Immigration

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Join a Global Workforce and Change the World

Are you a current or prospective RPI Student? If so, please visit: https://info.rpi.edu/isss

With 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century — to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world. It takes a global workforce to meet global challenges. Rensselaer’s Division of Human Resources seeks to provide Rensselaer’s faculty and other campus leaders with the means to safely, legally, and efficiently sponsor foreign national faculty and research staff for employment based work authorization, in compliance with United States immigration laws and regulations.

Note: The rules surrounding this topic are complex, subject to frequent changes, and may differ from person to person depending on many factors. Because of this complexity, the information contained here may quickly become dated. Please contact the Division of Human Resources at hrmail@rpi.edu if you have any questions.

Process Overview for Faculty and Staff: 

Members of the Rensselaer Community can access specific duties and responsibilities and process information for hiring a foreign national faculty, research staff, or other staff person (Immigration Required Content [pdf]).

Once a foreign national faculty or research staff accepts an invitation of employment, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Division of Human Resources determines what type of work authorization services are required, and follows the appropriate course of action. Commonly, these include:

H-1B (TEMPORARY SPECIALTY OCCUPATION)

IMPORTANT:  THIS IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY.  ALL EMPLOYMENT BASED IMMIGRANT AND NON-IMMIGRANT PETITIONS AND ACTIONS WILL BE PREPARED BY RENSSELAER'S IMMIGRATION COUNSEL AT THE DIRECTION OF THE DIVISION OF HUMAN RESOURCES.

The visa for a "Temporary Specialty Occupation," an H-1B, is a non-immigrant work authorization which requires sponsorship by an employer for workers in occupations that require an advanced degree.

Who can use it? Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will sponsor researchers and faculty with advanced or terminal degrees for H-1B eligible positions. 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. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute always applies for the longest possible amount of time.

Which positions are eligible for H-1B sponsorship at Rensselaer?

  • At Rensselaer, H-1B sponsorship is a service extended to full-time faculty, research staff, and other staff occupying positions where the minimum qualifications include an advanced degree as a requirement.
  • Departments must be able to provide an approved Employment Transaction Form to the Division of Human Resources at least three months before the proposed start date (six months is not too soon).
  • Departments must be able to pay, at least, the prevailing wage for the occupation, according to Department of Labor standards. Contact the Manager of Employment Operations for details: Kathy McNamara at mcnamk@rpi.edu

Which positions are not eligible for H-1B Sponsorship?

  • Positions not described above
  • Student workers
  • Non-exempt staff
  • Adjunct faculty
  • Appointments that are less than one year
  • Incumbents of positions that do not require a bachelor's degree or higher

For additional background information about the H1B visa please visit the USCIS website or contact the Division of Human Resources.

EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION DOCUMENTS (“EAD”CARDS)

EAD cards are not visas, but work authorizations issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), based on the nonimmigrant visa status, green card application, or other status of the applicant. Some EADs give the holder unrestricted ability to work for any employer. Others are issued for very specific or narrow purposes.

International students on F-1 visas will receive an EAD after being approved for Optional Practical Training (OPT). These students may work in their field of study for Rensselaer only AFTER they have received the physical card (Form I-766).

Am I permitted to work for Rensselaer with a STEM OPT Extension EAD?

No, unfortunately, Rensselaer cannot employ STEM OPT EAD cardholders. Contact the Division of Human Resources at least three months before your initial OPT expires to discuss options.

I have submitted an application (form I-765) to extend/renew my work authorization. May I continue to work after the expiration of my current EAD while my extension is pending?

U.S. immigration regulations permit continued work for some EAD categories but not for all. Please contact the Division of Human Resources to verify whether you are eligible to continue work on a pending EAD renewal/extension.

Other EAD Categories: There are numerous other categories including EAD based on pending I-485 "green card"/adjustment of status applications. The Division of Human Resources will review the card to ensure your eligibility to work at Rensselaer.

For additional background information about Employment Authorization Documents, please visit the USCIS website or contact the Division of Human Resources.

J-1 EXCHANGE VISITOR

Visit http://info.rpi.edu/isss for detailed information for J1 programs at Rensselaer.

The J-1 Exchange Visitor Program may be appropriate for visiting researchers and professors to seek temporary employment in their field at Rensselaer. The J-1 Visa is a non-immigrant visa, with a purpose of promoting professional, educational, and cultural exchange. J-1 Exchange Visitors are required to return home upon completion of their sponsorship. Some J-1 visitors have a foreign residency requirement which requires two years presence in the home country after completing the J-1 period of stay in the United States. J-1 foreign residency requirements, if not waived or complied with, may pose significant restrictions on the Exchange Visitor’s ability to change status in the United States, such as the ability to apply for a green card or obtain a nonimmigrant visa such as an H-1B.

EMPLOYMENT BASED LAWFUL PERMANENT RESIDENCY (also known as "green card")

IMPORTANT: THIS IS FOR INFORMATION ONLY. ALL EMPLOYMENT BASED IMMIGRANT AND NON-IMMIGRANT PETITIONS AND ACTIONS WILL BE PREPARED BY RENSSELAER'S IMMIGRATION COUNSEL AT THE DIRECTION OF THE DIVISION OF HUMAN RESOURCES.

o The following positions may be eligible for sponsorship for lawful permanent residency:

  • Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty
  • Full-Time, regularly budgeted Non-Tenure Track faculty
  • Full-Time professional research staff in positions that meet current legal standards for "permanency." Position titles may include Research Associate, Research Scientist.

o Positions that are not eligible for sponsorship for lawful permanent residency include:

  • Adjuncts
  • Part-time faculty, researchers, or staff
  • Postdoctoral Research Associates
  • Non-exempt (hourly) positions
  • Positions not requiring an advanced degree
  • Non-research fixed-term, temporary positions, or non-research positions that are funded externally
  • Research positions that cannot demonstrate ongoing funding as defined by current law

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

No. Rensselaer's participation in E-Verify does not qualify us to employ individuals with the STEM OPT extension.  We may consider sponsoring you for an H-1B.

Rensselaer participates, as required, as a federal contractor on a limited basis.

Not for petitions where Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the petitioner. In these cases, the worker is named as the beneficiary of the petition, and Rensselaer hires the attorney. Individuals who are eligible to self-petition are encouraged to contact the Manager of Employment Operations prior to hiring their own attorney.

  • Rensselaer may pay for premium processing for first time H-1B petitions. All other instances will be evaluated on a case by case basis, depending on the needs of the Institute. The beneficiary of RPI’s H1B petition may not individually pay for premium processing.
  • Rensselaer does not permit faculty or staff to pay their own premium processing fees.
  • As early as possible, but at least a month in advance, contact the attorney (for H-1Bs), or ISSS office responsible for your visa documents.
  • Notify HR if you require a letter to support your visa application. Please allow a week turnaround time
  • Information on the requirements for visa holders to acquire a driver's license in the state of New York can be found at the website for the New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).
  • If you are a faculty or staff member and you still need help after reviewing the DMV information, please contact the Division of Human Resources at 518-276-6302 for assistance.

If you are a faculty or staff member, contact the Division of Human Resources at 518-276-6302 for assistance.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is a “cap-exempt” organization, meaning that we do not have to apply through the lottery for the limited number of H-1Bs that are available nationally.

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