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All new ladder-rank international faculty need to obtain an H-1B visa sponsored by UC Berkeley, unless they already have permanent residency (PR) status. This is true even if the individual is currently in the U.S. on a J-1 or H-1B visa sponsored by another employer. A new ladder-rank international faculty member may not begin employment at UC Berkeley without an H-1B visa sponsored by UC Berkeley or PR status.  

Petition Process for an H-1B Visa

The Berkeley International Office (BIO) will complete and submit the H-1B visa application, but they will first need the hiring unit to submit a numbers of documents online via the International Scholar Dossier System. The hiring unit must also pay the BIO recharge fee and deliver a check to BIO to pay the filing fees to the U.S. Government. 

Obtaining an H-1B temporary non-immigrant visa is a two-step process involving a
Labor Condition Application to the U.S. Department of Labor and an H-1B visa application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

STEP ONE: Labor Condition Application

The U.S. Department of Labor must certify a Labor Condition Application. This application ensures that foreign workers do not displace or adversely affect wages or working conditions of U.S. workers. The BIO website has the H-1B forms and documents required for BIO to submit the Labor Condition Application, along with instructions for uploading the forms to the International Scholar Dossier System. 

STEP TWO: H-1B Visa Application

Once BIO obtains the certified Labor Condition Application, BIO prepares and submits the H-1B petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Processing Timelines

  • Regular processing: USCIS typically approves the petition in 3-8 months (or longer). Premium processing: USCIS will adjudicate the case in no more than 15 calendar days.
  • An H-1B visa is issued for three years. However, an application for Permanent Residency status must be submitted within 18 months of the date on the official written letter offering employment. 

Processing Fees

  • Regular filing fees are $960 ($460 filing fee & $500 fraud prevention) Premium processing is an additional $1225. The hiring unit must obtain two UCB checks payable to “Department of Homeland Security” and deliver them to BIO.
  • The BIO recharge fee is $2,000. This is transferred by an IOF.