Whats after USCIS approval for H1B

After H1B Visa Approval – What’s next ? Process ? Visa Stamping ?

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 585 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 H1B approval notice, when can I apply for visa 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…

When can you apply for H1B Visa Stamping after H1B Approval ? How many days before start date on H1B approval  ?

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 plan and apply for H1B Visa Stamping anytime on or after 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, so that you get time to submit these documents and are ready to start working from October 1st. We have put up these steps in the below chart for your reference.

When can you enter US on H1B after Visa Stamping from US Consulate to work in US?

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 USA on H1B Visa  : pre-departure checklist- What you should do in your home country?

If you are flying to America 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 USA 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 ( 585 )

  1. Saurabh

    Hi Kumar

    My son is in US & working. His employer applied for H1b and it is COS. Now I-129 approved by USCIS.

    1- what he is supposed to do now?
    2- whether he would be able to travel India in late Oct’20

    1. administrator

      1. If it is COS, nothing to do. He will automatically go to H1B status from October 1st and work for that employer.
      2. No, if he comes to India, he needs stamping. Now no stamping due to Trump Executive Order until Dec 31, 2020. He will be stuck in India, if he comes.

  2. V

    I have my H1B petition and its valid till August 2020. But I wont be able to travel till November 2020. What happens to my petiton?. If expired, any extension possible?.


  3. Vishal


    My H1B was picked in this lottery. I am very confused whether I should go with COS or Consular. I am on a F1-CPT visa valid until Dec 2020. I have the below questions:
    1. After the H1B petition is approved for either COS or Consular option, is there any difference in terms of stamping & interview when one goes to India? Is it like on COS you have an approved H1B and the interview is just a verification process while on Consular H1B petition your visa is approved after your interview at the US embassy similar to a F1 Visa.
    2. Can I get RFE on Maintenance of status in both the COS and Consular petition options?
    3. Can I change my petition to Consular once I get a RFE on COS and if so, does it increase my chances of rejection in the interview by notifying the system that my COS was rejected?

    1. administrator

      1. Well, usually, you need to fill out your previous F1 details and Consular officer may ask for details of CPT…So, you need to be prepared for it. Talk to your attorney.
      2. Usually for Consular processing, you may be asked for details under Administrative processing, there is no RFE for Consulate.
      3. Well, maybe possible, discuss with attorney…But, it maybe be too late..

      In general, you should avoid Day 1 CPT, it is a big scam…Many try to do this based on their situation…but, should be avoided at all times. Talk to your attorney and take an informed decision.
      There are no black and white answers for your questions, they all are subjective…

  4. MSN

    Hi Kumar,
    Today got the mail saying i have been picked in Lottery. Before applying for Visa I need to renew my passport as it will get expire next year. Is it valid and there wont be any problem if I try with new passport during visa stamping process?

  5. Meenu kumari

    Hi Kumar,
    My self is Meenu. I have two questions about approved perm through L1B , moved on L1A and H1B.

    Right now I am on L1A after completed 5 years on L1B . Last month I got approved PERM on L1B.
    If I apply I140 now on L1 A in E1B category ,What will be priority date ? The Perm Filled date still remained as priority date or will it change on L1A?

    And if I apply H1B this year how approved perm help me and how many years I will get on H1B if selected in lottery and approved.

    Please reply ASAP.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. administrator

      Your priority date would be the date when your I-140 was approved, it will have on it. As you have moved around in different L1A and B, I suggest you talk to your attorney on this. In general, if you are on H1B, then you may continue to renew using approved I-140 for as long as you are maintaining status. Your case is slightly different, as you have moved statuses, so I am not sure how it will work. Talk to your attorney. Also, do update here for community benefit.

  6. Karthik

    Hi Kumar,
    My friend who is in US on H4 visa recently got her H1-B petition approved. Does she have couple of months before she can actually join her employer or initiate a transfer to a new employer? Will it create a problem for her if she doesn’t join her employer immediately after approval?

    1. administrator

      Was it filed with COS or Consular processing ? if COS, she needs to work immediately as she needs to maintain status on H1B. If consular processing, then there is no need to join immediately.

      1. Karthik

        Thanks Kumar. How to identify if it is COS or consular processing?
        Her Approved Petition does not have any I-94 attached to it. Does it give any indication ?

  7. Tirumala

    Hi Kumar, My H1b petition got approved and validity period is till Dec 31st 2019. i have only 3 months time, now i am eligible to for VISA stamping? or possible to travel US. please guide me.

    validity period: 1st Oct 2019 to Dec 31st 2019

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