Departments must 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 expedited government processing* (additional fee of $1,225) may be required:
An employee’s personal or work related travel itineraries (employees should inform departments as soon as possible)
Expiration of current visa status, gaps in current work authorization including an employee changing to H-1B status or “porting” a current H-1B visa status.
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.
To comply with university policy, departments should also inform their candidates that obtaining H-1B status on their behalf does not obligate the university to sponsor the employee for permanent residence. Such sponsorship is left to the discretion of hiring officials.
*UPDATE: PREMIUM PROCESSING FOR H-1B REQUESTS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED
In an effort to reduce overall H-1B processing times, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will suspend the Premium Processing program for all H-1B petitions effective April 3, 2017. The University of Kentucky’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) will continue to process completed H-1B requests for premium processing in the order in which they were received. For requests received after the COB on Friday, March 10th, ISSS cannot guarantee USCIS adjudicative action will be granted in time to meet the USCIS deadline. Information about this change can be found on the USCIS website . ISSS wants to encourage hiring officials and employees to plan ahead as much as possible. H-1B extension or amended requests should be submitted to ISSS at least 8 months prior to the expiration of the current H-1b status due to already lengthy processing times with USCIS.
NOTE: If you have an H-1B which is currently pending with USCIS and plan to travel this summer you may wish to consider upgrading your petition by submitting a check payable to USCIS for $1,225 by March 10th. Also, if you haven’t yet submitted paperwork to ISSS through iCAT (and you plan to travel this summer), please do so by no later than March 10th to ensure that your petition will be eligible for the premium processing program.
Questions regarding pending or recently completed requests should be directed to William Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org.