After ISSS receives all required application documents, the total time for preparation and adjudication of the petition can range from 2-8+ months, depending on the nature of the case, ISSS caseload, and USCIS processing times. Contact us directly for current processing times.
Departments should start the process as early as possible to safeguard the employee's immigration status and to avoid postponement of the employment start date, as processing times may change without notice.
If a department initiates an H-1B request with a start date earlier than minimum processing times allow, ISSS reserves the right to suggest a later start date or to refer departments to an outside attorney.
Part 1: Hiring Department and Employee
Estimated processing time: 2–4+ weeks, depending on department and employee
The first step is for the department to initiate the request with ISSS, submit all documents to ISSS, and complete the online questionnaires. A checklist of required documents will be sent by email. (See Application Process)
Part 2: ISSS Processing
Estimated processing time:
- March–August: 6–10 weeks
- September–February: 4–6 weeks
ISSS processing begins once all employee/department documents are received. Delays can occur if ISSS must request additional documentation from the department or employee. ISSS has no rush fee.
During this time, ISSS must determine if the offered wage meets the required wage. If the offered wage does not meet the required minimum, communication and decision-making between ISSS and the department can extend the ISSS processing time.
Part 3: USCIS Adjudication
Estimated processing time:
- With premium processing: 15 days + mailing time
- Without premium processing: varies from 3 to 8 months. Please contact ISSS or refer to the USCIS website (Form I-129; most cases filed at the California Service Center) for current processing times.
USCIS adjudication can be delayed by Requests for Evidence (RFEs). Premium Processing can be requested with the initial H–1B petition or at any time thereafter.
After adjudication, it may take a week or more for ISSS to receive the original I-797 Approval Notice by mail. For certain cases the I-797 Approval Notice may not be immediately required, as employment can continue while USCIS adjudication is pending (see extensions and transfers for more information.)
Based on the above timelines and how long it will take for the department, ISSS, and USCIS to complete their work, your department may be notified at any time of the emergent need to add the premium processing fee.
Part 4 (Only for Applicants Outside the U.S.): Apply for a U.S. Visa
Applicants who are not in the U.S. must apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad before traveling to the U.S. Wait times vary by consulate; check the Department of State website for estimated wait times. See additional information about the visa application process (including information about security clearances and potential delays).