The Office of University Counsel at East Tennessee State University files all official government paperwork related to H-1B petitions for ETSU employees. ETSU may also support permanent resident applications on behalf of employees.
Understanding H-1B Status
The H-1B visa classification is an employment-sponsored visa for foreign nationals who will perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation requires at least a bachelor’s degree. An H-1B is valid for an initial period of three years, with the option to renew for a total of six years. An H-1B is specific to the employer and position, meaning that it provides work authorization only for the employee to work at ETSU in the position mentioned in the application. The H-1B employee may not begin working until the Office of University Counsel has informed the hiring department that all necessary approvals have been received.
Requesting an H-1B
It is the responsibility of the hiring department to reach out to the Office of University Counsel to initiate the H-1B filing process as soon as it becomes aware of the need for a work visa.
The hiring department is required to pay all costs for H-1B processing. Requests should be sent by the department to firstname.lastname@example.org and should include a job description, salary information, and the requested start date. The request should be approved by the employee’s direct supervisor and the Department Chair.
The first step is a Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor. Processing of the LCA takes approximately 7 business days.
Once the LCA has been certified, ETSU will file an I-129 Petition with USCIS. Processing of the I-129 can take several months. To expedite the I-129, the department can elect premium processing. Premium processing costs an additional $2,500 and shortens the response time for the I-129 to 15 days. It does not guarantee approval.
All immigration paperwork on behalf of ETSU must be processed through the Office of University Counsel. Outside attorneys are not authorized to prepare or submit petitions on behalf of ETSU without prior approval of the Office of University Counsel.