***Important SISS Updates and Reminders***

SISS Closed for the Holidays 

SISS will be closed on December 24, 2015-January 1, 2016. We will re-open on Monday, January 4, 2016, but there will be limited staffing. Please keep this in mind and plan ahead! Now is a good time to double check to see if any of your scholars have an expiration date on or before December 31, 2015, and act now if you want to extend their appointment. Remember that SISS closes at 4pm on Wednesday, December 23rd. Please also keep in mind that we do not receive mail over the holidays and there is often a week delay in receiving mail (e.g. request forms and H-1B approval notices, etc.) once we re-open. Finally, if your office will be closed, please be sure to email any new scholars and let them know what to do if they arrive while the campus is closed. 

Travel Reminders 

Travel season is upon us! Our department contacts can help us help international scholars in two main areas: 

If you hear of J-1 scholars who will travel, please remind them to follow the instructions on our website to get a travel signature prior to SISS closing on December 23, 2015. Information is at: http://siss.ucdavis.edu/scholars_depts/j_visa/j_current.html 

If you hear of H-1B travelers, please tell H-1B employees that they should travel with their original approval notice, a copy of their petition, and an employment verification letter from the department, confirming that they continue to be employed at UC Davis under the same terms stated in the H-1B petition. H-1B scholars who have questions about travel should contact Gayle Oberlies at geoberlies@ucdavis.edu<mailto:geoberlies@ucdavis.edu> There is also information on our website at: http://siss.ucdavis.edu/scholars_depts/h_visas/h_current.html 

USCIS Processing 

USCIS processing times for H-1B and J-1 petitions continue to be 5-6 months. USCIS is processing I-129s for H-1Bs with a receipt date of July 17, 2015 right now. If you need an H-1B approval in a shorter timeframe, you should submit your H-1B request with an additional check to DHS for $1225 to cover their premium processing fee. 

Timing J-1 and H-1B Requests and SYNAPSIS Implementation 

At this time of year, we'd like to ask departments to help us by allowing as much processing time as possible for the new and continuing requests for J-1 and H-1B status. With reduced staffing, the recent implementation of a new database, SUNAPSIS and the holiday closure, there is much less time to process documents and we appreciate your support. The implementation of SUNAPSIS has slowed document production as procedures/processes have to be adjusted and technical issues resolved. Fortunately, our SISS scholar staff is very experienced and dedicated but to be most certain that you will receive what you need in a timely manner, please follow the guidelines below. 

Please submit requests for new DS-2019 documents no less than 60 days prior to the start date of the J-1 program. 

Please submit requests for new and continuing H-1B status at least 6 months prior to the start date or extension date requested. 

Permanent Residency (PR) Requests: Special Handling Labor Certification for Teaching Faculty 

If your department will be pursuing U.S. permanent residency for an international scholar, please complete and submit the UCD Department Request form for Permanent Residency available at http://siss.ucdavis.edu/forms/department_forms.html. It is always encouraged to submit this form as promptly as possible to evaluate eligibility and ensure any applicable deadlines are met. 

All Special Handling Labor Certification cases (for teaching faculty) must be filed after a competitive recruitment and within 18 months of the selection date (i.e. the date on the final appointment letter). 
For questions about the permanent residency process, please contact our Senior Immigration Advisor, Kim Haky, at kkhaky@ucdavis.edu or (530)752-0865. 

Medical Center Staff Only 

Once a month, Gayle Oberlies spends the day at the UC Davis Medical Center, Education Building Rm 3209. Gayle's last day at the Medical Center in 2015 will be next week, Wednesday, December 16, 2015. Department contacts can meet Gayle to go over request forms or pick up any items. International scholars can get a travel signature, attend orientation, or have an appointment for advising. Please email Gayle (geoberlies@ucdavis.edu )if you would like to make an appointment. 

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. As always, please feel free to contact us with any questions. For a list of specific staff, see http://siss.ucdavis.edu/about_us/staff.html