Welcome to UAB! UAB’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) looks forward to supporting you and your department with future employment-based immigration needs. Specifically, ISSS is responsible for assisting your employer with securing 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 the international employee (you). 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 directly supports the institution and does not serve as your personal immigration attorney. There will be times when we cannot advise beyond the scope of what is necessary to secure your work authorization, such as with purely personal travel decisions and family-based immigration scenarios. Please review the below in anticipation of beginning a work authorization process.

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 I-9 process
  • Send automated reminders and notifications to department administrators when employees’ work authorization can be renewed
  • Hold weekly “Office Hours” via Zoom to discuss work authorization questions not answered elsewhere on the ISSS website or in checklists provided
  • 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
  • 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 administrators

International Employee Responsibilities

  • Provide complete, accurate, and timely information on ISSS beneficiary information forms, including submitting documents of the type and format requested in an organized fashion
  • Watch for automated updates on the petition and refrain from directly contacting staff for additional intervening updates, especially during periods of high volume
  • Read the weekly Globetrotter e-newsletter for important updates related to federal immigration policy and ISSS procedures before reaching out with questions
  • Respect ISSS templated processes and experience and provide documents as and when requested, regardless of what your colleagues at other institutions might be asked; we process a couple hundred H-1B petitions each year; every case will be accurately and timely filed, even if you do not receive communication from ISSS for some time
  • Timely (within a week) pick up original federal government immigration documents from the international office when notified via email—these are vital to document your lawful presence in the US, and you must have them in your possession
  • Download and review electronic Form I-94 after international travel to make sure CBP admission was entered in the correct status and for the correct period
  • If you have work authorization independent of employer sponsorship (such as an EAD card), notify department administrator every time a new immigration document or extension is received to make sure that Oracle is updated with the new information
  • Review and refer to ISSS website for FAQs and common processes available 24/7
  • Take advantage of weekly ISSS “Office Hours” on Zoom from 3-5PM (Zoom link included in weekly Globetrotter e-newsletter)
  • Read explanatory information on ISSS forms to learn answers to FAQs before reaching out with questions
  • Review information about use of outside attorneys for permanent residence processes on our website
  • Notify ISSS when retaining outside attorney to assist with any permanent residence process (we will immediately withdraw any EB-1B petition filed without ISSS assistance or knowledge)
  • Inform outside attorney to address all immigration-related questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Revise CV to include all relevant, immigration-specific information after reviewing EB-1B criteria on our website before requesting review for permanent residence purposes
  • Understand that different institutions have different policies, procedures, and timelines, therefore you cannot expect your experience to be the same as a colleague elsewhere; ISSS will proceed on a timeline that works for the institution to preserve your work authorization, which may differ from your ideal personal or professional immigration timeline

Additional Resources for Questions Outside the Scope of ISSS

ISSS exists to advise your employer about the steps and documentation necessary to file a successful petition for your work authorization with USCIS. Our responsibility is to the institution, and the H-1B process is employer-driven. 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, have no expertise in family-based immigration matters, and cannot assist with matters other than those directly related to processes connected with work authorization petitions filed by your employer. More information about common questions can be found below: