Information for Prospective Employees

If you have been offered employment at the University of New Hampshire and the position qualifies for H-1B status, OISS will prepare and submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf.

Description and Purpose

The H-1B visa is widely used in the U.S. for the temporary employment of foreign nationals. This status is used for the employment of foreign nationals in "specialty occupations", defined as those which "require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge requiring the attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree as a minimum for entry into the occupation".

Length of Stay

H-1B non-immigrant status provides foreign nationals with permission to be employed in the United States for a specific period of time, for a specific employer, with a specific title, at a specific salary, at a specific location. The maximum period of stay for H-1B workers is six years, available in increments of up to three years. At the end of the six-year period, the foreign employee must either:

  • depart the U.S.;
  • apply to change his/her status to another non-immigrant classification; or
  • obtain a green card to become a U.S. permanent resident.

Processing Time

Obtaining approval of an H-1B petition will require many months. Premium Processing is available if you or your employing department is willing to pay an additional fee to USCIS. Although OISS will do its best to accommodate your needs, it is not within our power to circumvent the system or shortcut federal regulations. Therefore, it is imperative that you plan accordingly and submit the required information as quickly as possible.

Eligibility Requirements

The U.S. government has set certain standards for use of H-1B non-immigrant classification. The foreign employee must:

  • have a U.S. degree or a foreign degree equivalent to the U.S. degree;
  • have education, specialized training, or experience that is equivalent to training acquired by attainment of a bachelor’s (or higher) degree;
  • hold full state licensure, registration, or certification which authorizes practice in the occupation (if required by state or federal law).

Possible Complications

If you currently hold J-1 status (or have held it in the past), it is possible that you may be subject to a "Two-Year Home Residency Requirement". If you are subject to this requirement, you will not be able to obtain H-1B status until you:

  • return to your home country for two years, or
  • obtain a waiver of the requirement from the U.S. Federal Government

In general, this requirement applies to those:

  • whose exchange visitor program was financed by the U.S. Government and/or their home government; or
  • whose skills are in short supply in their home country as determined by that government; or
  • whose purpose in coming to the United States was to receive graduate medical education or training.

If you are subject to the requirement, this might be noted on Form DS-2019 and/or your J-1 visa.

If you are subject to this requirement, you will need to apply for a waiver from the U.S. Department of State. Grounds for obtaining a waiver are limited, and even when successful, can take about one year to obtain.