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H-1B Scholar Procedures

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) defines an H-1B occupation as a “specialty occupation” which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States. This definition seldom presents any difficulty to the university since virtually all positions for which we would consider an H-1B meet these criteria. Consult ISSS if you have questions. The university seldom files H-1B petitions for positions that require less than a master's degree.

Departments may consider H-1B status for a scholar if:

  • The scholar will be employed by the university, with benefits (i.e., not hired as a contractor)
  • The appointment will be long term or possibly a permanent one
  • The scholar has at least a bachelor's degree
  • The J visa is disadvantageous to the scholar
  • The J scholar is not subject to the two-year home residency rule
  • The department will pay at least the prevailing wage as determined by the State Workforce Agency (SWA)
  • The department is willing to pay the $500 anti-fraud fee* (this fee cannot be paid by the scholar)

*The H1b Visa Reform Act of 2004 created a new Fraud Prevention and Detection fee of $500. This requires all employers filing for a new H1b to pay the fee for any new petitions filed on or after March 8, 2005. This fee is not applicable if the department is requesting an extension of H1b status for someone already on a CU-Boulder H1b.  To request checks from the PSC, departments have to complete the Payment Voucher in CUMarketplace. Attach the fee schedule found at: http//www.uscis.gov/files/form/g-1055.pdf. Please ask for SEPARATE checks if paying both fees.

It is possible for an individual to have more than one H-1B employer. An example would be a scholar who is working on a project for one employer and consulting with another employer on similar material. Please consult ISSS when contemplating such an arrangement.

Please see the following pages for more information regarding:

Dependents
Immigration law must always take family into consideration. When an incoming scholar is applying for a change of status, the status of family members must be considered as well.

It is possible for a scholar in H-1B status to have his/her family (spouse and children) in the dependent H-4 status. Please note people in H-4 status cannot be employed while in the United States. Since it is often the case that the spouse is a professional in his/her own right, care should be taken in making plans for the dependents’ status. If the H-1B temporary worker is in the United States with dependents, the dependents must apply for either extension of their H-4 status or change of their current status to H-4 status when the H-1B principal applies for either extension of status or change of status. Additional fees are charged for these dependent applications. Consult ISSS for more information.

Immigrant Status
All international scholars who come to the university on regular tenure-track faculty appointments must eventually obtain immigrant or permanent resident status. Canadians may elect a status called TN, but this status may have undesirable tax repercussions; the scholar may also run into problems with the concept of dual intent (see above). Dual intent is not applicable to persons in TN status. 

Unfortunately, permanent residency is not easy to obtain, requires much lead time and, in some cases, is simply not available. In many (but not all) cases, it is necessary to secure H-1B status as a bridge to permanent residence. Please note that a scholar can only be in H-1B status for six years. Consult ISSS for guidance in such cases or refer to our pages on immigrant status. Please call ISSS for specific information and guidance in individual cases. In negotiating with international scholars for positions as permanent faculty or researchers, departments must always keep in mind the delays and difficulties of obtaining immigrant status. It is important not to make promises that the university cannot keep. We urge hiring departments to contact us during the hiring process rather than after decisions have been made.

Interviews for new faculty are complex and delicate. They involve many considerations—some scholarly, some legal, and some concerned with research issues. Immigration matters need some attention in this setting if the department is contemplating a foreign hire. The easiest way to accomplish this is to offer anyone you are interviewing the option of scheduling some time with an advisor in ISSS. This allows the potential hire to ask questions and to discover the level of immigration services we offer. It also allows the hiring faculty to concentrate on matters other than immigration, and protects the university from making costly immigration errors.