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Steps after H1B Visa Approval – Visa Stamping, COS ?

Many of the lucky ones, selected in H1B Visa Lottery and have approved H1B Visa 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 to 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.

Background : H1B Registration, Petition Filing, Approval

Typically, once the H1B registration was selected in the H1B registration lottery process, most of the applicants would file the H1B petition with USCIS. After they file the H1B petition with USCIS, they would receive 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 receipt number to check the status on the USCIS website and got to know that your H1B petition was approved by USCIS. 

Now, once you see that approval status, as described in 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 to the applicant. Let’s look at the next steps.

Next Steps after H1B Approval from USCIS

The steps after receiving H1B Approval notice fall into two scenarios based on the H1B petition filing, either Consular Processing or Change of Status(COS). Let’s look at each of these in detail

Steps for H1B Petition filed as Change of Status (COS)

If the H1B petition was filed as a Change of Status(COS), it means that the applicant is already in the US and trying to move from one status to another status. It could be situations like someone on an H4 visa, F1 Visa, or any other visa type trying to move to H1B status. Below are the typical steps

Step 1 – Verify COS Approval & I-94 : The H1B applicant needs to verify if the change of status was approved or not along with the H1B petition approval. If the COS was approved, the H1B approval notice comes with I-94 attached to it. The validity date on the I-94 arrival-departure portion of the approval notice would also be same as the H1B approval notice.

Sometimes, the H1B approval does not come with Change of Status approval. It could be for reasons like not maintaining proper status in the US in the past. In such cases, the COS portion of the H1B would not be approved. If COS was not approved, there would not be an I-94 attached with the H1B approval notice. In such cases, the applicant would have to leave the country and get H1B visa stamping at a US consulate to work on H1B.

Step 2: Wait for October 1st to Start working: If your H1B was approved with COS approved, there is nothing you need to do. All you need to do is wait for October 1st and then join the company that you plan to work on H1B. If you are already working for that company on F1 OPT or something else, you can inform them to switch your status to H1B for their tracking and update I-9 form accordingly.

One important thing to note is that you do not need apply for H1B visa stamping as you are already in the US and maintaining proper status.

Now, let’s look at the steps for second scenario, where H1B was applied as Consualr Processing.

Steps for H1B Petition filed in Consular Processing

If the H1B petition was filed in Consular processing, it usually means that you need to get H1B Visa stamping done in order to start working. Usually, most of the applicants, who apply for Consular processing are based outside of the US, when they applied for H1B visa petition. Below are the steps

Step 1 : Gather all Documents for US Visa Application : If you are applying for H1B visa stamping, you will need a lot more documents in addition to your H1B visa approval notice. You need to have all documents and information related to your passport, your family personal information, your education certificates info, your US travel itinerary, your recent passport photo, etc.

Step 2: Complete DS-160 Form, Pay Visa Fee, Schedule Biometrics, Interview Appointments : After you have all documents, you need to first complete DS-160 Form that is nothing but US Visa Online Application form. You will use all the details from the previous step to fill the form.

Once you complete the DS-160 form, you need to pay the required US Visa fee of $190 USD either online or at a bank. Using that, you need to book appointments for giving Biometrics and In-person visa interview. You can check the Step by Step Guide to apply for US Visa to know more

Step 3: Attend Biometrics, in-person Visa Interview: You need to carry all relevant documents required for Biometrics appointment and in-person H1B Visa interview. Below are key documents that you need to carry :

  • Passport
  • H1B Approval notice ( I-797A Notice of Action )
  • Employment Offer Letter
  • H1B LCA Copy
  • Education Certificates – Bachelors, Masters degree ( as applicable)
  • Pay stubs ( if already working for the company)

You can check H1B Visa Stamping Document Checklist for complete details on the documents.

Step 4 : Wait for Decision, Collect Passport – Approve Visa : After the visa interview, you need to wait for the decision from the US consualte. If everything went well, your H1B Visa stamping would be completed and you get your Passport with H1B Visa foil glued in the passport. Sometimes, there may be additional processing required and consulate may issue 221g form for Administrative processing.

Step 5 : Travel to US Port of Entry, Enter US, Start Working : After you get your visa approved, your next step is to travel to US. Getting US visa stamping does not guarantee entry to US. The H1B applicant need to go through US Port of Entry Procedures and convince the CBP officer. Usually CBP officer would ask questions related to entry, do a quick security check, take fingerprints and let the H1B applicant into US, if no issues. Once you clear CBP at Port of entry, you are all set to start working at your company in the US office location.

Those are the steps after getting H1B Approval notice. Now, let’s now look at some common questions and situations.

