Frequently asked Questions
What is an H-1B visa?
The H-1B visa is a permit allowing a foreign national into the United States to work temporarily
in a specialty occupation that usually requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Is there a time limit on H-1B visas?
Yes. The maximum length of time a foreign national can be on an H-1B visa is six years. This
time limit takes into account the time a foreign national has spent with different employers. The
initial petition can be for up to three years.
What documentation is necessary to begin the H-1B process?
Please contact the Office of Equal Opportunity for a complete packet of what information needs
to be submitted in support of your documentation. The department can also download a
checklist of necessary documentation.
What if the potential employee already has an H-1B visa from another employer?
H-1B visas are employer specific. In order to work at SMS, the University would need to submit
the necessary paperwork for the foreign national to work here at SMS.
Note: A foreign national can work at two or more institutions simultaneously as long as the
foreign national has an H-1B visa for each employer.
Who pays the USCIS filing fee for the H-1B visa application?
The foreign national is responsible for paying the fees associated with any legal representation
for processing the H-1B petition. The department is responsible for any application and filing
fees. In addition, the employer is responsible for paying the anti-fraud fee.
What is the average filing time for the H-1B visa?
Processing an H-1B petition takes several months. The department should allow at least four to
six months lead time. For example, departments planning to hire a temporary worker in a
specialty occupation for the fall semester should ideally begin the process at least one year in
advance and no later than January of the preceding year. Processing times are listed on the
USCIS website. The California Service Center handles applications from Missouri.
Note: The USCIS offers premium processing service for H-1B visas. The service guarantees
that the applications will be processed within 15 calendar days of receipt of the application for a
$1,000 fee. If the agency does not process the application in 15 days, it will refund the $1,000
to the petitioner.
What if the H-1B employee has family members or a spouse?
This information must be included on the H-1B application. If the H-1B employee has more than
one H1-B petition being file, only one of the petitions must list the dependents and spouse. The
spouse and dependents will be issued an H-4 dependent visa.
Note: If the foreign national has two H-1B visas it is not necessary for the H-4 dependents to
have two H-4 visas.
Can a dependent of an H-1B visa holder work?
No. However, the individual can attend school either a full-time or part-time basis.
If the H-1B petition is denied is there an appeals process?
Yes, it is possible to appeal the USCIS’s decision.
Note: Prior to denying an H-1B visa, if the USCIS deems they need additional information in
order to process the petition USCIS will issue a Request for Additional
Evidence IRFE) and provide a period for a response to be submitted.
If the USCIS denies the petition can we get a refund?
Who is liable for the airfare if the H-1B employee quits or is fired?
If the employee quits, Missouri State is not responsible for the airfare to the H-1B employee’s
If the employee is fired before the end date of his/her H-1B status, then the department is
responsible for paying the airfare to the employee’s home country.
What if funding runs out before the ending date of the approved H-1B visa?
If funding runs out, the University is responsible for paying the return airfare to the H-1B
employee’s home country. Further, the H-1B employee will have to depart the United States
immediately upon notification of termination of employment.
Note: If funding issues is a concern for the department, the department before hiring a foreign
national should provide them with a letter stating that they do not have a guarantee of
Can an employee on an H-1B visa petition for permanent residency?
Yes. Please refer to the University’s permanent residency policy. The University reserves the
right not to sponsor an individual for permanent residency and an offer of employment does not
guarantee that the University will automatically sponsor and individual.
How long does it take for the LCA to be process?
The Department of Labor is required to return the LCA in seven (7) days or less.