Immigration Information

 

 

 
General H-1B Information   University of Wisconsin – La Crosse (UW-L) in our recruitment efforts support and assist faculty regarding their employment based immigration visas up to their request for permanent residency. The Human Resources Office is the authorized contact for immigration-related documents for all UW-L sponsored temporary and permanent based petitions.  With successful retention decisions by a department, dean, and chancellor, a probationary faculty member may earn tenure at the university.

UW-L HR is consistent in not providing support for work visas, H-1B’s or other work authorizations or assistance for any positions that are not tenure-track except in highly unusual situations and solely at the discretion of the Director of Human Resources.


Contact Information:
       Shelle Gholson
       608-785-8013
       sgholson@uwlax.edu

The Human Resources Office is located in Graff Main Hall in Room 144.  Office hours are Monday thru Friday 7:45-4:30.










H-1B Employees
Department Information
Additional Immigration Resources

La Crosse Area Information

 
 
 
General H-1B Information

 

H-1B Visa Overview:

An H-1B visa is granted to a non-immigrant individual to perform work in a specialty occupation.  As defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a specialty occupation requires the theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge along with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent.  For example, architecture, engineering, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences, medicine and health, education, business specialties, accounting, law, theology, and the arts are specialty occupations.

 
H-1B sponsorship by a United States employer is required in order to obtain an  H-1B petition.  It is the policy of UW-L to support H-1B work authorization only for tenure track faculty positions with the exception of a highly unusual situation, which then would be at the discretion of the Director of Human Resources.


An H-1B visa holder can be granted for an initial period of three years and can renew their H-1B visa for an additional three years with a maximum of six years. An extension is available to H-1B visa holders who have filed a petition for permanent residency and the petition is in a pending status.

  
Additional H-1B visa information can be found on the USCIS website.

  
Please Note:  Wisconsin state law prohibits state agencies from retaining attorneys without the consent of the Governor.  All employment based petitions cannot be prepared by an outside attorney.

 
Dual Intent:
The dual intent doctrine is applicable to the H-1B visa holder, which means the individual is allowed to pursue permanent residency while at the same time maintaining a nonimmigrant status.  An H-1B visa holder does not have to maintain a foreign address during their period of stay in the United States.  

 

H-1B Portability:

A non-immigrant in H-1B status is permitted to begin new employment as soon as the new employer submits a “nonfrivolous” petition to the USCIS and they have received a Receipt Notice (797) from the USCIS.  Employment is authorized during the pending case status.  In order to utilize the portability option, several conditions must be fulfilled before the non-immigrant can begin employment.


The criteria are as follows:

  • The non-immigrant must have been previously issued an H-1B visa or has provided H-1B non-immigrant status.
  • ŸA “nonfrivolous” petition from the new employer must have been filed before the end of the non-immigrants authorized period of stay.
  • ŸThe non-immigrant was lawfully admitted entrance to the United States
  • ŸThe non-immigrant did not engage in unauthorized employment since their lawful admission to the United States and before the filing of the petition.

Termination of Employment:

UW-L is required to notify the USCIS immediately upon termination of an H-1B worker.  The employee must leave the United States on the final day of employment, unless the terminated employee has secured H-1B employment through the sponsorship of another U.S. employer or changes immigration status.

 

If an H-1B worker voluntarily terminates their employment, the sponsoring employer is not responsible for return transportation costs. 

 

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H-1B Employees


Maintaining Status: 

 

 

 

H-4 Visa (Dependent Visa):
This visa is available to spouses and children (under the age of 21) of an H-1 B Visa holder. Those with an H-4 Visa are allowed to live in the United States as long as the H-1B visa holder maintains a legal status in the United States.


An H-4 visa holder is not eligible to work in the Untied States.  Those wishing to do so must obtain a work visa.  H-4 visa holders are permitted to attend school on a part-time or full-time basis in the United States.

 
Instructions for obtaining an H-4 visa and a listing of the required documentation for filing Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative.  


Please note if any change of status occur with the H-1B visa this will also affect the status of the H-4 visa.

 
Change of Address Notification:

A change in address must be reported immediately to the USCIS office.  Address updates can be completed on-line through the USCIS website at https://egov.uscis.gov/crisgwi/go?action=coa


Notification of a change of address must also be reported to the UW-L Human Resources office.