H1B Sponsor Not giving the Approval Notice to Applicant

Sometimes, some employers from IT bodyshop 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 the leverage to bargain or terms, etc…again, it depends… Important thing to know is that, it is employer’s petition approval and you cannot really get it from anywhere else, only your employer can share that. They are not obligated to share that approval notice with you.

When can you apply for H1B Visa Stamping ? How many days Before ?

As per the US Dept. of State Consular processing website, for H1B work visa, you can apply for US Visa Stamping up to 90 days before the petition start date. If you went through H1B registration lottery, we can assume you are new cap-subject petition and your start date would be October 1st. So, if your start date is Oct 1, then you can plan and apply for H1B Visa Stamping anytime on or after July 1st

As background on why October 1st is the start date for new H1Bs, you need to know that as per rule, one cannot file for an H1B petition before 6 months from the requested start date to work in US. So, as the new Fiscal Year starts from October 1st of that year, you can only file on or after April 1st, which is when USCIS accepts petitions after H1B registration.

Now, 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 ?

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

Pre-departure checklist for H1B Visa holders

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

What are your experiences ? Add your thoughts in comments below

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


Other Articles


  1. if a person get the h1b visa stamped 90 days before the petition date (consular processing from Employer A), what happen if you switch employer during that 90 days (after visa stamped but before petition date?)

    do you file as a transfer or file as a cap-exempt petition? In that case, do you wait until new approval notice before traveling back into US?

    • Steve,

      I have seen mixed responses with regard to this. One school of thought is that H-1 doesn’t activate until Oct 1, so cap-exempt petition can’t be filed. The other one is that a future dated cap-exempt petition can still be filed in this scenario. I tend to agree w/ 2nd one, but if you find a new employer you should check w/ their attorney on this.

      • my concern is i have heard that my current employer (on OPT) will lay off people around Aug or Sept (before Oct 1). So i started looking for new employer in case that happen and have offer already

        But i want to see if i could fly back to home country as soon as i get the notice to get it stamped and switch employer that way.

        it is hard to get selected with 1 ticket (didn’t get selected last yr), so i don’t want to lose this chance and my OPT expires in Nov 2017.

        Would it be a problem now that my new offer will be with lower salary? from 160k to 145k because everyone switch employer for better terms.

        I wish i knew that a head of time so i can file H1b with another employer before getting into this mess.

        • Steve,

          In case you are let go from current employer, you can join another employer on OPT and ask the new employer to file cap-exempt petition for you. If you are good terms with current employer, then request them to support the petition until it gets approved and revoke it after Oct 1 so that you have enough time to get it transferred.

          This way you don’t have to leave US and can continue to work (on OPT and then H-1B). Salary reduction doesn’t matter as long as the new petition is also for a specialized position for which you qualify.

          • Should new employer file as COS or consular processing in this case??

            If consular processing, do i bring the new approval notice for stamping or both approval notice to stamp? And only need to bring documents from new employer?

            It sucks now that there isn’t premium processing.

          • Steve,

            They can apply for COS and you can work on H-1 from Oct 1 even if this petition is pending and if the original one has been approved w/ COS.

            If you do decide to go for stamping, you will have to carry approval notice of new employer and their related documents.

            As for PP, I think it will be resumed in few months. Its a good revenue source for USCIS and the plan was to suspend it only for the initial rush period.

          • Thanks Saurabh

            The problem is my original petition (current employer) is filed as consular processing. So here are my questions:

            1) Can my new employer still file transfer as COS because I haven’t get the original one stamped yet?

            2) If they have to file as consular processing, and my original h1b hasn’t been active yet (since it was process as CP). So does that mean I have to make sure my current employer doesn’t withdraw the petition (it might be later than oct 1st) until new petition is approved ?

            3) In the meantime, can i work on my OPT for the new employer while current employer not withdrawing my original petition?

            My F1 visa already expired, so if i go out to get it stamped and wait for the new petition approval. I would be out of job for few months. At the same time, I have to make sure i don’t lose the “cap-exempt” when my current employer withdraw the petition.

          • Steve,

            1. Yes, new one could still be filed w/ COS, even though initial one was filed w/ consular processing.

            2. Yes, to be on safer side try to convince employer not to revoke the petition. As it was filed w/ consular processing, they are not on hook to start paying you on H-1 from Oct 1.

            3. Yes, you can work on OPT during this time.

          • Saurabh

            I am still a little confused with the answer for Q1 (1. Yes, new one could still be filed w/ COS, even though initial one was filed w/ consular processing.)

            So normally for people who filed the initial one as COS, then h1b starts on Oct 1st and it makes sense that the person can file for COS with new employer.

