The Catholic University of America

Visa Sponsorship Policy

Approved by: The President
History: Issued               -- October 27, 2009
  Revised            -- June 25, 2019
  Last Reviewed -- June 25, 2019
Related Policies: Categories of Employment Policy; Contract Approval and Signature Authority Policy; Honoraria Policy; International Student Employment Policy; Non-Resident Alien Payment Policy
Additional References: Employment Classifications and Procedures
Responsible Official: Provost tel. (202) 319-5244

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  I.                 Introduction 

The Catholic University of America complies with all laws and regulations governing inviting, hiring and admission of non-resident non-immigrant faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars.  

Exchange student applications for admission to the University are processed through the Center for Global Education (CGE), and international student applications for degree programs are processed through Undergraduate Admissions and Graduate Admissions respectively. 

The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS), in coordination with Human Resources, is the point of contact for hiring of foreign nationals. 

ISSS issues the initial immigration documents for graduate students, and is the point of contact for all student and scholar immigration consultations.  ISSS is legally limited in the advice and assistance they can provide to departments and foreign nationals on matters not directly related to employment, study or other scholarly activities at the University. 

  II.                Definitions

A.     Exchange Visitor (Visiting Scholar) means a non-immigrant coming temporarily to the United States as a participant in a program approved by the Secretary of State for the purpose of teaching, instructing or lecturing, observing, conducting research, consulting, demonstrating special skills, or receiving training. 

B.     Foreign National means any prospective faculty or student who is not a United States Citizen, United States National, Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card” holder), Asylee, Refugee, or Temporary Resident under the 1986 amnesty program at the time of their appointment or admission. 

C.     Lawful Permanent Resident means a person who has the right to live and work in the United States for any employer. 

D.     Labor Certification means an administrative process required for many employment-based permanent residence categories. For non-teaching positions, the labor certification requires extensive evidence of unsuccessful recruitment for qualified U.S. workers. 

E.     Visa Status means the legal category under which the visitor was admitted to the U.S. The categories are associated with letters such as F-1, J-1, H-1B, etc. The foreign national’s visa status will determine obligations the student/scholar/employee has to his/her educational institution/employer and rights they have while in the U.S. 

  III.              Employment Sponsorship 

The hiring department makes the decision to sponsor a foreign national, with the appropriate approvals (the Provost for Academic hires and the Office of Human Resources for staff hires). Once that decision has been made, ISSS is the primary point of contact for University sponsorship of visas for H1-Bs (foreign workers in specialty occupations), TNs (citizens of Canada and Mexico), J-1s (Exchange Visitors) and O-1s (Foreign Nationals of Extraordinary Ability).  Classifications and procedures are available at http://international.cua.edu. 

Failure to involve ISSS early in the visa process could delay the start of employment and securing the visa.  Any Department who seeks to sponsor a current employee for permanent residency should contact ISSS, who acts as a point of contact with outside counsel for this process. The hiring department is responsible for the immigration fees and any associated legal fees incurred on behalf of the University. 

A.     Non-Immigrant Faculty and Employees 

The University has staff in ISSS who can process employment petitions for H-1B status. This status can be sought for either faculty or staff in a specialty occupation. The Foreign National is sponsored initially for three years with a maximum total stay of six years. The University does not sponsor lecturers or adjunct professors or any part-time staff or temporary staff for the H-1B category. 

Federal law explicitly prohibits the payment by an employee (or recoupment by the employer) of the H-1B filing fees, which include the petition filing fee and the fraud prevention fee. If premium processing is requested, then this fee is paid by the employer if it was requested for the convenience/benefit of the employer. 

B.     Exchange Scholars and Students 

The J category (exchange visitors) was created to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries by means of educational and cultural exchanges. As such, participation of international faculty, researchers, scholars, students, and staff in the J-1 program of The Catholic University is to include cultural activities. 

All international students and scholars who perform work at the University must be authorized to do so in accordance with this policy, the Categories of Employment Policy, and the International Student Employment Policy. 

C.     Immigrant Employment Petitions 

When the University seeks to sponsor an employee for permanent residency, the process is outsourced to immigration counsel, but coordinated through ISSS. The hiring department pays the filing fees and any associated attorneys’ fees for obtaining the prevailing wage determination, and the application for Permanent Employment Certification (PERMS.) If the hiring department or the University makes a payment on behalf of the employee that is not legally required, it must be treated as taxable income to the employee. 

The University does not support PERMS for staff positions. However, any department wishing to sponsor their employee for permanent residency can submit their request for committee review. The Committee will consist of the appropriate representative (Dean or Vice President) for the hiring department, the General Counsel, ISSS, and outside immigration counsel. The hiring department also pays the cost of filing the I-140, or Immigrant Worker Petition. The filing of the I-485, Adjustment of Status (obtaining a green card) is filed by the employee in most instances.  

Any department or school who may wish to sponsor a foreign national on an employment visa should attend ISSS’s Department Training. Contact ISSS for details. 

  IV.              Immigration Sponsorship of International Students for F-1 or J-1 status 

The University facilitates legal entry of qualified international students by serving as the sponsor of their immigration status as F-1 or J-1 students. ISSS validates the immigration status of newly arrived international students, holds orientation for the students, handles the SEVIS reporting, authorizes employment for students, and advises schools and individual students on immigration-related issues that affect their studies and vice versa.

  V.            Hosting of International Visitors who do not Require the University’s Immigration-Related Sponsorship 

The University encourages international educational and cultural exchange and welcomes individuals from around the world to share their perspectives and to participate in academic activities on campus. 

University departments wishing to host international visitors, including Fulbright Scholars, are required to follow established University protocols for issuing official letters of invitation on behalf of the University.  University departments are expected to familiarize themselves with the Honoraria Policy and Non-Resident Alien Payment Policy when foreign visitors will receive an honorarium or a payment.  Questions on this may be directed to the Responsible Officials for those policies. 

Approval of Contracts: The University’s Contract Approval and Signature Authority Policy must be followed when payments or other contractual obligations to international visitors are arranged. This requires approval of the contract by the Office of General Counsel prior to signature. Failure to follow the Contract Approval and Signature Authority Policy may result in delay in payment or denial of payment in instances where legal impediments to payment exist.