H1-B: Steps to Obtain H-1B Status

Starting the Process

ISS will begin the process of obtaining an H-1B for a prospective faculty or staff member at the request of a Purdue department. The H-1B petition is an employment-based petition, not an individual’s, and must be prepared and filed by ISS and not through an outside attorney.

Prospective H-1B beneficiaries, supervisors and professors desiring to hire a nonimmigrant on an H-1B should work through the ISS Department Liaison in their department (i.e., the department that will pay the beneficiary's salary). This individual has been trained to prepare the necessary documents for ISS and answer general questions.

The process is initiated when a department liaison submits an "Initial Inquiry" to ISS using MyISS. ISS will review the request and determine the best immigration strategy for the beneficiary and situation in question.

Step 1: Wage Determinations

(Prevailing Wage and Actual Wage)

Department of Labor (DOL) regulations for the Labor Condition Application (LCA) dictate that an employer must pay the H-1B beneficiary the "required wage rate". This is the higher of the "prevailing wage" or the "actual wage", both of which are defined legal terms. ISS guides the department through these analyses.

Step 2: Labor Condition Application (LCA)

The law requires a "pre-filing" of a Form ETA 9035 to the Department of Labor, which is submitted electronically.  Processing by the DOL takes no less than 7 days. As well, notice of the submission of the LCA and the intended submission of the H-1B petition is posted electronically on Purdue's website, and accessed through the Purdue Jobs page. 

Step 3: Completing the H-1B Petition (I-129)

The Form I-129 petition is completed by ISS from information gathered from the eforms completed by the beneficiary, department ISS liaison, supervisor, HR and others.

The department must submit a letter in support of the H-1B petition signed by the Department Head. ISS provides the template letter to the ISS Liaison for this purpose.

USCIS Fees: The USCIS requires that payment of applicable filing fees is submitted to it at the same time the I-129 petition is filed. These filing fees may change depending on the classification of nonimmigrant status sought in the I-129 petition, and the beneficiary's situation. ISS will advise the department as to which filing fees require payment. It is the responsibility of the department ISS liaison to request the checks for each government filing fee. In general, initial petitions for H-1B status require payment of: $555 base I-129 fee, and $500 ACWIA anti-fraud fee. By law, responsibility for these fees is the employer's. It is a violation of law if the beneficiary pays, directly or indirectly, or reimburses, these fees.

The USCIS offers a "premium processing" service for many types of petitions. The filing fee for this service is $1,440. Premium processing generally adds risk - it is easier to say no than to say yes; that being said, in limited cases there may be justifications for premium processing that outweight the increased risk. ISS will provide guidance to departments about whether premium processing is necessary to ensure that authorization for the beneficiary to work (or continue to work) for Purdue as needed.  If there is no business-based need for premium processing, ISS strongly discourages payment of premium processing for petitions. If there is *any* business-based need for the premium processing of an H-1B petition, the department must also pay this fee, regardless of whether the business need also accompanies a personal desire by the beneficiary for premium processing. 

ISS charges a service fee for each immigration process it undertakes. Service fees are listed on our Sharepoint site, which may be accessed only by Department Liaisons. Fees are payable as soon as the requested process is begun by an ISS counselor, and paid through iLabs.



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