Processing Overview and Timelines

Department administrators are often asked how long the immigration sponsorship process may take. While the length of required time can vary greatly dependent upon the requested classification and personal factors, the table below can provides some general guidance.

  • !Processing estimates start from the day that the ISSO receives a complete processing request packet and assumes business days only.  Except for F-1 OPT STEM, the estimates below assume your prospective scholar is outside of the U.S.  Contact your Scholar Advisor for an adjusted estimate if your prospective scholar is already in the U.S.
Immigration Classification Academic Activity Minimum Academic Requirements Maximum Duration of Status ISSO Processing Estimates (business days) Government Agency Processing Estimates (business days) Total Processing Estimate
Visitor(B1/WB) One-time lecture or consultation, seminar, or short-term unpaid appointment Not Applicable Varies 10 days 30 days 10-40 days
J-1 Short-Term Scholar Academic Research or Instruction Graduate-level education or equivalent 6 months 10 days 30 days 40 days
J-1 Research Scholar or J-1 Professor Academic Research or institution Graduate-level education or equivalent 5 years 10 days 30 days 40 days
J-1 Specialist Academic Activities including Consulting Expertise in a specialized field 1 year 10 days 30 days 40 days
J-1 Student Intern Internship or academic research Enrolled in a college or university-level program abroad 1 year 10 days 30 days 40 days
H-1 Temporary
Teaching, Research, other limited occupations Bachelor’s level or equivalent in a specialized field 3 years1 60 days 15-180 days2 75-210 days
F-1 STEM OPT Teaching, research, or employment in major field;  For paid positions of at least 20 hours per week ONLY. U.S. degree recipient in designated major fields 24 months 10 days 90 days 100 days
TN Trade NAFTA Teaching, Research, other limited occupations Requirements vary depending on occupation 3 years1 10 days 2-90 days 12 -100 days
O-1 Extraordinary Ability Teaching, Research, other limited occupations International Expert in field 3 years1 90 days 15-180 days 105-270 days


  1. Can be renewed under certain conditions. Regular processing takes between 90 – 180 days.  Expedited processing (15 business days) can be requested for an additional USCIS premium-processing fee.
  2. Estimates based on the time required for average processing at USCIS (when required) and average visa processing times at a US Consulate or Embassy.  Note that average times can vary at different posts and at different times of year, based on volume.