            The confusion for me is that because the initial one was filed as CP, then it isn’t activated on Oct 1st. So how does it work for the new employer to file new cap-exempt petition as COS without being on h1b status? (I assume this is the part where you say its mixed responses, but USCIS isn’t very clear about this.)

            Also, if i work for the new employer on OPT, how can i activate h1b from abroad when i no longer work for the current employer anymore?

            Thank you so much for your response, and I am sure some people have the same obstacle as I do and would want to know how to address this problem.

          • Steve,

            H-1 cap-exempt can be filed even when you are not currently on H-1 status. Even though previous petition was filed w/ consular processing, the new one can be filed w/ COS (or again consular processing for that matter). I have seen examples of people doing this successfully. Once you finalized another employer, their attorney can guide more on this.

            If you join another employer on OPT, then the new employer needs to file cap-exempt petition. Then go for stamping (if you are outside US) and travel to US to work for them.

  2. Hi,

    My I-797B (Notice of Action) has been expired. it valid from 02/21/2011 to 02/20/2014. Is there way to apply for extension now ?


  3. Hi, my h1b picked in 2015 and stamped with 1 year validity till sept 30, 2016, did not travel yet. Recent time applied exempt to extend, got approved. Now i have to work in different location, can i apply new LCA and then go for stamping?? If so, my stamping style will be Drop box or do i need to attend interview again? Intention is to avoid delay…

    It would be great help if you can clarify me on this…

  4. Hi
    My Petition got approved last year(2015), I didn’t went for stamping till now.
    This December I am planning to go for stamping. since I have not attended the stamping for almost 1 year. do I need any additional documents to carry with me.

    the client and location is same as when I the petition is done. please let me know thanks.

  5. Hi,
    I applied for H1B last year for 2015 lottery and was selected. However by the time my petition was approved in USCIS it was Dec 2015. I am yet to go for stamping and I have below questions:
    1) Is there anyway I can keep my successful petition if I leave my current employer?
    2) I have not received the H1B approval notice from my current employer and will having that favor point 1?


  6. Hi,

    My employer has informed that my application is still pending with USCIS for adjudication (mine was a regular processing).Could you please let me know what does it mean?

    • Hi Saurabh,

      Please let me know how long this adjudication process takes place as already now half of Sept month passed away and by that time it should have got approved.

  7. Hi Saurabh,
    Im planning to attend my first H1B interview in Nov-2016 ( I have approved petition).
    How ever a 9 years ago i got rejected for F1 twice. will this have any impact on my current H1 B interview? If VO asks what was the reason for F1 rejection,what shall be my answer?. appreciate your valuable comments…


  8. Hello Saurabh,
    My i797 says the visa validity period is for 2.8 years starting from October 1st . My question is,
    a) Do they actually stamp your visa for the same duration when you go for stamping in a consulate. Or will they stamp for only an year?
    b) My employer says there are no interview slots available for the next few months. The best date they could book for me is Jan 30th 2017. So if I go for stamping in January end, and if the visa is stamped only for an year, do I loose 4 months of my time from the total time period?
    Looking forward to your response.
    Thanks in advance!.

    • Patrick,

      1. Yes
      2. You don’t lose anytime as H-1 extensions can be applied one after another until you have spent 6 years inside US on H-1.

  9. Hi Saurabh,
    I got my Visa approved and during the ds160 procedure , i was informed by my employer that there is a change in the work location. (same state and same client though) and since the new location is more than 50 miles from my previous location, this has to go through a amendment process. The LCA prepared was with ‘X’ location and this needs to be changed to ‘Y’.
    Will i be able to attend the stamping only after the amendment process is over? What are the documents required to go through the amendment process ? Is there any fee involved for this process? Will it be wise to go for stamping with the location details what I have in my LCA now and once the visa is stamped changing it through amendment? Is there a chance of Visa getting rejected because of this?
    Eagerly waiting for your response. Thank You!

    • Mickey,

      Employer is correct. A new LCA needs to be certified followed by H-1 amendment. I would suggest appearing for interview after the amendment has been approved. Look-up I-824 form on USCIS to know the cost and timelines.

  10. Hi,

    I followed up with my consulting company and they are saying they haven’t received any approval (mine was a regular processing), they also said none of the candidates who were selected in lottery have got any response yet. I am getting little anxious now as it has past mid of August and we haven’t got any response from the USCIS. Do we have some deadline of when we would get the approval notices.


    • Ron,

      The delay is normal. There are still several petitions pending, and you should continue to wait. If there is an urgent need to move to H-1 ASAP, then upgrade to PP. There is no deadline for RPs.

      • Saurabh,

        Thanks for the reply as I am currenly in USA
        in L1B visa which is valid till September 2016 end
        after that I have to leave US, so if I do PP now
        would I expect to see the results by Sept end?

