Hiring Employees on Employment-Based Visas (H-1B, TN, O-1)
Employing an H-1B Scholar
The H-1B is a temporary work visa for international faculty and staff who are hired in a specialty occupation.
To sponsor a scholar for an H-1B visa, the international scholar must have at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent, and the degree must relate to his or her specialty occupation. An H-1B is ideal for visiting professors, assistant professors, researchers and other professional staff. Scholars on an H-1B visa can be initially sponsored for a three year period with a maximum total stay of six years. The H-1B is also considered a dual-intent visa, and is the best option for an international scholar who may be considering permanent residency. The process of hiring an H-1B usually takes four to five months, so it is best to contact ISSS six months ahead of the requested start date. If you have additional questions about whether an H-1B is the best option for your department, feel free to contact ISSS. If possible, let ISSS know the potential hire date, expected job title, and the scholar’s home country. ISSS can be reached at 404-413-2070. Please consider the following before offering H-1B sponsorship to a potential employee:
- Does this position require at least a bachelor’s degree and does the potential hire already have the required degree as well as all other requirements for the job? If not, you should consult with ISSS about how or when an H-1B can still be filed for the potential hire or if other visa options should be pursued.
- Has the job offer to the potential hire already been made? If so, did you include the required statement in the job offer concerning immigration status? If not, contact Drew Webster, Assistant Director for Scholar Services for ISSS, at firstname.lastname@example.org so that he can talk with the new hire about their current visa status and their eligibility for the H-1B category.
- The H-1B process is mainly reserved for Faculty, since very few Staff positions qualify for H-1B sponsorship. Review the policy below carefully, as well as the rest of the Administrators section of the ISSS website and discuss any questions you may have with Drew in ISSS.
Please review our H-1B application process for more detailed information on applicable fees, a step-by-step description of the approval process for international employees, and a list of documents needed for adjudication by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS).
TN Employment: For Canadian & Mexican Citizens
The TN category is an alternative to the H1-B Category. It allows employment of Canadian or Mexican nationals into most jobs offered at Georgia State University that officially require at least a bachelor’s degree. As part of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), this category allows for employment with less paperwork than the H-1B category. However, only certain occupations qualify under the TN category.
- Please complete the TN Request E-form in iStart. After this, the scholar will need to log in to fill out the TN Beneficiary Questionnaire.
- After review by ISSS, we will prepare a draft letter to send to your department OR an I-129 petition to USCIS, depending on if the beneficiary will apply for the TN inside or outside of the U.S.
- If the TN beneficiary is outside the country, the Business Manager or Department Chair for the requesting department will complete the letter and send it, along with any supporting documents, to the newly hired employee.
- The employee will present these documents for a visa interview (Mexican nationals only), and then at the U.S. border in order to obtain entry to the U.S. in the TN category.
If your position does not qualify, the ISSS Advisor specializing in employment-based categories can assist you with other options.
O-1 Workers of Extraordinary Ability
There are rare instances where someone who does not have the ability to file for an H-1B or TN (and/or for whom a J-1 is inappropriate) may be eligible for an O-1 visa, which reflects outstanding achievement in their particular field. An O-1 petition is very, very difficult and requires an immense amount of documentation to substantiate it. As the viability of an O-1 must be determined before a department initiates, ISSS requests that the department contact Drew Webster, Assistant Director of Scholar Services, at email@example.com. Once an O-1 has been determined to be a viable route, the department may initiate at that time.
A time frame of 6 months is required to work on the O-1, at the very least, given the documentation and letter revisions required to submit to USCIS. If a department submits a request less than 6 months before a start date, ISSS will refer the case to an attorney at a significantly higher cost to the department.