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H-1B Specialty Workers
- H-1B Overview
The H-1B classification is an employment status for individuals who will perform services in a "Specialty Occupation," defined as a position that requires at least a bachelor's degree (or its equivalent) as a minimum requirement. A maximum of three years can be requested at one time, and a total of six years in H-1B status is possible.
In an effort to ensure the most appropriate and efficient immigration document processing of our International Faculty and Scholars in H-1B and E-3 categories, these requests will be referred for processing by the SUNY-approved immigration counsel firm.
This allows us to take advantage of experienced immigration counsel and give departments high-level service in dealing with the intricacies of these petitions.
The immigration counsel firm charges $1,700 for H-1B processing in addition to the standard government filing fees. Departments are responsible for both the legal and government fees.
Departments wishing to support or extend a foreign national employee under the H-1B category should submit the Immigration Counsel Referral request in accessVIS. These requests require Dean (or equivalent) approval, as well as screening against federal export control lists.
Period of Stay/Extension of Stay
- Initial Validity Period: Up to 3 years
- Extension of Stay: Up to 3 years per extension for a maximum of six years, with some exceptions
- Initiating a Request
Initiating an H-1B RequestStep 1: Confirm the prospective employee has an Employee ID
Confirm the prospective employee has an Empl ID (Stony Brook ID#) in PeopleSoft. If creating the ID, allow 24-hours for the profile to be updated in accessVIS before initiating the request.Step 2: Check that all information in PeopleSoft is correct
Check that the employee’s date of birth, email, and citizenship (must indicate “Alien Temporary”) are correct in PeopleSoft - incorrect information will affect the employee’s ability to login.Step 3: Prepare the required documents
In order to submit the Immigration Counsel Referral Request successfully, you will need scanned copies of the following documents:
- Letter of Offer/Employment Contract.
- Description of proposed duties (i.e. personnel requisition).
Documents uploaded in accessVIS must be in PDF format. Files exceeding 100MB must be compressed before uploading to avoid an error message.Step 4: Initiate the Immigration Counsel Referral request
Submit the "Immigration Counsel Referral" request in accessVIS so we can begin the process of collecting the initial information required for the referral.
Upon submission of this form, an email will be sent to the Dean (or equivalent) of your unit to certify their acknowledgment of the College/Division's willingness to comply with the conditions noted in the Labor Condition Application.Step 5: The employee will submit their information
Upon submission of the Immigration Counsel Referral request form in accessVIS, the employee will receive an email prompting them to submit their portion of the request in accessVIS.Step 6: Screening against Deemed Export Controls
VIS will initiate communication to the Office of Research Compliance requesting the prospective employee be screened against Deemed Export Controls. Such screening is necessary to ensure that neither the applicant nor the home institution/employer has been designated as a denied or restricted party under U.S. law, and that the visitor’s proposed agenda complies with additional relevant federal laws.Step 7: Provide Actual Wage List information
An Actual Wage analysis is required to ensure the appropriate wage is paid to any continuing or prospective H-1B employees. Actual Wage rates are determined by comparing the salaries paid to individuals in the same title, with similar credentials, experience, and responsibilities. Salaries are typically based upon many variables, including degrees, publications, years of experience, professional recognition, etc.
The U.S. Department of Labor requires that we use a consistent method to determine salaries. Under terms set out by the U.S. Department of Labor for H-1B workers, the employer is required to show that the H-1B worker will be paid at least the higher of either:
- The Prevailing Wage for the occupation in the area of employment; OR
- The Actual Wage rate for the occupation at the place of employment
For departments petitioning for H-1B employees in faculty positions, click here to complete the Actual Wage Statement fillable PDF. The completed form must be uploaded to the Actual Wage Survey eform accessVIS, even if there are no similarly employed individuals in your department.
Departments petitioning for H-1B employees in "non-faculty" positions are also required to submit the Actual Wage eform in accessVIS to acknowledge the department's responsibility to pay at least the prevailing wage. Upon submission in accessVIS, Visa and Immigration Services (VIS) will work with HR Classification and Compensation to obtain the necessary information.
The actual wage analysis process can take between 2-3 weeks.Step 8: VIS will conduct a preliminary review
Upon submission of all required forms the department will be notified and the request will be assigned to an International Scholar and Faculty Advisor for review.
Please allow 5-7 business days for review. Should the advisor have any questions, they will contact you directly.
Once the application is completed and referred, the employee will receive communication directly from the SUNY Immigration Counsel firm.
- Legal and Filing Fees
H-1B Legal and Filing Fees
U.S. Department of Labor regulations require that employers pay all expenses required for H-1B applications. The fees cannot be recouped from employees.
H-1B petitions are referred for processing by the SUNY-approved immigration counsel firm. The immigration counsel firm charges $1,700 for an initial H-1B, and $1,575 for an H-1B extension. Departments are responsible for these legal fees.
USCIS fees are required for all H-1B petitions. The SUNY-approved immigration counsel firm (Harris Beach) will front the payment of these fees and issue an invoice to departments to pay within 30 days from the date of notice.
- $460: Standard filing fee for H-1B petitions.
- $500: Anti-fraud fee required for new and transfer H-1B applications only; not required for H-1B extensions petitions.
- $2,805: Premium Processing is an expedited service that is available for H-1B petitions. USCIS guarantees that within 15 days they will issue either a final adjudication decision or a Request for Evidence (RFE). If USCIS fails to process the petition within 15 days, it will refund the fee. Premium Processing may be requested simultaneously with the USCIS petition or at a later date, if necessary.
- $455: Dependent (Form I-539) standard filing fee, if applicable. All dependents can be included on one Form I-539 with one $370 fee, which can be paid by the employee or the department.
In the event a request for evidence (RFE) is issued or additional services are required, departments will first be notified of any additional legal fees.