        My second question is that when I applied for H1B in April
        through consulting company I showed my Passport which was valid till
        November 2016 (now I have renewed the passport for 10 years),
        so would that have any impact in the H1B approval process or i94 dates.

        • Ron,

          PP has a 15 calendar day SLA. So unless RFE is issued, it would be processed within 15 calendar days.

          They may issue RFE asking for extended passport or issue I-94 date only until Nov 2016. You will have to apply for I-94 correction in the latter case.

  11. Hi Kumar,

    I got my RFE on Aug 9th 2016.

    The problem in our project is we have quarterly based SOW so it is renewed every 3 months.
    Due to this reason we have some denial in the past.

    Kindly gide me to submit the RFE documents…

    Thanks in Advance,

  12. My current status is F1 and i am working in CPT. My H1B was approved on Aug3 2016. Do I have to do anything else to transfer my status from F1 to H1? I mean the client letter and stamping etc. Doesn’t it automatically get transferred to H1B? I have no immediate plans to travel to my country just for the stamping.

    • Rajan P Upadhyay,

      Do you know if your H-1 was approved w/ COS or consular processing? If you don’t know, then ask your employer/attorney or look at 797 approval document to see if there is an I-94 attached to the bottom of it.

  13. Hi all, my case got appd today. 1 issue tough, the client thru which I applied h1 has released me from project and in working for other client but same company. He says no openings yet onsite. Will the company schedule my appointment or will kep me holding. When is the max I can apply for visa stamping? Really confused and worried.

    • recd-appd,

      Most likely your employer will withhold the stamping for now. Once an onsite opening arises, they will file LCA and H-1 amendment for the new location, and then ask you to appear for stamping.

      • Thanks Saurabh for your reply. Any idea for how much time the approval is valid? I mean I got the approval on Aug 1, so for stamping, whats the max I can appear? Will the validity of the approval expire after some fixed time period?

        • recd-appd,

          Petition may be valid for 1-3 years. You will have to check your exact dates in the approval document. You can appear for stamping anytime during the petition validity period.

          • recd-appd,

            Most of the employers share it w/ the employee. Some employers may hold on to it, as they fear that the employee would leave them. Even when going for interview, they may share just a copy and not the original.

    • Balu,

      Employer should receive the notice within 30 days. If not, they should follow-up w/ USCIS. It is up to them when they share it w/ you.

  14. Hi , Today i got my case as approved , so when can i go for visa stamping , when do the actual visa stamping starts , many say that it starts from October 1st, so is there any chance, can i go for stamping by august 16 itself

      • With regards to stamping: the online Visa Appointment portal shows massive wait upto 120-130 days to get a H1b visa appointment in India.

        If you do not qualify for the emergency waiver, how are you guys getting around this issue if the H1b was just recently approved?

        • Aks,

          There is no work around. You have to continue looking for date availability. Hopefully they will start showing up towards mid-Sep (when most of F-1 interviews are done).

          • Student and visitor visa related appointments availability are categorized differently it seems on the website and there doesn’t seem to be much of a wait to get a student visa..i.e. approx. 15-20 days. Therefore, I am not sure if students actually leaving for their Fall semester will make much of a difference to the H1b appointment availability in India.

          • Aks,

            They are giving preference to students as their classes start in Fall, and hence the short delay. Once most of them are done, they would give more slots to H-1B.

            Already Hyd is showing earlier appointment dates and someone reported seeing Aug 30th date for Delhi.

          • So this is interesting. The wait times on this website (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/) for Hyderabad says 2 days for Other Immigrant visas such as H1.

            However, when you go on this website to schedule the appointment , the earliest they have available is January 21, 2017. – https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/

            Does anyone what’s going on? How do you go about selecting the consulate in India?

          • So this is interesting. The wait times on this website (https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/) for Hyderabad says 2 days for Other Immigrant visas such as H1.

            However, when you go on this website to schedule the appointment , the earliest they have available is January 21, 2017. – https://cgifederal.secure.force.com/selectvisatype

            Does anyone what’s going on? How do you go about selecting the consulate in India?

  15. I am currently working under CPT and my H1B application got picked up this year (2016)from the lottery and my case was approved as showing in the USCIS website and they have mailed approval notice to the attorney of my employer. My employer is asking for a project change (different client , different state/location) now. Is it going to affect anything to my H1B application which is already approved even though they fill LCA and client change documents to USCIS or is it better to stay with the same client with in the same location until October 1st 2016 where I have the fully approved authorization? Please advice me. Many people are saying so many different things at this time.

    • Kankanam,

      If the current client has opening then you can work for them with current petition. However, if the client location change is mandatory, then your employer is doing the right thing. After LCA is approved, they need to apply for H-1 amendment for the new location. You can still start working for the new client after Oct 1 even if this amendment is still pending.

