The H-1B visa status is a temporary, nonimmigrant, employer-specific category for professionals in specialty occupations at Georgia Tech. The H-1B employment authorization category applies to foreign workers of “distinguished merit and ability” who are brought to the United States temporarily to perform services in a “specialty occupation” which requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.
All H-1B petitions for Georgia Tech employment must be processed by Global HR, and the employing department must initiate all H-1B requests.
Georgia Tech sponsorship for H-1B status is available for the following employment categories:
- Postdoctoral Fellows
- Regular Research Faculty
- Regular, Non-Tenure Track Teaching Faculty
- Tenured or Tenure Track Teaching Faculty
The job must meet one of the following criteria to qualify as a specialty occupation:
- Bachelor’s or higher degree or its equivalent is normally the minimum entry requirement for the position
- The degree requirement for the job is common to the industry or the job is so complex or unique that it can be performed only by an individual with a degree
- The employer normally requires a degree or its equivalent for the position
- The nature of the specific duties is so specialized and complex that the knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree.
To qualify to accept a job offer in a specialty occupation the candidate must meet one of the following criteria:
- Have completed a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree required by the specific specialty occupation from an accredited college or university
- Hold a foreign degree that is the equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree in the specialty occupation
- Have education, training, or progressively responsible experience in the specialty that is equivalent to the completion of such a degree, and have recognition of expertise in the specialty through progressively responsible positions directly related to the specialty.
Maintaining Status/Employer Compliance
Changes in Employment
All changes in employment for an H-1B employee must be reported to Global HR before the change occurs. The employing department should complete the Notification of Changes in Employment e-form in iStart. If further action is necessary (i.e., an H-1B amendment), the department will be notified.
Extension of Status
H-1B employees and employing departments receive monthly notifications beginning six months prior to the expiration date of the H-1B employee. Extensions must be timely filed to avoid any gaps in employment authorization.
Spouses and unmarried children (under the age of 21) are permitted to have H-4 status for the duration of the primary status holder. Individuals in H-4 status are not permitted to engage in employment. Individuals may engage in full- or part-time study.
Length of Stay
The maximum initial period of stay for an H-1B is three (3) years, with extensions from one to three-year increments thereafter.
The maximum period of time allowed for an H-1B is six (6) years. This means that time with a prior H-1B employer counts toward the six-year total. A break in H-1B status for a minimum of twelve (12) months will create a new six-year period of eligibility. Generally, extensions are not possible beyond the sixth year.
USCIS occasionally sends site inspectors to Georgia Tech to meet with departments and individuals in H-1B status to verify whether the foreign national is employed as was represented in the application to USCIS. These site visits are often random and may occur prior to or after approval of a given petition. The inspector will likely ask for information of the person’s employment, including an overview of duties, as well as proof of employment (often in the form of paystubs or W-2 worms). If you have any questions about site visits, please contact Global Human Resources.