Whats after USCIS approval for H1B

After H1B Approval Notice – Process, What’s next?

In Apply H1B Visa by Kumar493 Comments

Many of the lucky ones, selected in H1B Visa Lottery and have approved H1B petition notice, might be wondering what are the next steps. Our previous article covered the typical Steps After H1B Visa Lottery . Now the next questions are like what do I do with the notice, when can I apply for stamping, when can I work in the US, etc. We will look at the typical steps after the H1B petition is approved by USCIS.

What’s after H1B Approval from USCIS – Next steps?

Typically, once the H1B application was selected in lottery, most of the applicants would have received the petition receipt number along with the receipt notice from their employer either email copy or scan copy of the physical receipt notice from USCIS. You would have used that number to check the status on USCIS website and got to know that your H1B application is approved by USCIS.  If you look at the H1B Case Status info and meaning on USCIS site, it tells you that they will send the approval notice copy to the petitioner or employer/ attorney.  Once the employer receives the approval notice, they would typically send the actual copy of the approval notice from USCIS, so that the applicant can take that and carry to the visa stamping at consular post. If the application was filed in US with a Change of Status, the H1B approval notice would have an updated I-94 attached as well to indicate your valid Change of status and validity of the same.  Having said that, some employers or consulting companies, withhold the actual copy of approval notice for some time so that they can send the same when they need the candidate to travel to US or have leverage to bargain or terms, etc…again, it depends…

Applying for H1B Visa Stamping after H1B Approval – When?

As per the US Dept. of State Consular processing website, for H1B work visa, you can apply for Visa Stamping up to 90 days before the petition start date. In general, for most of the H1B petitions filed in April 1st week, they would have the start date as October 1st. The reason is that you cannot file for H1B petition before 6 months from the requested start date to work in US. As it was lottery, we can safely assume that most of the new H1B petitions start date would be October 1st.  Assuming your start date is October 1st, you can technically plan and apply for H1B Visa Stamping from July 1st.  The visa slots at US consulates can be tricky with demand, I suggest you plan early and apply for your H1B visa stamping at US consulates as early as you can to avoid last minute delays.   Also, not all H1B stamping appointments result in successful stamping, some may get 221(g) query from the Visa Consular officer (blue, white, yellow) asking to submit documents, so plan accordingly.

When can you travel to US or enter America after H1B Stamping from Consulate?

As per US Department of State, You can enter US on H1B only 10 days prior to your H1B start date on your approval notice (I-797 form).  Technically, what it means is that, if your H1B start date is October 1st, then you can enter America on or after September 20th on H1B Visa.  These 10 days rule to enter US and 90 days rule for applying for H1B stamping has been same for the past few years, you can check our previous article indicating the H1B stamping details and US entering criteria to get some perspective.

It is always good to put it in a picture to understand easily. Below are the steps as a flow chart.

After H1B Approval Notice – Process Next Steps

Flying to US on H1B – pre-departure checklist- What you should do in your home country?

If you are flying to US for the first time on H1B visa, there are quite a few things that you can do in your home country to make your life easy in America and maybe save some money too…We have written an article covering booking tickets, health checkup, driving license, list of things to carry, etc. You should read the article Pre-departure checklist and Things to do before you enter US on H1B

Did I miss anything ?  Add your thoughts…

Reference : US Dept of State official – US Travel Docs H1B Stamping FAQs 

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Comments ( 493 )

  1. Ashwini

    Hi Saurabh,

    My case got picked up in lottery and I am still waiting for visa approval. However, I have dependent H4 visa on my husband’s H1B. Can I enter US on my H4 (and is it advisable??) and till date what date my H4 remains valid if H1B is approved. Within how many days of approval do I have to come back to my home country for stamping?

    1. Ram

      Has your H1B been filed as COS(From H4 to H1B)? If not, you can enter US on H4 when H1B is in progress. Once H1B is approved, you can come anytime back(Depends on requirement your Employer has) to your home country, get your stamping and re enter US on H1B.
      If your H1B has not been filed as COS, then your H4 remains valid till the date of expiry provided during Visa stamping.
      If H1B is filed in COS, then H4 becomes invalid on the start date of your H1B. If filed in COS, you need not come back for stamping and get stamping when you leave US.

