Office of International Programs
STEPS to H-1B
To initiate an H-1B petition application, the department completes the preliminary paperwork, then submits the documents to the Office of International Programs, attention: International Student, Scholar & Faculty Services (ISSFS) Center located in UC 2160.
The forms are available from ISSFS by request:
- H-1B Worksheet: Information from this form is used to prepare the H-1B petition. The Worksheet includes a statement on the Return Travel Guarantee: the department must agree to provide one-way return transportation to the home country or country last resided in outside the U.S. if the employment is terminated prior to the end of the H-1B period for which the department petitioned. This guarantee is signed by the dean/director or chair of the department.
- Statement of Actual Wage Determination: Information from this form is used to determine the “actual wage,” which is defined as the wage paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience, qualifications, education, job responsibility and function, and specialized knowledge for the employment in question.
- Export Control Certification: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has changed its form I-129, adding a section that requires mandatory review and certification relative to export controlled technology or technical data released to a prospective employee.
- Letter of Support: The sample letter offers guidelines on what should be placed in the blanks of the letter of support. Once you have completed the letter, have it signed by the department chair, dean or director.
- Copies of employee’s documents: Contact ISSFS for more information.
Once all of the above forms and documents are received, the ISSFS International Advisor will request the prevailing wage determination from the Texas Workforce Commission.
Prevailing Wage Form: The prevailing wage determination is the wage that the U.S. Department of Labor determines is the average wage paid to all similarly employed individuals within a certain area (city, state, and region).
- It may take up to four weeks or so to receive the prevailing wage determination.
- The salary for your employee must be at least 100% of the prevailing wage in order to proceed to the next step in the process of obtaining the H-1B.
- If the salary does not meet 100% of the prevailing wage, the salary must be raised or an alternate prevailing wage source must be consulted in order to proceed. If this occurs, the Faculty and Scholar Advisor will contact the department about the determination and discuss the alternatives. Once the prevailing wage is met, the ISSFS will file the Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Dept. of Labor and post the LCA on the UT Tyler HR and the department for 10 business days.
Once the prevailing wage is met, the ISSFS will file the Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Dept. of Labor and post the LCA on the UT Tyler website for 10 business days.
The Faculty and Scholar Advisor will attest to the following when filing the LCA:
- H-1B employees will be paid at least the actual wage or prevailing wage, whichever is higher.
- The employment of H-1B internationals will not adversely affect the working conditions of other workers similarly employed.
- On the date of filing, there is not a strike, lockout or work stoppage in the H1B employee’s occupation at the place of employment.
- A copy of the LCA will be provided to the H-1B employee and notice of the LCA will be posted on the employer’s office of HR and department for 10 business days.
Note: The university is able to make these attestations based on information provided by the department on all required forms. Therefore, it is very important that these forms are filled out completely and correctly.
The Faculty and Scholar Advisor will also complete the Form I-129 and email it to the department with the check request instructions. Once the checks are picked up and delivered to ISSFS, the H-1B petition is ready to be submitted to USCIS.
All the information is compiled and mailed to USCIS with the checks for the appropriate fees. The filing fee of $460 is required for all H-1B petitions; the anti-fraud fee of $500 is required for new and transfer petitions only. Both fees are paid by the employing department. The filing fee for an accompanying dependent petition is $370. If the employee or department wants the USCIS to adjudicate the petition within 15 days, the $1,225 premium processing fee may be paid. (Premium Processing is temporally suspended by USCIS since April 3, 2017.)
Note: A transferring H-1B employee may begin employment once the University receives the receipt of filing from USCIS. Both the department and the employee must sign a memo stating the possible consequences of beginning employment prior to approval. This temporary work authorization may not be advisable in all situations.
USCIS will mail a receipt of filing to ISSFS.
The receipt is usually received within three weeks. Processing times for approval of the H-1B petitions vary, depending on time of year, taking from 4 to 6 months.
Finally, the H-1B Approval Notice arrives.
Once the petition is approved, the Form I-797 Notice of Action (H-1B approval notice) will be mailed to ISSFS. The ISSFS will notify the department/employee. The employee will pick up the documents and take them to the Office of Human Resource, where he/she will complete or update his/her I-9. If the employee is out of the United States, the documents will be sent to him/her for the visa application at the U.S. Consulate at his/her home country. The employee may enter the U.S. up to 10 days prior to the start date on the approval notice and will then present the H-1B documents to department upon arrival at UT Tyler for completion of the I-9.