      • Thanks a lot for your response & I really appreciate. So there is no way that my H1B application get reject, right? I was so worrying that it is going to affect for my approved H1B petition.So as you told if I change my client & location, my employer will fill the amendment and I can start working with them from Oct 1st even my application is pending. Please give your feedback.

        • Kankanam,

          Amendment doesn’t impact the originally approved petition. You can work at the new client location as long as the original petition has been approved, and amendment is pending.

  16. Hi guys,
    i got a query, i understand that we can start scheduling the appointment 90 days before the start date which is July 1st. What is the maximum rang, or till what date can we apply for the same, can i wait and fix the appointment by december.
    Will it have any adverse effects on my visa chances?


    • Need_help,

      Dates are released few days in advance. So in Nov, you should be able to book a December date. In addition, you can appear for interview as long as your petition is valid.

  17. Hi Saurabh,
    My RFE was related to Education specialization and my employer replied. But it was denied on March 2nd. Can you please let me know what options I have.

    • Arjun,
      If the employer/attorney think they have strong case to overturn the decision, then they can file an Appeal or MTR. This can take several months to process and approvals are hard to get. You can also apply in upcoming lottery.

  18. My rfe response for was received by USCIS on 2 Oct . it’s been 5 months without any response from them. Mine RP Vermont.

    A service request was also raised but got the standard answer.

    Does it do long. Others who got rfe from my firm have already got an approval.

    Pls suggest if there is way to escalate other than pray.

      • Thanks Saurabh for replying.

        I had thought over that option too. But, i have heard that going for premium processing after RFE generates suspicion and gets a denial.

        So, did not go for that option.

        Your thoughts?

          • Saurabh,
            Now USCIS told me that it is in security check. How can they do security after raising RFE. I thought they must be doing security check before raising any rfe.

            Some one told me that it will get approved as security check are done only after rfe docs are cleared.

            What can be done?

          • sumit shah,

            Security check can be done anytime, prior or after RFE. Probably USCIS discovered something during their review and put it in security check. Also, having in security check doesn’t guarantee approval.

            Do you know what happened to other receipts filed by your employer?

          • Some of the applicants got Approval long back but few are stuck like me.

            It’s been 8 months since they received my rfe response.

          • sumit shah,

            If there are other petitions pending, then they might be doing company’s check and not yours. Nothing you can do here except to wait.

      • Hi

        My company has responded to my RFE and it’s more than 2 months, am waiting for the decision.
        I asked my employer, can we convert our case to premium processing ? And the answer was “NO”.

        My question, can we still convert the case to premium processing if RFE response has been provided and waiting for the decision?

        • Yes, As per Law, you can convert your case to PP after you have responded to RFE.

          May be your employer is saying “No” due to following two reasons:-

          1. Money, They do not want to spend extra money
          2. May be Employer does not have immediate requirement and OK to wait for the decision in normal time
          3. May be the fake project or information is provided and not 100% sure that it will get approved so do not want to invest more money to loose.

          Btw it is some Body shping consultancy or proper company (Small/Big firms) with Genuine requirement?

          I hope you have not paid any amount to them.

          • Thanks For the information

            This is a big company with genuine requirements. I am associated with this company for last 3.5 years and I have not paid any amount to them.

            Can you please share some link which I could provide as reference to my company that these options are available. Actually why I am pushing so hard because my spouse is already in US and it’s been a while we are staying apart. Even I have provided an option to bear the expenses for premium processing but as per them, it’s not possible at this phase of time.

            It would be great if you could provide some more detail like –
            1. What’s actual term called for this process?
            2. What’s the name of the form which employer need to fill? Is it Form I-907?
            3. What’s the process of converting application to premium processing?

          • Hi

            One more question –

            I have valid H4 visa stamped on my passport. Until my H1B RFE gets approved, can I travel to US on H4 for short duration (1-2 months) ?

  19. I have never been to US before and My I797 petition got approved last year with an extra character in my first name. My employer has filed an amendment and we are waiting for receipt notice. Once we get the amendment receipt notice can I go ahead for stamping in India or do I need to wait till the amendment approval notice. Please advise me the best way to avoid further delay. Thank you.

      • Thank you Saurabh.. 🙂

        My employer has filled I-824 for name correction .. does it mean that he applied for h1b amendment? or is there any other approach/doc to file .Just want to make sure my employer is on right path.. Thanks very much for your valuable feedback

        • Sri,

          It is indeed H-1 amendment. They usually consider petition name as source of truth. So if the petition name is incorrect , it it even more important to wait and appear w/ correct name.

