H-1B Application Procedure

The International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSS) at Georgia State University has prepared the information below to assist hiring departments at Georgia State University with the process of preparing an H-1B petition for adjudication by the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for foreign national employees.

The process is lengthy and complex, involving various state and federal government agencies. In order to ensure that everything goes smoothly, it is extremely important that you read these materials very carefully and follow the instructions.

Please be advised, however, that any estimated processing times referenced here or in the iStart process are subject to change without notice due to changes in the regulations/laws and/or due to backlogs within a particular government agency. ISSS cannot control delays of this nature.

If you have any questions or need additional information, please email or call Drew Webster at isss@gsu.edu or 404-413-2070.

IMPORTANT NOTE: To minimize any potential problems with the processing times outlined above, it is important that departments submit the H-1B Request Packet materials to ISSS six (6) months in advance of the requested start date. Also, the H-1B applicant or sponsoring department must inform ISSS of any expected travel outside of the U.S. during the H-1B application process. Failure to report such plans could cause a denial of the H-1B application.

The H-1B visa category is a temporary work visa for non-U.S. workers in an occupation that requires at least a bachelor's degree or the equivalent at the entry level. The employee’s bachelor’s degree must be related to the “specialty occupation” in which the employee is working. At the University, H-1B status is typically used for tenure-track faculty, academic researchers, research associates, and professional staff. All academic research, research associate, and teaching faculty positions are eligible for H-1B sponsorship.

However, an H-1B is not available for staff positions in secretarial, clerical, office and administrative support, nor research assistant positions.   Click here to view a list of eligible H-1B sponsored staff positions.  Unfortunately, non-research or teaching staff positions outside this list will not be considered for sponsorship as they do not meet the minimum criteria necessary for an H-1B approval. Georgia State will sponsor employees for the H-1B status when the position requires at least a Bachelor’s degree.  

  • H-1B status is used to employ professionals temporarily, generally for a period of three years at a time, and up to a period of six years total; however, an employer may not sponsor an international for a period of time that exceeds guaranteed funding. If funding can only be guaranteed for one year at a time, then the international must extend his/her status each year (up to a total of six years).
  • The position must require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and the international must possess at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the field in which he/she is seeking employment. Internationals with an equivalency in work experience may be required to provide substantial documentation. The experience to education ratio required by USCIS is 3 to 1.
  • The H-1B status is employer specific. Therefore, the international may only work for the employer who sponsors his/her status.
  • However, the international may have more than one H-1B approval and work for more than one employer as long as each employer has an approved petition on his/her behalf.
  • The H-1B status recognizes dual intent. This means that the international may apply for permanent residency while in H-1B status; however, he/she is strongly urged to make ISSS aware of his/her plans so that we may advise the international properly. If the international’s application for permanent residency is based upon the position he/she currently holds at Georgia State University, he/she MUST have such documents filed by ISSS. Outside legal counsel cannot be used by any department.
  • The international will be given a copy of his/her approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) and I-129 application package when the H-1B is filed. The international’s position title, salary and working hours, which are attested to by GSU on the I-129 and LCA, cannot change without filing new H-1B paperwork.
  • Dependent family members in H-4 status are not eligible to work.

An H-1B has a maximum of six years time which can be used, with some exceptions.* We can only request three years of this maximum at a time. Because of this, H-1B extension petitions must also be submitted to USCIS. Upon submission, the employee will receive an automatic 240 days of extra H status beyond their current expiration as long as they remain inside of the country during this period. If they exit the U.S. during the 240 days, they will be denied re-entry until the extension has been approved and a new visa approved by a U.S. consulate. Drivers license renewals can also take several weeks longer for those using the 240 day period, so extension petitions should be submitted well in advance to avoid those delays.  ISSS requests that you submit any H-1B extension petitions 3 months before the current expiration of the H-1B status.

*Exceptions to the 6 year rule include:

  • Recapture: Any time spent outside of the United States after an H-1B status has been approved can be recaptured to add on to the end of the employee's H-1B status. Ex. If they are a professor with a summer break and choose to go home for 3 months each summer, then they will have another 18 months that can be added on to the end of their H-1B maximum time. The employee should keep records of all air travel, exit and entries to the U.S. and other countries.
  • Green card delays: If either the employee or ISSS has successfully petitioned an employee for a green card via the I-140, but they do not have a current priority date that allows them to file for their I-485 Application to Adjust Status (typically occurs if they are an Indian or Chinese national) then they are eligible for three year extensions of H-1B beyond the maximum 6 year time until their priority date becomes current.  For more information on the green card, please see the section "U.S. Permanent Residency".

Potential international employees already in H-1B status can have their H-1B “ported” to GSU. The application process for this is the same as for a new H-1B, except that GSU can hire the international with only a receipt notice for the H-1B petition from immigration rather than a full approval notice.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) charges the following processing fees for H-1B petitions. All fees must be paid by separate check. ISSS will send instructions on the payment of these fees and charges after the submission of the H-1B e-forms in iStart.

  • H-1B Fee: $460 (paid by department or international)
  • Anti-Fraud Detection & Prevention Fee: $500 (paid by department for initial and transfer H-1Bs)
  • Premium Processing Fee: $1,225 (optional, but recommended)
  • Additional Fee for Dependents: $370 (paid by international scholar)*
    * Dependents must complete an original Form I-539 to request an H-4 dependent status classification. The Form I-539 must only include information about immediate family members (spouse and children) who are inside the United States at the time of filing. The Form I-539 may be downloaded from USCIS at: http://www.uscis.gov/i-539

ISSS charges the following processing fees for cost recovery for each H-1B petition:
• Initial/Transfer (port) H-1B Petitions = $600 .00
• Extension/Amendment H-1B Petitions = $400.00
The Departmental Request for H-1B status e-form found in iStart provides information on how the department (via speedcode) or individual can pay the ISSS cost recovery fee.

