In order to be employed by Hobart and William Smith Colleges, employees must be eligible to work in the United States. The Colleges recognize that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approves a variety of visas that permit individuals to work in the United States. Through the Office of Human Resources (OHR), the Colleges will provide certain assistance to individuals seeking authorization to work in the United States.
Immigration services provided by the Colleges and most associated fees and expenses are considered part of the overall recruitment effort. Fees and expenses for dependents are the employee's responsibility.
H-1B Visa: Temporary Professional Worker in a Specialty Occupation
H-1B visas are temporary visas available to individuals in professional positions, including tenure track faculty position and may be used for a maximum period of up to six years.
In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, an individual must hold a minimum of a Bachelor's degree in the area of expertise required to fulfill the job duties. The position itself must require a Bachelor's degree in a designated filed and the potential employee must hold that specific degree in order to qualify unter the "speciality occupation" definition of the immigration regulations.
The Colleges must petition USCIS for an H-1B status for an employee. OHR will work with the employee on the preparation and submission of their petition materials. H-1B criteria: the employee must be paid the prevailing wage as set by the Department of Labor, and the employee must: hold a position that requires at least a bachelor's degree; hold the degree that is commonly recognized as being necessary for entry into the profession; and be paid directly by the Colleges. The H-1B is only available to those who are not subject to the two-year home residency requirement of a previous or current J-1 stay in the U.S.
Once submitted to USCIS, the application can take several months to process and approve. Once final approval is received, the employee may begin working and start to receive their salary. An individual may hold H-1B status for a maximum of 6 years.
TN (Trade NAFTA) Visas
The TN (Trade NAFTA) visa is available ONLY to citizens of Canada or Mexico who are entering the U.S. in order to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis. The employment contract/appointment letter cannot be for a term greater than one year. The TN can be applied for at the U.S. border or a US airport, prior approval from the USCIS is not necessary. The filing fee is payable at the port of entry, which the Colleges will reimburse.
Also, the applicant must fit within a specific group of professional occupations listed in NAFTA (i.e., lawyers, biologists, accountants, interior designers). Please check with OHR for more information. In almost all cases, a degree or license is required. TN visas are for only one year thereafter the TN must be renewed and the applicant must return to the border for a new TN. However, the TN can be theoretically renewed/applied for indefinitely.
Click here for a list of occupations.
F-1 Student on Optional Practical Training
Optional Practical Training is an authorized one-year work authorization that is a benefit of the F-1 status after the student completes his/her degree program. This authorization is evidenced by the EAD card (“employment authorization document” which looks like a driver’s license). The student must be working in a field that is related to his/her field of study. The application for Optional Practical Training is made in cooperation with the international student advisor at the school where the student got his/her degree. OHR will require to review the EAD, the employee's Social Security Card, and a copy of their approved I-20.
J-1 Exchange Visitor
Most often, visiting researchers professors and other scholars from around the world who are coming to the Collegse on a limited basis will appropriately fit into the J-1 exchange visitor category. J-1 is a non-immigrant visa status that is designed to provide the opportunity to come to the U.S. for educational or experiential programs and then return to one’s home country to share their expertise with their home-country citizens. In furtherance of that goal, certain J-1 exchange visitors are subject to a 2 year home residency requirement after completing their exchange visitor programs.
The J-1 category is not appropriate for tenure-track hires.
J-1 processing does not require a petition to USCIS therefore, there is a relatively quick turn-around time on the paperwork (DS-2019) to be produced from the OHR office. Once OHR has received an appointment letter, financial documentation and a completed International Scholar Data Sheet, we can issue the DS-2019.
O-1 Outstanding Worker
This is a non-immigrant visa status that is appropriate for temporary employment, but can also be used for potential “permanent” hires. The O-1 is available only to highly qualified individuals who have made significantly research contributions to their field of study and have risen to the very top of their field. This type of application requires significant documentation and close collaboration between OHR and the employee. The petition is submitted to USCIS and can take several months to process. The O-1 is available to those who are subject to the two-year home residency requirement of a previous J-1 stay.
Please note: security clearances may delay visa acquisition abroad.
Questions? Contact the Office of Human Resources at (315) 781-3311 or stop in the office during normal business hours.