  20. Hi All,

    My case got approved on 21st October 2015.
    However i did not receive original I-797(Approval Notice). My company provided me with courtesy copy of I-797.
    I got mail from my employer on Dec 16th saying “Attorney has raised query with USCIS for Approval Notice.”
    Today when i checked my status it shows “Your appeal was dismissed and the original decision on your case, Receipt Number WAC151415****, remains the same. On December 30, 2015, we sent you a notice about this action. If you do not receive your notice by January 29, 2016, please contact the appellate authority directly. If you move, go to www.uscis.gov/addresschange to give us your new mailing address.”


    Is my case rejected or is it still approved?

    • H1bConfused,

      Are you sure your petition was approved? Appeal is filed if the petition is denied and employer wants to contest it. Your attorney is the best person to help in figuring out what’s happening. They should follow-up w/ USCIS.

      • Saurabh,

        Yes sure. On 21st Oct 2015, my status changed to “My Case was approved” after RFE documents were received by USCIS on 1st Oct 2015.

        I was waiting for my approval notice since 21st oct 2015.

        I had not received original I-797 for stamping till now so my attorney requested for approval notice on dec16th. Is it related to that ?
        I had got courtesy copy of approval notice on Nov 22nd 2015 which says H1b valid from 21st oct 2015 to 10th sep 2018.
        Courtesy copy is exact copy of approval notice but its not the original I-797.

        Why will attorney appeal for a case which is already approved ?

        So is my petition still approved since it says “original decision on your case, Receipt Number WAC151415****, remains the same”


  21. Hi,

    I was selected in lottery & got my H1B stamping in November 2015. Petition valid till Sep 2018, visa valid till 1 Sep 2018.

    Unfortunately due to family tragedy, I can’t travel for some time (maybe 1-2 years).

    Till which mm/year I will be cap exempt?
    Will I need stamping again if I change job to new employer?

    Thanks for your response

    • Victoria,
      1. You are cap-exempted until Sep 2021.
      2. If the current visa stamp is valid and has not been physically canceled, then no new stamping is required. Still your new employer may ask you to appear for visa stamping if they want the visa stamp in their name.

  22. Hi Admin,
    my RFE has been submitted to USCIS on October 2015. Still it is showing the status as RFE received. is there any chances it may get denied, as it is still under rfe received status.

    • Vijay,

      Delay in processing doesn’t mean denial. It just means there are other petitions in front of you, and they haven’t reached to your petition yet.

  23. Hi,
    I am going to appear for H1B Visa interview with my family at US consulate, Mumbai.

    My question is, do I have to appear for interview with my children’s who are 5 years old and 2 years old, or should I come up with requirement documents and photograph as per US Visa specifications?


    • Tushar,
      The kids may be exempted from personal appearance. You need to complete their DS forms and carry it w/ yourself along w/ rest of the documentation.

    • Hi Tushar,

      I just returned after Visa interview at the same consulate. I would say if you are comfortable with your child then you can take along because Security guard will give you preference and send directly inside so you do not need to stand in the long queue outside in Mumbai’s heat. My son was just 15 months old and I was standing with my wife then Guard called us and sent inside. As answer given here, it is not mandatory for children to appear for the interview but in my case nobody was there to take care of my son so we had to take him along. My visa was approved and now waiting for my passports.

  24. Hi Friends,

    I have attended the visa interview on Dec 1st 2015 @ Hyd consuate. VO Told me that my visa is approved. However when i checked the visa status in CEAC site, it is showing “Administartive processing” since then.

    Anyone in similar situation?

    How many days will it take for stamping?

    Do they request any extra documents?

    Thank you.

  25. Hi All,

    My passport had been renewed AFTER filing the H1B papers .
    Now i have 2 passports with unique Passport numbers.
    recently my H1b petition got approved. Should i get any issue with the passport during the VISA stamping.Do i need to bring both the passports to US consulate?(or)
    Do i need to pass the new passport details to my employer before stamping.(or)
    Do i need to mention something in the form during filling?
    Kindly advice.
    Thanks in advance.


    • Suresh,
      Carry both passports for stamping, but enter new passport details in the DS-160 form, and get the visa stamped in the new one.

      • Dear Friends,

        I got RFE on Sep 18th and query was about In-House project details. USCIS is very particular on the cases this time, RFE is basically on in-house project and specialty occupation. I have seen couple of cases like 2:1 denial and approval ratio for in-house cases.
        Please let me know the probability of the situation about In-House project details.

