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The hiring department at CSMC must initiate the H-1B application process on behalf of the candidate they wish to invite, and then provide (in coordination with the candidate) the required documentation to the Visa & International Services Administration (VISA) office in AHR. Furthermore, the department is required to pay a salary to the international employee and that salary must meet the "prevailing wage" as determined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

H-1B status is used at CSMC for certain faculty, academic and professional staff positions.  

H-1B status is initially granted for a maximum period of three years and can be extended to a total of six years (regardless of the number of employers.) Because the application process is lengthy and complex requesting a full-three year H-1B status (providing the intention is to retain the employee for that long) is recommended and advantageous.

All H-1B requests must be processed through the VISA office. Outside attorneys are not authorized to petition for H-1B status for any Cedars-Sinai employee without written consent from VISA.


Department Responsibilities

The hiring department and the H-1B employee must maintain compliance with H-1B federal regulations during the course of the employee's employment at Cedars-Sinai. Such regulations require careful monitoring of salary, job title, job classification, job site and job duties. Any significant changes in any of these areas require AHR Visa & International Services Administration (VISA) to be notified. Failure to maintain compliance and update our internal documentation could result in serious penalties and fines should Cedars-Sinai Medical Center be audited by DOL or USCIS.

  • The department must notify the VISA office if an employee will be transferring to a new department at CSMC, even if the job title and job duties will not change significantly.   

  • The department is required to notify the VISA office in advance of any employment changes related to employees in H-1B status. Such changes include changes in job site, job title, salary, job duties, or decrease/increase in work hours. Some changes require that the VISA office file an amended H-1B petition with the USCIS and, if so, the department is responsible for the fees associated with this filing.

  • The department is required to notify the VISA office if it is determined that the employee's job will be terminated prior to the H-1B expiration date. As there is no lawful grace period for the H-1B employee after early termination of employment, termination carries serious implications for the H-1B employee’s immigration status. Advance notice of termination will allow employees in H-1B status to explore other job opportunities at CSMC or within the USA, or file a timely application for change to another permissible immigration status. The VISA office provides assistance to employees exiting CSMC and, to do so, must meet with such individuals well in advance of termination.  

  • The department is liable for the cost of return transportation to the H-1B employee’s home country or last permanent residence abroad if the employment is terminated before the end of the period specified on the H-1B visa. It is therefore important that hiring departments apply for H- 1B status for only the time period for which funding is guaranteed. Voluntary termination is exempt from this requirement.

H-1B Temporary Worker Visa Application Process

Before departments choose the H-1B status for an employee, they should review information about eligibility and associated fees. In addition it is critical that departments understand that they are responsible for return transportation costs for any H-1B employee who is terminated and cannot find a new H-1B sponsor in the U.S.

Currently it can take up to 3-4 months for the VISA office to obtain an approval from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).


Application Procedures

Complete the H-1B Application Portfolio and Submit to the Visa & International Services Administration office (VISA)

This packet contains the following:

  • H-1B Application Instructions and Application
  • H-1B Application Checklist
  • Administrative Services Fee Agreement
  • Deemed Export Control Form

These forms must be submitted to VISA as soon as possible in order to start the H-1B process.


After you submit your application to the VISA office

The VISA office will prepare the H-1B application (with all the materials provided by the department and individual). Upon receiving approval from the Department of Labor, the VISA office will file the H-1B application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

When the VISA office  receives the approval notice from the USCIS, the Immigration Partner will contact the department and the applicant. If the applicant is overseas, the VISA office will forward the approval notice to the department so that the applicant can apply for an H-1B visa to enter the U.S. The department is responsible for sending the approval notice to the applicant, via courier service.

If the extension application is filed with USCIS in a timely manner (before the expiration of the current H-1B status) then the employee does not have to wait for USCIS H-1B approval notice. With timely filed H-1B extensions the employee is authorized to continue to work and be paid for up to 240 days after the expiration of his/her current H-1B status. Therefore, in most cases “Premium Processing” is only necessary if the H-1B employee will be traveling outside the U.S.

H-1B Prevailing Wage

All employers wishing to sponsor H-1B visas for international employees have to comply with federal regulations regarding fair wages using the Department of Labor (DOL) prevailing wage and Labor Condition Application (LCA) systems.  These DOL regulations are designed to protect U.S. workers by requiring employers to attest that no U.S. workers are displaced by the hiring of international scholars and that there are no strikes or lockouts. The regulations also prevent exploitation of foreign workers by ensuring that their wages are not lower than other workers in similar positions at the same employer.

The first step in any H-1B application (the first H-1B or an extension) is to demonstrate that the H-1B employee is being paid the “actual wage” or “prevailing wage” whichever is higher. This procedure alone (there are several steps in the H-1B application process) can take over 30 days to complete. The actual wage is the amount being paid to scholars employed by Cedars-Sinai with similar experience and qualifications for that specific position in the particular department, laboratory, or center. The prevailing wage is the salary rate being paid in similar institutions in a particular metropolitan statistical area for the same occupation. If the employee’s salary is below the prevailing wage (or actual wage whichever is higher) the employee/VISA office cannot continue with the H-1B application.

