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SCSU's H-1B Process for Full-time, Tenure-track International Faculty Hires

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• CONTACT THE OFFICE OF INTERNATIONAL EDUCATION (OIE): Connect the faculty hire with the OIE's Immigration Specialist to obtain the H-1B Application as soon as possible since USCIS processing times can take up to 6 months for adjudication.

•APPLICATION: The H-1B Application requires several supplemental documents including but not limited to:
-Copies of all I-20s if individual has ever been in F-1 status (many H-1B faculty hires transition to the H-1B visa after being on one year of F-1 OPT)
-Copies of all DS-2019s if individual has ever been in J-1 status
-Copy of his/her most recent I-94
-Copy of Passport
-Copy of Visa
-Front and back copy of Employment Authorization Document (EAD) card, if applicable
-Front and back copy of Social Security Card, if applicable
-Copy of Signed Offer Letter of Employment
-Copy of Undergraduate and Graduate Diploma(s)
-Official undergraduate/graduate transcript(s)
-Updated copy of Curriculum Vitae (C.V.)

• LABOR CONDITION APPLICATION (LCA): The first step in filing the H-1B is submitting the LCA with the Department of Labor. The submitted LCA gets certified by the DOL generally within seven days, and the certified LCA becomes part of the H-1B petition. OIE's Immigration Specialist provides a copy of the certified LCA to the faculty hire. Two additional copies of the LCA are maintained: one for the faculty member's file in the OIE and one for Public Access Files in the OIE, per Federal Regulation requirements.

• USCIS FORM I-129 (H-1B PETITION): OIE's Immigration Specialist completes Form I-129 with all supporting documents listed above.

• DEPENDENTS (H-4): The OIE does not consult on completing Form I-539 for H-4 Dependents. Faculty hires are responsible for completing and sealing Form I-539 to be submitted concurrently with the H-1B petition. Form I-539 is required to adjust the status of the faculty member's dependents if they are in the U.S.; if they are not in the U.S., Form I-539 does not have to be completed.

• REQUEST FOR EVIDENCE/INFORMATION (RFE): USCIS may issue an RFE if additional information is required or if a section of the Form I-129 needs clarification. This can delay the overall approval process, depending on the information asked.

• PROCESSING TIMES: H-1B petition processing time at the OIE is up to 1 month before filing the petition with USCIS. Actual processing time with USCIS takes approximately 3-6 months minimum. Premium Processing* (additional fee required) takes 15 calendar days. *As of April 3, 2017, Premium Processing has been temporarily suspended by USCIS. This suspension may last for up to six months.

• H-1B APPROVAL: When the H-1B petition is approved, OIE's Immigration Specialist receives an email notification from USCIS and the OIE can expect to receive the Form I-797 Notice of Action (H-1B Approval) in the mail shortly.

• FORM I-797 and I-94 EXPRESS MAILED: Once the H-1B petition has been approved, OIE's Immigration Specialist retains a copy of the original I-797 and mails the original I-94 (attached to the bottom of the I-797) via FedEx to the faculty abroad or within the U.S. to apply for his/her H-1B visa.

• CHANGE OF ADDRESS: Any change of address must be submitted to USCIS within 10 days of moving either online or via Form AR-11: Change of Address Information. OIE's Immigration Specialist and/or faculty can complete this.

• CONTACT/UPDATES: H-1B faculty must keep in close contact with OIE's Immigration Specialist or the OIE's Director. If specific changes in employment occur, an amended H-1B petition must be filed with USCIS.

• LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENCE (GREEN CARD STATUS): The next step after acquiring H-1B status is applying for permanent residency. While there are several pathways to permanent residency, the ones directly related to SCSU are under the Employment-Based Categories: "EB-1:Outstanding Professors and Researchers" and "EB-2: Advanced Degree." For more information regarding SCSU's Permanent Residency Process, please contact the OIE's Immigration Specialist or the OIE's Director.

The faculty hire must submit the H1-B Application Form and all supporting documents to:

Jazmin Sharif, Immigration Specialist
Office of International Education
Phone: 203-392-6947
sharifj1@southernct.edu

In order to avoid delays and complications, it is recommended that you contact the Director of the Office of International Education, Erin Heidkamp prior to finalizing the job offer: heidkampe1@southernct.edu. This will enable the OIE to review the employee's immigration history and make an initial assessment of the complexities of the situation.