        Advance thanks,
        Nani -V

  26. Hi Kumar and Friends,
    My case has been moved to RFE on Aug 28th and since then i am waiting for my employer to respond to RFE but so far i didn’t happen. When i checked with my petitioner a couple of days back, they told that it will be done this week but the due date to give response is November 26th (ie) coming thursday. I really doesn’t know what to do other than hoping and waiting for the best.. Just curious to know what will happen if the employer don’t respond within due date?
    I’ve applied through a small employer based in texas, richardson.
    Anyone in the same state of mine?

  27. Its been more than 120 Days I have been waiting for my H1B Approval. Any idea how long should I wait??? .. Is there any one who could help me out on this.

    Is there any way that I can change the Job and still get the H1b Approval?

    • Hey buddy,

      I think you should open a service request. You can open it on the uscis.gov website and you can do it yourself.

      Your employer also has the option to making it premium by paying $1225. Who is the employer and client if I may ask?

  28. Hi,
    My case was approved and received I-797A from my employer. In the below of that document I-94 is attached. But this is first time applying H1B. Hope it should be I-797B in my case.
    Anay idea on this?

    • Rohini ,
      Are you inside US? Typically 797A is issued w/ I-94 when the applicant is already in US and COS is filed from F-1/H-4 etc to H-1 status.

      You are on H-1 and need to start working and getting paid ASAP.

      • I’m in INDIA. i never been visited US but got I-797A with attached I-94.

        When i look into I-94, The period is remains same upto 2018.
        Any issues, Please let me know?

        Thanks IN advance.

        • Rohini,
          That’s strange. Let your attorney know about this. It may be administrative mistake on USCIS part and shouldn’t impact you. However, your attorney can follow-up w/ USCIS to make sure that everything is fine.

  29. Hi,
    my RFE got approved but my travel period is march 2016 so when i can fill for stamping. also please suggest is the days counted after H1-B approval or after stamping.

    • Raj,
      You can apply for stamping soon after getting the H-1 approval.

      On H-1, you can stay for up to 6 years inside US on H-1. Only the time spent physically inside US gets counted. Extensions can be filed to recapture any lost time.

  30. On August 17, 2015, we received your response to our Request for Evidence for your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Our California Service Center office will begin working on your case again. We will mail you a decision or notify you if we need something from you.

    This is my current status How soon I will get approval?

    • This is really Frustrating for me We all are waiting from April 2015 to Nov 2015 and still no answer from USCIS. I want to go to India is it safe to go with out Approval or not?

      Please Help me I am new to this H1b World.

  31. Hi,
    My case moved from RFE to RFE response review in the 3rd week of September. When can I expect an approval. Heard that few people got approvals in 3-4 weeks. Does USCIS keeps a specific time frame to send approvals?

      • hi,
        my case came to RFE & MY employer responded to RFE. My RFE response received date showing 11/September/2015, still iam waiting for approval. My RFE is Education evaluation and employer project details. friends any one have same RFE like me and how many days took for your RFE.

          • Hi SKGP,
            friend thank you very much for your response.. whats urs employer, is it big company? if possible can i call you once.. my mobile no 00610146246551.

        • Finally my case was approved today…Below is my case history..

          RP/Non AD/Vermont

          Receipt Date: April 13
          RFE: July 1st
          RFE Response sent : Sep 24th
          RFE Response received: Oct 2nd
          Approved: Oct 28th

  32. i received RFE “right to control” on July 13. Response is being sent in the end of septemeber. Still status has not moved to “Response received”. Would like to know that how best i have chance of approval considering this query. Pls share if any body has faced this query and got approval. Thanks.

  33. I am following this website from past 7 months silently but had to break my silence today. 🙂
    My status with Vermont EAC### is still ” Case Recieved” and has not change from last 6 months.
    I am wondering is there anybody in same boat.
    What is the deadline for USICS to process the visa?
    Hope for the best.

  34. Online status changed to RFE on October 5th. RP, Non- AD – Vermont. Yes, they do send RFE’s way after the start date of our employment of October 1st.

  35. Guys Need a quick Help!!!

    I just received I-797B Action Notice. It states as bellow.
    “The above petition has been approved for the classification requested. It has been determined that the named worker(s) are not eligible for the requested change of status. You will receive a separate notice explaining the reason for this determination.

    Even though the named worker(s) are ineligible for a change of status, they may depart the united states and apply for the proper visa at a consulate abroad. Then they may apply at a port of entry to reenter the U.S based on the new visa.”

    But, this is the first time I am applying for a US visa and have never been to US earlier. I dont understand what this means!! Could anyone help me to understand what this is?

    • Help!!
      Looks like your employer applied for H-1 w/ COS, which is an option available when the person is inside US at the time of filing. USCIS has approved the petition w/ consular processing, which is the normal scenario when the person is outside US at the time of filing.

      Don’t worry about it, and just appear for stamping.

