Thursday, June 19, 2014

H-1B Processing Times

The amount of time needed to process an H-1B petition varies from 3 months to 5 months. The process is a series of consecutive steps with various Georgia Tech departments and federal agencies.

 Dynamic timeline:
Step 1
Complete all required forms in iStart. This involves the employing department, legal affairs and the employee. All forms are reviewed and processed by a Faculty and Researcher Immigration Specialist in Global Human Resources.

Step 2
The Faculty and Researcher Immigration Specialist requests the prevailing wage from the US Department of Labor. The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that the hiring of a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers comparably employed. To comply with the statute, the Department's regulations require that the wages offered to a foreign worker must be the prevailing wage rate for the occupational classification in the area of employment.

Currently, prevailing wage determinations take about 60 days.

Step 3
The Faculty and Researcher Immigration Specialist requests the Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the US Department of Labor. To prevent an adverse effect on the U.S. workforce, an employer applying to temporarily hire a nonimmigrant worker in H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 status must attest that it has met or will meet the following requirements: 
  • Wages: Pay the required wage to the workers for whom it will file a petition supported by the LCA for the duration of the authorized period of employment;
  • Working Conditions: Provide the nonimmigrant workers working conditions that will not adversely affect the working conditions of U.S. workers similarly employed, such as hours, shifts, vacation periods, and benefits based on the same criteria as those the employer offers to its U.S. workers;
  • No Strike/Lockout: Ensure that there is no strike, lockout, or work stoppage in the course of a labor dispute in the occupational classification at the place of employment at the time of filing the ETA Form 9035/9035E; and
  • Notice: Notify its U.S. workers that it intends to hire an H-1B, H-1B1 or E-3 nonimmigrant worker by either providing notice of the LCA to the bargaining representative (representing the workers of the employer in the same job classification and area of intended employment as the nonimmigrant worker), or where there is no bargaining representative, providing electronic notice of the filing of the LCA or by posting notice of the LCA in at least two conspicuous locations in the employer's place(s) of business in the area of intended employment. The notice must contain specific information about the nonimmigrant workers sought and the process for submitting allegations of misrepresentation or non-compliance related to the LCA. Since the ETA Form 9035/9035E contains this information, employers may choose to comply with the notice requirement by providing or posting a copy of the ETA Form 9035/9035E.
In addition, the employer must provide the nonimmigrant worker(s) with a copy of the certified ETA Form 9035/9035E no later than the first day on which the foreign worker begins to work for the employer.

LCAs always take 7 days to be certified. 

Step 4
Adjudication of Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, but United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. All I-129 petitions for H-1B employees at Georgia Tech are mailed to the California Service Center.

The current processing times are as follows:
Premium Processing: 15 calendar days
Standard Processing: 75 calendar days

Explore an H-1B processing timeline here: Global Human Resources H-1B Timeline. This hypothetical timeline is based on the employing department initiating the H-1B process today and illustrates the various steps involved in the H-1B process.

USCIS Processing Time Information for the California Service Center can be found here:

Please note this is for informational purposes only and does not account for unforeseen circumstances which may delay a petition or the arrival of an employee. 

Updated 06/18/2014