Visa Sponsorship

How to process a request for visa sponsorship for staff employment.

Please contact Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS) should you have questions regarding visa sponsorships and contact Human Resources before you process a request for sponsorship for employment.

This is because the UC Davis and sponsored visas for employment are governed by state and federal laws and regulations along with UC policy. These laws, regulations and policy dictate the guidelines to follow when working with a conditional offer of employment for a staff title position. By policy, UC Davis sponsors academic titles only for visas such as the H-1B, TN, O-1, E-3, and possibly J-1 and F-1. However, certain staff titles may be sponsored on an exception basis, provided that certain criteria are met. 

The most common visa type that is requested for exception for staff employment sponsorship is H1B. The H1B is an employment-based immigration status used to employ internationals with specialty training in an occupation requiring a baccalaureate or higher degree. It is a nonimmigrant visa carrying “dual intent” which means that the holder may intend to return to his/her home country or intend to immigrate to the United States. The H-1B and E-3 visa types require attestations and approvals from the US Department of Labor (DOL) as well as the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  All requests must be processed through Services for International Students and Scholars (SISS). UC Davis, through SISS, files its own petitions and applications as a service to, and benefit to, the sponsoring department. 

Note: although UC is willing to sponsor work, there is no guarantee that employment status will be supported by Immigration.

Role of SISS

It is the university policy that all immigrant (employment-based) petitions, labor certification applications, and labor condition applications filed by UC Davis must be processed and submitted by SISS. UC Davis does not authorize outside attorneys to file petitions and applications on behalf of the university. Attorneys specifically contracted by the university through the Office of General Counsel are only authorized to represent UC Davis in immigration matters and only when following the administrative process for working with SISS and Human Resources. An authorized staff member from SISS must approve, sign and submit any labor certification, employment-based preference petition or other immigration status document for which UC Davis is the employer or sponsor.   

UC Davis faculty or department representatives may not make any written commitments, nor may they sign any statements, on behalf of international scholars or any outside agents who pursue visa sponsorships or permanent residency outside of UCD-SISS.

Departments must also work with Compensation/HR when there is a change to the functions of a position held by an individual with an approved sponsored visa or movement to another appointment. This is required to ensure the duties performed continue to support sponsorship.

If a request for an exception to policy prohibiting sponsorship of a visa for a staff title covered by a bargaining unit is approved, SISS will inform Employee and Labor Relations/HR, which will provide notice to the respective bargaining unit that a labor condition application will be filed. 

Department Responsibilities:

  • Recruits and follows the interview and selection process for the staff position in review with Employment Services/Human Resources. Note: direct hires such as Short-Term Limited, PSS/MSP Contract, or Waiver for Career appointments must be discussed with your Employment Consultant/Recruiter in central HR prior to employment. 
  • Contacts HR when an individual has been identified for potential sponsorship and prior to job offer. Note: the department should make the expiration date known to the employee to allow for sufficient time to process extension of sponsorship. The department must pay for all fees for visa sponsorships.
  • Submits written justification to HR describing:
    • The reasons why the position does not meet criteria or is suitable for an academic series including title in the Specialist series. 
    • The position is exempt and requires knowledge and/or experience at the degree level (BA or higher). Please contact HR for exceptions (Non-exempt with degree).
    • The position was advertised (include advertising efforts), applications were screened, and candidates interviewed in a same manner for any other staff position.
    • There are unique skill sets required for the position or the tight labor market has made recruiting difficult.
    • Contacts the Dean’s Office or other contacts required for any internal protocols as appropriate.
    • Contacts SISS to discuss the request including timing and costs and to inform SISS that HR has been notified.

Human Resources Responsibilities:

  • Reviews the background of the potential hire to ensure specialty requirements/degree are met.
  • Evaluates the interview and selection process to ensure the sponsorship criteria are met.
  • Evaluates for impact to layoff.
  • Makes a recommendation to the Employment Manager for approval. 
  • Notifies the department and SISS of the decision.
  • Notifies the Union as appropriate.

SISS Responsibilities:

  • Reviews the attestation, discusses the circumstance with HR as appropriate following HR approval.
  • Works directly with the department for required materials for sponsorship.