Information for hiring foreign nationals
Refer to these classifications in order to bring a foreign national to work or visit in your department.
H1-B specialty workers
The H-1B status grants temporary nonimmigrant work authorization and is based on a petition, submitted by the employer (NAU), to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).
How to apply for H-1B Accordion Closed
My iNAU is the online service center for requests submitted by or for scholars and employees at Northern Arizona University. This includes requests submitted by department administrators. To navigate iNAU services please read the instructions and the H-1B requirements below.
H-1B basic requirements Accordion Closed
The basic requirements for H-1B status are that the position qualifies as a “specialty position” requiring a specific educational background and that the wages and working conditions comply with Arizona employment regulations and the U.S. Department of Labor foreign labor certification. NAU will seek H-1B status for employees in tenure-track positions, research positions with funding for the period of intended employment, and staff and other positions (such as instructor and lecturer) that meet the “specialty” requirements.
Responsibilities of the International Scholar Adviser Accordion Closed
When the determination is made that H-1B status is appropriate for the individual and the department, International Student & Scholar Services will:
- Request information from the department and the individual;
- Seek a determination from the Arizona Department of Employment Security that the salary offered meets the “prevailing wage” for similar workers in this geographic area of the employment;
- File a Foreign Labor Certification Request with the U.S. Department of Labor
- Upon approval of the request, file the petition and fee/s with USCIS to classify the individual as a temporary worker in the specialty occupation
- Request that the individual be authorized to seek an H-1B visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad OR, if the individual is physically present in the U.S. and is eligible for a change of nonimmigrant status, be granted H-1B status for employment at NAU. The process is the same for H-1B extension requests.
Filing an H-1B petition Accordion Closed
An H-1B petition may be filed up to six months prior to the start of employment. The processing time at the USCIS Service Center varies from one to six months, so the earlier filed, the more likely the adjudication will arrive in time for the start of employment.
If a petition must be submitted close to the time of intended employment, expedited processing can be requested with a USCIS Premium Processing fee of $1225. When the petition with the additional fee is submitted, Premium Processing guarantees adjudication within 15 days, unless USCIS requires a security check.
If the employee is outside the U.S., adequate time must also be allowed to obtain an H-1B visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The visa application process varies from country to country, as does the time it takes for the visa to be issued.
Dependents of the H-1B may submit an application for H-4 dependent status at the same time the application for H-1B status is submitted.
An H-1B employee, for whom a petition requesting an extension of H-1B status has been filed prior to the end date of the previous H-1B approval, can continue employment at NAU for 240 days pending USCIS approval of the extension request.
The Center for International Education must be notified immediately in writing of any proposed changes to the employees’ job duties and/or change of job location or termination of employment by NAU or the employee.
If an H-1B employee is dismissed prior to the end of the period of the authorized employment, the department is responsible for the reasonable cost of return transportation to his/her last place of residence abroad. If the H-1B voluntarily terminates employment, the employer is not liable for the cost of return transportation.
Please contact International Student & Scholar Services to discuss an H-1B work authorization, nonimmigrant employee status, and other related concerns. If you want to make an appointment, call the Center for International Education at (928) 523-1520.
International employees who begin their employment at Northern Arizona University in a temporary work authorization status may want to seek employment-based U.S. legal permanent residence (also known as LPR, PR, and green card).
LPR basic requirements Accordion Closed
It is important that all recruitment and hiring be done in a way that meets the requirements for this process. Departments should contact the International Scholar Adviser. For a faculty position, contact the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel at 928-523-2230 for more information.
Northern Arizona University does not promise to file employment-based U.S. permanent residence petitions for a non-immigrant employee, as this depends on:
- The specifics of each position
- The recruiting and hiring process
- Other regulations which impact eligibility
Northern Arizona University may file a petition with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for employment-based sponsorship for LPR. The employee may not hire an attorney to represent Northern Arizona University for this petition.
LPR process Accordion Closed
There are three steps in the process to establish LPR:
- Determine eligibility for the appropriate employment-based LPR classification. The chair/director must contact the International Scholar Adviser to begin the process.
- The International Scholar Adviser files the petition Form I-140 with the USCIS with the required supporting documentation. An outside attorney may not be used for this petition unless approved by the Center for International Education and the Northern Arizona University Office of Legal Counsel.
- The foreign national employee applies with Form I-485 to USCIS to request the change of status to LPR. The employee may prepare this application with or without the assistance of an immigration attorney. The International Scholar Adviser cannot provide legal advice to the employee regarding this application.
OPT and AT
A faculty, research, or staff position may be filled by a new international employee through Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1s and Academic Training (AT) for J-1s.
B1/B2 visitor information
Foreign visitors invited to engage in temporary business, pleasure, tourism, or vacation activities.
B1 category Accordion Closed
The B1 category may be appropriate for foreign scholars wishing to visit Northern Arizona University for short periods of time for professional activities. These activities may not constitute employment. Appropriate activities include:
- Consultation with professional associates
- Participation in scientific, educational, or professional conventions or seminars
- Independent research
B2 category Accordion Closed
The B2 category is intended for those coming to the United States for travel and tourism. For additional information, visit the U.S. Department of State website.
Receiving payment Accordion Closed
Visitors in the B1/B2 classification are not permitted to engage in any form of employment in the United States. They are allowed to receive reimbursements and honoraria as long as:
- The academic activity is no longer than nine days
- The visitor has not accepted honoraria from more than five institutions or organizations within a six-month period
Admission period Accordion Closed
The admission period for visitors in the B1/B2 category is based on the amount of time needed to accomplish the purpose of the visit. Visitors are usually admitted for six months or less depending on the purpose for the visit. B1/B2 visitors may request extensions of stay by filing Form I-539 and supporting documentation with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Admission without a visa Accordion Closed
The United States provides two exceptions to the requirement for a visa.
Exception 1: Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
The first exception to the visa requirement is for citizens of countries participating in the VWP, which allows citizens admission for business or tourism for up to 90 days without a visa.
For a list of participating countries and for additional information about VWP, please visit the Visa Waiver section of the U.S. Department of State website.
Exception 2: Canadian citizens
The other visa exception applies to Canadian citizens who are not required to obtain a visa for admission to the United States in any immigration (visa) category.
B1/B2 Information for departments Accordion Closed
The following steps are suggested for departments intending to invite B1 visitors:
- Contact an International Scholar Adviser if you have any questions regarding whether or not the B1/B2 category is the most appropriate.
- Contact the Northern Arizona University Human Resources office if your department intends to pay the visitor an honorarium or reimbursement of expenses.
- Issue an invitation letter which includes the following information:
- Purpose of the visit
- Dates of the visit
- Funding information
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) petitions & fees
All affected applications and petitions received by USCIS must include checks made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security. All USCIS fees are subject to change without notice.
Petitions & fees Accordion Closed
- I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker (H1B or O1): $460, paid by the hiring department
- I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker: $700, paid by the hiring department
- I-907 Request for Premium Processing Services: $1,225, paid either by employee or employer, depending on the timing of the filing. In addition, the following application fees, typically paid by students/scholars, also changed.
- I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (F1 OPT or J2 employment authorization): $410
- I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status: $370
- I-485 Application to Register Permanent Resident Status or Adjust Status: $1,140 with biometric fee
TN Treaty Workers
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) creates special economic and trade relationships for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Learn more about this foreign national classification.