International H1B Employees and Premium Processing

The US government has indicated that premium processing for H1B employees will be suspended for a period of six months beginning April 3. This is an effort to clear a back log of immigration processing.

Read more from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

An H1B is a visa that allows international faculty and staff to be employed in the US. UT uses the H1B visa primarily to employ international tenure track faculty members, lecturers, research sssociates and post-docs.  Premium processing reduces the time that it takes the government to process and approve the final stage of the H1B visas from six to eight months down to 15 days. Premium processing costs an additional $1,225 above the normal processing fees.

In the past, UT has used premium processing extensively to facilitate late hires and mitigate problems related to international travel and immigration processing times for current and newly hired employees. There may be significant delays for newly hired international faculty and staff members that do not already have H1B requests on file with Center for International Education. This may also interfere with international travel plans for faculty and staff who are currently in the process of renewing and/or extending their H1B documents.

The CIE is seeking legal advice and clarifications on the implications of this suspension for UT; expediting all existing requests and applications currently with the CIE; and contacting faculty, staff members, and departmental representatives regarding planned travel and any outstanding items in application packets.

For more information or concerns, contact ischolars@utk.edu.