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Initial Application

An initial application is a new H-1B/E-3/TN or Port (H-1B transfer) request to UC San Diego. There are six basic steps to complete this process:

  1. Create Scholar Record, if not already in ISD
  2. Invite the Scholar (ISD access)
  3. Review the Scholar Record and Input Department Information after Scholar Submission
  4. Upload Supporting Documentation
  5. Recharge Fee and USCIS Checks
  6. Review and Submit to IFSO

Step 1: Create a Scholar Record

Creating a New Scholar Record

If a scholar already exists in the ISD system, please do not create a duplicate record. To see if a record already exists, you can select Search for Visitor on the left-side navigation bar.

TIP: To find the record, you may need to change the filters to All. You can also use the percent sign (%) to help you search for variations of a name by adding the % before or after a variation of a name or string of letters.

If this is the first time you are submitting a request to IFSO on behalf of this scholar, you will need to create a new scholar record.


If you receive the message Duplicate Record(s) found in ISSM, please reach out to with the name of the scholar and email address, and IFSO will create the basic information record for you. This will typically happen for scholars currently on F-1 OPT/STEM.

To add a new scholar record, on the left-side "Home" bar, click on "Add Visitor" to create a new Scholar profile in ISD.

The information provided in the Basic Information section should be information about the incoming scholar, not you the department administrator. The following fields are required:

  • Last Name: Include the Scholar’s Last Name as it appears on their passport biographical page.
    • Please enter the scholar’s LAST NAME in all capital letters
    • ISPO and IFSO share a database (ISSM); entering the scholar last name in all caps helps avoid any confusion between ISPO student and IFSO scholar records and also distinguishes very clearly the last name as some individuals have multiple family names
  • First Name: Include the Scholar’s First name as it appears on their passport biographical page unless the scholar does not have one
  • Middle Name: Do NOT use
  • Campus ID: Do NOT use; this is not associated with a PID or employee ID
  • Campus: select "University of California, San Diego"                              
  • Academic Department: Select the appropriate department from the drop-down list. The departments as listed by division, then in alphabetical order by department.
Division Breakdown
AFFL: Affiliate institutions (VRMF, Ludwig, etc.)
AH: Arts and Humanities departments
BS: Biological Sciences departments
EVC: Executive Vice Chancellor areas (SDSC, Halicioglu Data Science and Qualcomm Institutes)
JSOE: Jacobs School of Engineering departments
MC: Main campus departments
Other(UCSD): Do not use this option unless IFSO instructs you to do so. To use this option, you would need to be granted department user permission.
Rady School of Management (UCSD)
School of Global Policy & Strategy (UCSD)
SIO: Scripps Institution of Oceanography departments
Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science (UCSD)
SOM: School of Medicine departments
SS: Social Sciences departments
University Extension (UCSD)
VC: other Vice Chancellor areas
Wertheim School of Public Health

TIP: Can’t find the department in the drop-down list? Contact IFSO at for help.  

  • Department User: From the drop-down menu of available departmental contacts for the sponsoring department, select the person that will have responsibility over the invitation process for this incoming scholar. The individual listed as the Department User will receive notifications from ISD regarding the specific scholar.
    • TIP: Can’t find the department administrator in the drop-down list? Contact IFSO at for help.  
  • ISSO Advisor: Does not need to be updated, it should default to Admin, Admin

The Login Information section will allow you to create a user name for the scholar to access ISD, grant them editing permissions, and fill in their record in ISD.

  • User Name: Use the given/first and family/last names of the scholar. You will not be able to change the scholar’s user name after it is created.
    • Do not leave any spaces for the username. This will be their permanent username, try to make it simple. We highly encourage:
      • LASTNAME-FirstName
      • LASTNAMEFirstNameDept
      • LASTNAME-FirstName-Birthyear
  • Email: Add the email address for the scholar; all correspondence generated by ISD will go to this address. Please note that UC San Diego emails have been getting blocked/bouncebacks for “” emails. Please try to avoid using “” emails.
    • You can always go back in to update the email address associated with the ISD account

Permission levels:
  • Read/Write: Allows the scholar to sign in and enter information
  • View: Allows the scholar to sign in but they cannot edit any information
  • None: Scholar will not be able to log into ISD system. They wouldn’t know whether their access has been taken away or they are entering incorrect login information.

