Please note that we do not guarantee processing times since the adjudication schedule of the USCIS is highly variable and changes from month to month.
You can check the processing times on the USCIS website.
In addition, the USCIS receipt provides the university and the incoming scholar with a case number that can also be checked on the USCIS website.
General processing times for H1b status can be anywhere from two to four months, sometimes longer. If the department is in a hurry to get the H1b petition approved, it is possible to request premium processing for an H1b case. This will require payment of a $1,225 fee, for which USCIS guarantees an adjudication within 15 calendar days of receipt of the premium processing fee. If the petition is not adjudicated within 15 calendar days, the $1,225 fee will be refunded. For more information about premium processing, please see an advisor in ISSS. (Please note: Premium Processing not available for E-3 petitions).
If the scholar is inside the United States in another nonimmigrant status, the H-1B/E-3 petition and the application for change of status or extension of stay are submitted to the USCIS together and are acted upon together by the USCIS. The scholar is authorized to be employed by the university ONLY when the University of Colorado petition and the application for change of status are approved.
In the case where the scholar is applying for an extension of an University of Colorado H-1B, the scholar is continuously employable for up to 240 days during the pendency of the application if the application is timely filed. The regulations that outline this employability are found at 8CFR 274a.12(b)(20). When the USCIS accepts a petition for adjudication, they send a receipt. That receipt is adequate proof that the alien is in pendency for an extension, and it is adequate for I-9 purposes. (Please note: The 240 day rule does not apply to E-3 visa holders).
If the scholar is outside the United States and the H-1B/E-3 petition is approved by the USCIS , we send the approval to the scholar, then he or she gets an H-1B/E-3 visa stamp and enters the United States in H-1B/E-3 status. At that point, the scholar is immediately employable by the university, providing he or she has a U.S. Social Security number.
The processing times for H-1B/E-3 petitions will sometimes interfere with the travel plans of a scholar. It is important that the scholar with a pending H1-B/E-3 petition talk to an advisor in ISSS about their plans and get appropriate advice.
Generally speaking, travel should not be a problem if the scholar is requesting an extension of his/her H1b status. If the scholar will be returning to the United States after the requested start date, the only option is for the scholar to obtain an H-1B visa overseas before returning to the United States. This will ensure that the scholar enters with proper H-1B status.
Scholars who are requesting a change of status to H1b/E-3 and have travel plans while the H1b/E-3 is pending should talk to an advisor in ISSS. Travel during the pendancy of an H1b/E-3 petition for a change of status means that petition will be considered abandoned. Talk to an advisor in ISSS. Travel during the pendency of an H-1B/E-3 petition is sometimes unavoidable. We urge scholars in these situations to discuss their case with an advisor in ISSS.