Information for Faculty and Staff Positions

Clemson is committed to developing a faculty and community of researchers that represent top talent.  Toward that end, the University facilitates the processes of obtaining authorization to work in the U.S.A. for those faculty and staff joining the University from other countries.  For most, non-U.S.A. citizens accepting employment at the university, the H1-B non-immigrant employment visa is the first-step.  The H-1B is an employment-based nonimmigrant status which allows a foreign national to come to the U.S.A. and temporarily perform services in a specialty, professional occupation that requires a Bachelor's degree or higher.  According to federal law, H-1B employment is both employer sponsored and site-specific. Therefore, H-1B professionals may only be employed by the specific department that submitted the H-1B petition. No other employment is permitted without separate approval by the USCIS.  Consequently, the petition for an H1-B requires very specific documentation from both the HIRING DEPARTMENT and the EMPLOYEE.

This page describes the process for applying for an H1-B visa, as well as the obligations for maintaining legal status once the H1-B has been granted. The information here will be helpful to all foreign employees currently authorized to work at Clemson University under H-1B status, current/new employees who will be changing their status to H-1B, as well as hiring departments employing individuals who are neither U.S.A. citizens nor permanent residents.  We recommend that you read through this information before beginning the process.  Because not all cases are identical, and because it is impossible to address each employee’s individual situation, if you have any questions that are not answered by the following information, please contact the Office of Global Engagement.

Important H-1B Terms

      • Petitioner – Clemson University (hiring department)
      • Beneficiary – H-1B applicant
      • USCIS – U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
      • DOL – U.S. Department of Labor
      • I-129, I-797, I-94, etc. – forms issued by the USCIS
      • CU H-1B Form - initial form to submit to OGE regarding your general H-1B standing
      • IS-450, IS- 410, etc.- forms issued by Clemson University OGE
      • OGE – Clemson University Office of Global Engagement
      • HR- Clemson University Human Resources

RELATED LINKS & FORMS

How do I apply for the H-1B?

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY?

You should notify OGE as soon as the candidate has accepted the position. H-1B petitions can be filed with USCIS up to six months in advance to the employment start date (new) or current H-1B end date (renewal), but no later than a month and a half in advance. Please keep in mind that it will take you and your department sometime to collect and prepare all of the documentation for the petition, for OGE to obtain the on-campus signatures, and for the attorneys to review the documents.  We recommend that all of the preparatory processes be completed 2-3 months prior to start date.  This is particularly important during peak processing seasons (March-July).

Please see our overview of the process and document checklist here.

CAN THE PROCESS BE EXPEDITED?

USCIS does provide expedited processing for an additional fee.  This premium processing only apply to the final USCIS review and approval, it does NOT expedite campus, attorney or Department of Labor processes. 

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR WHAT?

OGE facilitates the H-1B petition process reviewing and advising on timing issues, visa issues or missing information. While we help inform both H-1B beneficiaries and their hiring department regarding the H-1B process, our role is strictly administrative:

      • Collecting documents from employee and hiring department
      • Obtaining approval signatures from the Provost and Export Control Officer
      • Submitting paperwork to attorneys
      • Responding to attorneys as required during process

The hiring department is responsible for providing the following materials to OGE:

      • Completed CU H-1B Form
      • Filing payment
      • Copy of CU job offer letter
      • Actual Wage Worksheet (completed by HR contact)
      • Export Control Certification Request (OGE will obtain Export Control Officer’s signature)
      • Copy of printed ,published advertisement for job
      • Department’s 23-digit account number (will be charged for express mailing)

The beneficiary (employee) is responsible for providing the following materials to OGE:

      • Complete copy of passport (including empty pages)
      • Copy of most recent I-94 and visa stamp (front and back)
      • Copies of all documentation of previous and current immigration status, including but not limited to: All I-797 approval notices, I-20 forms, DS-2019 forms, EAD cards and I-612 waivers
      • Copy of transcripts and/or diploma for highest relevant degree; credential evaluation if degree was earned outside of the U.S.A.
      • CV, include name and address of all employers, periods of employment, job titles and detailed job description
      • If currently on dependent status, copy of principal’s passport, I-94, I-797, pay stubs, etc.
      • Portability-Transferring to CU from another employer: 3 recent pay stubs and/or employment confirmation letter
      • If beneficiary is subject to the Two-Year Home country Physical Presence requirement, please submit a copy of USCIS Waiver approval notice or Department of State’s waiver recommendation letter

The attorney is responsible for reviewing all documentation and submitting petition to the USCIS. They are responsible for notifying the student and the OGE when receipts are received and when next steps are ready to be taken.

Human Resources is responsible for work authorization, payroll and taxation compliance.

