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).
- 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.
- 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.