UAB's Office of International Faculty & Staff Immigration Services (IFSIS) helps departments and international faculty and staff navigate employer-sponsored work authorization processes with USCIS.

UAB hiring managers and department administrators consider work authorization options in consultation with IFSIS. The vast majority of international employees join UAB in H-1B, E-3, O-1, or TN immigration status or by virtue of a USCIS-issued work authorization card (“EAD”).

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

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

  • What documents do I need to provide?

    You will receive an invitation to Edge, the ISSS immigration database. Edge contains a questionnaire and a list of documents that must be uploaded to begin the H-1B process. Please upload clear, legible pdf copies of ALL relevant documents on the list.

    Education Equivalency Evaluation

    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. If you earned the qualifying degree for the job offered at UAB (e.g., master's or PhD) outside the United States, 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. If you earned your bachelor's degree outside the US, but your UAB job requires a master's or PhD degree at a minimum, if you earned the master's or PhD in the US, there is no need to request an education equivalency evaluation for your international bachelor's degree.'

  • When can I start working at UAB?

    If you are already in the US in H-1B status and are joining UAB from another US employer, you can start working at UAB on the later of the date on your offer letter or 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 IFSIS can provide. If you are coming to the US for the first time, or if you are currently in the US in a different immigration status and are changing status to H-1B, then you must wait for a hard copy USCIS approval notice (Form I-797) to arrive via US Mail from USCIS. Even if the H-1B petition was filed with premium processing to obtain a decision from USCIS within 15 calendar days, it will take another 5-7 business days for the hard copy approval notice to arrive in Birmingham from California. IFSIS will send you an automated email when the Form I-797 arrives at our office so that you can complete Form I-9 to begin working and obtain systems and email access, etc. at UAB. Please do not email asking if the approval notice has arrived in the mail—IFSIS will notify both you and your administrator as soon as the notice is available for pick-up.

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

  • What documents do I need to provide?

    IFSIS must receive legible pdf copies of all relevant documents from you to begin the H-1B process. Please read the list carefully and upload pdf copies of ALL of the following documents to the Edge database. 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.

  • 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 Heersink 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 Heersink 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—IFSIS 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).

Final Notes

You must update your residential address with USCIS (and Oracle Self-Service) within 10 days of moving. You can update USCIS online here: Form AR-11. Please log into UAB Oracle Self-Service here to update your address with your department.

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. 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. H-1B visa holders must use the DMV office located at Bankhead Highway.