H-1B Visa Definitions
A non-immigrant visa is a permit affixed or stamped to a page in the passport to the US. Entrance to the US is given under the terms and conditions specified by the particular type of non-immigrant visa. The visa does not determine how long the visitor can remain in the US. A valid visa is only necessary for traveling and returning from abroad after the current visa in the passport has expired.
Only a US consulate or embassy abroad can grant or renew a visa. Exception: Applications for H and O visa revalidations may be processed through the US Department of State via mail.
Note: Due to increased security measures at U.S. consulates, it is not unusual for a foreign national to remain stranded outside the US for several months waiting for security checks at an US consulate.
Should this occur, Departments should contact IE as soon as possible to determine the best method of keeping the employee in H-1B status. If the employee is terminated during the wait, most likely another H-1B will have to be filed and approved to bring the employee back to the US. This is a difficult issue that all companies and organizations are facing.
IE: NCSU International Employment Office
NCSU: NC State University
USCIS: United States Citizenship and Immigration Service
Actual Wage Determination
The Actual Wage Determination is the range paid to all individuals in a department with similar experience and qualifications. An H-1B worker must be paid at or above the range of wages currently paid to comparable employees.
Change of status
H-1B status may be obtained by applying for a change of status within the US, if the foreign national beneficiary is already in a valid, non-immigration status, or if the foreign national beneficiary is overseas, by requesting USCIS to send an approved petition to the US consulate in the foreign national's country of residence. This will enable the individual to obtain an H-1B visa to enter the US for a fixed period of time).
Concurrent H-1B Status
It is possible for two employers to petition concurrently for H-1B status for a foreign national who will work part time with each employer.
As per USCIS regulations, all foreign degrees must be translated and evaluated. Evaluation can be obtained from Trustforte Corporation (phone: 212-481-4870). To receive a discounted rate, mention NCSU International Employment. Other evaluation service providers may be used as well, including Park Evaluations & Translations, and Evaluation Service, Inc. Evaluation Service, Inc. will provide "rush" service at the regular rate if you mention NCSU.
Termination of employment before the authorized end date should be reported to IE. If the NCSU department terminates employment for any reason before the designated end date on the H-1B approval notice, the department is responsible for the return cost of transportation for the employee to return home. The return cost of airfare is defined as "one-way" economy fare for the employee to the country of residence.
There is a 6-year total time limit for H-1B status; however, the initial H-1B time period request to USCIS cannot exceed three years. This time limit is for all employment in H-1B status, irrespective of employer. Departments must only request H-1B visa status for the period of time for which there is guaranteed funding available for the position. NCSU departments must offer H-1B employees benefits on the same basis as US workers.
Employment of the foreign national beneficiary may not start before the approval date on the I-797, official USCIS approval notice for H-1B status, which will be given to the employee as soon as it is received by IE. However, if the employee currently has valid USCIS employment authorization in another non-immigrant status (e.g., F-1 or J-1) for employment at NCSU, he/she may continue to work in that status until it expires. If USCIS has not approved a change of status to H-1B, and the prior work authorization in F-1 or J-1 expires, the foreign national must be taken off payroll until the H-1B is approved.
Extension of H-1B Status
An H-1B visa can be extended in increments of 3 years or less, the total time period allotted by USCIS being 6 years. If an H-1B is due to expire at a specific time, the extension must be filed, but does not have to be approved, prior to the expiration of the H-1B. On filing of the extension, the H-1B beneficiary is granted, as per USCIS regulations, 240 days to work with legal authorization. However, if the H-1B beneficiary leaves the US after the expiration of the original H-1B, he/she cannot return to the US until the H-1B extension is approved and a valid visa "stamp" is obtained from a US Consulate abroad.
Note: Once an individual has obtained H-1B visa status for employment at NCSU, any changes in salary, FTE, site of employment, position or job duties must be reported to IE prior to any Human Resource System actions. In some cases, an amended H-1B visa petition will need to be filed prior to any changes occurring in the appointment.
H-1B status is portable. A foreign national may apply for a transfer of H-1B status from another current US sponsor to NCSU. The sponsoring NCSU department must still file its own petition.
Note: The transferee should not quit his/her position with the other US sponsor until after IE has filed the NCSU petition. Recent pay stubs from the original US sponsor must be submitted with the NCSU petition.
This is an expedited method of obtaining an H-1B visa, provided by USCIS and serviced by a separate USCIS Premium Processing Unit. The fee is $1225 in addition to the regular processing fee, and will expedite the process from ten to twelve months for regular processing to adjudication of the petition within 15 calendar days. It provides e-mail communication with USCIS. This is the recommended and preferred method of processing for H-1B visas. The fee must be paid by the NCSU sponsoring department, not the employee, in a separate check for $1,225, payable to USCIS.
The prevailing wage is the average salary for our geographic area for the occupation in which the foreign national beneficiary will be paid. The wage determination is made by the US Department of Labor. It is important to indicate the level of education and experience required for the position, not what is held by the applicant when completing this document.
Request for Evidence (RFE)
A request from USCIS for further information needed to adjudicate an H-1B may be sent to IE. If the H-1B is filed via Premium Processing, the RFE will take up to 2 or 3 weeks for adjudication. If the H-1B is filed via regular processing, the RFE can delay the case another 3-6 months.
USCIS Regular Processing
As per USCIS regulations, NCSU departments are legally responsible for paying the USCIS filing fee of $325.00. Checks must be drawn from an NCSU account. Regular processing is now taking from 2 to 4 months.