Human Resources Visa Application Process


J-1 and H-1B visas for international students and scholars account for >80% of all UCSF visas processed annually. The application process for J-1 and H-1B visas was identified as a pain point for departments, entailing significant rework for operators and long wait times for department clients. The project goal was to improve the speed and accuracy of the process.

Lean Approach:

The PMO conducted two Kaizen workshops with participants from Human Resources, the International Students and Scholars Office, and representatives from various client departments in the Schools to understand the current state process and problems, identify metrics and targets, and envision an improved future state. Following the Kaizen the PMO conducted working sessions to begin implementing key improvements including: develop business requirements for changes to the HR SRS system, revise process forms and offer letters, develop Docusign templates and workflow to replace paper forms, and implement SmartSheet as a tracking and communication tool. Ongoing implementation support focused on metric collection and project management of deliverables such as Docusign packet, SmartSheet implementation, and SRS changes.


  • Revised process flow to reduce waiting, overprocessing, and defects
  • Implemented simple Docusign workflow to expedite collection of forms and signatures
  • Updated templates and forms to improve clarity and reduce possibility of error (e.g., offer letters, job aids, email communications)
  • Implemented regular collection of process metrics related to cycle time and defect rates to enable process “health checks”
  • Implemented SmartSheet as a tool for HR staff to track and communicate visa application status with department clients