H-1 Faculty

H-1B Visa Information


H-1B status is an employment visa status based on a “specialty occupation.” A specialty occupation is an occupation that requires the “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge; and [the] attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in a specific specialty (or its equivalent).” Specific wage requirements must also be met. H-1B visas are considered “dual-intent” by USCIS. This means that individuals in H-1B status are eligible to petition for immigrant worker status. UNC Charlotte sponsors full-time, permanently funded faculty and research positions.


The Foreign National

In order to submit an H-1B petition, the prospective beneficiary must be eligible for H-1B non-immigrant status.

  • If currently outside the U.S., the beneficiary must apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate upon H-1B approval from USCIS. The ISSO will mail the approval notice to the beneficiary. The beneficiary can enter the U.S. up to 10 days prior to the start date on the H-1 approval notice.
  • If previously subject to 212(e), the beneficiary must have received an approved Waiver from USCIS.
  • For a current H-1B beneficiary, s/he must qualify for additional time in H-1B status.
  • Changing status from certain other non-immigrant visa categories may limit a petition to a request for consular approval only.
  • If the prospective beneficiary has a pending application for adjustment of status to green card, please contact the ISSO to determine if it is appropriate to submit an H-1B petition

The Employer

The employer is subject to at least the following obligations:

  • Employer must agree to pay, throughout the entire duration of employment the required wage (see the “Required Wage” section below).
  • The employer of an H-1B beneficiary must agree to pay for the reasonable costs of return transportation home for the scholar, if the scholar is dismissed from employment before the end of the authorized period of stay.
  • The hiring department is responsible for paying the USCIS Filing Fees.

Maximum Validity

H-1B status can normally be awarded for a total of up to 6 years, but in increments of no longer than 3 years. Any time spent abroad during these six years can be reclaimed and added to the total, as long as the absences from the U.S. can be documented. Extensions past the sixth year are possible under limited circumstances, but only if the foreign national is the beneficiary of an employment-based green card application. Once someone has exhausted his or her time in H-1B status and no extensions based on an underlying green card application are possible, the foreign national must reside abroad for a full year in order to become eligible for a new 6 year period of H-1B status

Time that an employee has spent in H-1B status at another employer deducts from the 6 years of eligibility. Departments should contact ISSO if unsure of the potential employee’s remaining H-1B eligibility.

The beginning and end dates of employment listed on the H-1B application should reflect the length of funding for the position and the amount of time that the employee is expected to fill the position. H-1B application dates do not have to match the dates of the employee’s academic appointment. H-1B applications are not limited to the current academic year, nor subject to the academic calendar.

Required Wage

To qualify for certain immigration statuses, the foreign national must be paid the required wage. The required wage is independent from many HR considerations, and, in fact may run counter to HR’s guidance.

The required wage is determined by ISSO and is equal to the prevailing wage or the actual wage, whichever is higher. (In the case of green card applications that require a labor certification, the actual wage is not considered.)

The prevailing wage is the wage that people who are in a similar occupation in a given geographic are paid. This wage is based on external wage data, provided by the Department of Labor, and takes into account the requirements for the position vis-à-vis the requirements that the Department of Labor considers typical for the occupation. Note that many occupations, as defined by the Department of Labor, are quite broad and allow for little flexibility.

The actual wage is the wage that people who are similarly employed with the petitioning employer, i.e. the university, are paid. In theory, this is the wage that people doing the same work with the same level of experience, skills and accomplishments are paid.

In some cases, the prevailing wage is higher than the actual wage and even the offered wage. If the prevailing wage is higher than the offered wage, the offered wage must be increased to meet or exceed the prevailing wage.


ISSO must receive approval of the H-1B petition from USCIS before the scholar can begin employment.

