An H-1B temporary worker is defined as a person who will perform services in a specialty occupation defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as one which requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation and requires the completion of a specific course of education culminating in a baccalaureate degree or higher in a specific occupational specialty [I.N.A. 214 (i) (1)]. The H-1B petition is employer and employment specific.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is authorized by the United States Citizenship Immigration Service (USCIS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to sponsor H-1B visas for eligible candidates.
The Office of International Affairs is the sole designated office for the University to process and sign Department of Labor and Department of Homeland Security H-1B applications. Institutional policies preclude private legal counsel from filing applications on behalf of eligible candidates
In accordance with institutional policy and federal regulations and in order that the Office of International Affairs staff may determine the eligibility to sponsor the H-1B, the department seeking to sponsor the H-1B must complete and submit required forms according to the appropriate H-1B Checklist and H-1B Application Packet on behalf of the international visitor.
H-1B petitions may be processed faster by USCIS for applicants who choose a Premium Processing Service. However, while USCIS guarantees 15 calendar day processing to qualifying petitioners, this two-week period of time only applies to USCIS reviewing of the petition and does not affect OIA processing time for any required preliminary steps to the mailing of the petition to USCIS. Preliminary steps include but are not limited to: sponsorship approval, prevailing wage determination, labor conditions application, notice posting, and preparation of appropriate forms.
Contact us with any questions related to the sponsorship of the H-1B and all visa requests for initial, transfer, amendment or extension of H-1B employment status.
H-1B Application Packet for Initial, Transfer, Amendment, or Extension of H-1B Employment Visa Status:
- H-1B Documentation Checklist
- H-1B Prevailing Wage Questionnaire
- Actual Wage Instructions and Form
- Sample Appointment / Support Letter for visitors requiring H-1B sponsorship
- U.S. Export Controls Form
- H-1B Biodata Form
Amendment of H-1B Employment
The petitioner shall file an amended or new petition, with fee, with the Service Center where the original petition was filed to reflect any material changes in the terms and conditions of employment or training or the alien's eligibility as specified in the original approved petition. An amended or new H-1B petition must be accompanied by a current or new Department of Labor determination. In the case of an H-1B petition, this requirement includes a new labor condition application. 8 CFR 214.2(h)(2)(i)(E)
- Sample Memo for notification of intended adjustments to H-1B terms of Employment- utilize this sample to obtain clearance from OIA regarding the need for amending any H-1B original terms of employment (title, pay, job duties, site of activity, time percentage) with/without approval of H-1B Amendment Petition through USCIS.
Title. If the title change is a promotion to a higher position within the same occupation (e.g. Research Associate to Research Scientist) an amendment is likely not necessary, however if there is a significant change in job duties and/or skills used an amendment will be needed.
Pay. In general, an increase of 10% or less will be approved if it is due to merit or equity. Higher increases are analyzed on a case-by-case basis.
Duties. If there is a change in job duties, an amendment will likely be necessary.
Location. If the job location changes to a location outside of Harris County, an amendment is needed.
Time %. If there is any change in time percentage, such as from 40 hours a week to 30 or vice versa, an amendment is necessary.
Travel and Re-entry on H-1B Status
Prior to traveling abroad, you are required to inform the Office of International Affairs of your international travel plans through completing and signing the H-1B Travel Request Form at least two weeks prior to your scheduled departing. It is required that you carry all of your original immigration documents as well as appropriate supporting documents when traveling outside the U.S. and upon re-entry.
It is important that you fully understand the visa requirements to travel to the country you will be visiting. Any information about visa requirements to travel into a country other than the U.S. must be obtained from your travel agent or by contacting the Embassy or Consulate of the country you will be traveling to.
To ensure that your Department is aware of any foreign travel that may result in a delay of your return to providing services, the Office of International Affairs strongly encourages you to inform your Department Administrator and immediate Supervisor/Program Director of expected foreign travel.