Resources for... William & Mary
William & Mary W&M menu close William & Mary

H-1B Sponsorship

H-1B status is an employer-sponsored non-immigrant status for employment in "specialty occupations", occupations that require the application of specialized knowledge that is normally attained through a bachelor's degree or higher in the field. Below is a list of eligibility requirements:

  • Occupation and position require the application of specialized knowledge (e.g. an accountant applies specialized knowledge of accounting in their work).
  • Occupation and position require a bachelor's degree or higher in a field that provides that specialized knowledge (e.g. a chemistry professor requires a PhD in chemistry)
  • Salary for the position is the higher of the actual wage offered to similarly employed persons in the department or the prevailing wage set by Department of Labor.

Part-time, hourly, adjunct, and unpaid positions are typically not eligible. For more information on eligibility requirements, see H-1B visa status

H-1B status is typically used for the following types of positions:

  • Post-doctoral research associates
  • Tenure-track (TE) faculty appointments
  • Visiting professors and lecturers (NTE)
  • Professional/Professional faculty appointments
  • Operational positions that require a bachelor's and application of specialized knowledge

The Office of International Students, Scholars & Programs (ISSP) works with the hiring department to secure H-1B status for its employees. H-1B status can be granted in 3 year increments for a total of 6 years. [[ehbailey, Emily Bailey]] will advise the department on the process, requirements, and timeline.

H-1B Sponsorship Process

The H-1B 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
    • Go to iStart
    • Select Administrative Services for University Departments and log in with your CAS
    • 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 forms titled H-1B Position Information and H-1B Personal Information, and upload a letter of support (doc)
  • Department Chair sign off: 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 Personal 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 degree was earned outside the US, the employee must obtain a professional credential evaluation. We recommend Park Evaluations for this (academic, not course by course).
    • Copy of passport identity page
    • Immigration documents (related to current or previous US stays)

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

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

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)
  • Standard processing: $960 for an initial H-1B petition or $460 for an extension - are paid by a central William & Mary fund.
  • Expedited processing (premium processing): $2500. This is paid by the department or employee by check or money order. This fee is in addition to the standard fee of $960/$460. Typically the department must pay this fee; the employee may only pay it if they want it premium processed for their convenience.
    • In some cases Premium Processing can be avoided. ISSP can help assess whether it will be needed or not.
  • 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 Immigration), plus at least 2-3 weeks of internal processing. 
    • To check the current USCIS (Immigration) 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 weeks is internal processing (or more, depending on current caseload), the remainder is USCIS (Immigration) processing (15 business days, or approximately 3 weeks)
    • 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 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 employee's current immigration/visa 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 Homeland Security (i.e. we do not need to wait for it to be approved). That can be as quick as two weeks.
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]]