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H-1B Employee FAQ

What positions or titles at the UW are eligible for an H-1B? A broad range of professional occupations qualify for H-1B status. It is not based on title of the job, but the duties and the minimum qualifications for the job. The job must meet the federal definition of a specialty occupation.

Generally, professional-level occupations in engineering, biological, physical, social sciences, and mathematics will qualify for H-1B. A bachelor's degree in a specialty field is always the minimum requirement for an occupation to qualify for H-1B status, but depending on the job requirements, advanced degrees may be be required.
I have a bachelor's degree. Am I qualified for an H-1B? H-1B status is available to a person who has been offered a temporary professional position by a U.S. employer. A bachelor's degree or higher in a related area is the minimum educational level required for a position to qualify for H-1B status, and the H-1B employee must have this degree (or higher).
Is the UW subject to the H-1B cap? No. Universities and related nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations and government research organizations are exempt from the cap. These employers are able to submit an unlimited amount of H-1B applications to the USCIS at any time during the year. Additionally, these employers can request start dates at any time during the year, not only on October 1.
What is the H-1B cap? There are a limited amount of H-1Bs available each federal fiscal year for some types of employers (not universities; see question above). For more information, refer to the USCIS website. If you are leaving the UW to take a position with an employer who is subject to H-1B cap, please talk to that employer's human resources office or legal team about what this means for your immigration application. The UW cannot advise on cap-subject petitions for another employer.
I want an H-1B but my hiring unit offered to sponsor another immigration status instead (example: the J-1). What do I do? There are pros and cons to all immigration statuses, as well as many "trumors" (a little truth, a little rumor). IFSS can help educate departments and employees about the possible immigration sponsorship options and help to dispel any "trumors". However, the decision to offer sponsorship and what status to offer lies solely with the hiring unit. 
Can I give our incoming Faculty (who will be on an H-1B) a $0 Honorary appointment prior to their paid appointment starting? This is not recommended by the Office of Human Resources (OHR) or the Office of Legal Affairs (OLA). For more detailed information, contact IFSS.
Unfortunately, we have to layoff or non-renew an H-1B employee. What are we obligated to do? If the layoff or non-renewal date is before their H-1B expiration date, yes, you are required to offer reasonable return transportation to their last known foreign address. It is recommended that if you inform IFSS as soon as you start the layoff or non-renewal process so that we can accurately advise and prepare the required return transportation offer letter.

Return transportation is not required in the following cases:
  • If the layoff or non-renewal date is the same as their H-1B expiration date.
  • If the employee resigns.
In all cases, please include IFSS on communication so that we can interject when/if there are any additional immigration requirements specific to that case.
Is consulting allowed on the H-1B? Your UW H-1B is valid only for employment you perform at the UW in the job you were offered. It does not provide you with work authorization to consult for other employers. IFSS recommends speaking to an immigration attorney if you are interested in finding out more.