H-1B Temporary Worker visa status is granted to individuals in specialty occupations to work in the U.S. A specialty occupation is defined as an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and the attainment of a bachelor's degree or higher in a specific field as the minimum qualifications for entry into the job.
An approved H-1B petition is employer- and job-specific and must be filed by the employer with U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services ("USCIS"). An individual holding H-1B status is permitted to work for more than one employer but only if each employer obtains their own H-1B Approval Notice on behalf of the individual. Failure to obtain concurrent H-1B's place such an individual in violation of status and subject them to removal from the U.S. Employers who fail to file concurrent H-1B petitions are in violation of the H-1B regulations and subject to sanctions. H-1B status can be granted by USCIS for up to six years, except where a labor certification application or I-140 petition have been timely filed by the employer.
An individual holding H-1B status is not legally authorized by the U.S. Department of Labor to "volunteer" their services in a position that is normally compensated in the U.S. The fact that the individual is not getting paid does not matter to the U.S. Department of Labor when determining if the individual is covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Volunteering in a position that is covered under a collective bargaining (union) agreement, such as a teaching position at the State University at Buffalo, is clearly not permitted and constitutes a violation of H-1B status.
The State University of New York at Buffalo ("University at Buffalo" or "UB") sponsors individuals in H-1B status who hold faculty, research and staff positions. UB Immigration Services ("UBIS") is the only legally authorized representative of the University at Buffalo, the Research Foundation of SUNY at Buffalo ("RF") and the UB Foundation ("UBF") in matters of employment-based non-immigrant (Form I-129) and immigrant (Form I-140) petitions. Processing of H-1B petitions by UBIS for the above-noted entities is required in order to ensure legal sufficiency, compliance with H-1B regulations as well as acceptance by UB Human Resources. The signature of UB's Associate Vice Provost for Immigration Services is required on all UB, RF and UBF H-1B petitions. Only Labor Condition Applications bearing the signature of UB's Associate Vice Provost for Immigration Services are binding on the University at Buffalo. Outside attorneys are not permitted to file H-1B petitions on behalf of UB, RF or UBF.
H-1B Request Packets must include all necessary documentation and be submitted to UB Immigration Services by the sponsoring department at least 6 months before the proposed employment start date. The 6-month requirement is necessary because the U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, and U.S. Department of State take a total of 17 to 25 weeks to complete their processing, depending on the number of cases they have in their queues. (See Government Processing Times and Associated Waiting Periods for H-1B Petitions (92 KB)). Complete and properly organized Request Packets help reduce the amount of time it takes UBIS to review the documentation for legal sufficiency. UBIS will return H-1B Request Packets that are not complete.
New H-1B's are required to check in with UBIS, 110 Cooke Hall, North Campus, within 10 days of arriving at UB. Information concerning this process can be found in the H-1B Approval Packet, which contains the I-129 Approval Notice that is mailed to the H-1B employee. Checking in with UBIS permits us to confirm that the H-1B employee and dependents, if any, have been properly admitted into the U.S. and are thus permitted to start employment, to obtain contact information, and to schedule an appointment with our staff to discuss options for permanent residency.
In order to be lawfully admitted to the U.S. as an H-1B or H-4 (dependant of H-1B), the individual must obtain a corresponding visa stamp. The only exceptions to this rule are where the individual is a citizen of a country whose citizens are visa exempt or the individual is traveling to Canada or Mexico for a short visit in accordance with the automatic revalidation provisions of the U.S. Department of State. These provisions are explained at "General Travel Information" below.
In order to report a change of address to USCIS, please review the information below.
The International Employment Unit of Human Resources provides a wide range of taxation related services to foreign nationals working at UB. Please refer to the link below for a list of services and contact information.
The information contained on this web page is provided as a service to the international faculty, researchers, staff, employees and administrators of 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.
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