WHEN CAN I START WORK?

If you have never been on H-1B status, you cannot start work until the petition has been completely approved. You must have received the approval of valid H-1B status, submitted it to HR and completed the I-9 form for payroll purposes.

If you are renewing an existing H-1B, you can begin work as soon as you have received the receipt of your H-1B petition from the USCIS.

If you are coming to Clemson after holding an H-1B with a previous employer, you can begin work as soon as you have received the receipt of your H-1B petition from the USCIS.

Can I transfer my H-1B status from my previous employer to Clemson?

For H-1B holders wishing to change employers, the new employer must file and entirely new H-1B petition before work can begin. Please note: having one H-1B petition approved may not make it any easier to get an approval based on a second employer's petition.

WHEN SHOULD I APPLY TO TRANSFER MY H STATUS TO CLEMSON AS MY NEW EMPLOYER?

Please, notify OGE as soon as the position has been accepted. The petition must be completed prior to the expiration of the first H-1B status or prior to the employment being terminated, whichever comes first.

WHAT DOCUMENTATION IS REQUIRED?

Because the hiring department must initiate a new H-1B petition, all documentation listed above (How do I apply for the H-1B?) as well as copies of current H-1B visa documents must be submitted to the OGE to start the petition.

WHEN CAN I START WORKING AT CLEMSON?

When transferring H1-B status from a previous employer to CU, you do not have to wait for final approval to begin work. The normal procedure for employees moving from another U.S.A. employer is to start working when Clemson has received the H-1B petition receipt from the USCIS, HR has been informed and you’ve completed the I-9 Form for payroll purposes.

Can my dependents get H status?

Once an employee has been granted H-1B status, his/her spouse and unmarried minor children (under 21) will normally be eligible for H-4 status. You must be able to demonstrate that you are able to support them financially while in the U.S.A.  Employees are responsible for all costs of dependent visa applications.

CAN MY DEPENDENTS WORK OR STUDY IN THE U.S.A.?

Persons in the U.S.A. with H-4 status cannot be employed in the U.S.A., but they are allowed to attend school.

WHEN CAN I APPLY FOR H-4 STATUS FOR MY DEPENDENTS?

You can apply for H-4 status for your dependents while your H-1B petition is in process, that is, after it has been initiated by the department. You do not need to wait for the approval of your H-1B petition.

HOW DO I OBTAIN AND EXTEND H-4 STATUS FOR MY DEPENDENTS?

The USCIS charges a $300 filing fee (paid by the employee) for H-4 renewal.

WHAT IF MY DEPENDENTS ARE OUTSIDE OF THE U.S.A.?

If the dependents are outside the U.S.A., Clemson University does not need to include any information about them in your petition. After your H-1B petition has been approved, the dependents may apply for H-4 visas at the U.S.A. consulate in their home country.

How do I extend H-1B status as it expires?

H-1B status can be extended for a maximum of six years, but must be renewed as each petition expires. If you hold an ongoing position at Clemson University, you will need to progress to permanent resident (green card) status to remain in the position beyond 6 years.

Departments can request extension of H-1B status for a current position if the duties remain the same and the employee has not used the full 6 years of available H-1B benefit.

To apply for extension of H-1B work benefit, the hiring department should send a completed and signed CU H-1B Form along with all the required documents to OGE.

CAN I STILL WORK WHILE WAITING FOR EXTENSION APPROVAL?

For payroll purposes, if the University has filed a timely application for an extension of status, the employee is authorized to continue employment for a period not to exceed 240 days beginning on the date of expiration of the previously authorized period of status.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO AFTER THE APPROVAL NOTICE IS RECEIVED?

When the approval notice is received at the OGE, we will notify the department contact person that your Form I-94 is ready for pickup. You will then need to bring your passport to receive the Form I-94 from OGE, take it to HR and complete an updated I-9 form in HR for payroll purposes.

Can I change positions at Clemson without updating my H-1B?

The employing department must notify OGE of any change to job duties, such as job title, salary, duties, housing department, work location/campus, etc. The attorney will determine if the changes are considered substantial enough to require a renewed LCA and/or an amended petition to USCIS.

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE IF AN AMENDED PETITION IS NECESSARY?

The hiring department must submit an amended H-1B petition to USCIS when an employee's position undergoes a substantial change.

WHAT ARE THE FEDERAL REGULATIONS AND POLICIES FOR PERSONS WITH H-1B STATUS?

As with any foreign status, federal regulations dictate your rights while in the U.S.A. It is important to understand the restrictions of your foreign status. Please read the following information carefully and contact OGE should you have any concerns.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I CHANGE MY ADDRESS?

