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Immigration Matters

To enter and stay in the United States for a specified amount of time, a non-US citizen has to use a non-immigrant visa category. Regulations regarding how to maintain legal status, employment, permitted length of stay, vary according to the visa category.

H-1B Overview

The H-1B visa classification is an employment status for foreign nationals who will perform services in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupations require at least a bachelor's degree. Requirements for an H-1B visa are as follows:

  • Foreign nationals must have a high degree of experience in the specialty occupation for which he or she is applying.
  • Foreign nationals must have a bachelor's degree or minimum degree required for the specialty position.
  • Foreign nationals cannot self-petition. Austin Peay State University must file the H-1B petition.
  • Normally, the University will not sponsor staff or non-tenure track or visiting faculty positions.
  • The hiring department is responsible for all fees associated with the H-1B petition for the foreign national.  Any costs associated with the filing of dependent petitions must be paid by the foreign national; the University has no obligation for these fees.

The H-1B visa is also job and location specific, therefore, the foreign national while employed is only allowed to perform the duties that are outlined in the H-1B at the location specific in the petition.

An individual can maintain H-1B visa status for a maximum of 6 years. Employers can only petition for an H-1B for 3 years at a time, meaning an extension petition would be necessary. When an individual reaches the 6-year limit they must leave the U.S. and live abroad for one year before they are eligible for H-1B visa status again. An extension beyond 6 years is permissible for those for whom a Form I-140 Immigration petition for Alien Worker has been filled and whose labor certification or I-140 was filed for at least 365 days before the extension is requested.

If the hiring department terminates employment prior to the expiration date of the H-1B visa, the hiring department is responsible for paying the airfare home for the foreign national.

Steps to Hiring H-1B Employees

  • It is the responsibility of the hiring department to request an H-1B petition on behalf of a current or prospective employee.
  • The Office of Human Resources at Austin Peay State University files all official government paperwork related to H-1B petitions for APSU employees.  
  • Due to the complexity of immigration matters, the University has retained the services of Xie Law Offices, LLC located in Atlanta, GA. The Human Resources office will forward all requests for H-1B petitions to Xie Law Offices, LLC for processing.
  • If a prospective employee does not already have H-1B status or another type of work permission, they may not begin working at APSU until the APSU H-1B petition has been approved by USCIS and the employee has been granted H-1B status. A foreign national who starts prior to the authorized period will be classified as "out of status" and is subject to deportation immediately. In addition, the University could face penalties and fines if the University willingly allows a foreign national to work prior to the authorized period. There is no guarantee the H-1B visa petition will be approved.
  • In some cases, a foreign national may begin working with some other type of work authorization, such as F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Fees for H-1B

  1. $460         I-129 Filing Fee for H-1B Petition
  2. $500         “Anti-Fraud Fee” for H-1B Petition
  3. $1,550      Attorney Fee | $1,250 Extension/Renewal or Amendment
  4. $2,500      Optional Premium Processing
  5. Varies       Applicable postage costs

Fees for I-440

  1. $700         Filing Fee for I-440
  2. $2,500      Optional Premium Processing
  3. $2,500      Attorney Fee

PERM Overview

The official name is Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status. Persons who hold LPR status may remain in the U.S. permanently and live and work wherever they wish. Obtaining LPR status has no effect on current citizenship, and LPR holders need to maintain a valid home country passport at all times. In general, LPRs have some of the same rights, privileges, and responsibilities as U.S. citizens. However, LPRs may not vote in government elections, serve on juries at trials, nor hold some elected offices or government jobs. Typically, persons holding LPR status for 5 years may become eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship.

There are several employment-based categories for permanent residency. Common categories for APSU employees include EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3.

Steps for PERM

The Human Resources Office will contact the department head/dean informing that the employee is within the eighteen-month window to complete the I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status and apply for permanent residency.

Upon confirmation by the employing department and/or Provost of continuation of employment, the foreign national may receive reimbursement for the immigration expenses to help offset fees involved in acquiring permanent residency.

In consideration for Austin Peay reimbursing foreign nationals for immigration expenses, they must sign an Immigration Expense Allowance Agreement and agree to remain employed with Austin Peay for a period of twenty-four (24) months following the receipt of their Green Card or change of the employee’s status to that of Legal Permanent Resident, unless separated for reasons beyond their control and acceptable to APSU. In case of violation of such an agreement, any funds expended by APSU for such allowance shall be recoverable from the employee as a debt due APSU. 

Allowable reimbursable expenses are determined in accordance with applicable law and policy. Reimbursement of allowable expenses of shall be in the maximum amount of $4,500 and shall not exceed the foreign national’s actual, documented expenses. The allowance cannot be used to defray non-immigration-related costs or any costs not associated with the individual foreign national’s immigration expenses. Any costs associated with the filing of dependent petitions must be paid by the foreign national; the University has no obligation for these fees.

Fees for I-485

  1. $1,000       Attorney Fee
  2. $1,225       Filing Fee for I-485
  3. $2,500       Optional Premium Processing
  4. Varies        Applicable postage costs

 



While the University will use its best judgment in filing petitions, it does not guarantee approval of any petition filed.

Please contact the Office of Human Resources for additional information.