are relevant to inherited forms of epilepsy.] His annual salary will be [$XXX].

Dr. XXX is well qualified for our position. [In 2004 he received a Master of Science degree in Physiology from the University of Minnesota, and in 2011 received a PhD in Neurosciences from the University of Michigan]. He has recently been working as a [Postdoctoral Fellow at Ohio State University conducting research on brain ion channels in mice models]. He has published numerous research articles [in the area of neurosciences].

Sincerely,
[Department Chair]

Faculty Position Involving Teaching Example:
Date

To: US Citizenship & Immigration Services
Re: Dr. XXX [First Name, Middle Initial, & Last Name]

We would like to temporarily employ Dr. XXX in H-1B status from [July 1, 2017] until [June 30, 2020 —three years maximum] to teach university classes in [physics], including […list named examples of actual courses to be taught] and conduct research on […the deformation mechanisms in tungsten- and intermetallic-based materials using analytical electron microscopy —Please include detailed information on specific techniques and methodologies used]. Her annual salary will be [$XXX}.

Dr. XXX is well qualified for our position. [In 1988 she received a Master of Science degree in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and in 1993 received a PhD in Materials Science from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville]. She has recently been working as a [Postgraduate Research Fellow at Ohio State University conducting research on the deformation mechanisms and microstructural characterization of intermetallic materials]. She has published numerous research articles [in the area of intermetallic materials].

Sincerely,
[Department Chair]

Faculty Position Involving Teaching and Clinical Care Example:
Date

To: US Citizenship & Immigration Services
Re: Dr. XXX [First Name, Middle Initial, & Last Name]

We would like to temporarily employ Dr. XXX in H-1B status from [Sept 1, 2017] until [Aug 31, 2020 —three years maximum] as a [Health Sciences Assistant Clinical Professor]. Dr. XXX’s responsibilities will include teaching university medical students and residents [in classes (specific names of classes if available), grand rounds…], conducting research on [the prevention of infection in hemodialysis patients —Please include detailed information on specific techniques and methodologies used], and [working as a nocturnist providing inpatient care for 135 nights per year with the Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine]. Her base salary will be [$XXX].

Dr. XXX is well qualified for our position. [In 2004 she received her MD from Emory University, and she completed her Internal Medicine Residency at the Morehouse School of Medicine. Dr. XXX is Board Certified. She currently serves as a [Hospitalist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Emory University, School of Medicine]. Dr. XXX has published numerous articles on [the prevention of infection in hemodialysis patients].

Dr. XXX’s medical education, knowledge, and experience in both clinical and academics, make her a great asset to [the Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine].

Sincerely,
[Department Chair]

 

Extension H-1B Letter from Employer
Date
To: US Citizenship & Immigration Services
Re: Dr. XXX [First Name, Middle Initial, & Last Name]
We would like to request continuation of the previously approved H-1B employment for Dr. XXX. The terms and conditions of the previously authorized H-1B employment have not changed. Dr. XXX is continuing in full-time [research focusing on studies on antibody structure. He is determining the structural/functional relationship of immunoglobulins and using the information gained to construct antibody-derived molecules with novel biological functions —Please include detailed information on specific techniques and methodologies used.] Dr. XXX’s annual salary will be [$]. We wish to employ him until [December 31, 2013—maximum three years from current expiration; maximum six years total of all H-1B].
In 2008 Dr. XXX received a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan. He has recently been working as a [Postdoctoral Employee at University of California San Diego, conducting research on —Please include current research]. He has published numerous research articles [in the area of biochemistry].
Sincerely,
[Department Chair]
Extension and/or Amendment H-1B Letter from Employer
Date

To: US Citizenship & Immigration Services
Re: Dr. XXX [First Name, Middle Initial, & Last Name]

We would like to request continuation of the previously approved H-1B employment for Dr. XXX. We request that the terms and conditions of the previously authorized H-1B employment be amended. Dr. XXX will conduct [research focusing on studies on antibody structure. He is determining the structural/functional relationship of immunoglobulins and using the information gained to construct antibody-derived molecules with novel biological functions —Please include detailed information on specific techniques and methodologies used.] Dr. XXX's annual salary will be [$XXX]. We wish to employ him until [December 31, 2013—maximum three years from current expiration; maximum six years total of all H-1B].
In 2008 Dr. XXX received a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Michigan. He has recently been working as a [Postdoctoral Employee at University of California San Diego, conducting research on —Please include current research]. He has published numerous research articles [in the area of biochemistry].
Sincerely,
[Department Chair]

Step 1: Obtain Access to International Scholar Dossier (ISD)

Obtaining Access to ISD

Department contacts must attend a one-time training via UC Learning to obtain access to ISD. For information regarding obtaining access visit IFSO's ISD webpage

ISD Instructions/Resources

For ISD instructions and resources visit IFSO's ISD webpage

Step 2: Prepare H-1B documents and information for submission to IFSO via ISD

Gather Scholar Documents

Note: All scholar documents will need to be uploaded to ISD by the scholar, Scholar ISD Guidebook includes detailed instructions. List below is for reference.

