Working with Outside Counsel to Obtain an H-1B Visa

University departments who decide to pursue an employer-sponsored permanent residence petition (except those for tenure-track teaching faculty, which are processed by ISSS) must work with the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a private immigration attorney.

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

ISSS is a counseling resource for departments and individuals regarding visa submissions and provides a variety of employment-based visa services. In addition, ISSS prepares and files H-1B and E-3 petitions and extensions, and petitions for permanent residence for tenure-track faculty.

ISSS holds the PERM (Labor Certification) account for the University and sets up the appropriate sub-account for each PERM application. As such, ISSS is responsible for keeping a copy of the file in case of a Department of Labor (DOL) audit. In order for ISSS to be sure it has its records up to date in case of an audit, all 9089 PERM forms for the University are signed by Marissa Hill-Dongre.

Using Outside Counsel

Departments and employees often use outside counsel to prepare and file employment-based petitions. Employees and departments using outside counsel for employment-based visa petitions are required to follow these steps:

H-1B and O-1 non-immigrant petitions and extensions

Where a department desires to assist or sponsor a foreign national in obtaining an H-1B or O-1 and outside counsel will be retained, the department must write a brief letter, memo, or email to the OGC and copied to the employee containing the following information:

  • The name of the employee
  • The position the employee will hold
  • What immigration service or visa is being sought
  • The name and contact information of the outside counsel to be used
  • How the attorney fees will be processed for the matter (see “Billing and Retainer Agreements” below)

The Department Chair or Division Head will also need to complete an Export Control Attestation form for non-immigrant employees (following the template developed by the OGC and the University’s Export Control Officer) relating to whether or not the visa applicant will have access to confidential information of a technical nature relating to goods or technologies that are useful for both civilian and military purposes. The form must be returned to the OGC (Don Amundson with a copy to Kathy Bitterly).

Immigration Forms

The G-28 is a standard form signed by the University and gives outside counsel authorization to represent the University in the immigration matter. The OGC is the unit authorized to sign the G-28 form on behalf of the University. This is the only form the OGC signs in immigration matters.

Before the G-28 form is executed by the University, outside counsel must complete and return the University’s standard internal Certification for Representation form. The exchange of these forms typically is handled directly through the OGC.

All other forms except the 9089 PERM form are signed by the department program head or the dean. Marissa Hill-Dongre is the only person at the university authorized to sign the 9089 PERM form.

  • G-28: Signed by OGC
  • 9089: Must be signed by Marissa Hill-Dongre
  • I-129: Signed by department (program head or dean)
  • I-140: Signed by department (program head or dean) or Marissa HIll-Dongre

Billing and Retainer Agreements

Where University funds will be used to pay attorney fees, the unit should obtain an estimate of fees and costs associated with filing the petition. After the department or division has reviewed the outside counsel’s fee/cost schedule and has decided to cover all or a portion of those expenses, the following are acceptable ways to proceed:

  1. University of Minnesota funds may be used to pay the law firm directly.
  2. The employee pursuing an immigration petition may contract directly with an outside law firm.
  3. A third party (for example, UMP) may contract with and pay the outside law firm’s fees and costs.

The OGC will provide additional guidance on the options above. Please note that funds go through the OGC only when the University is paying the outside firm directly (option #1 above). Otherwise, the OGC need only be apprised of the financial arrangements connected with the matter; it does not need to be actively involved.

Last updated: July 13, 2021