H-1B Process

The department/college notifies Academic Employment Services that the new faculty/staff hire is a non-citizen and will require an employment visa to begin employment. 

Applying for the H-1B Visa Stamp (If you are outside of the United States)

In order to enter the United States upon receiving approval of the H-1B petition, you should have the following in your possession:

  • Passport with at least six (6) months validity
  • Valid H-1B visa stamp
  • Original I-797, H-1B Approval Notice

Only United States Consulates/Embassies can issue visas abroad. Required documents include, but not limited to:

  • The original Approval Notice (Form I-797)
  • A copy of the entire H-1B petition filed on your behalf
  • A passport with at least six (6) months validity

Please check with the individual Embassy/Consulate you will be visiting for a comprehensive list of documentation and information about procedures and processing times.

The United States Department of State (DOS) also provides general information about visa processing times. Please note that H-1B regulations allow you to enter the United States no earlier than 10 days before the effective start date of your approved petition. Employment may not commence until the effective start date.

Canadian Citizens H-1B Visa Stamp

Canadian citizens do not need a visa stamp to enter the United States. However, you must present documentation to the officer at the United States port of entry. Required documents include, but are not limited to:

  • The original Approval Notice (Form I-797)
  • A copy of the entire H-1B petition filed on your behalf
  • A passport with at least six (6) months validity

Please check with your local United States Consulate website to verify.

Obtaining a Driver License

Foreign faculty in H-1B status as well as H-4 (contingent upon age) dependents are eligible to apply for a California driver license. In order to obtain a California driver license, you must pass a written test, vision test and driving test. You can take the written, vision and driving test at any California Department of Motor Vehicles office. Your driver license expiration date will be the same as your H-1B visa expiration date. Therefore, it is imperative that your visa is valid; once your visa expires, your California driver license also expires and you are not able to get it renewed until your visa extension/renewal is approved.

Applying for a Social Security Card

As an H-1B visa holder, you will need a valid social security number to work in the U.S. To apply for an original social security cardPDF File , you must provide at least two documents to prove age, identity and current lawful, work authorized immigration status. For questions about the application, and evidence of documents you must provide, please visit the Social Security Administration website. To locate the nearest Social Security office or Social Security Card Center, visit the Social Security Office Locator.