Steps to Obtaining the H-1B

h-1b-timeline

Please go to istart.gsu.edu to log in to iStart at the bottom of the page where it says "Administrative Services for University Departments".  (Do NOT using the blue login button.)

  1. Departmental Request for H-1B Status
  2. Export Control Review Verification
  3. Documentation of Employees in a Similar Classification

ISSS will charge the department the following fee, dependent on the type of petition requested, at this time:
$600 for initial request
$400 for extension/renewal

You may need to select "Add a New Person" if ISSS does not currently have the scholar's information on file.  Once that is done, please select "H-1B Request" and complete the following e-forms. If the scholar is already at GSU, please enter their Panther ID under "University ID" and their Campus ID under "Network ID".  Otherwise, a temporary ID will be created for them to log in to complete their e-forms.

If you have not yet requested and been granted Department Access to iStart, please do so under "Departmental Services".  Please notify Drew as well by email: awebster@gsu.edu

The scholar will log in to iStart.  If they are currently at GSU with a Panther ID/Campus ID, they may log in using that.  If not, they will have received a Temporary ID login to use "Limited Services".  Please contact Drew Webster (awebster@gsu.edu) if there are any issues the scholar has with logging in to iStart.

The scholar must complete the H-1B questionnaire in total in order for ISSS to begin the H-1B process.

  • The salary for your employee must meet or exceed the prevailing wage determination (PWD) in order to proceed to the next step in the process of obtaining the H-1B.
  • If the offered wage does not meet the prevailing wage, the department will have to decide between raising the salary to meet the PWD or hiring a US worker for the position.
  • This process is in lieu of a submission to the Department of Labor.  The department can choose this route, understanding that while it provides "safe harbor" in case of a DOL audit, it will also add an extra 3-4 months of processing time for DOL to determine.
  • The ISSS advisor, using the Documentation of Employees in a Similar Classification e-form, will compare all employees currently employed in the same department and title as the one being sponsored for H-1B. The range of salaries will determine the “actual wage” being paid by Georgia State for this type of position. The Federal Department of Labor requires that we pay the prevailing or actual wage, whichever is higher, for each position being sponsored for H-1B. If the actual wage being paid other employees is higher, the department may have to raise the salary to meet this requirement.

After the PWR and Actual Wage information have been determined, the LCA is completed and submitted to DOL. The DOL keeps these applications on file, and employers are required by the government to meet the wage criteria reported on the application. Employers may at any time be audited by DOL. An announcement of the intention to hire a foreign national must be posted in two locations for public view for a minimum of 10 business days.  This will be done by ISSS via an electronic posting found on both our website and Human Resources.

DOL requires that the University certify that the following conditions have been met:

  • The employment of the H-1B nonimmigrant will not adversely affect the working conditions of employees similarly employed in the area.
  • On the date that the application to the DOL is signed and submitted, there is not a strike, lockout, or work stoppage in a course of a labor dispute in the occupation in which H-1B non-immigrant will be employed in at the place of employment. If such a strike or lockout occurs after this application is submitted, we will notify DOL within 3 days of the occurrence of such a strike or lockout and the application will not be used in support of a petition filing with Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for an H-1B nonimmigrant to work in the same occupation at the place of employment until DOL determines the strike or lockout has ceased.
  • A copy of the application has been, or will be, provided to each H-1B nonimmigrant employed pursuant to this application, and, as of this date, notice of this application has been provided to workers employed in the occupation in which the H-1B non-immigrant will be employed.
  • A notice of filing has been posted and was/will remain posted for 10 working days where the H-1B nonimmigrant will be employed. ISSS will complete this requirement.

  • If the employee or department wants USCIS to adjudicate the petition within 15 days, the $1,225 premium processing fee may be paid. Please contact Drew Webster to see if the $1,225 expedited fee is needed in your particular case.
  • ISSS will mail all H-1B petitions via express mail using the department’s UPS account number provided on the Departmental Request e-form.
  • Government Filing Fees **ISSS will send instructions for the check requests after H-1B packet is received. Please do NOT request through PantherMart.**
  1. $460 application fee, payable to Department of Homeland Security by check
  2. $500 Anti-Fraud Fee, payable to Department of Homeland Security by check
  3. $1225 Premium Processing (can be paid by department or individual), payable to by check
  4. $370 for change of status or extension for any dependent spouse or children (paid by individual) – payable to Department of Homeland Security by check

The receipt is usually received within two weeks from the date the H-1B petition was filed. Processing times for approval of the H-1B petitions vary depending on time of year, but applications generally take from 3 to 6 months without premium processing. With premium processing, approvals will be completed by USCIS in 15 calendar days from the receipt date.
Once the petition is approved, the Form I-797, Notice of Action (H-1B approval notice) will be mailed to ISSS. The Scholar Advisor will notify the department and employee for the employee to pick up the documents.

If the employee is out of the U.S., the documents will be sent to him/her by the employing department for the visa application at the U.S. Consulate. This process is known as Consular Notification. The employee may only enter the U.S. up to 10 days prior to the start date on the approval notice and will present the H-1B documents to Human Resources upon arrival at Georgia State for completion of the I-9.