Office of Global Engagement
International Students and Scholars

H-1B status is valid up to 3 years, can be renewed for another 3 years, and allows the temporary non-immigrant to apply for permanent immigration status while in H-1B status. If the scholar is dismissed from their appointment at Brown for any reason, the department in which they are employed at Brown must pay the reasonable cost of return transportation to his/her home country.

The H-1B petition process is relatively complex, costly, and lengthy. An H-1B petition should be submitted to USCIS up to six months prior to the anticipated start date.

Steps in the H-1B Petition Process

1. Prevailing Wage

Once OISSS receives all the required documentation for the H-1B we must complete a Prevailing Wage determination for the specific position being offered to the scholar. Federal Law requires Brown to pay at least 100% of the prevailing wage to the H-1B employee.

2. Labor Condition Application (LCA)

After receiving the approved prevailing wage determination from the Department of Labor (DOL), OISSS submits to the DOL a LCA, in which Brown attests that: it will pay the prevailing wage, the employment of the scholar will not adversely affect other workers; there is not a strike or work stoppage in effect; and the LCA form will be posted in 2 conspicuous locations for ten consecutive business days.

It is estimated that it will take an average of seven to ten business days before we receive a certified LCA back from the DOL.

3. Submit the Petition

The petition itself, with supporting documentation and payment is mailed to USCIS.

Required Documentation

The fee for Premium Processing has been increased to $2,805 effective February 26, 2024.

Below is a summary of what is required in order for OISSS to complete the H-1B petition (Form I-129). Please see the H-1B Checklist for more details. Photographs can be difficult to read and do not photocopy well, please submit copies that have been scanned.

  • H-1B Request Form with Prevailing Wage and Actual Wage Worksheets (signed by chair or principal investigator and Lifespan approver, if applicable).
  • Attestation regarding export control:  The Office of Research Integrity's Foreign Scholar and Visitor Form needs to be signed by the immediate supervisor of the H-1B beneficiary and then sent to either the Export Control Officer in Brown's Office of Research & Integrity or to the Lifespan Office of Research Administration for compliance officer review and signature. The form can be found on the The Office of Research Integrity's website. For Brown employees, send completed Foreign Scholar and Visitor Forms to exportcontrol@brown.edu for review and signature prior to sending the H-1B request to the OISSS. For Lifespan Hospital Employees, send completed export certification forms to BRamratnam@lifespan.org for review and signature prior to sending to H-1B request to the OISSS.
  • Position Description: Please include the position specific title, the professional duties to be performed, the qualifications required to perform these duties ie: degree and in which field(s), experience (quantity and type).
  • Brown Appointment letter, signed if signature acceptance is required.
  • For Hospital Employees, Employment/hire letter/confirmation.
  • Department Support Letter or Hospital Support Letter.
  • Letters of recommendation (3 or fewer). Letters must be signed.
  • H-1B Applicant Information Form (completed by Applicant).
  • Current Curriculum Vitae.
  • Copy of applicant’s highest degree and copies of transcripts with a certified English translation if applicable.
  • Official Credential Evaluation, REQUIRED if degree is not a US degree.
  • A sampling of thesis and publication abstracts (3 or fewer).
  • Passport page(s) bearing a photograph and passport expiration date.
  • Most recent I-94 Form (print out of admission record from www.cbp.gov/i94 if the last entry was after April 26, 2011).
  • Copy of any current or previous visa documentation, if applicable. Please see the H-1B Checklist below for more details.

Once the above documents are received, OISSS will review and provide any feedback. Once all questions are answered, OISSS will process the prevailing wage determination and Labor Condition Application with the Department of Labor. Once the LCA is processed OISSS will send the LCA, along with the Verification of LCA, Job Posting Request, and Job Posting Verification to the department administrator and to Human Resources. The department administrator and HR should return the signed Verification of LCA and Job Posting Verification form to OISSS after the LCA has been posted for 10 consecutive business days.

Fees

According to the Department of Labor, the fees associated with the H-1B petition are considered to be a business expense and payment of these fees are an employer obligation. If a scholar pays any of the fees associated with the H-1B, we must consider this a deduction from wages and could result in failure to pay the prevailing wage. If the scholar’s salary falls below the minimum prevailing wage requirement we are not able to file the H-1B.

  1. $500 check made payable to the “Department of Homeland Security” for their Anti-Fraud Fee. (Not needed for Extension Requests of H-1Bs already sponsored by Brown)
  2. $460 check made payable to the “Department of Homeland Security” for the application fee.
  3. If employee's dependents (spouse and unmarried children under age 21) are in the U.S. and will be changing their immigration status to H-4, the Form I-539 as well as copies of all immigration documents need to accompany the following application fee: (this fee is not considered an employer obligation) $370 check made payable to the “Department of Homeland Security”.
  4. If requesting expedited processing, $2,805 check made payable to the "Department of Homeland Security" for Premium Processing.

Explanation of the Anti-Fraud Fee

On December 8, 2004, President Bush signed the Fiscal Year Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 4818) into law. This law incorporates the “H-1B Visa Reform Act of 2004” which contains several provisions affecting the H-1B specialty worker category.

While there are several provisions affecting how the Office of International Student & Scholar Services (OISSS) processes H-1B applications, the key provision affecting Brown applicants as of March 8, 2005 is that an additional $500 fee will have to accompany applications for initial H-1B status and requests to transfer H-1B status. Revenue from this fee is to be shared by the US Department of Homeland Security, Department of State, and Department of Labor to cover the costs of investigating employer fraud.

Departments will need to submit a separate check, made payable to Department of Homeland Security, in the amount of $500 with the Departmental Service request.

Please note that the $500 fee is considered by this law to be an employer’s obligation; it may not be paid by the employee.

NOTE: Brown University Controller's Office has created a sub code especially for check requests relating to visa applications. The WorkDay Spend Code is 3115 which has the following explanation: Visa Application/Expense.

Payments related to the processing of visa charges that are required to be paid to the Department of Homeland Security. All checks made payable to the Department of Homeland Security for visa processing should be sent to OISSS and NOT directly to DHS.

Processing Timeline

Once the LCA has been posted for 10 consecutive business days in the department and in Human Resources it will take OISSS approximately one week to complete the petition and send it USCIS.

A determination from USCIS is usually expected from 3-8 months.

If the scholar is in the U.S. at the time the initial H-1B petition is submitted to USCIS, he/she must not travel outside of the U.S. while the petition is pending with USCIS Travel outside of the U.S. is considered to be abandoning the petition and will cause a denial.

Premium Processing

USCIS offers Premium Processing for an additional fee. This can be submitted with the petition or at any time while the petition is pending. Once received, USCIS is required to respond with an Approval or Request for Evidence within 15 days. Please note that paying for Premium Processing does not in any way impact the speed of Brown's internal processing.

After Approval is Received

If the scholar is already in the U.S., OISSS will contact the scholar and have them come to our office to pick up their approval documents. If travel is planned outside the U.S. the change of a visa stamp MUST be done at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy outside of the U.S.

If the scholar is still in his/her home country, the consulate in that country will be notified (must be requested on I-129). OISSS will let the scholar and the department know once the petition has been approved. The department should send the approval documents to the scholar. The scholar can make an appointment at the U.S Consulate/Embassy listed on the I-129. USCIS approval of the H-1B must be received before the scholar can be granted the issuance of the H visa stamp.