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NEWSLETTER TO HOSTING & HIRING UNITS | FALL 2021

 
     
 
WELCOME
 
     
 

Dear Colleagues,

Hello, and welcome to another semester! This newsletter is intended for 'department contacts' who work with ISSS to host international scholars, faculty, and staff. Any new regulatory information will be communicated directly by email.

If you need assistance, please call 217-333-1303, extension 2 or email isss-scholars@illinois.edu.

Best wishes this semester from all of us at ISSS.

 
     
 
REMINDERS & RESOURCES
 
     
 
IN-PERSON DOCUMENT PICK-UP SERVICE

Please visit our pick-up window in the International Studies Building to collect documents at any time during regular business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to noon and 1:00 to 4:30 pm). Appointments are not required to pick up documents. Our dropbox will remain in place for any document drop-offs.

If your department has filed any H petitions since the beginning of office closures, you have documents to collect from our office!

Please be reminded that students, faculty and staff are required to have completed an on-campus COVID-19 test and received a negative result OR have a university-verified Vaccination Record Card to access university facilities (https://covid19.illinois.edu/on-campus/building-access/). Also, facemasks are currently required in all campus buildings, regardless of vaccination status. If you do not comply with these requirements, we will be unable to provide you with service.

Please note that appointments and ISSS check-in will remain remote for the time being.  We expect to begin offering those services in-person in Spring 2022.

 
     
 
ISSS CHECK-IN PROCEDURES
 
 
  Check-in Forms
 

Check-in should be initiated as soon as possible once a scholar arrives to begin their activities/employment or has received approval for a change of status. 

ISSS remote check-in is available for UIUC-sponsored J-1 scholars, H-1B employees, and All Other Statuses (e.g. J-1 and F-1 OPT sponsored by another institution, J-2 with work authorization, TN). The department will need to initiate check-in by clicking on the applicable e-form in iSTART. The scholar must then complete and submit their portion of the form.

 
     
 
LOCAL ADDRESS FOR H-1B EMPLOYEES

H-1B employees must reside in Champaign County to be in compliance with the Labor Condition Application and H-1B petition. Employees may work remotely (off-campus), but their worksite must be within a commutable distance (within approximately 50 miles) from campus. 

It could be possible to file an amended H-1B petition with USCIS to add another location as an additional worksite, which would allow an employee to work from both worksites throughout their H-1B status. It will take several weeks (at minimum) to file the amended petition, and the costs will be the same as the costs of the original H-1B request.

H-1B employees will need to update their local address with our office (via the iStart system) and USCIS (by filing an AR-11). We will also need to take steps to post an LCA in their home office if they will be working remotely (from home). Please contact ISSS to discuss any H-1B employees who may be working remotely.

 
     
 
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL & US ENTRY

It is highly recommended that scholars who plan to travel internationally consult the following before their departure. Active travel bans, including country-specific restrictions, may affect entry into the US. 

 
     
 
PASSPORT EXPIRATION AND I-94

It is possible that an H-1B employee may hold a passport that expires before the H-1B end date indicated on their I-797 approval notice. If the employee travels internationally and re-enters the US, Customs & Border Protection (CBP) may change their I-94 'admit until' date to match the employee's passport expiration date. Therefore, it is extremely important that H-1B employees check their online I-94 record each time they enter the US. If the employee notices that the 'admit until' date has been changed, they should contact ISSS as soon as possible.

It is generally a good idea for all international scholars to check their I-94 record upon entering the US. J-1 scholars should see 'D/S' ('Duration of Status') as the 'admit until' date on their I-94.

All status holders will also need to plan to have a valid passport for the duration of their program.

 
     
 
PROCESSING TIMES
  • When should departments submit requests to ISSS? ISSS recommends at least six months lead time for H-1B requests and at least one month for new J-1 requests, although more time may be needed to complete the immigration process.  
  • What is the ISSS processing time? Two weeks.
  • How long are prevailing wage requests through the Department of Labor taking? Currently, we are getting prevailing wage determinations back after about five months from submission.
  • How long is USCIS taking to process H-1B petitions without premium processing? You can check USCIS processing times here: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/. Select the form (e.g., I-129 for H-1B cases) from the first dropdown and the USCIS Service Center where the petition was filed (e.g., California Service Center for H-1B cases) from the second dropdown. Applicants can check the status of their pending petition with USCIS using their 'WAC' receipt number: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do
 
     
 
PROGRAMS FOR SCHOLARS

ISSS offers a variety of programs to international students, scholars, faculty, and staff. See our calendar of events and social media for more details.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
     
 
ANNOUNCEMENTS
 
     
 
SUGGESTIONS?

If you'd like to propose content for a future newsletter, please email isss-scholars@illinois.edu with 'Newsletter' in the subject line.

 
 
 
 
 
 
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