      1. Sowmya

        Hi Ram,

        After my H-1B visa is approved and when I get a stamping done from my home country and re-enter states, is there any time period that I need to work in the US in H-1B visa?

        I am asking this questions as I am planning to go back to my home country after few months. But I might want to come back to US after a year or two.

        In this case, will my H-1B visa be valid?

        1. Ram

          As long as your H1B Visa has not expired, you can legally stay in US and work. There is a minimum requirement of time period in which you will have to stay and work.
          You can re enter US on H1B if you have not fully utilized your 6 years of time.

          1. Sowmya

            Hi Ram,

            Thanks for your response.

            Do you know what is the minimum requirement of time period in which you will have to stay and work in US, the first time you get your H-1B Visa approved?

            Thanks

  2. Miguel

    If I am on working in the US on a F1 Visa. Once I apply for a H1B visa stamping. Do I need to go back to my country to get my passport stamped? Or Can I get that stamp on a consulate?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Miguel,
      H1B visa stamping is usually done either in border countries or your home country. Some consulate in border countries like Canada offer stamping, some do not. It is advised to go to home country to avoid issues…but some prefer stamping in canada , etc…it is purely an option of choice. You should check with the embassy in neighbouring countries if they allow stamping or not for your country of origin and visa type.

      1. Miguel

        I am working on an F1 visa. How many days approx. would I need to travel back to my country, go to an embassy or consulate, get the stamp and come back to continue working for the same company?

  3. H1b Visa

    Hi ,
    If my case is approved. Is it possible to switch to other company before i go for Visa Stamping . If yes what all the Process we need to perform .

    Actually my company wanted me to work with them now after they got to know my H1b lottory is picked . Please answer

  4. marione_isabela

    Hi, I received my receipt notice last April 11, 2017 but still haven’t got any updates as of today. How many days does it typically take for the H1b visa to be approved? Also, it says that you can only travel to the US 10 days before Oct 1st, but since I have a tourist visa which is good for 10 years, can I use it so that I can go earlier to the US?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      marione_isabela,

      It may take few months. Now that everyone has received their receipts, they will start processing the petitions starting w/ the earliest ones that were receipted.

      1. marione_isabela

        Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for the response. What are the chances that the petition gets denied? What are usually the grounds for denial?

        Thanks!

  5. H1b Question

    Hi Saurabh,

    My case is approved fror FY18. After aproval howmany days it will take to get my signed LCA and final docs.

    I want to change my location as my LCA filed with old location. Howmuch time it will take to get my signed LCA and location change and final docs?

    FYI i am first timer got selected in lottery filed under non AD category from US giant MNC.

    Thanks…

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      H1b Question,

      Once approved, the petition document should be received by attorney within 1-2 weeks (SLA is 30 days). They can get the new LCA processed even now and file amendment soon after approval notice has been received.

  6. Steve

    Saruabh

    Have another question for you.

    If my h1b for FY18 is approved, can i reserved it to use it at a later time? For example: If i join a non-profit now for a cap-exempt h1b, and then let say 2 years from now. I want to switch to a for profit company, would i able to apply with a cap-exempt petition with an approval notice from now? (By that time, my current employer must have withdrawn the H1b already).

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Steve,

      Once the petition has been approved, you can use it as reference for a future cap-exempt for-profit H-1 petition. Some people are of the opinion that you should work for at least sometime in the H-1 status in order to use this petition as reference in future. I have seen experiences that suggest otherwise but you should check w/ an attorney.

  7. Sheik

    Hello,

    My H1B extension/amendment petition got approved on 30-mar-2017 in USCIS website, but i haven’t still (as of 2-May-2017) got the Hard copy of Approved petition and new I94. Now i have to file another amendment for relocation. Is the hard copy of previous petition (with I94) needed (mandatory) to file new amendment.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sheik,

      As it has been more than 30 days since it was approved, your attorney should follow-up w/ USCIS about the doc. The new amendment can be applied using old approval notice and amendment’s receipt notice. USCIS can get the details on the amendment using the amendment receipt number.

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