 TIP: Scholar will not be aware of their permission levels; it is up to you to disclose which permission levels they have been granted or have been taken away

Click "Save" this will immediately take you to the scholar biographical information page. If you get the error “This UserName already exists, please Correct” means that the username is already in use by another scholar, so you will need to change something in the username you want to create for your scholar to make it unique. Edit username and try to save again.

Step 2: Invite the Scholar (ISD sccess)

Send Login Info to Scholar

Do not complete any information after record creation; click on the Tasks tab in the top left-hand corner of the horizontal navigation bar toward the top of the screen.

Once there, click Invite Visitor.  Compose an email greeting to the scholar and hit "Send."

ISD will automatically send the URL to ISD, user name, and auto-generated password to the scholar. When the scholar receives the email, the login information will be automatically generated by the system and be located below your message.

Correct Something or Re-invite the Scholar

If there is some issue where you need to correct something and/or re-invite the scholar, you will need to find the scholar’s record in ISD.

To find the record again, you can select Search for Visitor on the left-side navigation bar. You can search for the record on the following Search Visitor Screen. To find the record, you may need to change the filters to All.

Scholar records will appear on the bottom, you can click on the Last Name hyperlink to access and edit the specific scholar record.

From here, you can select “asks Tab again and edit the scholar’s login information or send a new invitation email to the scholar.

TIP: Every time you send an invitation to the scholar, ISD will generate a new password which will replace the previous sent password.

ISD Status Invited or Pending Scholar Data Entry

  • Invited = Scholar/Faculty has been invited to sign into ISD via an email that contains their login information.  
  • Pending Scholar Data Entry = Faculty/Scholar needs to update/add information to ISD.

Step 3: Review the Scholar Record and Input Department Information after Scholar Submission

When the prospective scholar completes and submits their information and uploaded documentation, an email will be sent to the department administrator indicating that the record is ready for review. The departmental administrator reviews the data and documentation uploaded by the scholar for completeness.

The administrator will also input additional information and upload documentation from the department. To begin reviewing and completing this part of the process, click on the Horizontal Fields Navigation Bar to review the data in each Tab:

  • Biographical
  • Address
  • Appointment
  • Site of Activity
  • Funding
  • Other
    • Position in Home Country
    • Passport and Visa
    • Education
    • Dependent-Specific
    • Dependent-General

Finding an Existing Scholar Record

To find a scholar, follow the instructions noted in the Finding an Existing Scholar Record section.

If you are unable find the record, contact IFSO at

Locking Scholar Access

To prevent the scholar from making changes to their record while it is being processed by you and IFSO, we recommend you change the scholar’s permissions to View only at some point in your process. 

If you request the scholar to update their record directly, however, you will need to change their permissions back to Read/Write

We leave it up to you to decide where in your process you choose to lock the scholar’s access to their record. To change permissions, select the Tasks Tab and click on Edit Visitor Login and Permissions.

Adding Notes

If you have special notes for this record that you would like to make, select the Notes Tab on the Horizontal Fields Navigation Bar and click on Add Note. These notes will be visible to Department Administrators with ISD access under your specific department and to IFSO advisors but not to the scholar.

The notes section is a great way to let IFSO know anything pertinent to the case.

Contact Scholar to Verify Information

If you need to contact the scholar to verify certain information, you can select Compose Email in the top right side of the screen. This will generate an email to the scholar.

TIP: This will send the email you compose. However, it will not treat the email as an initial invitation and thus will not overwrite the scholar’s current password.

Biographical Section

Please verity that the scholar completed this information.

For records in the VC Health Sciences area administered by ARC, add the ARC number.  

Address Section

The scholar will have added their permanent address in their home country.

If they are currently inside the U.S., they should have also added residential address information in the local address tab. Scholars not currently in the U.S. should still include an email in the local address tab. IFSO uses the local address for reporting purposes.