The terms of employment in H-1B status are very employer, position and location specific. The petition requires declaration of the required wage, offered wage, duties, and employment date. Any anticipated changes to H-1B employment must be discussed, in advance, with the ISSO as it may be necessary to file a new petition with USCIS. This includes, but is not limited to, changes in position duties, changes in pay rates, changes in work locations and changes of sponsoring departments within UNC Charlotte. H-1 faculty members are NOT permitted to work for any U.S. employers other than UNC Charlotte.


Department Responsibility

  • Departments are responsible for paying the USCIS filing fees associated with an immigrant or nonimmigrant petition.
  • If the department requires a quick decision from USCIS, the department is responsible for paying the USCIS expedited processing fee.
  • Specific instructions are part of the Learning Content in ISSO Scholar Portal and can be viewed once a Sponsorship Request has been submitted.

Foreign National Responsibility

  • Foreign national employees are responsible for paying USCIS filing fees associated with their dependents, and may pay this fee by personal check, certified check, or money order made out to Department of Homeland Security.
  • If the foreign national elects USCIS expedited processing for his/her own (non work-related) convenience, s/he is responsible for providing a personal check to cover the fee.
  • The foreign national is responsible for paying the fees related to the visa application at the U.S. consulate.

The host department will be responsible for authorizing applications, and paying filing fees, for extensions on behalf of the scholar. The host department should use the ISSO Scholar Portal to request an extension 6 months before the end date of the H-1B authorized end date. If the host department does not submit an extension at least 2 months before the end date of the original H-1B approval, there are likely to be gaps in employment eligibility and the beneficiary’s status to remain in the U.S. could be negatively affected.


All applications for H-1B status are handled by the International Student Scholar Office at the request of the hiring department. The H-1B process can take several months. Application procedures and timelines vary depending on the type of H-1B application being processed. For more information about the process, see the H-1B process chart.


H-1 faculty members who wish to travel outside the U.S. must notify their department chair or supervisor as well as the ISSO (email intlscholar@charlotte.edu). Documents needed for travel include:

  • Original Form I-797 H-1 approval notice
  • Copy of the Labor Condition Application (LCA)
  • Valid, unexpired H-1 visa
  • Valid passport within 6 months of expiry
  • Employment offer letter


  1. Visit the U.S. Department of State’s website for visa appointment wait times and qualifications for an expedited interview appointment. Follow the instructions.
  2. The H-1B Employee should request a letter from the hiring department attesting to the urgency of the situation. The letter must attest to the urgency of the planned visit, describing the nature of the employment and stating that either the U.S. and/or UNC Charlotte will suffer a significant loss of opportunity if an expedited appoinment is not available. You may use this template.

Most full time, permanent, tenure-track positions will qualify for eventual U.S. permanent residency under the EB-2 (Advanced Degree) category. The decision for UNC Charlotte to sponsor the faculty is at the discretion of the hiring department and the ISSO rather than at the request of the individual faculty member. It is a very long and complex process navigated mostly between the hiring department and the ISSO at very specific timeframes, however the faculty member will be asked for her/his contributions to the process when necessary.

It is important to note that UNC Charlotte sponsors up until the immigrant petition, Form I-140, is approved. After that, it is the individual faculty member’s responsibility to file her/his own personal green card application directly with USCIS and pay all applicable fees. UNC Charlotte does not file green card applications on behalf of employees.

In cases where EB-2 is not possible, other options may be available. Depending upon the nature of the position and the situation, these may or may not be supported by UNC Charlotte.

Please consult with the ISSO before beginning your own USCIS petition and before hiring an immigration attorney. Outside legal counsel is not authorized to represent UNC Charlotte on any immigrant petitions.


After your visa check in is complete, international scholars and faculty should take steps to complete other on-boarding tasks elsewhere at the university. You should:

*To apply for an SSN from the U.S. government, visit the Social Security Administration and submit the following with your application:

Upon submission, request a receipt for your records

After you receive your Social Security card in the mail (in 2-4 weeks), take it to the King Building (Building #11 on the Campus Map) Room 222. Federal law requires that the university keep a copy of the original card.


Health Insurance for International Faculty and J-1 Scholars