H-1B Processing Time

There are two separate government agencies involved in H-1B visa sponsorship: the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services office (USCIS).  The total processing time includes Yale preparation (host department and international scholar), DOL and USCIS.  The only step that can be expedited is the last one: USCIS.  Regular processing ($460) can take 6 - 10 months.

Additional Considerations

  • Premium Processing: Premium Processing, for an additional $1,225 USCIS fee, will take a minimum of 3 months. However this service can no longer be relied upon. Over the past few years (particularly in the busy USCIS spring season) Premium Processing has been temporarily suspended leaving Yale employees not knowing when they will get their H-1B petitions approved.  Therefore it is critical to submit materials for any H-1B request (initial or extension) as soon as possible. While the Department of Labor will not allow H-1B processing to begin earlier than six months prior to the start date, we recommend submitting all materials to OISS at least seven months in advance (so that we have time to prepare the application before mailing to USCIS.)
  • Yale employee H-1B extension of time: It is normally not necessary to use Premium Processing for extensions, since in most cases the employee can continue to work while the application is pending. The exception is if the scholar needs to travel internationally during the extension process. See details here.
  • H-1B inside the U.S. with another employer: It is normally not necessary to use Premium Processing for a change of employer, since in many cases the employee can continue to work while the new Yale application is pending. However there are specific conditions that must be met. The process is called Portability.