H-1B Application Procedure
The International Student & Scholar Services Office (ISSS) at Georgia State has prepared the information below to assist hiring departments at Georgia State 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.
Steps to Obtaining and H-1B
STEP 1: Initiate the H-1B process in iStart.
- Departmental Request for H-1B Status
- Documentation of Employees in a Similar Classification
Beneficiary will receive an email to fill out the H-1B Questionnaire with a temporary login if they are new employee.
It is VITAL that these forms are filled out with 100% correct information as it will then be sent to the federal government and could expose Georgia State to significant financial and legal risk if entered incorrectly.
STEP 2: Wage Determinations
- Prevailing Wage: Dept of Labor data on jobs with similar duties in the Atlanta metro area. 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.
- Actual Wage: H-1B employee must be paid at least the lowest wage of employees with similar job duties and experience. The Documentation of Employees in a Similar Classification e-form, will collect this information
- The U.S. Department of Labor requires that we pay the prevailing or actual wage, whichever is higher, for each position being sponsored for H-1B.
STEP 3: Labor Condition Application
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.
STEP 4: Check Request
STEP 5: I-129 Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker
*Premium Processing maybe required. This is an extra $2500 fee that reduces the wait time down to 15 calendar days.
**There is the possibility of a Request for Evidence (RFE) at this stage. This is where USCIS believes we have, in some way, not made the case that either the person or the case is eligible. They will request additional documentation at this time which could further delay the petition.
STEP 6: Approval
H-1B Extensions, Transfers, or Changes in Employment
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. Driver's 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.
In most cases, Georgia State will only be able to request one H-1B extension as the maximum amount of time someone may hold H-1B status is six years. Some 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. The employee should keep records of all air travel, exit and entries to the U.S. and other countries.
- Green card backlog: 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.
IMPORTANT: An employee can, in most cases, only hold an H-1B for no more than 6 years. If they have already worked elsewhere in H-1B status, then we have the difference left. For instance, if the employee has already worked 5 years in H-1B status elsewhere, they may only work for us for one year.
H-1B Changes in Job Duties/Location
Forms and Fees
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: $1,440 (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. Download the Form I-539 from USCIS.
ISSS charges the following processing fees for cost recovery for each H-1B petition:
- Initial/Transfer (port) H-1B Petitions = $750 .00
- Extension/Amendment H-1B Petitions = $500.00
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.