The H-1 is a "specialty occupation" visa for temporary employment. There are many versions of the H-1. The version used by universities is known as the H-1B. An employer wanting to hire an H-1 worker must file a petition with the Department of Homeland Security. The petition has to demonstrate that the job in question is one that requires special preparation, and that the person for whom the petition is being filed has that education or preparation.
At Stanford, H-1B can be used for professional positions in which a Bachelor's degree in the field is the minimum entry-level qualification (in general, non exempt positions do not meet this requirement).
H status may be held for a cumulative maximum of six years, up to three years per increment.
1.1 H-1 Status for Postdoctoral Scholars
The J-1 visa is the appropriate visa type for most Stanford postdoctoral scholars. The University prohibits receipt of fellowship support to employment visa holders such as H-1B, O-1, TN. The department first needs to contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs before initiating the H-1 process on behalf of a scholar.
If the scholar meets the H-1 eligibility requirements, the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs approves the visa and the scholar is otherwise eligible for J-1 status, the H-1 petition will be referred to Stanford's external immigration counsel. Petitions referred to external counsel will accrue legal fees.
If the scholar is ineligible for J-1 status, the petition will be processed by the I-Center. Ineligibility for J-1 status would include individuals with pending permanent residency petitions, married to U.S. citizens, currently in J-1 Student status or already in H-1 status. Concerns about being subject to the Two-Year Residency rule if in J status does not make the scholar ineligible for J-1 status. You can read about the visa policy for postdoctoral scholars on the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs website by clicking the link above.
1.2 Outside Attorneys Not Permitted
Only the I-Center or the University's external counsel can prepare H-1 visas. Do not consult or allow the beneficiary to engage a non-Stanford attorney. (See the PDF file 'Memo to Attorneys')