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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.

H1-B Overview

The H1-B 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 H1-B visa are as follows:

  • Foreign national must have a high degree of experience in the specialty occupation for which he or she is applying.
  • Foreign national 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 H1-B petition.

The H1-B 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 H1-B at the location specific in the petition.

An individual can maintain H1-B visa status for a maximum of 6 years. Employers can only petition for an H1-B 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 H1-B 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 H1-B visa, the hiring department is responsible for paying the airfare home for the foreign national.

Steps to Hiring H1-B Employees

  • It is the responsibility of the hiring department to request an H1-B petition on behalf of a current or prospective employee, and to pay all related fees.
  • The Office of Human Resources at Austin Peay State University files all official government paperwork related to H1-B petitions for APSU employees.  APSU may also support permanent resident applications on behalf of employees.
  • Due to the complexity of immigration matters, The University has retained the services of XIE law firm located in Atlanta, GA. The Human Resources office will forward all requests for H1-B petitions to XIE Law Firm for processing.
  • If a prospective employee does not already have H1-B status or another type of work permission, he/she may not begin working at APSU until the APSU H1-B petition has been approved by USCIS and the employee has been granted H1-B status. A non-resident alien 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 non-resident alien to work prior to the authorized period. There is no guarantee that the H1-B visa petition will be approved.
  • In some cases, an employee may begin working with some other type of work authorization, such as F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT).

Fees for H1-B

  1. $460 I-129 Filing Fee for H1-B Petition
  2. $500 “Anti-Fraud Fee” for H1-B Petition
  3. $1410 Optional Premium Processing
  4. $1550 Attorney Fee
  5. Applicable postage costs

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 apply for permanent residency. APSU Policy 5:011 provides $4,500 in reimbursement to help offset fees involved in acquiring permanent residency.

Fees for Permanent Residency

  1. $700 Filing Fee
  2. $2500 Attorney Fee
  3. $1410 Optional Premium Processing
  4. Applicable postage costs


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

Please contact the Office of Human Resources for additional information.