The H-1B non-immigrant classification was created to facilitate the employment of foreign workers in "specialty occupations" in the United States. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) defines a specialty occupation as "one which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree as a minimum for entry into the occupation."
Sponsoring an employee involves applications to the Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security, and requires compliance with immigration and labor regulations. All applications for H-1B status at William & Mary will be filed through the Reves Center for International Studies. For more information on the H-1B process, see the Reves Center's page on H-1B sponsorship.
Eligibility for H-1B Classification
To be eligible for sponsorship for H-1B status at the university, a position must meet the following criteria:
- It is a specialty occupation requiring specialized knowledge.
- The position and occupation require the minimum of a bachelor's degree or equivalent in the relevant field of study.
- It is a full-time, salaried position.
- The salary must meet Department of Labor wage requirements.
The following types of positions are most commonly used for H-1B status:
- Post-doctoral research associates
- Tenure-track faculty appointments
- Professional/Professional faculty appointments
- Visiting professors and lecturers
The H-1B classification may not be used for the following types of positions:
- Operational staff positions not requiring the minimum of a bachelor's degree as a common requirement for that position and occupation
- Part-time or hourly positions
- Adjunct instructors/professors
Time Limits for H-1B Status
- William & Mary may sponsor an employee for H-1B status for up to six years. We can sponsor for a maximum of three years at a time.
- If the employee is being sponsored by the university for permanent residency (Greencard) and the application for permanent residency is not yet approved by the time the six years are up, the university can extend the H-1B in three year increments until permanent residency is approved. The employer must have an approved I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) for the extension.
- If an employee has been in H-1B status for six years and departs the US for at least 12 consecutive months, they will be eligible for another six years of H-1B status.
- The six years of H-1B status are cumulative. That is, if the employee worked for another employer in H-1B status for two years, they would only have four years of H-1B remaining for W&M.
- Time spent outside the US can be "recouped" and added on at the end for an H-1B extension.
- For example, if an employee in H-1B status spent 2 weeks visiting family abroad during winter break, a month abroad in the summer, a week at a conference abroad, they would have accumulated 7 extra weeks which could be added to the 6 years.
Filing Fees and Other Costs Associated with the H-1B Classification
- Standard filing fee: $460 (paid by W&M through the Reves Center).
- Anti-fraud fee: $500 (paid by W&M through the Reves Center).
- Premium processing fee: $2500 (paid by W&M or the employee)
- This fee is only needed if expedited processing is requested. If it is requested for business reasons (to ensure an employee can start by a certain date, it must be paid by the department. If it is requested for the personal benefit of the employee (e.g. to accommodate a family vacation), it can be paid by the employee.
- Posted standard processing (from Immigration) is 2-4 months (in September 2020), plus at least 2-3 weeks of internal processing.
- To check the current USCIS (Immigration) processing times, visit the USCIS website, and select "Form I-129H1" and the California Service Center.
- Premium Processing: Approximately 1 month
- Of this, about 2 weeks is internal processing, the remainder is USCIS (Immigration) processing (15 business days, or approximately 3 weeks)
- Contact [[ehbailey, Emily Bailey]] with questions.
Responsibility for Filing H-1Bs for Employment at W&M
The Reves Center for International Studies retains sole authority for advising on, determining eligibility for, and filing H-1B petitions for positions at William & Mary and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Any questions concerning eligibility or required paperwork for H-1B classification should be directed to the Reves Center. While outside attorneys may be consulted for counsel, they are not authorized to file petitions for H-1B status on behalf of the institution. Any H-1B filed by an outside attorney will not be considered valid for employment and will be withdrawn. This is outlined in the Memorandum to Attorneys.
[[ehbailey, Emily Bailey]] oversees the H-1B program for William & Mary.
Honoraria, Outside Employment, and Institutional Joint Ventures
- Persons in H-1B status at William & Mary may not accept honoraria from outside institutions or employers. They may however, be reimbursed travel expenses, including state approved per-diem, hotel, and flight.
- Persons in H-1B status at William & Mary may not accept employment from outside institutions or employers unless they have filed a concurrent H-1B petition for such employment.
- In cases where a formal joint venture, relationship, or sponsorship exists between William & Mary and another organization or institution, an employee sponsored for H-1B status by W&M may work on projects pursuant to that joint venture; however, the W&M employee may only receive remuneration for such services directly from the university unless a concurrent H-1B petition has been filed by the other organization or institution.
Address Changes in H-1B Status
- Persons on H-1B status are required to notify USCIS of any change in their residential address within 10 days of moving by completing an AR-11 "Alien Change of Address" .