H-1B Status for Scholars

USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Service) defines an H-1B occupation as a “specialty occupation” that 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)

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.

*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. Departments that are required to pay the fee will have to prepare a payment voucher for the PSC. The payment voucher must first be signed by ISSS (for immigration fees only). Send the payment voucher to ISSS (123 UCB) and ISSS will sign and forward it to the PSC. Call ISSS at 303-492-8057 if you need more information.