The H-1B non-immigrant visa is an employment-based visa category intended for temporary employment in the US. The position must be considered a “Specialty Occupation,” which means the job requires at least a Bachelor’s degree. The employee must document meeting the minimum requirement.

Wage Determination

Another requirement for the H-1B visa is that the employer must prove that the salary meets or exceeds the Department of Labor wage determination for the position. OISS will apply for wage determination upon receipt of a Position Worksheet Sheet from the hiring department.

Wage determination takes more than 3 months. It is best to request a wage determination at least 6 months prior to the intended employment start date. (A wage determination is not needed for the Postdoctoral Employee title.)

Length of Status

H-1B visa status may be requested for up to three years at a time. H-1B status may be held for no longer than six continuous years, regardless of employer.

Assembling the Application Packet

The application must be filed by the employer (UCSB). To initiate an H-1B visa request, the sponsoring department should gather the materials below and submit them to OISS (please submit as a single file). OISS prepares the application packet:

  • H-1B Department Checklist: Submit scans of the required materials to OISS to enable us to prepare the application packet. Please submit as a single file. The fees for the application will need to be requested only when the other materials are ready to be finalized.

Create and Maintain a Public Inspection File

Immigration requires that the employing department have certain materials available for presentation in case of an Immigration audit. Please follow this carefully: H-1B Public Inspection File Instructions

Planning for H-1B processing

There are two options for changing to or extending the H-1B status:

  1. In-country processing is best when there is no need to travel and sufficient time for the application to be approved. NOTE: The applicant may not travel outside the U.S. until the H-1B request is approved. If the applicant leaves the U.S. while the application is in process, the H-1B petition will be considered abandoned.
  1. Consular Processing: The employee obtains the new H-1B visa from the U.S. Consulate abroad, and then enters the U.S. in the new H-1B status. NOTE:  Immigration's approval for the new period of H-1B will not take effect until it has been used for U.S. entry from abroad.

Traveling? To reenter the U.S., H-1B employees will need:

  • a valid H-1B visa stamp in their passport,
  • the original I-797 H-1B Approval Notice,
  • a copy of I-129 petition, with a copy of the Labor Condition Application,


Note: As with all visas, an H-1B entry visa may only be obtained from a US Consular Office outside of the United States. Please refer to detailed instructions from US Dept of State here.

For Further Information about the H-1B status, please refer to Guidelines for H-1B Employees