 
Travel:

Travel restrictions will vary depending upon your individual case status.  An alien in H-1B status may travel outside the U.S. and will be able to reenter the country during the validity of the H-1B visa and approved petition.  It is the responsibility of the H-1B worker to make sure they have the proper documentation with them before they travel. 
When traveling abroad the H-1B worker should carry an original H-1B approval notice of their current employer.  Documentation requirement requests can vary depending upon the immigration and consular officers.  It is therefore advised that the H-1B worker also travel with a current employment letter and a copy of the top portion of the Form I-797, which the employer retains in their office.

 
An outline of travel restrictions and recommendations are listed on the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis


Please consult with Shelle Gholson in Human Resources regarding any questions you may have. 


I-9 Employment Information:
The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse is required to verify employment eligibility for all employees.  Upon beginning employment with UW-L, an H-1B worker’s visa status and expiration dates will be documented for their employment period at UW-L.  This information will be kept on file in the Human Resources Department as required by law.

 
Tax Information:

 An H-1B visa holder is subject to the withholding of state and federal social security taxes along with Social Security (FICA) tax.  Please contact Mark Flottmeier, in Human Resources at 785-8603 with any questions you may have.


Application for a Social Security Card:

In order to receive wages, an H-1B worker must have a social security card. Please refer to the Social Security Administration website for the steps and procedures of how to obtain the card. For further application and instructions please refer to the Social Security Administration website at http://www.ssa.gov/ and  http://www.ssa.gov/online/ss-5.pdf.
The Social Security Administration office in La Crosse is located at 210 7th Street South, Suite 100, La Crosse, WI 54601. 

 

Permanent Residency Filing:

A foreign national who has authorization to live and work in the United States is eligible to apply for permanent residency if several conditions are met.  A foreign national can become an immigrant based on the fact that they have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States and their employer will sponsor them for permanent residency.  There are four categories in which foreign nationals can receive permanent residency.  They are priority workers, professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability, skilled or professional workers, or special immigrants.


Before submitting a petition for permanent residency to the USCIS, several steps must be conducted by the sponsoring employer.

  1.  A request for a Labor Certification Application (Form ETA 750) is filed with the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.  This form is required to be filed within 18 months of the foreign nationals selection of the position.  The recruitment procedures and evidence of a print advertisement must be documented on the Labor Certification Application request.  Please refer to the Key Reminders #3 regarding advertisement requirements and regulations. Please ensure all recruitment documentation is provided to the Human Resources Department.
  2.  A Notice of Filing a Labor Certification must be posted at the employment site at least 30 days before requesting certification of a Labor Certification Application.
  3. Upon receipt of the approved and certified Labor Certification from the Department of Labor, an I-140 petition is submitted along with a letter of support from the hiring department and additional supporting documentation concerning the foreign national’s education, credentials and passport and visa information as required by the USCIS.
  4. Tracking of the USCIS approval or denial of the I-140 petition will be immediately relayed to the hiring Department and foreign national by Human Resources.

* Concurrent filing of the I -140 petition and I-485 petition is accepted by the USCIS.  However, the I-140
 must be approved before the approval of the I-485.

                  
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Department Information

Recruitment Requirements:

A  Department of Labor requirement for the Special Handling PERM Labor Certification for College and University Teachers dictates that at least one advertisement must be placed in a national professional journal, which may be an electronic advertisement. The advertisement must not be considered a pointer advertisement.

 

A copy of the national advertisement that shows the name of the publication and date, along with any other recruitment and advertisements must be included with the recruitment documents.  This is required not only for the request of a labor certification application but also in the DOL and Public Inspections files.


The advertisement must state:

  • The name of the employer
  • Job title
  • Job duties
  • Minimum education qualifications
  • Required post-doctoral teaching experience 
  • If ABD candidates are to be considered for the vacancy, this should be stated in the advertisement text.


H-1B Filing Process:

Upon notice from the hiring Department that a foreign national has been selected for the position, an Authorization to File form is sent to the Department Chair and College Dean for their required signatures and for an authorized account number. Please note that all fees associated with filings for the selected foreign national will be assigned to the authorized account number you provide on this form.  All check requests for the petitions and other fees associated with processing the H-1B paperwork will be conducted by the Human Resources Department and sent directly to Business Services.

