Department Overview for H-1B

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The H-1B application process has slowed significantly due to U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) processing. [Learn more...]

H-1B temporary worker status is designated for individuals coming temporarily to the U.S. to work in a specialty occupation. 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." The H-1B is considered an "employer specific" status. This means that the scholar may only be paid by the specific H-1B sponsor, and only according to the terms in each H-1B application. Scholars in H-1B status cannot accept funds from another employer or source other than the employer listed in the H-1B application.

The H-1B process is more complex than other immigration status and the processing time is long and inflexible. Normal processing can take 8 months due to the Department of Labor (DOL) and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes. The hiring department at Yale must initiate the H-1B application process on behalf of the scholar they wish to invite, and then provide (in coordination with the scholar) the required documentation to the OISS. Furthermore, the department is required to pay a salary (fellows paid a stipend may not qualify for H-1B sponsorship) to the international scholar and that salary must meet the "prevailing wage" as determined by the DOL. Because of these strict DOL requirements (as well as policy from the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs) part-time research positions normally do not qualify for Yale H-1B sponsorship.

H-1B status is typically used at Yale for faculty and academic positions, such as:

  • assistant professor
  • lecturer
  • postdoctoral associate
  • senior managerial and professional (M&P) positions (minimum grade of 25)


H-1B status is initially granted for a maximum period of three years and can be extended to a total of six years (regardless of the number of employers.) Because the application process is lengthy and complex requesting a full-three year H-1B status (providing the intention is to retain the scholar for that long) is recommended and advantageous.

All H-1B requests must be processed through OISS. Outside attorneys are not authorized to petition for H-1B status for any Yale employee without written consent from the OISS.