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Visa Processing Procedures

Congratulations & Welcome to Case Western Reserve University!

We hope you’ll find Case Western Reserve University to be a supportive and diverse community, characterized by exceptional people doing important and satisfying work. We are glad you are here!

A brief overview of the visa process is below.

Step 1: Your department, hiring unit, or campus will submit a New Sponsorship Request in our Terra Dotta Case Management System, also known as the TDS Scholar Portal. Following University best practices, the VISA Office will assist in determining the appropriate status to pursue based on the position you have been offered.

Step 2: Once the Sponsorship Request is approved, we will send an email inviting you to the TDS Scholar Portal at that time.  DO NOT use the login button in the upper, right-hand corner or in the center of this website’s homepage (while you may be able to successfully login there, those are administrative sites only and will not take you where you need to go).
  • TDS emails sometimes get filtered into junk/spam (especially Gmail accounts). The subject line for TDS emails will contain “[Caution: External].” Those emails are safe to open.
  • H-1Bs and E-3s Only: VISA will approve H-1B New Sponsorship Requests no earlier than 7 months prior to the requested H-1B start date to ensure we have the most up-to-date information at the time the H-1B application is prepared.

Step 3: After you and your department or hiring unit have filled the required information and uploaded all documents, a VISA Specialist will review and process the immigration request.  You will be alerted via email when either your DS-2019 is ready for shipment or when your petition is filed with USCIS. You will be kept up-to-date as your USCIS petition progresses through its adjudication. 

Note: The TDS Scholar Portal is only a case management system which VISA Staff use to in connection with visa requests. For any requests outside of an initial visa or extension request, please email  All other requests are divided into “Departmental Requests” (for departmental administrators) and “Employee/Scholar Requests” (for employees and scholars).
  • VISA Office processing times: 
    • H-1Bs, E-3s, TNs, and O-1s: We endeavor to process employment-based nonimmigrant petitions within 6 weeks. We request at least 3, and preferably 6, months' notice to ensure that USCIS has sufficient time to process the petition.
    • J-1s: Paperwork for J-1s are usually processed within 3 weeks. We request 3-4 months' notice on J-1 applications.