All Applicants
  • CV - Must NOT include immigration, personal, or volunteer information
  • Degree/diploma, highest degree earned
    • U.S. degree - If the degree/diploma does not state the field of study, submit additional documentation certifying the field of study. If the diploma only states, “Doctor of Philosophy,“ without a field or major, a copy of a transcript or school letter is required to verify that the scholar received a PhD in “XYZ-field,” e.g. "Biochemistry"
      • If a diploma is not available, transcripts can be used instead, as long as the transcript indicates the degree issued
    • Foreign degree - Submit foreign degree and a foreign educational credentials evaluation.
      • Foreign degree. If the degree/diploma does not state the field of study, submit additional documentation certifying the field of study
      • Credential evaluation. The evaluation should include field of study, a detailed description of the material evaluated, rather than conclusions, and a brief description of the qualifications and experience of the evaluator. ALL pages of the credential evaluation must be submitted, including the evaluator's CV
      • Exception: Clinical Care appointments do not need evaluations of foreign MD degrees
  • Passport biographical page(s) - Includes: picture, names, date of birth, passport number, expiration date, etc.
If currently in the U.S.
  • I-94 Record - If electronic copy: printout from CBP website. If small white card: copy front and back; the place and date of entry (pink ink) should be legible
  • Entry Stamp - Entry stamp in passport documenting most recent entry to the U.S.
  • Visas - Most recent visa stamp used for latest entry to U.S
  • Completed USCIS Public Benefits pages (PDF)
  • If currently in F status (F-1, F-2) - ALL I-20s since the most recent entry to the U.S.
    • If currently in STEM OPT include the last two pay pay statements 
  • If ever in J status (J-1 or J-2)
    • ALL DS-2019s
    • Copy of USCIS Form I-612 Waiver Approval Notice, if subject to the Two Year Home Residency Requirement
  • If currently in TN status - Include the last two pay statements from current TN employment
  • If ever in H status (H-1B or H-4)
    • All I-797 H Approval Notices
    • Include the last two pay statements from current H employment
  • If ever issued an Employment Authorization Document (“EAD card”), ALL cards
If clinical appointment
  • Graduates of International Medical Schools
    • ECFMG Certification (unless a graduate of a Canadian medical school)
    • U.S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps 1-3
      --or--
      National Board of Medical Examiners (NMBE) examinations – Parts 1-3
      --or--
      FLEX examination
    • CA Medical License documentation
  • Graduates of Accredited U.S. Medical Schools
    • Internationals with a medical degree from an accredited U.S. institution need only provide IFSO with their U.S. MD diploma and, starting 1/1/2020, the Postgraduate Training License (PTL).
  • Required if the UCSD appointment/job advertisement has as a requirement:
    • Medical Residency completion certificate
    • Clinical Fellowship completion certificate
    • Board Certification
    • Documentation establishing Board Eligibility (UC San Diego issued documentation is not acceptable)
  • Required for ALL Clinical Training programs through GME:
    • GME exception to policy allowing for H-1B sponsorship

**Any evidence in a foreign language must include a a translation and certificate of translation***

Gather Department Documents

Note: All  documents will need to be uploaded to ISD, Department ISD Guidebook includes detailed instructions. List below is for reference.

All Applicants
  • Completed Request Form (PDF)
  • Letter from Employer (Chair Letter) - on letterhead & signed. Include detailed information such as techniques and methodologies used by researchers, specific classes taught by faculty, and specific clinical duties for clinical positions. Failure to provide specific information may result in an increased likelihood of USCIS requesting additional evidence, which will delay petition approval.  See IFSO's samples in the resources section of this page.
If Staff Title
  • Include copy of Job description
If Faculty Title (to be sponsored for permanent residence)
  • Copy of the printed job advertisement and official offer letter (NOT proposal letter)

Extension and Amendment Requirements

Please note that USCIS will evaluate extension and amendment requests with the same level of scrutiny as an initial request; as such IFSO will require the same evidence as required for an initial H-1B request. 

