Visa and Immigration Services Administration

Overview

The Visa and Immigration Services Administration (VISA) office provides a wide array of services to departments and over 200 international employees and visiting scientists coming to Cedars-Sinai. VISA, a division of Human Resources Compliance, provides comprehensive immigration advising services, programs and informational resources that facilitate the hiring of international employees in support of Cedars-Sinai's mission and help international scholars and their families in achieving their academic, professional and personal goals.

In addition to oversight of Cedars-Sinai's immigration services, the VISA office also oversees I-9 compliance for the medical center.

Information on this site pertains only to employment or sponsorship by Cedars-Sinai and is not intended to be nor should it be used as immigration legal advice. In addition, individual experiences may differ and procedures may vary, as the information is subject to change at any time.


News and Announcements

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) recently announced that they will temporarily suspend premium processing (expedited service) for all H-1B Extension of Stay petitions from May 26 to July 27, 2015. See: http://www.uscis.gov/

For any current H-1B holder with an upcoming status expiration date, and for whom we will be filing an H-1B extension petition, all travel plans outside of the U.S. will need to be reassessed very carefully. Once the extension petition is filed with USCIS, travel is not recommended, especially for individuals who do not have a valid visa stamp for re-entry. The employee risks being barred from reentering the U.S. until the extension petition is approved, which could take two-three months.

For an individual who is not planning to travel, but has an expiring CA driver’s license, the CA DMV will only issue a new license with documentation showing an approved H-1B end date in the future — a receipt notice will not suffice. If we will be filing an H-1B extension petition on your behalf, please examine your driver's license expiration date and take this information into consideration.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Renata Giron at 310-423-2427 or by email at renata.giron@cshs.org. You may also contact Hao Dang at dangdhn@cshs.org or by phone at 310-423-1907.


Certain H-4 Spouses Eligible to Apply for Employment Authorization

Starting on May 26, 2015, an H-4 dependent spouse of H-1B nonimmigrants who are on the pathway to permanent residence, but who cannot yet apply for their green cards due to the immigrant visa backlogs would be eligible to apply for employment authorization if:

  • His or her H-1B spouse is the principal beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition; or
  • His or her H-1B spouse have been granted H-1B status beyond the six-year limit based on the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act (AC21) (i.e. at least 365 days have elapsed since an unexpired PERM labor certification application, or a pending I-140 petition, was file for the principal H-1B holder).

Eligible H-4 dependent spouses must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with supporting evidence and the required $380 fee in order to receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will begin accepting applications on May 26, 2015. Once USCIS approves the Form I-765 and the H-4 dependent spouse receives an EAD card, he or she may begin working in the United States.

Additional information is available on USCIS website or contact the VISA office if you have any questions.



The U.S. Department of State recently published substantial changes to the J-1 visa regulations, as follows:

  • Objective measurement of English language proficiency.
    New J-1 participants must have proficiency in the English language, as determined by an objective measurement of English language proficiency, sufficient to participate in their programs and to function on a day-to-day basis. Host departments will need to document and certify the method by which English language proficiency was determined before the form DS-2019 is issued to the prospective J-1 visitor. The following methods are acceptable:
    • Recognized English language test (ex. TOEFL, etc.)
    • Signed documentation from an academic institution or English language school, or
    • Documented interview conducted either in person, by videoconference or by teleconference

The VISA office has updated its J-1 visa intake application to reflect this new requirement.

  • J-1 principal and J-2 dependents must report the following information to VISA office within 10 days of any change:
    • Primary e-mail address
    • Personal phone number
    • Departure from the U.S. if leaving prior to the final departure of the J-1 spouse or parent
    • Residential and mailing address
    • Financial support
    • Physical site of activity
  • New health insurance minimum coverage requirements effective on May 15, 2015. All J-1 and J-2 visa holders must have health insurance that meets these minimums:
    • Medical benefits: $100,000 per accident or illness
    • Repatriation of remains: $25,000
    • Medical evacuation: $50,000
    • Deductible: not to exceed $500

Insurance coverage must begin upon arrival in the U.S. and must not end before the J-1 visitor's final departure.


Fraud Detection and National Security Site Visits

What you should know Fraud Detection and National Security Site Visits .


Reminder Regarding Travel Outside the U.S.
Are you planning a trip outside of the U.S.? Don't forget to notify the office prior to your travel to obtain the necessary travel validation documents or an updated employment verification letter.

  • J-1 scholars and J-2 dependents need a valid signature on the DS-2019 form along with other supporting documents to re-enter the U.S.
  • Other visa status holders (H-1B, H-4, E-3, O-1, etc.) must carry the original I-797 Approval Notice and an employment verification letter.
  • If you need a travel signature or employment verification letter, please contact the office to schedule an appointment with your Immigration Partner at least two weeks prior to your trip abroad.

For more information about travel and re-entry, please visit the international travel page. More information about travel warnings from the U.S. Department of State can be found on their Web page. please click here. For more information about re-entry into the U.S., please click here.

 

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