Persons in H-1B status who are physically present in the U.S.A. must notify USCIS of all changes in their residential address. This must be done by filing a Form AR-11 directly with USCIS.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I LEAVE EMPLOYMENT WITH CLEMSON?

If you are leaving your position at Clemson, you must submit the IS-410 Form to the OGE.

 There is no official “grace period” for person in H-1B status after your period of authorized stay in the U.S.A. ends or after your employment terminates. You should apply for change of status prior to employment termination or plan to depart the U.S.A. immediately at the end of your employment (authorized period of stay).

Can I travel abroad and re-enter the U.S.A. on H-1B status?

Do not travel outside of the U.S.A. while your H-1B petition is being processed without first consulting OGE. Doing so may complicate or disrupt the review of your petition and delay approval.

Once you have received your approval, you are permitted to travel. However, numerous restrictions apply. Please read through the following to avoid any complication or delays with re-entering the U.S.A.

WHAT DO I NEED TO RE-ENTER THE U.S.A. WHILE ON H-1B STATUS?

Generally, you need a valid, unexpired H-1B entry visa in your passport for entry into the U.S.A. An entry visa is a stamp in your passport, which you obtain from a U.S.A. consulate outside the United States. It is NOT the same as the H-1B Notice of Approval (Form I-797) .

Renewals of the H-1B entry visas are not possible inside the United States. Canadian citizens entering the U.S.A. in H-1B status are exempt from the entry visa requirement.

WHAT SHOULD I CARRY WITH ME WHEN TRAVELING?

You should carry the following documents whether or not you have a valid H-1B entry visa.

Items provided by the OGE when the H1-B petition is approved by USCIS:

      • I-797 Notice of Action (Approval Notice)
      • Copy of employer’s I-129 petition
      • Copy of approved Labor Condition Application

Other Documents:

      • Updated letter confirming your employment position and salary. Your original offer letter is often several months old by the time you travel and should be updated as evidence that you still have an employment position when you are applying for a visa.
      • Copy of your most recent pay statement if currently employed – available from MyCLE. The pay statement helps provide additional evidence that you are currently employed.
      • If you previously had J-1 or J-2 immigration status and obtained a waiver of the 2-year home residence requirement, you will also need the I-797 Approval notice granting the waiver (Approval of your I-612 application for waiver).

(Note: A letter from the U.S.A. State Department recommending the waiver is insufficient. You must have the final waiver approval from the USCIS.)

WHAT ARE SOME RESTRICTIONS TO TRAVEL ON MY H-1B?

If any changes to your employment have occurred since your H-1B benefit was approved, contact OGE to discuss whether those changes will affect your visa application. Significant changes could be: changes in job title, full-time to part-time, changes in employing department, changes in job duties, location of employment, etc.

Security Advisory Opinions – Security is the primary concern of the U.S.A. consular officers. In their view, your timely return to work is secondary. Consulates have access to a variety of databases such as criminal activity, terrorism watch lists, etc. If you have had any problems with police, such as convictions of crimes or arrests, these can disrupt a return to the U.S.A. and you should contact an immigration attorney for advice before leaving the U.S.A. The visa issuance process requires special scrutiny for people from certain countries or regions, which may cause delays. People who have common names may experience delays caused by a matching name in one of the databases used for screening.

If you work with sensitive technology – i.e. technology with application to both military and civilian purposes, be cautious about travel. If you work with high technology, you should carry a letter from your faculty supervisor, which explains, in nontechnical terms, the following:

      • The nature of the research – what is the aim of the research?
      • Where does the research funding come from?
      • To what extent is the research already in the public domain?

This type of letter will not prevent a security review but will be useful to the agencies conducting the review and can help speed the process. Some of these clearances have been known to delay return of employees for as long as a year.  If you have any questions or concerns about export controls please contact Tamara Hemingway (theming@clemson.edu) in the Research Office.

Can I apply for permanent residency on H-1B status?

Yes! H-1B status allows for "dual intent" inside the U.S.A. Dual intent refers to the intent to maintain a nonimmigrant status inside the U.S.A. at the same time as intending to apply for an immigrant status/visa (Lawful Permanent Resident - LPR - status).

H-1B status is limited to six years, so employees looking to stay in your position longer should apply for permanent residency (green card).

If you intend to apply for permanent residency, please look into the process within 6 -12 months of your hire at Clemson.  Waiting longer than this may extend both processing time and costs.

HOW CAN I APPLY FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCY?

To initiate the process of applying for a green card, please complete the Form IS-450, Request for Permanent Residency Application and send to OGE. When this form is received, OGE will contact you and the hiring department to discuss the steps and to initiate your communication with the University's legal representatives in this process.

More information about permanent residency at Clemson University can be found here.