Finally it is important to note that prevailing wages can change significantly year-to-year, and new DOL data are released annually on July 1st.

Once the VISA office has determined that the H-1B worker will be paid at least the actual wage level or the prevailing wage level, whichever is higher, and that CSMC is therefore in compliance with DOL regulations, we can proceed with the H-1B petition.

H-1B Fee Requirements

The department is responsible for all fees/costs associated with the processing of the beneficiary’s (employees) visa sponsorship and the cost for derivative dependents (spouse and children) is optional.  Please note, the Administrative Service fee are separate from the USCIS application fees and external legal counsel fees .  The specific filing fees associated with these processes are outlined on the Fee Schedule.

Individuals are permitted to choose their own legal counsel.  However, attorney selection must be made from the Medical Center’s approved Immigration Attorney Referral List in coordination with the VISA office.  

There are various fees charged in H-1B applications, some may be paid by the employee, some must be paid by the employer; please review the list below for details. When indicated below that the scholar may pay a fee it must also be demonstrated that by paying the fee the scholar’s annual income (salary) does not fall below the prevailing wage (see Prevailing Wage). All fees should be on separate checks, all made payable to “U.S. Department of Homeland Security”

Cedars-Sinai Internal Administrative Fee
The Academic Human Resources-Visa & International Services Administration (VISA) charges an administrative service fee for the processing of applications in connection with requests for issuance or sponsorship of visa statuses.  These fees are used to offset the administrative costs associated with the preparation, submission and administration of CSMC’s Exchange Visitor Program, nonimmigrant (temporary) and immigrant (permanent) visa applications to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the United States Department of State.  These fees are not charged, or in any way deemed to be related to legal counsel, advice or consultation. The fees are outlined on the Administrative Fee Schedule .

H-1B Petition Filing Fee
The base petition fee, for the filing of the H-1B petition (I-129), is $325. This fee must be paid by the department.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
24000 Avila Road, Room 2312
Laguna Nigel, CA 92677

Employer $500 Anti-Fraud Fee
This "government fraud protection/detection fee" is a one-time fee. This fee is required for any employee seeking H-1B status with CSMC for the first time, even if they are already in the U.S. in H-1B status with another employer. This fee is not required for H-1B Exension requests.  This fee must be paid by the employer.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
24000 Avila Road, Room 2312
Laguna Nigel, CA 92677

(Optional) Expedited Processing Fee
Premium Processing is the USCIS expedited processing in which they will adjudicate an application within 15 business days. This process only affects the last step of the H-1B process, and does not change the Department of Labor steps which proceed it.  Premium Processing is not normally necessary with H-1B extensions, speak to an VISA Immigration Partner for details. The fee for Premium Processing is an additional $1,225. This fee should be paid by the department if the expedited service is needed due to business necessity i.e. travel for CSMC sponsored events and activities.  The H-1B employee should pay if the reasons are for personal needs i.e. renewing Driver License or personal travel plans.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
California Service Center
24000 Avila Road, Room 2312
Laguna Nigel, CA 92677

Family Members
Dependent application for H-4 status for any amount of family members (spouse and children under 21 years of age) is $290 (I-539 fee). This fee may be paid by the department or the scholar.

H-1B Export Control

All employers seeking H-1B, O-1 or L-1 status for employees must answer questions regarding export control compliance before an application can be filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS.)

Federal law also requires that any material change to the employment during the H-1B and O-1 sponsorship period must be reported to the VISA office immediately including; salary, appointment title, work location, and Export Control issues.

The Department of Homeland Security USCIS states the following regarding this new regulation:  

The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) (15 CFR Parts 770-774) and the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (IT AR) (22 CFR Parts 120-130) require U.S. persons to seek and receive authorization from the U.S. Government before releasing to foreign persons in the United States controlled technology or technical data. Under both the EAR and the ITAR, release of controlled technology or technical data to foreign persons in the United States--even by an employer--is deemed to be an export to that person's country or countries of nationality. A U.S. company must [document that a license is not required, or]  seek and receive a license from the U.S. Government before it releases controlled technology or technical data to its nonimmigrant workers employed as H-1B, L-1 or O-1A beneficiaries.


Export control regulations are federal laws that prohibit the unlicensed export or potential export of certain controlled commodities or information for reasons of national security or protections of trade. Note: Work that will be published or otherwise released to the public is often exempt under the terms of  fundamental research.

Export controls usually arise for one or more of the following reasons

  • the nature of the export has actual or potential military applications or economic protection issues
  • Government concerns about the destination country, organization, or individual
  • Government concerns about the declared or suspected end use or the end user of the export


The supervisor of the new/existing international employee must complete the Deemed Export Attestation Form (included within the H-1B application) and forward it to Tricia Pearce, Grants Compliance Manager for review.  A determination will be made as to whether a license is required.  The form is then sent to the VISA office in Academic Human Resources for processing.

Please refer to the H-1B application checklist for more information on how to proceed with obtaining the appropriate certification.