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I am an Indian citizen and I hold a PhD from a US university. I am currently working in France on a Scientific/D visa. I have accepted a position in the USA at a university as a "teaching assistant professor". The US job was to start in August 2014 but I have been granted a leave of absence (l.o.a) until August 2015. This l.o.a was granted to me by the US university because they prefer I work in France for a year (until 2015) to improve my professional skills. However, they wanted me to sign a contract to start this year so that they may grant an l.o.a for one year (to avoid future lack of funding issues).

I will need a H1 visa for the job in the USA. Can I have the US university petition for an H1 right now so that I may attend the visa interview at a US consulate in France or should I have them petition for it for next year (2015)?

As I understand, since the offer letter I signed shows a starting date of Aug 2014, I am in the clear to have an H1 visa interview this year despite not joining the job until Aug 2015.

Am I wrong about something? This information will prove useful when I have a teleconference with my employers in the USA and also help my current employers figure out if I will be applying for a US visa this year or next and from where (France or India).

  • I thought that quota for H1 is filled already. You might need a J visa. uscis.gov/news/uscis-reaches-fy-2015-h-1b-cap – Karlson Jul 3 '14 at 13:51
  • @Karlson I am told by my employers that university professors do not come under the cap imposed. Not sure how legit this information is – dearN Jul 3 '14 at 13:55
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    @Karlson University teaching/research positions are exempt from the cap. – littleadv Jul 3 '14 at 18:28
  • @littleadv Already found it on IU site. – Karlson Jul 3 '14 at 18:30
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I believe you're technically in the clear, once the petition is approved, but you may get problems if the USCIS comes to audit the university, or if you don't come to the US for that whole year. I suggest you ask the university attorney handling your matter how to proceed.

As to whether to apply in France or India - that's up to the US consulate in France to tell you. If you're not considered resident in France they might turn you away.

  • Nice concise answer. But if I am technically on a leave of absence from 2014-2015, I am assuming I should be in the clear? But like you say, instead of assuming, I should consult with the university immigration attorney. – dearN Jul 4 '14 at 6:21

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