Hiring Employees on Employment-Based Visas
The H-1B is a temporary employment-based visa for international faculty and staff who are hired in a specialty occupation.
The H-1B visa category is a temporary employment-based visa for non-U.S. workers in an occupation that requires at least a bachelor's degree or the equivalent at the entry level. H-1B sponsorship requires the international employee to 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. Employees on an H-1B status can be initially sponsored for a three-year period with a maximum total stay of six years, with some exceptions. As the visa is employment-based, the employee may only work for Georgia State unless another employer sponsors them for employment on another H-1B.
The H-1B is also considered a dual-intent visa (that is non-immigrant but CAN have immigrant intent) and is the best option for an international employee who may be considering permanent residency. The process of hiring an H-1B can, at the earliest, be begun up to six months prior to the requested start date, so it is best to contact ISSS at that time.
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.
- To minimize any potential problems with the processing times outlined above, it is important that departments submit the H-1B Request in iStart six (6) months in advance of the requested start date. If you plan to premium process, please submit a request three (3) months prior to their start date at the latest.
- 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.
TN Employment: For Canadian & Mexican Citizen
The TN category is an alternative to the H-1B Category. It allows the employment of Canadian or Mexican nationals into most jobs offered at Georgia State 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.
- The department will complete the TN Request E-form in iStart. After this, the employee 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 the department OR an I-129 petition to USCIS, depending on if the employee will apply for the TN inside or outside of the U.S.
- If the TN employee is outside the country, the business manager, supervising professor 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 the position does not qualify, the Assistant Director of Scholar Services 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 protected]. 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.
Dependents of H-1Bs, TN’s and O-1’s cannot work, though they can be admitted to a university. There are two ways to add dependents to an H-1B (both must be done without the assistance of Georgia State as these are considered personal applications):
- Outside the country: dependent attends visa appointment with documents (marriage or birth certificate) showing relationship to the primary, along with their immigration documents and a copy of the I-797 approval notice of the primary. They will then get a visa and enter the U.S.
- They may request a change of status using the I-539. At times, this I-539 can be submitted with an H-1B petition, though it will be processed at a different time than the H-1B.
- ISSS fee: $750 (new petition), $500 (extension or amendments)
- USCIS filing fee: $460
- Anti-fraud fee: $500 (new employees only, not extensions)
- Premium processing fee: $2500 (reduces wait time to 15 calendar days)
- ISSS fee: $100 (outside the country), $500 (inside)
- USCIS filing fee: $460 (change of status only)
- ISSS fee: $1500
- USCIS filing fee: $460
- Premium processing: $500
- Attorney fee (if not done by ISSS): around $4000
For more information, please contact Drew Webster, Assistant Director of Scholar Services, at [email protected].