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|
|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|
- 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.
- 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.