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H-1B processing times


Hiring an H-1B employee can affect a company's staffing plans. Depending on whether premium processing is selected, the INS may take between 15 days to 3 months to process a petition. 

Time must be factored in for the attorney to prepare the paperwork. This involves obtaining a prevailing wage determination from a state's employment security agency and checking to make sure that the employer's actual wage is comparable to the prevailing wage. If it isn't and it's because the prevailing wage is not an accurate reflection of what the market is paying, then the attorney must find alternative salary surveys to prove that what the employer is paying is competitive. Resolving this issue may take a day or two.  

Once the salary issue is taken care of, the Labor Condition Application must be sent  and certified by the Department of Labor. A faxback system has been implemented which greatly reduced the response time. Waiting times for this procedure has been cut down from a few weeks to as little as a few days. 

Once the H-1B petition has been submitted to a INS service center, the processing times vary depending on which service center the petition was sent to and the kind of H-1B petition.  

The California Service Center (CSC) is probably the worst considering the heavy volume of petitions it receives daily. 

Recently, the CSC has been processing change of status petitions within roughly six weeks. However, with the new premium processing launched July 30, 2001, the INS promises to turnaround a petition within 15 days. A change of status petition is a petition by an applicant who is already in the U.S. in a different status and is seeking to have his status changed to H-1B.  This could be a B-2 tourist who after deciding to stay, found a job as an engineer and is now applying for an H-1B.

Petitions for extensions of an H-1B status are taking longer than six weeks. Fortunately, the law permits individuals who are currently in H-1B status who submit their H-1B extension petitions before the expiration of that status to continue working for up to 240 days thereafter while they await the results of that petition. 




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