H-1B Specialty Occupation

H-1B visa status is for individuals who will perform services in a "specialty occupation" and is reserved for departments/schools who wish to appoint international faculty into tenure-track positions. H-1B status may be requested for a maximum of six years, with the possibility of adjusting to permanent residency during those six years.

Authorization for H-1B status is reviewed on a case by case basis in the Office of Faculty Advancement.

The employer (SDSU) must petition for H-1B status for the prospective employee. H-1B status is employer-specific, which means that SDSU must file a new H-1B petition for the prospective employee, even if they are currently in the United States in H-1B status.

Preparing the petition for H-1B visa status involves extensive paperwork from the department/school and the prospective employee. The Office of Faculty Advancement will act as a liaison between the prospective employee and the department/school and will be happy to refer the prospective employee to an off-campus immigration attorney who will prepare the necessary petition paperwork.

SDSU may initially petition for H-1B status for the prospective employee for up to three years of employment and later request extensions for a maximum of three additional years. H-1B visa petitions are submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Processing times for approval may vary anywhere from six to nine months. Most H-1B applicants cannot begin employment at SDSU until the H-1B petition has been approved; however, there are other options to expedite the process. For more information, please contact the designated immigration representative in your Dean's Office or the Office of Faculty Advancement at (619) 594-1111.

Frequently Asked Questions

The H-1B visa is an employer-sponsored nonimmigrant visa classification which allows foreign nationals to work in a specialty occupation with the employer for up to six years. At SDSU, only tenured/tenure-track faculty are eligible for this visa classification. If you would like to work at SDSU as a faculty member, you must apply for an open position and be selected by the hiring committee. To view current job opportunities visit the Center for Human Resources website.

At SDSU, H-1B visas are reserved for tenured and tenure track faculty only.

You may ask if the candidate is eligible to work in the U.S. However, keep in mind you that cannot directly ask about their native-born or naturalized status. If your top candidate is a foreign national, you will be able to know if this is the case or not when the candidate completes the Employment Eligibility Form. See the Tenured/Tenure-Track Faculty Hiring page for more information.

Yes. In order to request an H-1B, we must file an H-1B petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office. USCIS requires that the employer pay the $460 filing fee and the $500 Fraud Prevention and Detention fee.

SDSU utilizes an outside immigration attorney to assist with the preparation and filing of the H-1B petition. There is a separate attorney fee that either the employee or the college/department must pay.

You may be able to transfer to SDSU if you are still within the allowable 6 year maximum allowed in the H-1B visa classification. Note that the H-1B status is employer specific. As such, SDSU would need to file an H-1B change of employer petition on your behalf. Note that Faculty Advancement will need to review your case prior to confirming whether you are eligible to transfer to SDSU.

Yes, once you have been offered and have accepted the SDSU position, you will be instructed to begin the H-1B preparation process. Once the paperwork is gathered and prepared, the petition will be filed with USCIS. After USCIS approves the petition, they will issue the I-797 H-1B approval notice. You will use this notice to apply for an H-1B visa with a U.S. consulate or embassy.

Yes. SDSU uses an outside attorney to assist with preparing and filing the H-1B petition. Additional information will be provided in the offer of employment letter.

H-1B visa holders may bring their spouse and children with them when they come to the U.S. Note that only children under 21 years of age may accompany the H-1B to the US. The appropriate dependent visa is the H-4 visa.

H-1B approvals are only approved in 3 year increments. Towards the end of the 3 years, H-1B visa holders are eligible to extend for another 3 years. The maximum time in H-1B status is 6 years. Note that there are instances where H-1B visa holders may be able to extend beyond that time.

Once at SDSU, H-1B visa holders, with the approval from the college and department/school, may begin the U.S. permanent residency process. Note that the permanent residency process is lengthy and may take some time before obtaining a green card.

Contact Christinejoy Sampankanpanich in the Office of Faculty Advancement at csampan@sdsu.edu