Fees and Processing Times

ISSS does not charge an internal fee for processing the H-1B petition, however the following government application fees do apply.

Amount Fee Comments


Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker Required for all H-1B cases
$500 Fraud Detection and Protection Fee Required the first time that UC Santa Cruz applies for an H-1B on behalf of an individual


Premium Processing Fee

Optional but recommended in all cases


Form I-539 Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status and Biometrics Service Fee Paid by department or employee; for dependent(s) seeking H-4 status

All checks should be issued separately and provided to ISSS at the time of submission.  While ISSS will begin processing of H-1B cases before receiving checks, please note that sometimes checks can take up to 3 weeks to arrive.

About Premium Processing

The optional premium processing service fee guarantees that USCIS will respond to a case (with an approval, denial, or request for further evidence) within 15 calendar days from submission.

Given the lengthy adjudication times, ISSS recommends using Premium Processing in all cases.  When necessary due to a business need, such as to avoid a lapse of employment, the fee must be paid by the employer.  In certain cases, when requested for the benefit of the employee (such as to renew a driver's license or re-enter the US after personal travel) the cost may be passed along to the employee. 

About ISSS Processing Times

  • To allow for sufficient government processing time, hiring departments should endeavor to submit H-1B request materials to ISSS for a prospective employee 6-7 months in advance but no later than 60 days prior to the anticipated start of H-1B employment.
  • ISSS’s processing timeline begins upon receipt of all application materials.  The time spent gathering and preparing the documents prior to submission is preliminary.
  • Usually within 4-6 weeks of receiving the complete request packet, including checks and all supporting documents, ISSS will submit the H-1B petition to USCIS.
  • If a complete H-1B request packet is not submitted to ISSS in a timely fashion, ISSS cannot guarantee that the application will be processed and/or filed in a timely manner or at the requested time. Please note that ISSS processing times may vary depending on volume.

About USCIS Processing Times

  • Premium Processing is recommended in all cases. Under Regular Processing, USCIS processing times fluctuate month to month for petition adjudication and is often 7-9 months.  
  • Under Premium Processing, USCIS will adjudicate the petition within 15 calendar days of receipt at USCIS for an additional premium processing service fee.
  • Premium Processing only affects the time that the petition spends pending with USCIS.  It does not include the time needed by ISSS to queue the application and to review the H-1B request materials, or the time it will take for delivery of the printed approval notice.
  • Premium Processing is not a guarantee of approval. USCIS could respond within 15 calendar days with a request for additional information, approval or denial.