Banner Link to UK International Center

H-1B Temporary Worker Status

[Updated on 12/03/2014]

NOTE:  Departments should allow approximately 180 days from the time a request is submitted to ISSS (submission of a completed Assessment Packet) in order to avoid any additional government processing fees.  Departments must consider the following factors in deciding a reasonable start date and/or whether premium processing may be required:

  • An employee’s personal or work related travel itineraries (and employees are responsible for disclosing this information to their department in a timely manner)
  • Expiration of current visa status and/or work authorization period
  • Potential delays caused by requests for more evidence from the U.S. Dept. of Labor or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • Hiring or selection dates which are within 6 weeks from the requested date (from submission of a completed H-1B Assessment Packet)
  • Cases in which the individual is currently outside of the U.S. (or will be required to travel outside of the U.S. before beginning employment)
  • Pre-filing preparation and processing required for ISSS (typically 4-6 weeks) as well as USCIS processing times (3-4 months)

Many of above factors are out of the control of ISSS. Therefore, departments must allow ample time to complete the H-1B process given all possible factors.  ISSS is unable to process incomplete packets and packets will be returned to the sponsoring department.   Any request that does not allow 6 months for processing may be required to pay the additional Premium Processing fee of $1,225.   

H-1B Employment
H-1B employment status may be requested on behalf of non-immigrants seeking employment in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined by U.S. immigration regulation as an occupation "which requires a theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree or its equivalent as a minimum requirement for entry into the occupation." 214.2(h)(4)(i)(A)(1).  The University of Kentucky has determined that this status is appropriate for faculty, researchers, post-doctoral scholars, and others who meet the regulatory definition.  To make a request for H-1B employment status please review the steps in the H-1B Application Process.

International Student and Scholar Services for H-1B workers
Nearly all H-1B requests are handled by this office but a few departments may need to retain the services of  immigration attorney depending on the type and level of the position. In all cases, the attorney represents the university, therefore, departments must work with ISSS to facilitate this process.  A list of Eligible Positions in our website. Exceptions must be discussed with the director of ISSS.

Advantages of H-1B Status
The H-1B status may be obtained for an initial period of not more than three years but may be extended up to a maximum of six years.  This category benefits from the concept of "dual intent." This means that persons applying abroad for an H-1B visa need not prove to the U.S. consular official an intent to return to their home country, as opposed to other non-immigrant visa applicants.  H-1B holders may seek a change of status to any other non-immigrant or immigrant status for which they are eligible.

Disadvantages of H-1B Status
Applications for H-1B require extensive documentation, and the employer must pay 100 percent of the "prevailing wage" set by the State Workforce Agency (SWA) for the occupation in which the international is to be employed.  UK departments should allow approximately four to five months for processing of the H-1B application. This includes preparation by UKIC and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) processing time.  H-1B holders are subject to Social Security taxes from the date they start working.  Accompanying H-4 dependents may not seek employment in the U.S., but they are allowed to study.