department contacts faq

What is the best status for my department’s new employee?

The two most common immigration statuses for UI’s international faculty, staff and scholars are J-1 Scholar and H-1B. To learn more about how these statuses compare to each other, visit the “J-1 vs H-1” page under “Information for Departments” on the ISSS website. If your new employee is a citizen of Canada or Mexico, he or she may be eligible for TN status, information about which can be found in the “About TN Status” page (under “Information for Departments” on the ISSS website). If the employee is a citizen of Australia, or you believe he or she may qualify as a person of extraordinary ability, contact ISSS to discuss E-3 or O-1 status, respectively. If, after reviewing the information on the ISSS website, you are still unsure of the best status for your new employee, feel free to contact ISSS to discuss the situation.

We have hired a new employee who has asked to be sponsored for H-1B status, but we prefer to offer him J-1 Scholar status instead. Are we required to sponsor an employee for an H?

No. H-1B is an employer-sponsored status, which means the employer is responsible for filing the H petition and paying the processing fees. At UI, the employing department has the final say on which status they will offer an international employee. As long as the new employee is eligible for J-1 status, you may offer to sponsor him for that status only.

We have an employee on OPT who wishes to change his status to H-1B. Should we start that process now?

In some cases, it is in the employee’s best interest to change status as quickly as possible (for example, if international travel will be difficult on OPT, or if H-1B status will make the employee eligible for UI benefits). In other cases, however, OPT is actually the better choice. By making use of their OPT, students can gain an additional 12 to 36 months of employment authorization in the United States, and OPT can be more flexible when it comes to changing jobs, working part-time, etc. Feel free to contact ISSS to discuss your employee’s specific situation.

I am locked out of iSTART. Help!

Contact ISSS for assistance.

My visitor is locked out of iSTART. What do I do?

Contact ISSS for assistance.

We have extended an invitation to a visitor who is currently a J-1 Scholar at another university in the United States. Do I have to enter him into iSTART?

Yes. Start the process in iSTART, just like you would for any other new visitor. After we have reviewed the request, we will e-mail a transfer form directly to the scholar. That form must be completed and returned to our office in advance of the transfer date. Once the transfer date arrives, we will issue a DS-2019 for the visitor.

How long does the J-1 process take?

ISSS requires two weeks processing time for any J request. If you are requesting a DS-2019 for a new visitor, additional time will be needed for the visa acquisition process. Allow as much lead time as possible when submitting requests with ISSS.

Can I check the status of a J request I submitted last week?

No. Unless the required two-week processing window has passed, we ask that you do not contact us to check on the status of a J request. The more time we spend responding to status checks, the less time we have for DS-2019 processing!

How long does the H-1B process take?

The process can be quite lengthy, and it generally takes at least two or three months (and up to six months or more) for an H-1B to be approved and, if the employee is abroad, additional time will be needed for the visa acquisition process. You can begin the H request process with ISSS up to six months before the proposed H-1B start date, and it is imperative that you allow as much lead time as possible.

One of our employees/visitors has applied for a visa and is currently “stuck” in administrative processing. Can you help expedite that process?

Unfortunately, nothing can be done to expedite administrative processing or security clearances. In fact, administrative processing and security clearances are not even completed within the consulate itself. In some cases, it may be possible for ISSS to send a fax to the consulate, requesting expediting visa issuance once the checks are completed. However, it is unlikely that even this type of request will do much good. In general, your employee/visitor will just have to be patient and wait it out.

Who needs to complete ISSS check-in? What’s the check-in process?

All international employees and visitors, except those in B status, must physically check in with ISSS. The “Scholar Check-In Process Flowchart for Departmental Contacts” (under “Information for Departments” on the ISSS website) explains the process. When checking in, each person will need a “Scholar Check-In Information Sheet” (under “Forms” on the ISSS website) and his or her immigration documents. Individuals in B status are not required to report to ISSS for check-in. Please contact ISSS for instructions to complete the check-in process for these individuals.

I need help completing an I-9 for our new employee. Can you help me?

No. ISSS is not trained on I-9 issues, and we cannot answer I-9 questions. Please contact AHR for assistance.

One of our employees/visitors has completed his program. What should he do before leaving the United States?

Please ask the employee/visitor to complete a “Departure Data Sheet” (under “Forms” on the ISSS website) and submit it to our office. Carefully review the information on the second page of the Departure Data Sheet with the employee/visitor, as it includes important reminders about grace periods, etc. If the visitor is a J-1 Student Intern or Trainee, a Final Evaluation, which can also be found under “Forms” on the ISSS website, will also be required.

Recent News

Calendar & Workshops

Featured Video