About H-1B Status

  • H-1B status is for temporary employment of non-immigrants in faculty, staff, and post-doctoral positions.

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) limits the H-1B visa to use in "specialty occupations" that require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.

    Compare J-1 scholar status.

  • H-1B status is acquired by an employer petitioning USCIS on behalf of an employee. Therefore, the employer is designated the petitioner, and the employee as the beneficiary.

  • The position is governed by the duration, rate of pay, worksite, and title listed in the Labor Condition Application (LCA) associated with the petition.
    Notify ISSO if changes are made to the position.

  • H-1B status is generally limited to 6 years*, granted in increments of up to 3 years.

  • Status ends on the date listed in the approved H-1B petition. Extension requests must be filed with USCIS before this date. Once filed, the employee may continue working even if status expires while the extension is pending.

    Status also ends if employment ends. Upon termination of employment, beneficiary must leave the U.S. and the department should notify ISSO. If the department terminates employment before the H-1B status ending date, departments must bear the cost of travel home for beneficiary.

* Status may be extended beyond the 6-year limit in certain circumstances. Contact ISSO for details.

The following workflow is for all H-1B petitions: new requests, change from another status to H-1B, extension of existing H-1B status, and others.

H-1B Petition Workflow

1. Inquiry

  1. Department submits an H-1B Request Form.
    ISSO uses this information to determine the required wage for the position.

  2. ISSO will inform department of the Required Wage.
    Any H-1B beneficiary hired under this petition must be paid equal to or greater than this figure, which is the greater of the prevailing wage and the actual wage.
Allow 2 weeks after filing H-1B request

2. Intent

  1. ISSO drafts a Labor Condition Application (LCA).
    The LCA outlines the terms of the proposed position and serves as public notice of the hiring action.

  2. The department posts a physical copy of the draft LCA in 2 conspicuous locations, and notifies ISSO.
    The LCA must remain posted in both locations for at least 10 business days.

  3. ISSO submits draft LCA for Department of Labor certification
Allow 1 week for LCA certification

3. Documentation

  1. The hiring department prepares Form I-129 and works with beneficiary to obtain immigration information and documentation of the required credentials as instructed by ISSO.
  2. Specific documentation varies depending on the current location and immigration status of the beneficiary, and the stated position qualifications. Contact ISSO with questions.
  3. ISSO prepares petition with documentation sent to ISSO from department
Allow 2 weeks for petition to be prepared

4. Submittal

  1. Department prepares payment for fees associated with the petition.
    Each fee must be paid with a separate check, payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Required Fees
    (must be paid by department; not by beneficiary)

    » $460 petition fee

    » $500 anti-fraud fee

    (Anti-fraud fee waived if petition is an extension request.)

    Optional Fee

    Normal processing typically takes 4–7 months. For an additional:

    » $2,500

    expedite fee

    USCIS will process the petition within 15 days of receipt.
    This fee, in whole or in part, can be paid by the beneficiary.

  2. After obtaining all required signatures, the department mails the petition to USCIS. If you wish, you can meet with an ISS Specialist to finalize the petition. We recommend keeping a photocopy of all materials.

    If the petition is for new H-1B status:
    The beneficiary may begin work ONLY on or after the start date specified on the Approval Notice from USCIS.

    If the beneficiary is already in H-1B status:
    After USCIS has received the petition, the beneficiary may begin work as if the petition had been approved (the employment start dates and salary listed in the petition apply). However, the beneficiary must immediately cease work if petition is denied.

    Allow 4–7 months for regular processing
    or 15 days for expedited processing