Hiring H-1B scholars

H-1B scholars are international employees who hold specialty occupations requiring a specialized body of knowledge and the attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. H-1B is an employment-based nonimmigrant status used for temporary workers. At MU, it is used for full-time tenure-track faculty, academic researchers and professional staff.

Although H-1B is designed for temporary workers, it carries a provision for dual intent. This means the H-1B scholar can work while intending to obtain permanent residency.

H-1B status is available in increments of up to three years and limited to a maximum total duration of six years. Hiring departments must consult with International Student and Scholar Services before changing any aspect of an H-1B scholar’s employment, including job title, salary, hours, work location or job duties.

MU’s H-1B process

Department contacts ISSS in advance to request H-1B

Position postings, interviews, eligible start dates, offer letters and obtaining employment authorization are all important parts of hiring someone in H-1B status. It is helpful for the hiring manager to contact an international scholar adviser before beginning the search process.

Once a job offer has been made to a potential employee and the hiring department has notified ISSS, the international scholar adviser will send the department required preliminary forms to complete and return to start the H-1B process. The department will need to provide the job offer letter and basic information about the beneficiary. The information provided on these preliminary forms will be used to determine if the beneficiary is eligible for H-1B and if the department can meet the prevailing wage requirement.

ISSS reviews case, works with department and scholar to file H-1B petition

If the beneficiary is eligible to apply for H-1B status and the department agrees to meet the prevailing wage requirement, ISSS will work with the hiring department and scholar to compile the H-1B petition. ISSS will also file the Labor Condition Application for certification by the Department of Labor.

Information provided by scholar

ISSS will contact the scholar and ask them to submit information and documentation in myStatus, our online immigration software.

Information provided by hiring department

Simultaneously, ISSS will contact the hiring department to complete a series of steps that provide the information, documents and payments needed for the H-1B petition.

Summary of H-1B fees
Amount Description Charged by Paid by
$1,000 International scholar services fee International Center Department
$460 I-129 application fee USCIS Department
$500 Anti-fraud fee USCIS Department
$2,500 Optional premium processing fee USCIS Either department or scholar
$370 (+$85 for each dependent) I-539 dependent application fee USCIS Scholar


H-1 petition submitted to USCIS

Once the Labor Condition Application is certified online and all information has been received from the scholar and department, ISSS will submit the H-1B petition to USCIS. The petition will be mailed via FedEx, and the scholar and department will both be notified by email when it is submitted.

USCIS receives H-1B petition, begins adjudication period

ISSS will be notified by USCIS that the H-1B petition has been received, and will in turn notify the scholar and department. The original copy of the receipt notice will be kept on file.

Processing times for adjudication of the petition vary greatly depending on many factors and can take six to eight months. The scholar maintains their current nonimmigrant status during this period. If their current nonimmigrant status will expire during the adjudication period, the scholar should contact an international scholar adviser prior to their status expiring.

For extension and amendment petitions, the receipt notice serves as employment verification that allows the scholar to continue to work for 240 days past their current approval’s expiration date, or until the end of the requested extension if it is less than 240 days.

For portability petitions, the receipt notice serves as employment verification that the scholar can begin work in the new position.

Scholars who think they may need to leave the U.S. during the adjudication period should discuss travel in advance with an international scholar adviser.

USCIS makes decision on case

When the petition is approved, ISSS will receive the I-797 approval notice by mail, and will notify the scholar and department that the new I-94, which serves as proof of H-1B status, can be picked up. The original I-797 approval notice is kept by ISSS, but can be checked out as needed for international travel, driver’s license renewal, etc.

Scholars outside the U.S.

Scholars outside the U.S. will need to apply for an H-1B visa to enter the United States. Step-by-step instructions for applying for an H-1B visa are available on the U.S. Department of State website. The documents required for the visa application will be provided to the scholar by ISSS — the H-1B petition and Labor Condition Application will be sent as a PDF by email, and the I-797 approval notice will be mailed at the scholar’s expense.

Scholars currently in the U.S.

Scholars already in the U.S. — and scholars who have recently arrived after obtaining their H-1B visa — will need to report to MU Human Resource Services to complete or update their I-9.