Tip: please note that we advise the scholar to never use the mailing address option.

Appointment Section

For ALL Visitors
  • Employer Name: UC San Diego
  • Start Date: Enter the preferred start date for the requested period in H, E, or TN status
  • End Date: Enter the preferred end date for the requested period in H, E, or TN status

Note: These dates will reflect the period of  status being requested (up to 3 years for H-1B and TN, two for E-3). If this is an extension request, please overwrite the current dates with the new period being requested. The dates indicated here should match those on the Chair Letter.

  • Job Title: Select a job title from the drop-down menu;
  • Other or Additional Job Title and Level: Enter the job title if not listed in the Job Title Section.
    • Add an additional job title if there are multiple.
    • If the job title is a staff appointment under Career Tracks, indicate the level here; for example, "P3" or "S2" or "M1".
    • If Clinical, enter the PGY level.
  • Faculty Sponsor: Identify the faculty sponsor
  • Does appointment require teaching? Indicate yes or no if position requires formal teaching (not mentoring UGs in labs, but rather classroom teaching or grand rounds)
  • Is position Full-Time: Indicate yes or no
  • Number of Hours Per Week: If appointment is not full time, indicate number of hours per week; otherwise leave blank
  • Is the Position Tenure Track: Indicate yes or no
  • Is this a unionized position: Indicate whether this position is in a union (Collective Bargaining Unit).
  • RUSH Request: Indicate “Yes” or “No.” RUSH requests entail paying the RUSH fee (for online payment see: Note that any H-1B request with a start date of under three months in the future, or a request to file the petition with USCIS within two months of submission to IFSO, will require a RUSH fee.
  • Number of Worksites (Buildings): Enter the number of worksites. After completing the Appointment Tab go to the Site of Activity tab to enter the specific building name and address for the worksite(s).
    • For example, if the scholar is working at McGill Hall and Shiley Eye Institute, you would list “2” or “two” in this field. If working at McGill Hall and EBU2, you would list "2"
  • Minimal Degree and Discipline: Enter the minimal degree requirement for the position (e.g., Bachelor's, PhD, MD, etc.)--NOT the degree held by the prospective employee. Also include acceptable discipline(s) for degree.
    • For example, PhD in Chemistry, Biochemistry or related.
  • Post-Degree Experience, Special Skills/License Required, or Supervision:
    • If none, enter NONE.
    • Experience: Enter the number in MONTHS of work experience and/or training required for the position.
      • If postdoc position at any level, do not include any work experience required from previous postdoc training years.
      • Example: if the job description for an IT staff position states three years of experience is required, enter 36 months.
    • Clinical (H and E only; TN not allowed): If this is a clinical position that requires completion of a three-year medical residency training and two years of fellowship training, enter 60 months.
      • If no experience is required, enter 0.
    • License: Indicate the type of license(s) required; also indicate if board certification or eligibility is required.
    • Supervisory: If supervising, enter number and titles of staff H-1B holder will officially supervise.
    • Other Skills: Please also list any special skills required.
  • Is the position permanent, for which a national recruitment was conducted?
    • Indicate yes if the department is planning on sponsoring this person for permanent residence and a national recruitment was conducted.
  • Full-Time Salary: Enter the annualized salary, digits only (no $, comma, decimal), which will be paid to the employee as of the appointment start date.
    • Example: 55251  (=$55,251 per year). The department is committing to paying this salary for the duration of the H/E appointment; reduction in salary would require filing an amended petition with all associated costs.
    • If this salary does not meet U.S. Dept of Labor prevailing wage rates the H/E petition cannot be filed (IFSO will reach out to department in such instance). 
    • For represented positions, this amount must match or be greater than that for the appropriate level on the salary scale for that position at the time the appointment begins.

Site of Activity Section


  • Click on "Add New" button to add the site(s) of activity
  • Select the primary site of activity from the drop-down menu under "Prefill SOA"; if it is not listed, enter the site's individual address components in the fields.
    • Input the name of the building in the "Worksite Buildings (H-1B Only)" section
    • If working remotely enter the remote worksite address, for "Site of Activity Name" enter "remote work location"

TIP: For SIO, please use the UCSD main campus address.