 

Current USCIS Filing Fees:

Ÿ  Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker - $325.00

Ÿ  Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker - $580.00

Ÿ  Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee (Required Filing) - $500.00

Ÿ  Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing Service – $1,225.00

 

The USCIS offers a service called Premium Processing, which guarantees a 15-calendar day processing of I-129 petitions.  An approval, denial or request for more information notification is guaranteed from the USCIS within the 15-calendar day period.  The cost of this service is $1,225.00. 

 

The Human Resources Office will do their best to file a petition using regular processing.  However, there are instances when premium processing must be used because of delays in obtaining a Prevailing Wage Determination, Labor Conditions Applications approval, and in time sensitive circumstances.  

 

Permanent Residency Filing:

A foreign national who has authorization to live and work in the United States is eligible to apply for permanent residency if several conditions are met.  A foreign national can become an immigrant based on the fact that they have a permanent employment opportunity in the United States and their employer will sponsor them for permanent residency.  There are four categories in which foreign nationals can receive permanent residency.  They are priority workers, professionals with advanced degrees or persons with exceptional ability, skilled or professional workers, or special immigrants.


Before submitting a petition for permanent residency to the USCIS, several steps must be conducted by the sponsoring employer. 

  1. A request for a Labor Certification Application (Form ETA 750) is filed with the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration.  This form is required to be filed within 18 months of the foreign nationals selection of the position.  The recruitment procedures and evidence of a print advertisement must be documented on the Labor Certification Application request.  Please refer to the Key Reminders #3 regarding advertisement requirements and regulations. Please ensure all recruitment documentation is provided to the Human Resources Department.
  2. A Notice of Filing a Labor Certification is posted in the hiring Department as well as outside the Human Resources office.  Notification of this posting is relayed to the foreign national.
  3. Upon receipt of the approved and certified Labor Certification from the Department of Labor, an I-140 petition is submitted along with a letter of support from the hiring department and additional supporting documentation concerning the foreign national’s education, credentials and passport and visa information as required by the USCIS.  
  4. Tracking of the USCIS approval or denial of the I-140 petition will be immediately relayed to the hiring Department and foreign national by Human Resources.

* Concurrent filing of the I -140 petition and I-485 petition is accepted by the USCIS.  However, the I-140 must be approved before the approval of the I-485.


Key Reminders

In an effort to be able to provide the department and the newly hired faculty member the best possible service, listed below are some key reminders that will assist the Human Resources Office in filing the appropriate petitions to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

  1. Early Notification  -- Once a non-US citizen or Permanent Resident is selected for a faculty position, please notify Shelle Gholson in the Human Resources Office as early as you can so she can start to initiate gathering the required information.  This will aide in her effort to ensure that obtaining proper work authorization is done quickly and efficiently.
  2. Criminal Background Checks -- It is the policy of UW-L that Criminal Background Checks (CBC) be conducted on all new university employees.  When conducting a CBC for a foreign national, please keep in mind that the CBC may take longer to process, therefore as mentioned before, please notify Human Resources ASAP so we can begin to process the necessary paperwork in a timely manner. 
  3. Degree Audits -- If the alien has a degree that is not from a U.S. institution and/or not in English, the degree needs to be evaluated by an independent educational credentialing agency. This typically takes roughly 2-3 weeks to complete and will be dependent upon the country where the degree was received in, certain countries may take longer to process. The Human Resources Department has worked with several of these agencies in the past and will coordinate contacting the credentialing agency and ordering the required documents.   
  4. Visa Approval/Denial Timeframe -- An estimated timeframe for H-1B petitions to be approved by USCIS is roughly around 3 months.  This estimate is based off the turn around time from past filings.  There are various factors that may cause a delay in approval time with the possibility of a request for more information or a backlog in pending cases being two of the major issues.

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Additional Immigration Resources

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La Crosse Area Information

 

Drivers License Information:

When applying for a driver’s license you must be able to show proof of name and date of birth, proof of identity, proof of insurance, proof of citizenship or legal status in the U.S., proof of residency and if applicable proof of name change.  For documents accepted as proof of citizenship or legal status in the United States by the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles, please refer to the DMV Link: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/drivers/drivers/apply/doc/proof-legal.htm


The La Crosse Area Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is located at the Onalaska Service Center, 9477 Hwy 16 East, Onalaska, WI 54650.  

 

La Crosse Area Information  

Please refer to the following links for information regarding the Coulee Region.     

     Welcome to La Crosse 

     Relocation Resources Information

 


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