If your department is planning to bring a foreign national to work at WSU, use this site to familiarize yourself with the recruiting and hiring process—and contact the Office of International Programs as early as possible. We will help you through the complexities of immigration rules and make sure you and your prospective employees reach your goals.
Other immigration statuses commonly used to employ foreign nationals in the United States include:
- F-1 students authorized for Optional Practical Training
- J-1 scholars or J-1 student academic training (cannot be candidates for tenure-track positions)
- H-1B1 specialty worker, available to Chilean and Singaporean citizens only
The H-1B visa program allows employers to bring foreign workers into the United States.
H-1B status must be requested and filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) by a U.S. employer. No foreign nationals can file H-1B themselves.
All H-1B petitions for employment at WSU must be processed by the Office of International Programs. Processing of H-1B petitions for employment at WSU by outside attorneys is not permitted.
Bringing H-1B Employees to WSU
Foreign nationals interested in being sponsored for H-1B status by WSU must identify, apply for, and be offered a job that qualifies as a “specialty occupation.”
They should contact the selected WSU academic unit or the WSU Human Resource Services website for job openings.
To be sponsored for H-1B status, all 3 following conditions must be met:
- The position must be a specialty occupation as explained below.
- The foreign national must meet all WSU position requirements.
- The U.S. employer must be willing to sponsor a qualified foreign national for a qualified position, including paying all relevant H-1B costs. No U.S. employer is obligated or required to sponsor H-1B for any foreign national.
If a foreign national is offered a job at WSU, the academic hiring unit must contact the university’s Office of International Programs to initiate an H-1B case on the potential employee’s behalf. When an H-1B case is being processed by the Office of International Programs, close contact is kept with both the applicant and the hiring unit.
H-1B employees are welcome to bring their families to the United States.
H-1B temporary workers are defined as non-immigrants who will perform services in specialty occupations on a temporary basis in the United States. The statutory definition of “specialty occupation” is an occupation that requires:
- Theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge; and
- Attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree in the specific specialty (or its equivalent) as a minimum for entry into the occupation in the United States.
To qualify as a “specialty occupation” the position must meet all of the following requirements:
- A baccalaureate or higher degree (or its equivalent) in a specific field of endeavor is normally the minimum requirement for entry into the particular occupation in the United States.
- The degree requirement is common to the industry.
- The employer must normally require a degree or its equivalent for the position.
- The job duties must be “so specialized and complex that knowledge required to perform the duties is usually associated with the attainment of a baccalaureate or higher degree.”
- The position’s level of responsibility and authority must be “commensurate with professional standing.”
Eligible Positions at WSU
Eligible H-1B positions include permanent or temporary full-time academic teaching and research faculty positions.
WSU does not sponsor H-1B for civil service/classified, administrative, professional staff, time-slip, or part-time positions.
Please note that there is no guarantee that an application will be approved by the necessary government agencies, since it is up to an officer’s subjective adjudication.
H1-B status is limited to a total of 6 years of stay in the United States. The sponsoring U.S. employer can request an employee’s H-1B status with USCIS in increments up to 3 years.
If the H-1B worker is dismissed from employment by the employer before the end date printed on the H-1B worker’s current USCIS H-1B approval notice, the employer will be liable for reasonable costs of return transportation back to last residence abroad.
New H-1B Employees
The international employee will receive communications directly from the Office of International Programs regarding H-1B visa application, entry to the United States. in H-1B status, new H-1B employee orientation, etc.
All new H-1B employees must check in with the Office of International Programs and with their hiring unit upon arriving at WSU. The Office of International Programs offers an orientation program designed to facilitate the mandatory check-in and help new international employees get a good start.
Current H-1B Employees
Make sure your H-1B worker reads and follows the information in the H-1B Employees section of this website. They are personally responsible for maintaining legal visa status.
TN (Treaty NAFTA) status began in 1988 under the North American Free Trade Agreement. It is a special non-immigrant U.S. status that pertains to citizens of Canada and Mexico who qualify for temporary professional work. There is no cost for TN border entry.
TN status can be granted in increments up to 3 years each, with unlimited renewals as long the job remains temporary in nature.
TN status is not a ‘permanent’ visa, and if U.S. immigration officials suspect it is being used as a de facto green card, they may elect to deny further renewals.
If you are planning to employ a TN worker, contact the Office of International Programs International Student and Scholar Services to make an initial or extension TN request. International Student and Scholar Services charges $200 to file a TN application with USCIS. Example: change of TN status, or an extension. Charge is subject to change.
Eligible citizens must be offered a job in the United States in 1 of the professions listed under NAFTA. The list of occupations permitted under TN status is more limited than under the H-1B visa.
All of the following requirements must be met for TN eligibility.
- Evidence of Canadian or Mexican citizenship is required.
- Canadian-landed immigrants and non-Canadian citizens are not eligible for TN status.
- Evidence of an offered eligible TN position is necessary.
- A letter from the U.S. employer detailing the nature of the employment is necessary. One sponsoring employer and eligible position is necessary for each TN application.
- The letter from the U.S. employer must state that employment is temporary. The applicant cannot intend to remain in the United States permanently.
- Original or certified copies of transcripts, diplomas, licenses, certificates or membership in professional organizations. If the required degree is earned outside the United States, Canada or Mexico, appropriate credentials evaluation and a certificate of translation (if not in English) must be attached.
- There must be no strike or lockout at proposed worksite. If there is, USCIS may deny the entry.
- Mexican citizens and their dependents must first obtain TN-2/TD visa stamp in their passports in order to apply for TN-2/TD status at the U.S. port of entry.
Two Ways to Obtain TN Status
There are 2 ways to obtain TN status:
- Border entry – USCIS, U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Dept. of State are not involved in the process, there is no cost for the U.S. employer, and it is much faster than H-1B.
- Change of status in the United States – If the eligible citizen is already in the United States under other legal immigration status, the U.S. employer can apply for change of status or TN extension with USCIS, subject to USCIS filing fee(s) and lengthy USCIS processing time.
Canadian citizens are exempt from the TN visa requirement, and may apply for TN-1 status at a U.S. port of entry or preflight inspection center with all required TN documents.
Mexican citizens must first apply for a TN-2 visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
TN Family Dependents
The legally married spouse and unmarried minor (under age 21) children of a TN worker may enter the United States with a TD dependent visa.
Dependents of Canadian citizens are automatically granted TD dependent status.
Dependents who are not Canadian citizens must apply to a U.S. embassy or consulate for a TD visa. Dependents will be admitted to the United States for the period of time coinciding with the TN period of stay.
Dependents entering the United States after the TN worker should present the following documents:
- Certified copy of the TN worker’s I-94
- Supporting letter from the employer
- Copy of the TN’s original application for TN status
The procedure may be facilitated if the dependents apply at the same preflight inspection center or port of entry as the principle, as the application may still be on file there.
TD dependents are not eligible for employment. However, they can attend school without any restrictions.