Image of Buffalo skyline.


The H-1B category is designed for temporary workers who hold at least Bachelor's degrees and are employed in specialty occupations. The position must require the use of the degree and be a professional or a specialized position.  H-1B petitions are filed by the employer, not the employee.  In order to be eligible for H-1B status at the University, the individual must receive a job offer from the University and provide evidence of holding a Bachelor’s or higher degree before the H-1B petition is filed with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services ("USCIS").  Moreover, these petitions are “employer-specific”; therefore, if the individual changes employment, a new petition must be submitted to USCIS.  The University at Buffalo, University at Buffalo Research Foundation and University at Buffalo Foundation are separate employers. 

Additionally, if an individual will work for more than one employer, separate concurrent H-1B petitions for each employer must be filed with USCIS. If the beneficiary will be assigned by the sponsoring department to a position in a new location, the sponsoring department is responsible for obtaining the approval of UB Immigration Services, which must obtain and post a Labor Condition Application for that site prior to reassignment. An individual can remain in H-1B status for a maximum of six (6) years. The initial H-1B can be for up to three years; (an) extension/s must be requested thereafter. Absent holding a valid Employment Authorization Document, H-1B dependents (spouses and children in H-4 status) are not permitted to work. There is a limit (“cap” or quota) on the number of H-1B visas available in a given year. Although universities and affiliated research foundations are no longer subject to the “cap”, for-profit employers continue to be subject to the H-1B cap.

An individual holding H-1B status is not legally authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor ("DOL") to "volunteer" their services in a position that is normally compensated in the U.S.  The fact that the individual is not being paid does not matter to DOL when determining if the position is covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  "Volunteering" in a position that is covered under a collective bargaining (union) agreement, such as but not limited to a teaching position at the University, is clearly not permitted and constitutes a violation of H-1B status. UBIS should be contacted if there is a question as to whether a particular proposed activity at the University will constitute "work" or will qualify as a true "volunteer" activity, which DOL associates with purely charitable motives.

Pursuant to SUNY Board of Trustees Policy 8500, the Office of International Education ("OIE") has named UB Immigration Services as the only unit within OIE authorized to handle immigration matters for international scholars and employees.

You must have an appointment in order to meet with UB Immigration Services  staff

For appointment, please call ahead: 645-2355

Notice of Non-Discrimination

The University at Buffalo is committed to ensuring equal access to its programs and activities.  The entire notice of non-discrimination can be viewed here: https://www.buffalo.edu/equity.html.


The information contained on this web page is provided as a service to the international faculty, researchers, staff, employees and administrators of the University at Buffalo, and does not constitute legal advice on any immigration, tax, or other matter. We try to provide useful information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site or any associated site. As legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and laws are constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel. Neither the University at Buffalo nor the Office of UB Immigration Services is responsible for any errors or omissions contained on this web page, or for the results obtained from the use of this information.


Email: immsvcga@buffalo.edu