Obtaining a Visa

How to get an H-1B visa

Before you begin to work at Indiana University, your IU department must submit the H-1B Employee E-Form. If you are applying from abroad, you must also get an H-1B visa stamp to enter the United States.

If you are a Canadian citizen, you do not need an H-1B visa stamp to enter the United States. You only need the H-1B Approval Notice (Form I-797) and your passport.

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:

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 $1,440 (see step 3). The premium processing fee is not currently available due to COVID-19. OIS will advise when this option becomes available.

  • U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) processing can take up to five months.
  • USCIS processing can take up to 8-12 additional months.

Because of this, departments should submit the H-1B Employee E-Form to OIS as far in advance as possible of the employee’s start date.

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. Anticipate this time when determining the H-1B start date.

Premium processing fee

Most departments will need to pay a premium processing fee of $1,440 for faster USCIS processing. The processing time for a premium-processed H-1B petition is up to six months. This includes five months of DOL processing that is required for all applications. 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 delays.

We recommend that departments consult with us about whether to pay the premium processing fee. If departments are going to pay for premium processing, they should submit the H-1B Employee E-Form in Atlas at least six months before the employee’s start date.

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.