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H-1B Sponsorship

H-1B is an employer-sponsored status designated for individuals coming temporarily to the US to work in a specialty occupation.

drop down list of process for h1b visa
H-1B Eligibility

To be eligible for sponsorship for H-1B status at the university, a position must meet the following criteria:

  • It is a specialty occupation requiring specialized knowledge.
  • The position and occupation require the minimum of a bachelor's degree or equivalent in the relevant field of study.
  • It is a full-time, salaried position.
  • The salary must meet Department of Labor wage requirements.

The following types of positions are most commonly used for H-1B status:

  • Tenure-track faculty appointments
  • Post-doctoral research associates
  • Professional or professional faculty appointments
  • Visiting professors and lecturers
  • Operational positions that require a bachelor's degree and application of specialized knowledge
Part-time, hourly, adjunct, and unpaid positions are not eligible for H-1B sponsorships.
Responsibility for Filing H-1Bs

The Office of International Students, Scholars & Programs (ISSP) retains sole authority for advising on, determining eligibility for, and filing H-1B petitions for positions at W&M and VIMS. While outside attorneys may be consulted for counsel, they are not authorized to file petitions for H-1B status on behalf of the institution.

Emily Bailey oversees the H-1B program for the university.

H-1B Sponsorship Process

The H-1B sponsorship is always initiated by the hiring department. The sponsorship process for a new hire or the extension of an existing H-1B for a current employee, is done through the online system iStart.

For detailed instructions to submit a H-1B request for a new hire or for initial access if you have not used iStart before, see H-1B Request iStart instructions (pdf).

For detailed instructions to submit a H-1B request for current W&M or VIMS employee or for initial access if you have not used iStart before, see H-1B Request iStart current employee instructions (pdf).

Step 1: Department initiates process through iStart

  • Complete forms
    • Log into iStart using your W&M ID and password
    • For new hires:
      • Under Departmental Services (on left sidebar), select Add New Person and complete form
      • Return to Departmental Services and select H-1B Request
    • For current W&M or VIMS employees
      • Under Departmental Services (on left sidebar), select H-1B Request 
      • Look up their record using the employee's ID (93XXXXXXX) and birthdate.
      • Select "Start a New Request"
    • Complete the following forms within the H-1B Request:
      • H-1B Position Information and upload a letter of support (doc)
      • H-1B Employee Information. When the department completes this form, the employee will receive an email with instructions to access iStart.
  • Department chair approval: Once the department/sponsoring faculty member has completed its part in iStart, the department chair (or equivalent) will receive an email to sign off on the request.

Step 2: Employee completes forms

  • When the department completes the H-1B Employee Information form, the employee will receive an email with instructions to access iStart. They will upload documents that include:
    • CV
    • Diploma and/or transcript - If the employee received their qualifying degree from a non-US institution, the employee must obtain a professional credential evaluation. Please be sure that the evaluation indicates the US degree equivalent with field of study. ISSP does not endorse or recommend any particular service but these are some services that have been used in USCIS petitions:
    • Copy of passport identity page
    • Immigration documents (related to current or previous US stays)

Step 3: Department of Labor: Two copies of a Notice of Intent to File will be sent to the department for posting for 10 business days. ISSP secures a prevailing wage determination and files the LCA (Labor Condition Application).

Step 4: USCIS (Immigration): Once LCA is approved, ISSP compiles and submits the H-1B petition to USCIS

Step 5: Once the H-1B is approved, ISSP notifies the department and employee. If the employee is abroad, they will need to apply for an H-1B visa at a US embassy or consulate.

Fees (US government filing fees)
  • Filing Fees: $960 for an initial H-1B petition or $460 for an extension or amendment. These fees are paid by a central William & Mary fund.
  • Expedited processing (premium processing): $2500
    • This fee is only needed if expedited processing is requested. ISSP can help assess whether it will be needed or not.
    • If premium processing is requested for business reasons (e.g. to ensure an employee can start by a certain date), it must be paid by the department.
    • If premium processing is requested for the personal benefit of the employee (e.g. to accommodate a family vacation), it can be paid by the employee.
  • ISSP charges no administrative or processing fees to departments.
Processing timeline (from time ISSP receives all forms and documents)
  • Standard processing: This varies widely. Posted processing from USCIS, plus at least 2-3 weeks of internal processing. 
    • To check the current processing times, visit the USCIS website, and select "I-129" (Form), "H1-B" (Form Category) and the California Service Center.
    • Processing times may be lengthier if USCIS issues a "request for further evidence" (RFE).
  • Expedited Processing: Approximately 1 month
    • Of this, about 2-3 weeks is internal processing (or more, depending on current caseload), the remainder is USCIS processing (15 business days).
    • Processing times may be lengthier if USCIS issues a "request for further evidence" (RFE).
  • If the employee is abroad, one should plan an additional 4-6 weeks to secure the H-1B visa. Administrative processing (security checks) at the embassy or consulate can add several weeks to that timeline. Visa processing times can often fluctuate.

Note: Depending on the new employee's current immigration status, they may be able to begin employment even before the H-1B petition is approved:

  • Immediate employment may be possible, if they are in F-1 student status with valid Optional Practical Training (OPT), J-1 student status with Academic Training, or J-1 scholar status.
  • If the employee is currently in H-1B status at another institution, they can begin work for W&M once we have submitted the petition to USCIS (i.e. we do not need to wait for it to be approved).
Payroll Tax Analysis

We encourage new international employees to contact Payroll to determine whether or not a Tax Analysis is needed.


Contact [[ehbailey, Emily Bailey]]