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Overview H-1B Employment Visa

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H-1B temporary worker immigration status is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation. US Immigration defines a specialty occupation as one that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement.” The H-1B is an employer-sponsored immigration status. It is employer-specific, job-specific, and location-specific. If the employer, job or job location change then a new H-1B petition may be needed.

Boise State University sponsors H-1B visas for on-campus, full time, long-term academic positions such as tenure-track faculty. Other long-term, permanent staff positions may be supported if they require a specialty bachelor’s degree.  Other visa categories, particularly F-1 OPT, should be utilized where possible.

  • Regulations require that the position is a “specialty occupation” and that the salary for the position meets certain wage requirements. Boise State University does not sponsor H-1B applications for hourly positions or for positions that are not full-time.

    In order to qualify as a “specialty occupation” the position must be one that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement”.

    The salary for the position must be the higher of the “prevailing wage” or the “actual wage”.

    The employee must also be eligible for H-1B sponsorship. For example, if the employee was previously on a J visa and has not fulfilled their 2-year home residency requirement then they are not eligible for H-1B status unless they have received a waiver of that requirement from USCIS.

    The eligibility of a position for H-1B sponsorship is determined by the Center for Global Education. All H-1B applications for Boise State University are processed through the Center for Global Education.  Other visa categories, particularly F-1 OPT, should be utilized where possible.

  • H-1B status can be approved in up to 3-year increments and up to 6 years in total. Recent use of H-1B at another employer counts towards the beneficiary’s 6-year total.

  • The minimum time to complete the H-1B application is 3 months, if the department elects to pay for premium processing. Without premium processing the H-1B approval can take 7-10 months or longer. An application cannot be submitted to US immigration more than 6 months in advance.

    • Filing fees – $960 (extensions/renewals are $460)
    • Premium Processing (recommended in most cases) – $1,410

    If necessary, attorney legal fees may also be required. Departments cannot pass any H-1B application costs on to the employee. Costs for H4 dependents (spouse and/or children) are the responsibility of the H-1B employee.  Information on fees and department costs are available on our H-1B costs page.

  • The H-1B is employer and employment specific. Participating in another job or work with another employer would require an additional H-1B petition. H-1B visa holders cannot receive honorarium from any other employers or sources.

  • Any changes in employment, including salary, position duties/title, worksite locations off-campus, drop in hours to less than full-time, and departure from the position must be communicated to the Center for Global Education prior to the change. Failure to notify in advance may result in fines and back wages for the hiring department.

    If the employment is involuntarily terminated, then the department may be responsible for the cost of return transportation to the home country for the H-1B employee.