H-1B Visa Process


The H-1B visa category is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined as an occupation that requires theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge and attainment of a bachelor’s or higher degree for the specific specialization (or its equivalent in experience). At Appalachian, the H-1B visa is used to sponsor full-time employees in academic job classifications. The university does not sponsor post-doctoral fellows or visiting lectures in the H-1B category. For more information about appropriate visa categories for those and other activities, visit our website at: international.appstate.edu/faculty-staff-resources.  Contact the Human Resources office at immigrationsupport@appstate.edu with questions.


In most cases it takes between 2 and 6 months (or longer) to process and receive approval for a H-1B petition. The process can take an additional 1 to 2 months, if the new employee is currently outside of the U.S. and is required to apply for a new visa prior to employment. Because of this, Human Resources may recommend that you apply for post-completion OPT (if you are eligible) or other appropriate visa status to ensure that you begin employment at your appointed start date and to provide enough time to get the H-1B visa approval. Please note: H-1B processing times vary greatly and change frequently. We cannot accurately predict future processing times.

 H-1B Process and Required Paperwork

Once a foreign national eligible for H-1B sponsorship formally accepts an offer of employment, Academic Affairs notifies the Office of Human Resources (HR). HR then contacts the department chair and new employee to request the appropriate paperwork and supporting documentation. Once HR receives the required paperwork and supporting documents, the process consists of four steps:

  1. The hiring department submits required documentation in order for Human Resources to publicly post an electronic Notice of Filing a Labor Condition Application for 10 consecutive business days.  This step must occur before ISSSO can proceed with step 3. 
  2. HR requests required checks. Estimated  processing time: 2-3 weeks
  3. HR files and receives a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from DOL. . Estimated DOL processing time: 7 days
  4.  HR files and receives an approved I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker from the United States Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS). Estimated USCIS processing time: 4-5 months or 15 business days with premium processing service.

 Please note that processing times referenced above are only estimates. Actual processing time is subject to change and may be viewed at: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/

Associated Fees

Appalachian State University pays for the I-129 Filing fee and the Fraud Prevention and Detection fee. In rare instances where premium processing is a necessity, Appalachian State University may pay for premium processing. The future employee or hiring department may choose to pay for premium processing if they choose. Associated costs and fees as of February 2021:

  • I-129 Filing fee: $460
  • Fraud Prevention and Detection fee:  $500
  • Premium Processing fee (optional): $2500