Taking the First Steps in the Visa Process

The Berkeley International Office (BIO) is the official start written on roadcampus office for submission of visa applications. BIO advises hiring units and ladder-rank international faculty on required documentation and provides advice and assistance. 

Here is some general information for the hiring unit and the ladder-rank international faculty member in getting the process started.

  • The department chair or dean may inquire if a prospective ladder-rank faculty member needs U.S. work authorization only after making an informal offer of employment. This information should not be shared with campus reviewers until a formal written offer of employment is made.
  • All prospective ladder-faculty who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents need to obtain an H-1B visa sponsored by UC Berkeley before they can begin employment. This applies even if the new faculty member is already in the U.S. with a J-1 or H-1B visa sponsored by another employer. 
  • The hiring unit should contact the International Office (h1b@berkeley.edu), as soon as a prospective ladder-rank faculty member has indicated that he/she is likely to accept a formal offer.
  • Even on the most aggressive timeline (at additional cost), it requires more than 2 months to get an H-1B visa approved from the time that the hiring unit submits the H-1B visa request packet and supporting materials to BIO.
  • The H-1B visa application requires that the hiring unit and the new international faculty member submit a number of documents as described on the BIO website.
  • Hiring units are encouraged to submit the application for Permanent Residency status immediately after submission of the materials for the H-1B visa application. The PR application must be submitted within 18 months of the date on the formal written offer letter of employment.
  • The hiring unit is responsible for paying the fees for the visa application. The new faculty member is responsible for a few additional fees, as well as visa fees for family members.
Please note that while Campus Shared Services handles the H-1B Visa, Berkeley International Office will interact directly with the hiring unit to secure Permanent Residency.