Obtaining a Visa

Apply for H-1B status

You and your department should follow the six steps below. These steps also apply to employees who are transferring their H-1B status.

Your IU department must submit the H-1B Employee E-Form. You cannot submit the H-1B Employee E-Form yourself.

The department should:

  • Complete an “Add New Person” HRMS edoc (instructions in Atlas).
  • After the request is approved, submit the H-1B Employee E-Form in Atlas.
  • Provide the necessary supporting documents.

Departments should also make sure that the prospective employee has the minimum relevant degree that is required for the position.

After we receive the e-form, we will email you about the application process and timeline. We will also ask you to provide some supporting documents.

Need help completing the H-1B Employee e-form?

Departments pay two separate fees to the Department of Homeland Security for new H-1B applications:

  1. An application fee of $460
  2. An anti-fraud fee of $500

The department may also choose to pay the premium processing fee of $2,805.  

Departments should submit the H-1B Employee E-Form to us several months before the employee’s start date. There are two government agencies involved in petitioning for H-1B status, and standard processing can take over 12 months combined.

  • U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) processing | 6+ months as of spring 2024
  • USCIS processing | 3-4+ months as of spring 2024

Processing times do not include the time necessary for scheduling a visa interview abroad, attending the visa interview, receiving the approved visa in the passport, and travel to the United States, which usually takes two weeks or more. Consult with us to determine the H-1B start date.

Premium processing fee

There is no premium processing option for DOL processing. There is, however, a premium processing option for USCIS processing, and most departments will need to pay this fee ($2,805). Premium processing guarantees that USCIS will process the application or refund the fee within 15 days, except in cases that involve security clearances or other valid reasons.

We will email you after your application has been approved, and we will provide you with a copy of your H-1B approval notice and H-1B application as filed (including Form ETA 9035, the Labor Condition Application). If you are applying from abroad, you should schedule your visa appointment and interview at the nearest U.S. consulate.

The interview is a requirement for getting your visa stamp, which you need in order to enter the United States. You must get the stamp from a U.S. consulate outside the country. You cannot get it inside the United States.

Wait times for visa appointments and for visa stamp issuance can vary. To see how long this process takes in your country, read the Department of State’s visa wait time information.

We recommend that you take the following documents to your visa interview:

  • A valid passport
  • A photocopy of your H-1B approval notice (I-797). Note: the Bogota Consulate requires the original document.
  • A current letter from the IU department that hired you. The letter must confirm your employment, title, and salary.
  • A photocopy of your H-1B petition (Form I-129), including the Labor Condition Application (Form ETA 9035)
  • If you lived in the United States previously, documentation that you resided here legally. Examples include a previous I-20, an IAP-66 or DS-2019, and an I-797 from other employers.

The consulate where you have your interview may require additional documents.

The consulate may require security clearances before it will issue your H-1B visa stamp. The requirement may be because of your name, birth country, country of citizenship, field of study, or field of research. Security clearances can take two to six weeks, or more than six weeks in rare cases. Plan for these wait times when you make arrangements to travel to the United States.

How to extend your H-1B status

The steps to extend your H-1B status are the same as the steps to apply for your initial H-1B status.

Remember: You can maintain H-1B status for a maximum of six years. Your initial H-1B status can be granted for up to three years, and you can renew your H-1B status for up to three additional years.