Role of the Department

The department identifies an individual to hire and the person inside the department to act as the designated department contact with Duke Visa Services (DVS). The department contact responsible for initiating the petition process within the department, communicating on behalf of the department, collecting any and all documentation from the foreign national, and following through with requests from Visa Services. This person is often the departmental administrator who handles personnel matters. Visa Services will coordinate this process with the department liaison, not the alien.

Role of the Prospective H-1B Employee

The foreign national is considered to be the beneficiary of the petition, not its owner. The foreign national is absolutely dependent on the job and status continuing to remain in the US legally. Other than collecting his or her required documentation as specified in the checklist, the foreign national cannot have any further role in this process.

Role of Duke Visa Services

Duke Visa Services receives the request from the Duke Department and is the authorized authority to advise the Department and file petitions on behalf of Duke with government agencies.

The H-1B Classification

H-1B classification is for professionals in a “specialty occupation.” A “specialty occupation” means an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge considered equivalent to the attainment of a Bachelor’s degree.

Criteria for the H-1B

The employer must show that there is a temporary job available in a specialty occupation and that the position will pay an equitable salary that meets the prevailing wage in the field, and that the individual has both the credentials and skills for the occupation. Duke positions with minimum hiring requirements of a United States Bachelor's degree or equivalent generally qualify for the H-1B classification. In summary:

  • The official Duke "Job Description" and "Minimum Hiring Requirements" for the position must require at least a United States Bachelors or equivalent degree.
  • The foreign national for whom the H-1B petition is filed must be able to prove he or she holds the degrees, certificates, licenses, etc., and in the appropriate field required for the position and must prove with an equivalency evaluation that any foreign degree is equivalent to the required United States degree. If the position requires a license, we must have proof of licensure before we can file the petition; e.g. for physicians, a letter from the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners (NCBME). Confirming credentials are complete for licensure is sufficient to meet this requirement.

Note: Instructions for the preparation of documents are outlined on the "H-1B Professor, researcher, house staff, technician, or other professional" documents page located on the Scholar "Forms and Docs" page in our Visa Web Form System. If you are not authorized to view information in this system, ask your Visa Services Liaison for assistance.

Examples of things that will not work:

  1. The Duke “Minimum Hiring Requirement” for a job is a high school diploma plus six (6) months of relevant experience. The job does not qualify for H-1B sponsorship.
  2. The job requires a Master’s degree. The foreign national holds a foreign Masters, which is only equivalent to a United States Bachelors. The foreign national does not qualify for the job.
  3. The Duke “Minimum Hiring Requirement” for a job is a Bachelor’s degree in any field of study. Since a specific field of study (specialty occupation) is not required, this job does not qualify for H-1B sponsorship.

Time Limitations

Generally, a qualified individual is eligible for a cumulative of six (6) years in H status (this does not include time as an H-4 dependent). A petition can be approved for up to a three (3) year period, or any smaller length of time, so long as it does not exceed the total six (6) year limit. However, the H-1B can only be requested for the period where both an employment contract and secured funding exist. Under some circumstances, it is possible to obtain annual extensions beyond the six (6) year limit of H-1B status if either a Labor Certification or an I-140 immigrant petition will have been pending for an individual for at least one (1) year at the end of the sixth (6th) year. It is also possible to extend if you have an approved I-140 but cannot file an I-485 due to a “country” backlog in visa numbers.