UAB’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is responsible for helping UAB, HSF, Valley Foundation, and Southern Research secure United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) work authorization for international employees. Institutional immigration compliance is an active, three-way partnership requiring the engagement of ISSS, department administrators, and international employees themselves. Departments and international employees are expected to take an active role in the immigration process and follow checklists, packet information, and other instructions designed to maximize efficiency during the process. ISSS can assist only in certain areas and is not a Human Resources unit. Please review the below in anticipation of beginning a work authorization process for an international hire (i.e., someone who is not a US citizen or permanent resident).

ISSS Responsibilities

  • Collect from departments and international employees all information necessary to draft and file the following specific types of non-immigrant work authorization petitions with USCIS: H-1B, O-1, E-3, and TN
  • Provide automated reminders and notifications when petitions have been approved, including instructions that the department and the international employee must follow for next steps to complete the onboarding and I-9 processes
  • Send automated reminders and notifications when employees’ work authorization can be renewed
  • Provide annual trainings and Lunch ‘n’ Learns for administrators on immigration-related topics
  • Collaborate with outside counsel during the transition from J-1 to H-1B status required for incoming clinical faculty who are currently completing their final year of medical training
  • Provide templates and schedule for PERM recruitment among the department, Recruitment Services, and Faculty Affairs as needed depending on the position
  • Distribute the weekly Globetrotter e-newsletter
  • Publish extensive information about common processes and procedures on our website
  • Determine the timing and category of potential permanent residence sponsorship in consultation with department administration

Department Responsibilities

  • Provide complete, accurate, and timely information on ISSS new hire and extension packets for international hires, including accurate work locations and schedules, accurate job descriptions/duties, and accurate representation of the minimum degree level, training, and work experience required to be hired into the position
  • Post and return H-1B posting notices (LCA notices) to ISSS after 10 business days
  • Timely request USCIS fee checks that need to be drawn on an HSF, Valley, or Southern Research account (i.e., a non-UAB state funds account)
  • Ensure that PERM recruitment ads are placed in appropriate media in conjunction with Recruitment Services and the Faculty Affairs office
  • Facilitate signature processes and letterhead printing of immigration-related letters of support
  • Update Oracle when an international employee changes immigration status or receives an extension of stay so that the Guardian system sends appropriate I-9 reminders
  • Read the weekly Globetrotter e-newsletter for important updates related to federal immigration policy and ISSS procedures
  • Review and refer to ISSS website for FAQs and common processes available 24/7
  • Forward any permanent residence-related requests from outside attorneys to ISSS for review before signing or returning any letters or USCIS forms
  • Notifying ISSS of a salary change greater than 10%, a change in physical work location, or significant change in title or job duties for any H-1B employee

Additional Resources for Questions Outside the Scope of ISSS

ISSS does not operate as a “one-stop shop” for everything that might involve an international employee. Our mandate extends to advising departments only about the steps and documentation necessary to file a successful petition for work authorization with USCIS. Departments and international employees are expected to take an active role in the immigration process and follow checklists, packet information, and other instructions designed to maximize efficiency during the process. ISSS staff are not personal attorneys and cannot assist with matters other than those directly related to processes connected with work authorization for UAB, HSF, Valley, and Southern Research. Please direct additional inquiries to the following:

  • Employee recruitment/onboarding: departmental HR
  • Employee discipline/termination: departmental HR
  • Documents provided by an international employee who has a “work card” (EAD) and does not need USCIS work authorization sponsorship in the H-1B, O-1, E-3, or TN category
  • 60 Volunteer job assignment category appointments in SOM: Scott Austin
  • 02/04 Irregular job assignment category appointments on J-1 visas in SOM: Daron Drew-Jelks
  • 60/02/04 job assignment category appointments outside of SOM: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Permanent residence processes that do NOT require employer sponsorship: (see the last section re: “Permanent Residence Paths Requiring Outside Attorney”)

All new international employees in the H-1B, O-1, E-3, and TN categories, or who are seeking employer-sponsored permanent residence, will receive a similar document outlining their personal responsibilities with regard to the work authorization and permanent residence processes.