Additional considerations for extensions and amendments:
  • H-1B status may be extended in three-year increments up to a total of six years; persons with an approved I-140 immigrant petition who are not able to file an adjustment of status petition due to visa bulletin backlog may extend their H status beyond six years
  • Extension/amendment processes take as long as initial processes; please submit requests 7 months prior to anticipated start date
    • note: driver's license expiration is often tied to H-1B expiration, and CA DMV will not issue new driver's licenses until USCIS has approved an H-1B petition
  • Employment authorization is retained with a timely filed extension or amendment petition; the petition does not have to be approved by USCIS until 240 days into the new H-1B period
  • Substantive changes in H-1B employment must be approved by USCIS with an amended petition submitted prior to the change in employment circumstances; substantive changes include moving between represented and nonrepresented positions or between different represented positions, from research to clinical care; or adding a work-site outside of the metropolitan statistical area
    • A normal stepwise progression within an employment series (e.g. Assistant Project Scientist to Associate Project Scientist) will not require an amended petition
  • Time spent outside the U.S during the six years of H-1B can be recaptured. To request recapture of H-1B time, follow the H-1B extension/amendment application instructions.  Prior to submitting the H-1B recapture request, consult with an IFSO advisor to determine if the scholar is eligible.
    • The scholar is responsible for including evidence of H-1B time spent outside the U.S (I-94 travel history, entry stamps, exit stamps, boarding pass, itineraries, etc.) as well completing the H-1B recapture chart.  

Fees and USCIS Check(s)

Initial Requests

An initial request is any new H-1B request to UC San Diego. Recharge payments and check requests must be completed prior to submitting the request to IFSO via ISD.

Amount Type of Fee Description of Fee
$2,625 Recharge IFSO Service
$460 Check I-129 Petition Processing
$500 Check Fraud Detection and Protection

Additional fees that may be required with an initial H-1B request:

Amount Type of Fee Description of Fee
$735 Recharge IFSO Rush Processing
$1,440 Check

Premium Processing

 

Extension/Amendment Requests

An extension/amendment request must be currently on a UC San Diego sponsored H-1B. Recharge payments and check requests must be completed prior to submitting the request to IFSO via ISD.

Amount Type of Fee Description of Fee
$2,625 Recharge IFSO Service
$460 Check I-129 Petition Processing

Additional fees that may be required with extension/amendment H-1B requests:

Amount Type of Fee Description of Fee
$735 Recharge IFSO Rush Processing
$1,440 Check

Premium Processing

Submit to IFSO via ISD

To submit an H-1B request to IFSO, follow the instructions on IFSO's ISD webpage.

Step 3: IFSO Processing of H-1B and Submission to USCIS

IFSO Review of Information and Documents

IFSO will review the information and documents submitted via ISD. If any information is missing, we will reject the submission and include a note for the reason. The ISD record will need to be corrected/updated and resubmitted to IFSO. For additional instructions regarding this process review the Department H-1B ISD Guidebook.

IFSO Completion of Prevailing Wage

H-1B employees in non-union positions must be paid least the actual wage being paid to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment in question or the prevailing wage rate as determined for the occupation in the metropolitan statistical area, whichever is higher. One key piece of evidence is the statement of actual wage determination which departments include with H-1B requests. IFSO will conduct an analysis to ensure that this requirement is being met and documentation is submitted to Department of Labor (DOL) and USCIS to support this information. 

H-1B employees in union positions must be paid at least the salary that was agreed upon by bargaining unit. A prevailing wage determination is not necessary because the salary scales serve as evidence that the H-1B employee is being paid the prevailing wage. 

IFSO Submission of LCA and NOI

Prior to submitting the H-1B request to USCIS, there are two Department of Labor (DOL) components that must be completed by IFSO.

Labor Condition Application (LCA) - IFSO must submit an LCA to DOL and have it certified prior to submitting the H-1B petition to USCIS. The LCA requires attestations by IFSO regarding the position requirements, worksite(s), hours and salary. The earliest an LCA can be submitted to DOL is 180 days prior to the requested H-1B start date. Typically, it takes DOL 7-10 business days to certify an LCA. It is vital that the information submitted via ISD is accurate as it will be used by IFSO to complete the LCA. Any incorrect information or failure to provide all worksites may require IFSO to withdraw the LCA and submit a new LCA to DOL which would restart the clock on DOL's processing time. 

Notice of Intent to Employ (NOI) - IFSO must notify the union (for union positions) or post a 10 day notice (for non-union positions) to alert employees that an H-1B employee will be hired. The NOI includes the LCA tracking number and key position information such as salary and worksite(s). It is vital that the information submitted via ISD is accurate as it will be used by IFSO to complete the NOI. Any incorrect information or failure to provide all worksites may require IFSO to complete a new NOI posting. 

