Individuals coming to the United States to perform temporary services in a specialty occupation are eligible for H-1B status. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement." It is an appropriate visa for all tenure track academic appointments, physician appointments at the UVM College of Medicine and staff positions. All H-1B positions require at least a bachelor's degree in a related academic discipline. Because the H-1B process has high departmental costs ($960 - $2,400), inflexible job requirements and a lengthy processing time (1-7 months), the OIE generally recommends pursuing J-1 if at all possible.

Eligibility note:  Consider the questions below.  If you answer 'no' to one of the questions below, please contact our International Scholar Advisor at 802-656-4296 to talk through your situation. If you answered 'yes' to all questions above, please proceed with the instructions below.

  • Is this position full-time?
  • Is this position long-term, meaning 9 months or longer?
  • Does the employee have a bachelor's or higher degree in a discipline required for the position?

Immigration Request Process

All requests for immmigration paperwork should be requested through the OIE's online iStart system. Department instructions for using iStart.


    Processing and Timeline FAQs

    How far in advance should the department request an H-1B?

    Departments should make an H-1B request 8+ months prior to intended start date or date of status expiration.

    What costs are involved in sponsoring an employee for an H-1B?

    Filing fees for new H-1B petitions are $960 and legally must be paid by the employer.  Case shipping fees may range from $25 to $100.  Expedited processing through US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) costs an additional $1,440, and is required in most cases.  This service requires USCIS to make an initial review of the petition within 15 calendar days of receipt.  (USCIS is currently taking 7-10 months to do initial review; by law we cannot file more than 6 months before the start date of the approval notice)  Costs are borne by the sponsoring department.

    Is there a special process for setting up a new foreign national employee with Human Resources?

    Foreign national employees should be set up with Human Resources as any other university hire.  Please see this explanation of the UVM Human Resources Process for additional information.

    Post-Approval Next Steps

    New UVM Employees: Getting a Visa

    Upon receiving the official approval documents from USCIS, the OIE will send them to the employee.  He/she can anticipate receiving them within 3-5 business days.  Electronic copies are not sufficient for visa procurement.  The OIE advises that new employees plan 8 weeks between receiving their H-1B approval documents and travel to the US to accommodate the visa application and interview process at a US embassy or consulate abroad.  Some consular posts have significant waiting periods for visa processing. In general, most posts strive to provide appointments within two weeks from the initial request.  Visa appointment wait times for a specific consular post can be found on the US Department of State website.

    Please note that citizens of some countries may encounter security checks that could delay receipt of their visa by weeks, even months.  UVM has encountered this situation in several cases with citizens of China and India.  Delays of 2-4 months have been experienced in extreme cases.

    Continuing UVM Employees with a New Status: Updating the I-9

    Employees who already are working at UVM in another status such as F-1 or J-1 need to make an appointment to pick up their approval notice and update or complete a new I-9.

    Post-Arrival Check-In

    All H-1B visa holders must formally check in with the Office of International Education on or before the first day of work. To schedule an appointment, please call 802-656-4296. When scheduling an appointment, we will need to know the name and visa category of the new arrival.

    During check-in, we will:

    • Complete I-9
    • Complete information for UVM Tax Administration.  This form ensures that the foreign national is taxed properly.
    • Review the information in H-1B approval packet
    • Refer to the Social Security Administration when relevant for SSN application
    • Provide general orientation and answers about getting settled in Vermont


    Still have questions?  Contact us at or 802-656-4296.