H-1B Temporary Workers
The following information is general information about the sponsorship process. For Georgetown University employees, please see the specific instructions on the H-1B Request Form.
Sponsoring an employee for H-1B status is a multi-step process composed of the following:
- Prevailing Wage Determination: OGS files a request with DoL to determine the prevailing wage for the position. The salary offered must meet this prevailing wage to qualify for H-1B sponsorship. If the wage offered does not meet the prevailing wage, OGS will be in touch with the Department to discuss options.
- Labor Condition Application: OGS files a Labor Condition Application with DoL certifying the working conditions. Processing takes 7 business days
- USCIS: OGS files an I-129 petition with USCIS. Processing times fluctuate. Regular processing averages 4-6 months. Premium processing shortens USCIS processing to 15 days for an extra $2500 fee. Please note that the premium processing fee only shortens the processing time at USCIS. OGS needs an average of 6-8 weeks to receive an H-1B approval.
For more details regarding the process and policies surrounding H1-B sponsorship please visit the Department Hiring H-1B Workers webpage.
Applications may be filed up to six months in advance of the requested start date. Employees are encouraged to start this process 6 months in advance. Regular processing averages 4-6 months. Premium processing averages 6-8 weeks (for an additional $2500).
Maintenance of H-1B status is tied to employment with the employer who sponsored the H-1B petition. The H-1B is employer and job-specific. It does, however, allow for portability. Under H-1B portability provisions, an employee who holds H-1B status may begin working for a new employer as soon as the new employer has filed an I-129 petition with USCIS.
- Maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
- Work only for the employer(s) sponsoring the approved H-1B petition except in the case of a transfer (see below). Employees in H-1B status are not allowed to receive payments from outside their H-1B employer.
- Report a change of address to DHS within 10 days of the change via the USCIS website or Form AR-11. If you work remotely all or part of the time, be in touch with OGS as a posting will need to be done at your new address to comply with DOL regulations.
- Notify OGS whenever there is any change in their work (change in title, duties, worksite location, department, hours, if they are leaving the job, etc.).
- Apply for an extension before the H-1B approval/I-94 Record expires (in order to continue working at Georgetown). Processing can take 4-6 months, so allow ample time for processing. The application must be filed with the USCIS prior to the expiration date on the Form I-94 for the employee to be able to continue working without interruption. There is no grace period for foreign nationals in H-1B status after the authorized period of stay ends unless specifically authorized by the DHS at the port of entry.
An H-1B employee can enter the United States up to 10 days prior to the approved start date of their H-1B petition. The CBP official at the airport has the discretion to also give them a 10-day grace period on their I-94 Record at the conclusion of their approved H-1B period. This is not granted in all cases.
Additionally, if an H-1B employee ceases employment with their H-1B employer prior to the expiration date of their I-797 H-1B approval, they may be eligible for a 60-day grace period. This 60-day grace period is only allowed if there are at least 60 days remaining on the I-94 Record. The H-1B employee may use this time period to transfer the H-1B status to another employer or depart the United States.
Certain H-4 dependent spouses can apply for work authorization from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services. H-4 spouses are eligible to apply if the H-1B temporary worker:
- Is the beneficiary of an approved I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
- Has been granted an extension of H-1B status beyond 6 years under sections 106(a) and (b) of AC21. For more information and details on how to apply, visit the USCIS website. USCIS also has a Frequently Asked Questions website.
H-1B status may be granted for an initial period of up to three years. Extensions may also be granted in increments of up to three years. The maximum duration is six years (with limited exceptions). An individual becomes eligible for another six years in H-1B status only after residing outside the United States for one full year. H-1B status will not necessarily lead to permanent residency. Not all positions and employees that qualify for H-1B status meet the criteria for permanent residency sponsorship.
H-1B temporary workers may transfer their status to a different employer. Before the employee starts work with the new employer, the new employer must first file an I-129 petition with the USCIS and confirm that it has been received. USCIS often requests copies of recent pay stubs for transfer applications as evidence of maintenance of status.