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Helpful hints for Hiring Non-Citizens (H-1B Visa)

The Immigration and Control Reform Act (IRCA) of 1986, enforced by the Department of Homeland Security’s Division of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), holds employers in the United States responsible for ensuring that each employee is eligible for employment in the United States.

To assist our Faculty and other employees, and to comply with the law, Rensselaer is happy to sponsor work authorization for its non-immigrant faculty and research staff. Rensselaer provides new faculty and other employees with the opportunity to meet with Rensselaer's immigration attorney for a detailed explanation of the process as it relates to the individual's situation. Appointments may be scheduled by calling 276-6302.

Rensselaer covers all fees and expenses required by law related to employment based work authorization The rules surrounding the subject are complex, subject to frequent changes and may differ from person to person depending on many factors. Because of this complexity, Rensselaer requires that faculty and staff work with Rensselaer's immigration counsel to prepare all petitions and related documents. Rensselaer's attorney must review all paperwork before the Division of Human Resources can sign as the petitioner.

The visa for a "Temporary Specialty Occupation", an H-1b, is commonly used in Research and Higher Ed for non-immigrant workers. An individual may work on an H-1b for up to six years, three years at a time., or for the duration of the appointment, whichever is shorter. Under certain circumstances, H-1bs may be extended longer than six years. In the case of a new H-1b, an approval notice from the USCIS is required before work can start. In the case of an extension of an existing H-1b, or a "ported" (transported from another employer) H-1b, a receipt notice from the USCIS is required.

There are many other forms of work authorization. Faculty from North American countries outside of the US may obtain a "TN" visa at the border. This visa requires a return visit to the border annually. Similar visas exist for some Australians. Please consult an attorney for information on these visas. In some circumstances, a J1 or F1 OPT work authorization may be available. For those visas, the employee member must contact the Office of International Students and Scholars Services at 518-276-6621.

For all petitions, the Division of HR will coordinate the required Labor Certification Application (LCA) postings and the collection of other information, and HR will maintain the required files. The Division serves as the authorized signer on all petitions and other documents related to work authorization, and is the point of contact for these matters.

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) require U.S. persons, including companies, to seek and receive authorization from the U.S. government before releasing controlled technology or technical data to foreign persons in the United States. As a result, an export control review is conducted by the Office of General Counsel for all foreign national employees at the time of hire. Departments seeking to sponsor an employee for a J-1 visa holder will coordinate the export control review with the International Students and Scholars office. Departments hiring a foreign national employee under any other work authorization will coordinate the export control review with the Division of Human Resources. For more information, call 518-276-8426.

Some Rensselaer information commonly requested for the completion of Department of Homeland Security Forms:

  • Organization's name: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Address Attention: Division of Human Resources
  • Street number and name: 21 Union Street, 2nd Floor, Troy, NY 12180
  • IRS ID number: 14-1340095
  • Type of business: Institution of Higher Education
  • Year established: 1824
  • Number of employees: 2000
  • Gross annual income and net annual income: nonprofit education and research

Last modified: December 7, 2012
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