International Scholar Updates & Reminders

Updates to International Office H-1B Process

As of December 2010, the International Office has made several updates to the H-1B Process.  Please make sure you are referencing the updated H-1B Department Checklist for information on our new forms (H-1B Site of Activity, H-1B Deemed Export Control and H-1B Itinerary Example)

Delays in USCIS H1B Processing Times

As of October 2010, the International Office has identified a delay in USICS H-1B processing times. Currently, we are not receiving Approval Notices until 5 months after a petition has been submitted.  Unfortunately, the International Office does not have any control over these delays. We ask that you contact your assigned International Scholar Advisor if you have questions.

Change in fees to USCIS

  • Premium Process Fee: $1,225 (optional for expedited H1B cases)
  • H-1B (I-129) Fee: $325
  • H-4 Dependent Application (I-539): $290
  • J-2 Employment Authorization (I-765): $380

Increased Scrutiny in H-1B Application Process

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has instituted new filing procedures for filing prevailing wages and labor condition applications (LCA).  These two processes are a significant part of the H-1B application process in the International Office (IO).

Due to these new procedures the IO now requires 3 months to process an H-1B application.  After the IO processing, the application is mailed to USCIS and it takes USCIS 3 weeks to issue a receipt notice and 2-3 months for an approval notice.  This is a total H-1B processing time of 5-6 months.

Difference between receipt and approval:

  • A receipt notice is all that is needed to continue working past your current H-1B end date and are a benefit of an H-1B extension application.
  • An approval notice is what you need if you are changing status to H-1B or if you are traveling outside the U.S. close before or anytime after your current H-1B end date.

If you plan on changing status to H-1B or if your current H-1B will expire in 2010, please make sure your department allows enough processing time.  We are unable to expedite cases in less time then noted above. 

Visa and Port-of-Entry Interviews

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has recently increased scrutiny of H-1B cases. They have done this by conducting targeted site audits and higher level of inspection during visa interviews and port-of-entry questioning. 

We have had about two sites audits per month since this past fall.  This audit entails a visit to the scholar, department or IO regarding specific H-1B beneficiary's job.  In both audits and visa/port-of-entry interviews, department contacts and H-1B beneficiaries must be ready to answer inspectors' questions about the nature of their employment, their job duties, location and salary. 

When traveling the H-1B beneficiary MUST have a copy of his/her H-1B approval notice AND labor condition application (LCA).  Please review the travel information we have on our website and please contact your advisor at the IO before you leave the U.S. to make sure you have the correct documentation for your visa stamp and re-entry into the U.S.