  • Add any additional sites of activity as needed, including remote work locations. Review the Site of Activity list to make sure all site of activities you added are included.

Funding Section

Skip this section; this information is only needed for J-1 requests

Other Section

These are sections that should have been completed by the scholar. Please go through them to verify that they have been completed.

  • Position In Home Country
    • Skip (only required for J-1 requests)
  • Passport and Visa
    • Must be completed for all requests as it contains immigration history as well as alerts IFSO as to the type of petition that must be filed
  • Education Section
    • Must be completed for all requests
  • Dependent-Specific and Dependent-General
    • If the scholar indicated they will have dependents (spouse/children) with them in the U.S. that require a dependent status they MUST include their information
    • Dependents of an H-1B employee (H-4) will have to apply for that visa status on their own. This could involve an application for an H-4 visa at a US embassy or an I-539 Change of Status/Extension application to USCIS. For more information, please see the H-4 Family Resources section of the IFSO website. 

Step 4: Attach Supporting Documentation

While IFSO staff and the department are able to see all documents uploaded in ISD, the scholar can only view their own uploaded documents. They will not be able to view documents that you have uploaded into ISD as the department contact. Please be aware of this as you work with your scholar to prepare and update requests.

Click on the Documents Tab on the top of the Horizontal Fields Navigation Bar towards the top of the screen in order to upload the required documents from the list below. For more detailed instructions regarding how to upload documents to ISD, view our Upload/Attach Documents in ISD instructions.

TIP: Do not use any symbols when naming a document.

IFSO Request Form

The sponsoring department uses H-1B/E-3 Request Form Request (fillable pdf) to authorize IFSO to file the employment-based petition on behalf of the prospective worker and to meet other regulatory requirements of the U.S. Depts of Homeland Security and Labor. In submitting this form to IFSO, the department attests to all statements on the form.

TN requests do not need a request form.

Passport Biographical Page

The Passport Biographical page must be from Scholar’s current unexpired passport (expiration date must be more than 6 months in future).


To qualify for H-1B/E-3/TN status, a position must be in a specialty occupation, requiring at least the level of a Bachelor’s degree and the beneficiary must meet the minimal educational/experiential requirements of the position.

Upload diplomas for all relevant degrees.

Any document not in English will require a translation and translator’s certification.

  • Translation does not need to be completed by an official translation company
  • Sample translators statement
    • Translation statement cannot be signed by PI, scholar or family member as it could be seen as biased by an officer.

If the diploma does not specify a particular field, then transcripts must be submitted that indicate in which field the diploma was obtained. If a diploma is not available, transcripts can be used instead, as long as the transcript indicates the degree issued.

E-3 is only available to Australian citizens; TN to Mexican/Canadian citizens. The TN must be for a USMCA approved occupational classification (see Appendix 2). E-3 requests for visa application at consulate will not need this documentation.

Foreign Credentials Evaluation

If the relevant degrees are not from a U.S. institution, then a foreign credentials evaluation certifying the U.S. degree equivalency must be submitted (exception: Clinical Care appointments do not need evaluations of foreign MD degrees. The evaluation should include field of study, a detailed description of the material evaluated, rather than conclusions, and a brief description of the qualifications and experience of the evaluator. 

TN requests will not need evaluations for Mexican or Canadian degrees.

E-3 requests for visa application at consulate will not need this documentation.

For more information, see:

Curriculum Vitae

Scholar should not include immigration, personal, or volunteer information on this document. 

E-3 requests for visa application at consulate will not need this documentation.

Immigration Documents if Scholar is currently inside the U.S.

  • I-94 arrival/departure record for most recent entry into U.S.
  • Visa stamp used for most recent entry to the U.S.
  • If currently in a paid position, three most recent earnings statements
  • If currently in F status: all I-20s issued since last entry to the U.S.
  • If ever in J status: all DS-2019 forms issued scholar and, if applicable, a copy of their I-612 Waiver approval notice if subject to 212(e)
  • If ever in H-1B status, copies of all I-797 approval notices
  • If ever issued an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), copies of all EADs

E-3 requests for visa application at consulate will not need this documentation.

