Considerations when Hiring an International Employee

Visa Types Explained

Visa Types: The Information You Want to Know

Current Visa Status

A candidate’s current visa status can affect the time it takes to obtain employment authorization to hire the employee. Depending on the candidate’s status, this could be immediate or take up to 12 months in extreme cases.

    • If an international employee is on F-1 OPT status, they can start right away with a valid employment authorization document.
    • International employees in J-1 status may be subject to the 2-year home residency requirement, which can be waived in some cases. The waiver must be approved before filing the H-1B petition, a process that currently takes 6 to 8 months.
    • If an international employee is already on H-1B status with another employer, we can transfer them to UF relatively quickly. However, if an international employee is abroad, obtaining employment authorization may take several months.

Desired Hire Date

Ideally, we recommend a lead time of at least 9 months before the hire date for our office and Fragomen to prepare and file the non-immigrant petition. We understand that this much time is not always possible, and we can process cases with shorter timeframes. Please note that these cases may incur additional expediting fees and have greater associated risks due to the shorter timeframe.

Petition Timeline

From case initiation to adjudication, non-immigrant visas can take between 12 to 18 months under standard processing. For Change of Status and Change of Employer cases, our office requires a premium processing fee to be paid to USCIS, which can shorten the process to 6 to 8 months. We recognize that the hire date timing may not always align with the 9-month recommendation, so the petition timeline can be adjusted based on agreements without the official prevailing wage determination.

Prevailing Wage

This is applicable when filing H-1B and E-3 status. Since H-1B is the most common visa status at the University, it’s crucial to consider this when hiring international employees.

The Department of Labor (DOL) regulations require UF to pay international employees the higher of the Prevailing Wage or Actual Wage.

Travel Requirements

International employees should avoid traveling while their non-immigrant visa petitions are pending with USCIS without contacting our office first. Traveling abroad during specific stages of the non-immigrant visa process can impact the petition’s outcome.

International employees changing their status to a non-immigrant employment visa within the U.S. typically don’t need to leave the U.S. to obtain a new visa stamp in their passport. However, after any foreign travel, a new visa stamp in their passport is required.