H-1B Information for Departments
An H-1B is a temporary work visa that can be obtained initially for up to three years with an additional three-year extension. The basic filing fee to USCIS is $460 plus $500 for an anti-fraud fee for new applications. Legal fees range from $2,000 and up. The process can take from 4-6 months (2 months to prepare and file and 2-4 months for processing). Departments or the employee can pay an additional $2,500 for premium processing, which will take 15 days once the application is submitted to DHS. Please contact CIE for referral to a local immigration attorney. The information below is an overview of the process.
The H-1B Process Overview
The process is two-part and includes applications to both the Labor Department and United States Immigration and Citizenship Services (USCIS). The Labor Condition Attestation takes anywhere from a few days to several weeks. The Immigration application takes 2-4 months.
Labor Condition Attestation (LCA)
The Labor Condition Attestation must show that Loyola is paying the applicant the higher of the actual wage paid to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment or the prevailing wage level for the occupational classification in the geographic area of intended employment.
- PREVAILING WAGE –This is determined through a prevailing wage determination from the Louisiana Department of Labor which takes about a week. CIE will apply for the prevailing wage determination.
- ACTUAL WAGE – USCIS requires that the “employer….retain documentation regarding the basis it used to establish the actual wage. The employer must show how the wage set for the H-1B nonimmigrant relates to the wages paid by the employer to all other individuals with similar experience and qualifications for the specific employment.” In other words you can send a memo to CIE which gives the salaries of all other faculty/staff in that position, including the applicant’s, and explain any differences in the wages. You can consider factors such as, experience, qualifications, education, job responsibility and function, specialized knowledge and “ other legitimate business factors.” This memo will remain in the files to prove that the actual wage was determined if there are ever questions. Click here for sample.
Once these documents are received by CIE, the LCA is submitted on-line and certified. The certified LCA must be posted for 10 days in two conspicuous locations. The LCA is complaint driven, so if no one complains, then the LCA will not be questioned. CIE will work with Human Resources on this component.
Once the LCA is approved by the Department of Labor, the application is sent to the USCIS. The following letters are required from the Department/College:
- A statement that if the contract ends prior to the end of the requested period of the H-1 visa then Loyola University will be responsible for the return airfare. Click here for sample.
- A statement of professional qualifications and academic credentials. Click here for sample.
- A copy of the contract or offer letter and a statement that you intend to hire the individual for 3 years with specific dates. Click here for sample.
- A copy of the ad or job description
- A check for $460 made out to U.S. Department of Homeland Security, another check for $500 for new applications made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and if you decide to apply for premium processing, another check for $2,500 made out to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, if available.
- Deemed Export Control Questionnaire
Permanent residence allows an individual to reside and work permanently in the U.S. The application process can take from 2-4 years for a faculty member. Normally, Loyola will apply for an H-1B for the faculty member and if the faculty member wishes to stay beyond the 6 years available on an H-1B visa, he or she must begin the process for permanent residence.
The permanent residence application is a two-step process: the labor certification through the Department of Labor and the Permanent Residence application through the Department of Homeland Security.
- The labor certification must be filed within 18 months of the offer of employment or the position will have to be readvertised.
- Because the Department of Labor stipulates that all costs for the labor certification must be paid by the employer, the Labor Certification application will cost the department or college $4000 in legal fees, plus an additional $600 - $700 if the position must be re-advertised. Please contact CIE for the name of the approved attorney for the labor certification.
The faculty member is responsible for the costs of the permanent residence application (except for the LCA) which can cost $5000 or more in legal fees, plus an additional $2500 in filing fees and medical exams. Contact CIE for recommendations.
Please note that there are extra costs for processing the permanent residence applications of additional family members, such as a spouse and/or children. The I-485 for each derivative can cost $2000 or more in legal fees, $1225 or more in filing fees, and $300 - $ 500 in medical fees. The faculty member is responsible for the costs of permanent residence applications for each additional family member.
NOTE: Faculty in tenure track positions have 18 months from the offer of employment to submit a labor certification to the DOL, the first part of the permanent residence application. If the application is not submitted by then, a new search will have to be done before the individual can apply for permanent residence.
All staff employment must go through Human Resources. The university will not prepare immigration petitions for staff. Individuals and departments can choose to file applications using approved attorneys, following the guidelines below and after discussion with HR.
GUIDELINES FOR WORKING WITH ATTORNEYS FOR STAFF POSITIONS
CIE will be happy to recommend attorneys who specialize in immigration.
Labor Condition Attestation - Attorneys must use the OES Survey with certification from the Louisiana Alien Labor Certification Unit. If the Department does not pay the filing fees than the employee's salary as listed on the OES Survey must be reduced by the amount of the filing fees for the LCA.
The Public File must be sent to CIE and should include the following documents:
- Prevailing wage certification
- Actual wage letter from department
- Proof of posting (from Human Resources)
- Certified labor condition attestation.
Staff applications are signed by the Director of Human Resources.