Appointment Document/Job Description/Advertisements

An official appointment letter is necessary for all appointments
  • If the appointment is for a staff position, include the Job Description
If bypassing J status (initial H requests):
  • J-1 or H-1B: A Comparison (PDF): This form is not needed if the scholar is currently in J status or is ineligible for J status.
If Faculty Title (to be sponsored for permanent residence)
  • If faculty appointment for which a nationwide search was done, include copy of the printed job advertisement (from national journals) and official offer letter (NOT proposal letter)

Letter from Employer (Chair Letter)

On letterhead and signed by department chair.

Include detailed information such as techniques and methodologies used by researchers, specific classes taught by faculty, and specific clinical duties for clinical positions. Failure to provide specific information may result in increased chance for USCIS requesting additional evidence, which will delay petition approval. See IFSO's samples in the resources section of this page.

E-3 requests applying abroad will need this letter to apply for admission to the U.S. after receiving their visa stamp (NOTE: maximum requested time period for E-3 is two years).

H-1B (E-3):


Clinical Care Documentation

For H-1B/E-3 requests only; TN not allowed.

Graduates of International Medical Schools

  • ECFMG Certification (unless a graduate of a Canadian medical school)
  • S. Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Steps 1-3
    National Board of Medical Examiners (NMBE) examinations – Parts 1-3
    FLEX examination
  • CA Medical License documentation

Graduates of Accredited U.S. Medical Schools

  • Internationals with a medical degree from an accredited U.S. institution need only provide IFSO with their U.S. MD diploma and, starting 1/1/2020, the Postgraduate Training License (PTL).

Required if the UCSD appointment/job advertisement has as a requirement

  • Medical Residency completion certificate
  • Clinical Fellowship completion certificate
  • Board Certification
  • Documentation establishing Board Eligibility (UC San Diego issued documentation is not acceptable)

Required for ALL Clinical Training programs through ECFMG

  • GME exception to policy allowing for H-1B sponsorship

Step 5: Recharge Fee and USCIS Checks

ALL H-1B/E-3 fees MUST be paid by the employing department; fees are NOT rechargeable to the scholar. There are two sets of fees IFSO (recharge) and USCIS fees (physical checks).

  • Breakdown of fees
    • The breakdown of recharge and check fees required for H-1B requests can be found on IFSO’s website.

Step 6: Review and Submit to IFSO

Click on the Tasks tab on the left-hand side of the top Horizontal Fields Navigation Bar and click on Review and Submit Visitor's Information.

Review Information

Click on the Tasks tab on the left-hand side of the top Horizontal Fields Navigation Bar and click on Review and Submit Visitor's Information.

The screen will show a list of all fields lacking information that need to be completed and submission will not be allowed until the fields are complete. 

Rush Fee
Before you proceed to submit the case to IFSO, review the rush request field in the Appointment Information horizontal navigation bar option. By the time you are ready to submit the case, the rush processing fee may now be required.

Submit to IFSO

After all required fields are completed, select:
  • Profile Status: Pending
  • Profile Type: H-1B Temporary Specialty Worker (E-3 Treaty Professional or TN Treaty NAFTA)
  • Profile Subtype: Scholar
  • Profile Subtype If Other: leave blank

Click Submit button toward the left-hand top of the screen. This action forwards the complete record to IFSO staff to review.

Tip: to update any missing information you must go to the Horizontal Fields Navigation Bar then return to Review and Submit to Department section.

After the request is submitted, it should show that the record was sent to ISSM. You can also see when a request was submitted to IFSO by going to the History tab, this will show as a line item event that says Data Submission by Department with description Department submitted information to the international office.

IFSO Receives Request and USCIS Approves H-1B Request

The department and scholar will receive an email from IFSO confirming that H-1B/E-3/TN petition has been mailed out to USCIS for their processing. The processing stage in ISD will be changed from “Submitted to International Office” to a Clear/Blank processing stage. The department user will be updated to ISD, IFSO.