The H-1B Process

The H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa status that allows a nonimmigrant to work temporarily for a specific employer in a “specialty occupation”. A “specialty occupation” is one that requires a specialized body of knowledge and usually requires a minimum of a bachelor’s degree to enter the profession.

The H-1B candidate must demonstrate that he/she is qualified for the position and must possess the knowledge and skills needed for the position. The required degree must be in a specialty field.

For UCI Departments interested in pursuing an H-1B petition for a qualified individual for a particular position should contact Simon Jarusauskas, International Scholar Specialist at the International Center, 949.824.8025, or email:

Normal H-1B processing time at IC, after all and complete documents listed in the H-1B start package are received by IC from department, is 2-4 months.

Regular processing time for adjudicating H-1B petitions at USCIS (once the H-1B petition is received by USCIS) is variable and is currently taking approximately 2-4 months.

IC recommends to provide all necessary and complete documents for the H-1B request at least 9 months prior to the requested H-1B start date.

Please note that the LCA with DOL can’t be certified earlier than 6 months prior to the requested H-1B start date.

Because of the amount of time that it is taking USCIS to process cases via regular processing (2-4 months) and the limitation of only being able to file an LCA with DOL 6 months prior to the requested start date, Premium processing at USCIS is recommended for all H-1B requests, to allow IC to obtain the approval notice in a timely manner before the anticipated H-1B start date.

For complex and time-sensitive H-1B cases (or any complex RFE requests from USCIS), outside legal counsel will be retained to maximize the chances of H-1B being approved.

J-1 vs. H-1B: Comparing the Benefits
Bypassing J-1 & Going to H-1B
H-1B Exception Request Form


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