All foreign nationals who are offered employment by UWF must have employment authorization in the form of an employment-based visa before they can begin work.
F-1 or J-1 Visas (Student)
International students with F-1 or J-1 visas should call and set up an appointment with the UWF International Programs Office 850-474-2479. An International Programs Office employee will verify the student’s documents, issue the Form I-20 (if required) and complete the Form I-9. They will then send the Form I-9 to Human Resources to be combined with the Personnel Action Form and new hire essential documents for processing. Departments should not allow F1 or J1 students to start work until International Programs has given their authorization and Human Resources has verified the I-9 was completed.
The following should be brought to the appointment:
- a "Letter of Intent to Hire" from the department which include: position, responsibilities, hours, and supervisor's contact information)
- original, unexpired documents (passport, visa, social security card, I-94, Employment Authorization Card, DS-2019 etc.)
When International Programs notifies the department the I-9 is complete, the hiring manager may allow the student to start work and should send the Personnel Action Form with official start date and the remaining new hire documents to Human Resources for processing.
International students may not work more than 20 hours per week (all jobs combined) during the spring and fall semesters. During summer and semester breaks, they may work up to 40 hours/week.
H1-B Visas (Specialty Occupations)
H1-B visas are for the purpose of hiring temporary (nonimmigrant) foreign nationals to work in a specialty occupation that requires:
- theoretical and practical application of a highly specialized body of knowledge, and
- minimum bachelor's degree, or equivalent, in the specific occupational specialty.
Time is of the essence in employment based sponsorship. Normal processing can take from 3-5 months from date of filing. Premium processing can be requested for an additional fee and may expedite processing to about 15 days from date of filing. H1-B transfers and extensions can be completed in a shorter amount of time (90 days or less).
Departments that wish to consider employment-based visa sponsorship, should designate this in their job postings. As soon as an offer of employment is made to an individual who will need sponsorship, hiring managers should notify Christine Dillard in Human Resources. Christine serves as the liaison between the foreign national; the hiring department; the UWF General Counsel's Office; and Fragomen Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP. UWF retains Fragomen to handle and file all non-immigrant and immigrant employment based cases on behalf of UWF.
The employer (UWF hiring department) is required to pay the USCIS filing fees and associated attorney fees. These fees vary based on individual circumstances.