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Starting H-1B at UConn

H-1B status at UConn is initiated by the hiring department.

H-1B Employee Beneficiary must complete these forms:

H-1B Petition Packets should be received by UConn’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) from the hiring department at a minimum of 4 months, and up to 7 months, prior to the anticipated start of H-1B employment.

Please note that OGC starts processing an H-1B request only upon receipt of a complete packet with ALL necessary materials and information attached.  Incomplete H-1B request packets will result in longer processing times.

H-1B Petitions Filed and Approved

  • If you have Changed Status from another nonimmigrant status (F-1, J-1, F-2, J-2) to H-1B status, the H-1B petition must be APPROVED before you can start working at UConn as an H-1B.
    • If you are currently working at UConn in another status (J-1 or F-1 OPT), that status must continue until your H-1B approval or petition start date.
  • If you are currently in H-1B status for another employer and switching to UConn employment, the H-1B petition need only be FILED before you can start working at UConn on the H-1B.

The process for obtaining an H-1B for an employment position has three phases:

  1. The U.S. Department of Labor must issue a Prevailing Wage Determination (required for many postdoctoral positions).
  2. The U.S. Department of Labor must certify a Labor Condition Application (LCA) to determine that the prevailing wage requirement is satisfied.  OGC submits the LCA to the Department of Labor for approval.
  3. OGC then submits the I-129 Petition for H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification and approved LCA to USCIS.  USCIS reviews the H-1B petition and the approved LCA, and determines whether to grant H-1B status.

The entire process – from the request submission to OGC to the H-1B approval by USCIS – ordinarily takes 4 to 6 months in two phases:

  1. OGC Processing – 2 months, including working with the U.S. Department of Labor for the Prevailing Wage Determination and LCA.
  2. USCIS Adjudication – 3-4 months

*Premium Processing: For an additional $1,225 filing fee, USCIS will process an I-129 Petition for H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification within 15 days, issuing an approval, denial or request for additional evidence. Premium Processing does not expedite the processing time of the Prevailing Wage Determination or LCA. There is no way to expedite the processing times for the U.S. Department of Labor portions of an H-1B petition.

*Premium processing can be requested either before or after the petition has been filed with USCIS.

If the employee is… With Standard Processing With $1225 Premium Processing Fee* Comments
Outside the U.S. 8 months before the employee will begin work 5 months before the employee will begin work Total time will depend on the time needed to obtain a visa at the U.S. Consulate. (Varies according to Consulate adn country of employee’s citizenship)
In the U.S. in a different immigration status (such as J-1 or F-1 with Practical Training) 5 months before the employee will begin work or before the current work permission ends 3 months before the employee will begin work or before current work permission ends If employee plans to travel outside the U.S. before getting final approval of the H-1B petition, more time may be needed. Contact OGC immediately to discuss.
In the U.S. in H-1B Status and currently employed by another employer 3 months before leaving current (non-UConn) employment Not usually necessary or recommended If employee plans to travel outside the U.S. before getting final approval of the H-1B petition, more time may be needed. Contact OGC immediately to discuss. Employee must remain employed by original employer until UConn’s petition is mailed to USCIS.
Already employed at UConn in H-1B status 3 months before the end of the current H-1B approval or I-94 Not usually necessary or recommended If employee plans to travel outside the U.S. before getting final approval of the H-1B petition, more time may be needed. Contact OGC immediately to discuss.

Inconsistent processing times in U.S. government agencies, requests for more information issued by DOL and USCIS, or unexpected problems arising during the process will also lengthen the time needed.

In addition, if the international employee is abroad and he/she needs to apply for an H-1B visa to enter the U.S. upon the approval of the H-1B petition, additional time to obtain an H-1B visa stamp from a U.S. consulate must be considered before he/she starts his/her employment at UConn. For these reasons, OGC always recommends that the hiring department begin the H-1B process as soon as possible.

USCIS sends the I-797 H-1B Approval Notice directly to OGC.  OGC will notify the department contact person upon notice of petition approval.  The department is responsible for keeping copies of the H-1B approval notice and completing a Form I-9 for employment authorization with the H-1B beneficiary.

H-1B nonimmigrants are given an I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon entry into the U.S. or attached to their H-1B Approval Notice if H-1B status was obtained through a change or extension of status in the U.S. These I-94 Arrival/Departure Records should be marked “H-1B” and list an expiration date (as opposed to the D/S usually marked on F-1 and J-1 records). Note that the expiration date on the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record designates the expiration of lawful status in the U.S. H-1B nonimmigrants must take steps to extend or change their status to remain in the U.S. beyond the date on the most recently-issued I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.

Length of the H-1B Petition at UConn

While H-1B status is available in 3-year increments for up to 6 years in total, the sponsoring academic department must confirm that it has sufficient funding for the duration of the position.

    • The length of each petition is based on available funds for a beneficiary as confirmed by the hiring department.
    • Hiring departments, not the H-1B validity period, determine the length of H-1B employment at UConn.

Fees

Hiring Departments are responsible for:

      •  $460 I-129 filing fee
      • $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection fee for new H-1B employment with UConn (not required for extensions of current UConn-sponsored H-1B employment)
      • $150 OGC Administrative Processing fee

H-1B beneficiary is responsible for:

    • Consular fees for visa issuance
    • $370 I-539 filing fee, if needed to change or extend status of dependents
  • Either the hiring department or the beneficiary may pay the $1,225 Premium Processing fee to guarantee an answer within 15 calendar days, if Premium Processing is required or requested.

The 240-Day Rule

As long as the employer has filed an H-1B Extension Petition before expiration of the current H-1B (same employer or different employer), the beneficiary remains in a period of authorized stay and may continue to work for the petitioning employer for 240 days after the end date of the current petition while USCIS adjudicates the extension.

H-4 Dependents likewise continue in valid status for 240 days if the I-539 Extension is filed before expiration of current H-4.

But, restrictions apply on the ability to travel and reenter the U.S.