Maintaining H-1B Status

H-1B temporary workers are defined as persons who will perform services in specialty occupations on a temporary basis. The Immigration Act of 1990 defines specialty occupation as: "an occupation which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge to fully perform the occupation."

How does a job qualify as a “specialty occupation”?

To qualify as a "specialty occupation" the position must meet the following requirements. All five criteria must be met:

  1. A baccalaureate or higher degree (or its equivalent) is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular profession.

  2. The degree requirement is common to the industry.

  3. The employer must normally require a degree or its equivalent for the position.

  4. The job duties must be "so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree."

  5. The position's level of responsibility and authority must be "commensurate with professional standing."

What is H-1B status used for at Emory University?

The H-1B status can be used to bring temporary faculty members, researchers, consultants, administrators, or individuals engaged in professional-level activities to the United States. Who qualifies for an H-1B visa?

To qualify for H-1B status, the alien must possess the required degree or its equivalent or possess a certificate or license that permits the alien to immediately practice the profession in the state of intended employment.

Is an H-1B a permanent employee?

H-1B is a temporary non-immigrant status. The alien must be coming to temporarily fill a position that may or may not in itself be temporary. The employer must attest that the alien's services are needed temporarily. The letter of appointment and other documents must stipulate the temporary nature of the appointment.

How long can an H-1B stay in the United States?

H-1B status may be initially granted for a period of up to three (3) years. The period of H-1B status cannot exceed the validity of the LCA. Extensions may be obtained, but the total period of authorized stay cannot exceed six (6) years, unless the individual has progressed through requisite steps leading toward permanent residency. If the employer dismisses the alien prior to the expiration of the authorized stay, the employer is liable for the reasonable cost of return transportation for the alien abroad.

Can an H-1B be paid by more than one employer?

The H-1B is employer specific; the employee may only work for the employer who filed the H-1B petition and can only perform the job indicated in the petition. (Concurrent employment is possible, if each employer has an approved H-1B petition for the employee.)

When can an H-1B begin working at Emory University?

The H-1B approval is granted on USCIS Form I-797 notice of approval and a new Form I-94: Departure Record is issued. Employment cannot begin without final H-1B approval except in the following situations: