H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa

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The Office of General Counsel is responsible for assisting with most employment based immigration matters. The most common employer sponsored work authorization at Miami University is for for the H-1B work visa. However, not all positions qualify for H-1B sponsorship and the Hiring Department must be willing to bear the associated costs. In addition, the Office of General Counsel must agree that there is a suitable basis for pursuing H-1B status. 

The Office of General Counsel will initiate the H-1B process on behalf of the Sponsored Employee at the request of the appropriate personnel in the Office of Human Resouces or the Office of Academic Personnel Services. The amount of time it takes to obtain authorization depends on the government processing times.

Validity Dates

The validity period of H-1B status is the duration of time listed on the official I-797 Approval Notice. There is a limit of six years in the H-1B visa category, however the USCIS only grants three years at a time. Upon receiving communication from the Hiring Department that the Sponsored Employee will be reappointed, the Office of General Counsel and Academic Personnel/HR will work together to timely file to extend the Sponsored Employee's status before the end date listed on the I-797 Approval Notice. 

The USCIS only counts the time that the Sponsored Employee is actually in the U.S. towards the six year limit. The Sponsored Employee may be eligible to recapture the time spent traveling abroad during the validity period if necessary.  The USCIS will require evidence of time spent abroad (arrival/departure records, passport stamps, flight itineraries, etc.) Therefore, the Sponsored Employee should keep a copy of these documents.  

Form I-94

When the Sponsored Employee travels abroad, he/she should always print a copy of their new I-94 card from the CBP website  and verify that "admit until date" matches the expiration date listed on the I-797 Approval Notice. If the date is less than the Approval Notice date the Sponsored Employee should contact the Office of General Counsel as soon as possible. 

*The port of entry admitting officer may at his/her discretion grant an additional 10 day grace period to the I-94. The 10 day grace period is intended to allow the Sponsored Employee additional time to coordinate their departure from the U.S. The Sponsored Employee is not allowed to work during the additional 10 days.  

Passport Validity

The Sponsored Employee is required to have a valid passport at all times in order to maintain H-1B status. The Sponsored Employee may have trouble obtaining a visa to enter the U.S. if the passport is not valid for more than 6 months of the date that the Sponsored Employee seeks to enter the U.S. If the passport expiration date is earlier than the H-1B validity period, the port of entry admitting officer may issue an I-94 that only admits the Sponsored Employee to the passport expiration date instead of the H-1B validity end date.  

Terms of Employment

Miami University must accurately describe the sponsored position in the H-1B petition. If the Hiring Department would like to make changes to the sponsored employees job title, duties, or location, the Hiring Department should contact the Office of General Counsel in advance so that we can determine if an amended H-1B petition should be filed. 

If the Sponsored Employee ends his/her employment with Miami University before the expiration of the H-1B Approval Notice, the Hiring Department should notify the Office of General Counsel. Miami University is required to notify the USCIS that the employment has terminated. Upon receiving notification, the USCIS will revoke Miami University's H-1B petition. 

Change of Address

Sponsored Employees are required by law to notify the USCIS of a residential address change within 10 days of moving to the new address. This may be done electronically on the USCIS website. Sponsored Employees that move while the H-1B petition is pending should update the USCIS regarding the new address by completing a paper AR-11 and mailing it according to the Form instructions. 

H-1B Travel Visa

Please carefully review the U.S. Department of State website when preparing an H-1B visa application to determine the required documentation to acquire an H-1B visa. U.S. Consulates in different countries (and locations within a country) may require different documentation or have different procedures. Miami University recommends that in addition to reviewing the U.S. Department of State website to review the H-1B visa procedure, that sponsored employees:

  • Complete Form DS-160;
  • Provide one passport style photo (this may be uploaded during the DS-160 process);
  • Pay the visa filing fee and the additional reciprocity fee if applicable;
  • Schedule the visa interview ;
  • Bring with you to your interview:
    • A complete copy of Miami University’s H-1B petition;
    • An employment verification letter from Miami University (contact Academic Personnel or HR to request this letter);
    • A copy of Miami University's H-1B Approval Notice (contact the Office of General Counsel to obtain this document); and
    • Three recent paystubs.

The time it takes to obtain an H-1B entry visa can vary. There is usually a wait to attend an interview and an additional waiting period to receive the visa in your passport. It is also possible for an applicant to be selected for administrative processing which can cause a significant delay. Therefore, an H-1B visa may be obtained in as short of a time as a few days or it may take several weeks. 

General H-1B Questions & Answers

Do All Positions Qualify to Sponsor for H-1B status?
The position has to qualify as a “specialty occupation.” This generally means that the position must require the minimum of a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specific field.

How long can an individual work in H-1B status?
Individuals may work in H-1B status for a maximum of 6 years; however, in limited circumstances individuals may be eligible for additional time.

Can an H-1B Sponsored Employee bring his/her dependents to the United States?
H-1B Beneficiaries may file an H-4 application on behalf of a legal spouse and dependent children. Miami University does not provide assistance in preparing the H-4 application, or pay the filing fee. However, as a courtesy the Office of General Counsel will include the H-4 application with the H-1B petition in the package to the USCIS.

Is Miami University Subject to the H-1B CAP?

Miami University is Cap exempt. For practical purposes this means that Miami University may file an H-1B petition on behalf of a sponsored employee any time of the year.

Travel Update

During the pandemic there have been significant delays in obtaining entry visas. Faculty/staff should contact our office before traveling internationally if they will need to obtain an H-1B visa in order to return to the U.S.