IFSO Submission to USCIS

IFSO H-1B processing takes two months due to the level of analysis required for each case and IFSO advisor caseloads. This is an INTERNAL processing time, from receipt of a COMPLETE H-1B request. Once IFSO has completed the processing of an H-1B request, the case will be mailed to USCIS via overnight mail. IFSO will confirm that the case has been mailed by emailing the department and scholar.

Reminders While Case is Pending

The scholar and deparmtent should notify IFSO prior to any changes such as international travel plans, worksite(s), salary, and position title as changes could affect the approval of the pending case.

 

Step 4: USCIS Receipt and Approval Notices

H-1B Receipt Notice

An H-1B receipt notice includes the category being requested, employer name, beneficiary name, fees paid, and receipt number. USCIS mails the receipt notice to IFSO for our records. 

IFSO will provide the department the H-1B receipt notice via email for extension/amendments who will need to use the receipt notice as evidence of a timely filed petition for continued employment authorization for 240 days beyond current H-1B.

H-1B Approval Notice

An H-1B approval notice includes the category being requested, employer name, beneficiary name, receipt number, I-94 (if in the country) and employment validity period. Any H-1B request approved for consular notification DOES NOT grant employment authorization until the prospective H-1B employee enters the country in H-1B status and receives an I-94.

USCIS will mail the approval notice to IFSO. Upon receipt of physical approval notice IFSO will contact the department and scholar via email with instructions regarding H-1B status and how to obtain the physical approval notice.

Under COVID-19 restrictions, IFSO is not currently open for document pick-up nor do we know when we will reopen; we recommend faculty and scholars pick up the H-1B approval notice once campus allows IFSO to reopen. If you would like to have the original H-1B approval notice shipped to you, however, we can do so, but will need a pre-paid FedEx shipping label provided by the department or eShipGlobal FedEx label paid for by the scholar and provided to us; see our shipping instructions at: https://ifso.ucsd.edu/_visa/shipping.html.

Disclaimer: IFSO is not responsible for lost original immigration documents during transit.
Should the H-1B approval notice be lost in transit, USCIS charges $465 for a replacement I-797A approval notice and it can take approximately 3 months for replacement.

H-1B Compliance

Office of Research Affairs Certification (Export Control)

Questions regarding export control can be directed to:

Brittany Whiting
Export Control Officer
858-534-4175
Garrett Eaton
Senior Export Analyst
858-822-4136

Maintaining H-1B Status

Notify IFSO of any significant changes prior to any of the following changes:
  • Job title
  • Substantial salary change
  • Change of worksite(s)
  • Reduction in employment hours

Taxes

Changing from J-1 or F-1 to H-1B often will change the U.S. tax status of the employee. For tax related inquiries, please visit IFSO's Tax Resources webpage or send an inquiry to internationaltaxhelp@ucsd.edu.

H-1B Completion, Departure or Separation

Completion

IFSO sends out automatic email alerts to remind scholars and departments that an H-1B expiration is approaching.

If the H-1B expiration date is nearing and we have not received an extension or change of status request, IFSO Advisors also email departments to inquire regarding the plans for the specific scholar. As a courtesy, the scholar can submit IFSO's Departure Form indicating that the H-1B will not be extended beyond the current validity period, which will help ensure that our office is aware of the scholar and department plans.

Separation/Departure

Please have the Scholar complete IFSO's Departure Form to notify us of an early separation or departure.

Scholars/Departments are obligated to notify IFSO if an H-1B employee is separated or has departed from employment prior to the end date initially requested on the H-1B petition. Until the H-1B petition is officially withdrawn with USCIS, the department remains legally liable for paying the H-1B's salary regardless of who initiated the separation.

IFSO will contact USCIS to withdraw the H-1B using the information provided on the Departure Form. If the department initiated an H-1B's separation from employment, the department must offer to cover the reasonable cost of return transportation to the employee's home country (this does not include dependents); see H-1B Early Termination Memo

Grace Period

H-1B status allows for a grace period of up to 60 days or the authorized validity period, whichever is shorter, from the date of "cessation of employment."  There is only one grace period per authorized validity period, and it may be eliminated or shortened at the discretion of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grace period does not grant employment authorization, but may be used, for example, to apply for a change of status, prepare to depart the country, or have another employer sponsor one for employment authorization in an appropriate nonimmigrant classification.

Please contact ifsoh1b@ucsd.edu with any questions you may have regarding the H-1B grace period so that IFSO can advise the scholar whether this is an option for them based on their specific immigration history.