H-1B Overview

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.

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 scholar is in J status, that s/he is not subject to the two-year home residency rule

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.

CU Systems      CU Colorado Springs (UCCS)

H-1B Visa/Status Request Resources

Prior to initiating an H-1B visa/status request, please review the following resources:

H-1B Visa/Status Request Process

The DocuSign-based H-1B Visa/Status Request Form features enhanced security measures and has a workflow built into it that will help streamline the H-1B visa/status request process. Based on how previous questions in the form are answered, the department and H-1B applicant will be prompted to enter information in required fields and to upload required documentation. After completing all requirements, the signer will have to click on "Finish" in the upper right corner in order for the document to be sent to the next signer. All parties involved in the H-1B visa/status request process will sign the form electronically through DocuSign and will be emailed a copy of the completed request (via DocuSign).

After accessing the form, you will be required to enter the name and email address of the following individuals involved in the H-1B request process:

  • Hiring/Sponsoring Department Staff Preparing the Request (e.g., hiring/sponsoring department administrator, H-1B beneficiary's supervisor)
  • H-1B Applicant/Beneficiary (i.e.,the person hired by the department who will be the beneficiary of the H-1B petition)
  • H-1B Beneficiary's Direct Supervisor
  • Hiring/Sponsoring Department/Unit Chair/Director

DocuSign Resources:

If you have any questions or feedback, please email:  ISSS@colorado.edu.


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 that in most instances 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.

Unfortunately, permanent residency may not be 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 in most cases a scholar can only be in H-1B status for six years. Consult ISSS for more information in such 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 an international 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.