UAB is celebrating its 50th year in 2019 and has been named the world’s number one young university by Times Higher Education for two years in a row. The international office is here to help departments and international faculty navigate the immigration process.

At UAB, departments and programs are quite decentralized and consider immigration statuses in consultation with the international office. The vast majority of international faculty join UAB in H-1B, O-1, or TN immigration status or by virtue of a USCIS-issued work authorization card (“EAD”).

Your hiring department will work with the international office to begin the immigration process for you. Please see below for important information concerning next steps.

H-1B Processing – New Hire/First H-1B with UAB

What documents do I need to provide?

Our office must receive all of the following information from you to begin the H-1B process. Please read the list carefully and submit pdf copies of ALL of the following documents. Please do not send pictures or screen shots. We need clear, legible copies to file with USCIS. We cannot file the H-1B petition without ALL necessary documents. Please send all attachments in one email or via Dropbox/Box.

  • Information Sheet
  • Current CV
  • Diploma and transcript of all degrees (bachelor’s, master’s, PhD, etc.) (all documents in a language other than English, including Latin, must be accompanied by a notarized translation)
  • Education equivalency evaluation for any degrees earned outside the US*
  • Biographical/identification page of your valid passport and all expired passports
  • All US visa stamps in valid passport and all expired passports (not entry/exit ink stamps—just the physical visa stamps)
  • Most recent Form I-94
  • All prior immigration documents covering entire period of stay and work authorization in the US in any immigration status (e.g., Forms I-20, DS-2019, I-797, I-612 waiver approval, I-140 approval notice, I-485 receipt notice, and all EAD cards for OPT, H-4, J-2, DACA, TPS, etc.)
  • Three most recent pay statements (if currently employed in the US) (NOTE: If you are joining UAB at the completion of any F-1 OPT or STEM extension work authorization, please provide pay statements covering every single period of F-1 OPT or STEM OPT employment.)

Education Equivalency Evaluation

The federal immigration regulations governing the H-1B process [8 CFR § 212.4(h)(4)(iii)(C)(2)] require an education equivalency evaluation for all degrees earned outside the US. Education equivalency (confirmation that your international degree is equivalent to obtaining a certain degree as awarded by a US institution) is not the same as education verification (which merely confirms that you received a certain degree). It is UAB policy to include an education equivalency evaluation with every H-1B petition in order to avoid a delay in adjudication in the event that USCIS issues a Request for Evidence (RFE) asking for the evaluation. Please begin the process of obtaining an education equivalency evaluation as soon as possible to avoid delays in filing your petition. USCIS routinely accepts evaluations provided by members of NACES and Lisano International.

When can I start working at UAB?

If you are already in the US in H-1B status and are simply coming to UAB from another US employer, you can start working at UAB the day USCIS receives UAB’s H-1B petition on your behalf. You can complete Form I-9 with Human Resources based on proof of receipt, which ISSS can provide. If you are coming to the US for the first time from another country, or if you are currently in the US in another immigration status and are changing status to H-1B, then you must wait for a hard copy approval notice (Form I-797) to arrive in the mail from USCIS. ISSS will send you an automated email when the Form I-797 arrives in the mail so that you can complete Form I-9 and begin working. Please do not email asking when the notice arrives—we promise we will notify you and your administrator as soon as it does.

H-1B Processing – Current Faculty Extending H-1B Status

What documents do I need to provide?

Our office must receive all of the following information from you to begin the H-1B process. Please read the list carefully and submit pdf copies of ALL of the following documents. Please do not send pictures or screen shots. We need clear, legible copies to file with USCIS. We cannot file the H-1B petition without ALL necessary documents. Please send all attachments in one email or via Dropbox/Box.

  • Information Sheet
  • Current CV
  • Biographical/identification page of your valid passport (if renewed since last H-1B filing)
  • Any new US visa stamps received since last filing (not entry/exit ink stamps—just the physical visa stamps)
  • Most recent Form I-94
  • All new immigration documents received since last filing (e.g., I-140 receipt or approval notice, I-485 receipt notice, etc.)
  • Three most recent pay statements

Do I need to wait until the extension is approved to continue working?

No. Once an extension petition is filed with USCIS, you are authorized to work for up to 240 days beyond the end date of your current H-1B. You cannot travel internationally while the extension is pending. Current USCIS processing time is 9.5 months. If you must travel internationally after the extension is filed, we will need a check for $1,410 to request premium processing so that you will have an approval notice in hand before you leave the US. You must take the original, hard copy USCIS Form I-797 approval notice with you to your visa interview at a US consulate/embassy abroad.

Filing Fees

Your UAB department MUST pay the $460 USCIS filing fee to extend your H-1B status. Except in the School of Medicine, either you OR the department can pay the Premium Processing fee—it is up to you to negotiate with your department. All School of Medicine petitions must include a check for Premium Processing paid for by UAB. Please consult your department’s administrator or financial officer for specific questions about which accounts to use—ISSS does not have any additional information and does not make the final decision on whether you or the department are responsible for the premium processing fee, which results in adjudication (meaning approval, denial, or issuance of a request for evidence) by USCIS within 15 calendar days (minus federal holidays).

Anecdotally, we have information that it is easier to renew an Alabama driver license with only a USCIS receipt notice at the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) in Tuscaloosa, but you are of course welcome to try the Birmingham DMV as well.

Final Notes

You must update your residential address with USCIS (and ISSS) within 10 days of moving. You can update USCIS online here: Form AR-11. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to update the ISSS office.

The Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles allows a 60-day grace period to drive on an expired driver's license. Bring your most recent H-1B receipt or approval notice and your most recent Form I-94 to the DMV office.