If you are being sponsored by UWM for H-1B status, you will need to consider how you will acquire H-1B status and also be aware of how to maintain H-1B status.
Acquiring H-1B Status
All H-1Bs must be sponsored for the status by their employers, in this case, UWM. Your hiring unit will work with CIE to make the necessary petitions to the U.S. government on your behalf. UWM is the petitioner and you are the beneficiary in the process.
Consular Processing: a prospective H-1B who is outside of the U.S. will be sponsored for H-1B through consular processing. This means that upon approval of UWM’s H-1B petition, the beneficiary will make an application for an H-1B visa and have a visa interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Most H-1B visas are issued in under one week, but some visa applications undergo “administrative processing” which can take longer. After an H-1B visa is granted and the H-1B visa stamp is in the passport, the prospective H-1B travels to the U.S. and applies for admission to the U.S. in H-1B status at a U.S. Port of Entry. The earliest date of possible entry is 10 days prior to approved H-1B start date.
Change of Status to H-1B: a prospective H-1B who is already in the U.S. in a different visa status may prefer to be sponsored for a change of status to H-1B. The change of status petition is filed by UWM and is processed by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) while the beneficiary waits in the U.S. rather than travels abroad. Change of status petitions can take several months and during that time it may be that the individual is not permitted to work.
Extension of H-1B status: H-1B extensions are requested by the UWM hiring unit. Departments submit an H-1B Request Form to CIE and collaborates with CIE throughout the process to file the H-1B extension. An H-1B extension is essentially a new H-1B petition, with the significant difference that a timely filed extension petition with USCIS permits the H-1B holder to continue to work for the petitioning employer for up to 240 days past the original H-1B expiration date or until the extension is approved, whichever is sooner. The exception to this is if a person travels outside of the U.S. after the expiration of the current H-1B. If this occurs, re-entry is not permitted until the H-1B is approved.
Portability: some non-UWM H-1B employees may benefit from the possibility to begin working at a UWM as their new sponsoring institution upon UWM’s timely filing of an H-1B petition without having to wait until the new H-1B petition is approved. If you are currently in H-1B status at another institution and will be sponsored by for H-1B at UWM, your hiring unit and Brooke Thomas at CIE will need to be aware of this to be able to take advantage of portability, if at all possible.
Concurrent H-1B Employment: some H-1B employees may benefit from the possibility of working with UWM as one sponsoring institution and at another H-1B sponsor at the same time. This is called “concurrent H-1B employment.” If you are currently a UWM H-1B employee andupon UWM’s timely filing of an H-1B petition without having to wait until the new H-1B petition is approved. If you are currently in H-1B status at another institution and will be sponsored for a concurrent H-1B at UWM, your hiring unit and Brooke Thomas at CIE will need to be aware of this to be able to take advantage of this, if at all possible. No employment at UWM as the second H-1B employer may begin until a timely H-1B petition is filed with USCIS by UWM.
Maintaining H-1B Status
The primary way to maintain H-1B status is to perform the specific employment as detailed in the H-1B petition for the sponsoring employer.
At UWM, this means to continue to work for the same department, with the same job title and duties that were authorized through the H-1B petition and the underlying Labor Condition Application. You must also keep your home address up-to-date with USCIS by filing the AR-11, Change of Address.
Unauthorized employment, even consulting or short-term other activities, are not permitted without USCIS authorization, and constitute a violation of H-1B status. Any change of department, job duties, work site or reduction of hours must be reported to CIE so we may determine whether we need to file an amended H-1B petition on your behalf.
If you have questions about your visa status, please do not hesitate to contact Brooke Thomas (firstname.lastname@example.org). Brooke is happy to assist you with questions about your visa status so that you may focus on your research and teaching.