H-1B - Prospective Scholars

General Information about H-1Bs

UC Davis sponsors scholars for H-1B visa status at the request of the hiring department.  Generally, UC Davis sponsors H-1B employment for full-time research and teaching positions that meet the prevailing wage requirement indicated by the Department of Labor (DOL).  The H-1B is an employment visa category which requires approvals from DOL and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  The H-1B is used for specialty occupations, which require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a specific field. The employee must have the specific degree in the specific field required, or the foreign equivalent. 

Timing Issues

Processing times fluctuates continuously at USCIS, depending on the time of year and other factors.  On average, H-1B cases filed under regular processing take two to four months for approval from the date they are filed.  Occasionally, this time can be as short as one month or as long as six months.  This is considered “normal processing,” without taking into account any “Request for Evidence” (RFE) that could come from USCIS if they require further information on a case.

Applying for an H-1B Visa Outside of the United States

A prospective H-1B can be filed as a change of status, change of employer, or extension inside the U.S.  However, if the H-1B employee is coming directly from abroad, or if a current H-1B travels abroad and needs an H-1B visa, there are several factors to consider.  Since the visa can only be requested after an H-1B status is approved and an I-797 approval notice is received, the additional time to apply for an H-1B visa stamp in the passport while abroad should be factored into the total time it takes for the H-1B petition to be filed and approved in the U.S.

If the employee plans to apply for an H-1B visa abroad, visa processing time is a consideration.  Depending on the employee’s area of expertise, the visa could potentially be delayed for a technology export check, a security clearance check, or both.  It is important for H-1B visa holders to be aware of the processing times at the U.S. Embassy where they will apply, as well as any specific procedures at that embassy.  A Technology or Security check can delay visa issuance from a few days to a few months.  Unfortunately, if the U.S. Embassy decides to conduct either type of check, there is no way to expedite the process and no way to predict how long it will take.  Besides planning ahead as far in advance for your application, you should also consult the U.S. State Department's website for Visa Wait Times - for Interview Appointments and Processing, which lists each embassy's current wait time for the Nonimmigrant Visa Interview Appointment and Nonimmigrant Visa To Be Processed

Department Information

The processing of an H-1B request is complex and involves analysis of various factors, including factors such as timing, degree level, job description and salary.  The information below is general information and does not necessarily reflect the more in-depth analysis of more complex cases.  In addition, SISS cannot guarantee that a case that is filed will also be approved, though we will inform departments of any concerns in advance.  In the very rare case that an H-1B request or H-1B visa is denied, none of the fees involved are refundable. 

Steps:

1. For positions under union contract

Download and complete a Collective Bargaining Unit Positions - Information Sheet for H-1B Requests (Union).  Be sure to list the payroll title and salary that the employee will have on the date on the H-1B approval.  The completed form should be attached to an email and sent to pwrequest@ucdavis.edu.  After 1-5 business days, you will receive an email from SISS, responding to your request and instructing you to either provide more information or to send in the appropriate H-1B packet.

2. For all non-union positions

Download and complete a Collective Bargaining Unit Positions - Information Sheet for H-1B Requests (Non Union). Be sure to list the payroll title and salary as of the date on the H-1B approval.  The completed form should be attached to an email and sent to pwrequest@ucdavis.edu.   After 5-10 business days, you will receive an email from SISS, responding to your request and instructing you to either provide more information or to send in the appropriate H-1B packet.

3. For new H-1B requests for employees who are either outside the U.S., or in the U.S. in a different visa status and planning to change status

If the scholar is outside the U.S., or already in the U.S. sponsored by a different institution or employer, and plans to join UC Davis, please download the H-1B Temporary Worker Information and Petition Packet for Sponsoring Academic Departments.  The packet contains detailed instructions on making a request for an H-1B status, including checklists, information on fees and family dependents, and forms that need to be completed and signed.  Please allow a minimum of 6-8 weeks for processing.

4. For H-1B requests for extension or amendment of a current position

Please download the H-1B Temporary Worker Extension Information and Petition Packet for Sponsoring Academic Departments. The packet contains detailed instructions for extending the status of a current H-1B employee, including checklists, information on fees and family dependents, and forms that need to be completed and signed.  Please allow a minimum of 6-8 weeks for processing.

5. No matter which type of H-1B petition packet is submitted

The department also needs to have the Principal Investigator or Supervisor for the employee complete an I-129 Attestation Form, found under Export Control Forms on the UC Davis Office of Research website. This form must be included with all H-1B request packets.

6. Once SISS receives an H-1B request packet that is accurate and complete

SISS will file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) online with the Department of Labor (DOL). It takes 8 calendar days to have an LCA certified and there is no way to speed this process or file an H-1B without the certified LCA.

7. Once the LCA is certified

SISS will submit a complete H-1B petition to the USCIS. The department will be notified by email when a receipt for the case is received, and again when the case is approved.

8. If an H-1B approval is needed in less than 2 months

SISS strongly recommends using premium processing To do this, the department must submit an additional check to “DHS” for $1225.  SISS will file the petition with a premium processing request form and the case would then be adjudicated by USCIS within 15 calendar days.  For this option, check “yes” on the form in the H-1B packet called “H-1B Premium Processing Option.”  All other fees are listed in the packet.

9. When the H-1B is approved, the department will be notified

The approval notice and a copy of the petition should be picked up promptly at SISS.  If the prospective H-1B is not in the U.S., all documents must be sent by FedEx to the individual abroad.  In general, the department will need the approval notice to update payroll and/or tax papers, as well as renew an I-9 form. For this final step, the department should contact Payroll Services with any questions.