Department Overview

H-1B Timeline for preparing documents

Please note that processing times can be longer should a petition receive a Request For Evidence (RFE). Additionally, all USCIS processing times can change without notice. Also, during the peak season, OISS processing time will be longer. Please plan timely request submissions.

Yale H-1B Sponsorship Eligibility Basic Criteria

  • Faculty level academic appointment
    • OISS will assess the appropriate visa eligibility and advise the hiring unit.
    • In general, the J-1 visa is the best visa for Postdoctoral trainees.
    • Postgraduate ranks are not eligible for H-1B.
  • Full-time (100% FTE)
  • Must be considered a Yale employee (e.g. Postdoctoral Fellow is not a Yale employee)
  • At least one year sponsorship commitment, up to three years with appointment renewal intention and foreseen secured funding
  • Work location(s) MUST be on Yale campus(es)

The H-1B Application Process

The H-1B application process has slowed significantly due to changes in how the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) adjudicates each application. Per H-1B regulations, the H-1B processing can start at the earliest six months prior to the requested start date. The entire process generally takes four months at least, using Premium Processing.

H-1B temporary worker status is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires “theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement.” The H-1B is considered an “employer specific” status. This means that the scholar may only be paid by the specific H-1B sponsor, and only according to the terms in each H-1B application. Scholars in H-1B status cannot accept funds from another employer or source other than the employer listed in the H-1B application.

Processing Time

The H-1B process is more complex than other immigration statuses, and the processing time is long and sometimes unpredictable. The hiring department at Yale must initiate the H-1B application process on behalf of the scholar they wish to sponsor, and then provide (in coordination with the scholar) the required documentation to OISS. 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 (USCIS).The total processing time essentially involves three stages: Yale preparation (OISS adviser, host department and international scholar), the DOL step, and USCIS review. Normal processing can take as long as 10 months due to delays in any one of the three stages. While this process should begin 8 months in advance of the appointment or extension, please note that, per regulation, the OISS adviser cannot begin the DOL step any sooner than six months prior to the requested H-1B start date. Even with this advanced planning, it may be necessary for the department to pay premium processing ($2500.00) due to processing delays or scholar travel.

Other Considerations

Prevailing Wage

The department is required to pay a salary to the H-1B beneficiary and that salary must meet the “prevailing wage” as determined by the DOL. Because of these strict DOL requirements (as well as policy from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs), part-time positions are not eligible for Yale H-1B sponsorship.


H-1B status is typically used at Yale for faculty and academic positions, such as: assistant professor, lecturer, and Instructor.

Length of Time

H-1B status is initially granted for a maximum period of three years and can be extended to a total of six years (regardless of the number of employers). Because the application process is lengthy and complex, requesting a full-three year H-1B status (providing the intention is to retain the scholar for that long) is recommended and advantageous.

H-1B Processing

All H-1B requests must be processed through OISS. Outside attorneys are not authorized to petition for H-1B status for any Yale employee without written consent from the OISS.