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 non-teaching professional staff, 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  


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, International Student and Scholar Services and Outreach (ISSSO) 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 ISSSO in the Office of International Education and Development (OIED). ISSSO then contacts the department chair and new employee to request the appropriate paperwork and supporting documentation. Once ISSSO receives the required paperwork and supporting documents, the process consists of three steps:

  1. Filing a request for a prevailing wage determination from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Estimated DOL processing time: 8-12 weeks.
  2.  Filing and receiving an approved Labor Condition Application (LCA) from DOL. This step cannot be taken until the department has publically posted two different Notices of Filing A Labor Condition Application. Estimated DOL processing time: 2-3 weeks
  3.  Filing and receiving 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 2 weeks with premium processing service.

 Please note that processing times referenced above are only estimates. Actual processing time is subject to change. 

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 August 2017:

  • I-129 Filing fee: $460
  • Fraud Prevention and Detection fee:  $500
  • Premium Processing fee (optional): $1440