H-1B Overview

H-1B Specialty Workers are authorized to work in specialized fields for a maximum period of six years. An employer may apply for a period of up to three years at a time. H-1B workers must hold a full-time appointment at Syracuse University and be paid a salary that equals at least the US Department of Labor-determined prevailing wage. To sponsor an H-1B worker, Syracuse University, through the Slutzker Center, must file a petition, with fees, to the Department of Labor and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) indicating that the university will appoint and pay the individual the prevailing wage.

In general, to be eligible for an H-1B visa, the position must be full-time and require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and the individual must meet that requirement and possess any necessary licensure. Syracuse University does not sponsor part-time employees for H-1B petitions. Some individuals, even if they meet the degree and licensure requirements, may not be eligible for H-1B status based on their immigration history. Those who have already used the six-year limit on H-1B status, for example, are ineligible for an additional period of H-1B status until they have resided and been physically present outside of the U.S. for at least one year. Similarly, those who are subject to the two-year home residency requirement based on their current or prior J-1/J-2 Exchange Visitor status are ineligible for H-1B status until they have either fulfilled the requirement or obtained a waiver through the Department of State and USCIS. A person for whom a department wishes to sponsor an H-1B should contact the Slutzker Center to discuss his or her eligibility for an H-1B visa.

Prevailing Wage
In order to sponsor an employee for an H-1B visa, the University must pay at least the prevailing wage or the actual wage (the rate paid to similarly situated employees), whichever is higher. The US Department of Labor calculates the prevailing wage as the average salary or wage for similarly employed workers in the area of intended employment. If this prevailing wage exceeds the amount the department wishes to pay the employee, then the University cannot proceed with the H-1B petition. In this case, departments should consult with the Slutzker Center about other options for visa sponsorship.

Processing Times – Plan up to 6 Months in Advance
Because USCIS H-1B processing times vary from 3 – 6 months, the Slutzker Center can only provide an estimate of the timing for a particular petition. We recommend that departments initiate an application as early as 6 months before the desired H-1B start date, which is the earliest that USCIS will accept an H-1B petition. Expedited processing, or “premium processing,” is available for a $1225 fee; this guarantees a decision by USCIS within 15 days. The Slutzker Center requires at least one month to process and submit an H-1B petition from the time the department and individual submits all required documents.

Required Fees. Departments are required to pay certain required USCIS processing fee(s) for their employee’s H-1B petition, including the $325 application fee. In addition, departments must pay a $500 anti-fraud fee for initial H-1B petitions and for cases in which SU is filing a change of employer petition (“portability”) for someone who already holds H-1B status with another employer. Extension petitions do not require the anti-fraud fee. The employee may not pay these fees.

Optional Fees. If the department and/or individual requests premium processing, either the department or the individual may pay the additional $1225 fee. If the employee wishes to apply for immediate family members to change to H-4 dependent status within the U.S., he or she must pay the $290 I-539 change-of-status fee.

H-1B Sponsorship of Part-Time Employees
Per Syracuse University’s Non-Immigrant of Foreign National Employment Policy (http://supolicies.syr.edu/emp_ben/emp_pol.htm), the University will support an H-1B petition for part-time employment only where the position is at an hourly rate of pay that meets Department of Labor standards and where the employee will be reporting hours weekly through the University's payroll system. Department of Labor requirements and restrictions make it impossible for an individual to receive H-1B visa status for any salaried, exempt, part-time position (e.g., adjunct professor).

Changes in Terms of Employment or Termination
Departments must consult with the Slutzker Center prior to changing an H-1B’s terms of employment (including changes to job duties or department) to determine whether an amended petition is required.

Please inform the Slutzker Center immediately if an H-1B worker’s employment is terminated so that the Slutzker Center can notify the Department of Labor and USCIS, effectively withdrawing the H-1B. Because H-1B status is an employment-based status, that status immediately ends upon termination. If the department terminates employment, the department must pay the reasonable cost of return transportation to the H-1B employee’s last place of foreign residence. The department will continue to be liable for paying the individual’s full salary and benefits if the H-1B is not withdrawn.