      • Thanks Saurabh!! That’s a relief.
        Just one more thing, notice also says that I have to attend for interview only at a particular consulate as they have kept the consulate informed on my case. It will involve too much travel for me to attend for interview at the mentioned consulate. Notice says i need to file I-825 incase i have to change the consulate!! Do you know anything about this? applying I-825 means, it costs $400+ and it may take 3 to 6 months for a response.

  36. Dear Friends,

    Finally my case has been approved on 10/01. Thanks be to God.
    Below are the history behind petition approval. All the very best for those who are still waiting for the approval.

    – RFE Received 06/22
    – RFE Response sent 07/22
    – Case was approved 10/01

  37. Hi Kumar

    I recently stamped H1b Visa through one company who is working for different clients in US. he told me that whenever he gets project he will mail me and gives date for enter in US. my question is if i apply & get a job in other company in USA in same domain, is it possible to go to USA in same visa? or i have to stamp other visa? Pls guide me and also share me the visa process for new employeer.

    • Required help regarding employeer,
      You need to find a new employer and ask them to file a cap-exempt petition for you. The process is same as previous petition but you don’t need to go through cap again as you already have an approved H-1B. You need to submit a copy of your approval notice to the new employer so that it can be filed as cap-exempt. Processing may take 2-6 months (premium processing option is available).

      Technically, you can travel on new petition and old visa stamp. However, the new employer may want to get the H-1B visa stamp in their own. You will have to check with new employer’s lawyer about this.

      • Yea me too EAC151****, not sure how long we have to keep waiting for a result. There is no guidance either. Converting to premium is an option but these days as soon as you convert to a premium, they will send you an RFE because they do not have the resources to have a fair turn around in 15 days.

  38. Hi Kumar,

    I have been following this site from April and learned a lot. Thanks for you extended support.
    my problem is, I have applied for H1b visa this year and traveled to USA on B1 visa in April. My h1b got picked but my passport got stolen in USA. I applied for tatkal passport and came back to india in May. In July my h1b got approved. meanwhile my present company wanted to get b1 visa as they are planning to send me in October. so I applied for B1 and got it in August. Now my h1b employer is asking me to come to US on b1 visa and get it converted to H1b in USA.

    1) Is it a safe way to do it?
    2) what options I have now.
    3) does the passport change make any difference in the process.

    Please let me know your valuable suggestions.

    • 1) Well, technically, it can be done…some do as well…but it can be tricky, when you go for stamping next time…as per the visa officer view, there is a possibility for them in their mind that you are technically going for one purpose(B1) and converting to work visa(H1B) to avoid stamping…Ideally, you should get H1B stamping and go on H1B stamping to avoid these complications in future…There may be successful cases, but just need to conscious of the facts and reality.
      2) better option is to go for stamping and travel on H1B
      3) should not really…just carry old passport copy, if you have and any documentation regarding the same.

  39. Hello All,

    I would like to thank RedBus for constant updates.
    My H1B got approved
    Vermont RR Non Ad
    I will pray for you guys who are still waiting.

    RFE: 25 July
    Upgraded to PP: 18 Sept
    Approved: 28 Sept

  40. Hi All,

    My case is in Non AD/ RP and got an RFE and documents sent SEPT 9, But in UCSIS case status it is still showing RFE mailed. Normally how many days it will take for change after documents sent to UCSIS from RFE to RFE documents received? Anybody is there in same status?

  41. Hi All,

    After 3 months of waiting My status changed from RFE_REQUEST to RFE_RESPOND. I want to know why USCIS taking lot of time to change the status. Also when can i expect my status will change to approved. Kumar & co if any one having idea on this please respond


  42. Hi All,

    My visa got stamped on 22nd September 2015 at Hyderabad.
    This is the 3rd time am applying for H1b new, for first 2 times it didn’t got selected in the lottery. This time I was lucky to make lottery through (Non Advanced degree / regular processing).
    The below are my case details.

    Petition Filed: 1st April, 2015
    Receipt notice received: 30th April, 2015
    RFE received: 15th July, 2015
    RFE response received status: 14th August, 2015
    Case approved: 28th August 2015
    US Consulate in I797: Chennai
    BioMetrics: Hyderabad(Sept 21st 2015)
    Interview attended: Hyderabad(Sept 22nd 2015)

      • Added the experience.

        Bio Metrics: 21st, September, 2015
        Time: 10:00 AM
        Place: Hyderabad

        Reached Consulate exactly by 9.55 AM, there are no much people waiting outside. Few people (from consulate) were checking DS160 confirmation details, Passport, appointment letter before going to the counter. A note is pasted on the back of the passport. Then a token number is provided and made us to sit in the large room where all counters were present and an LED screen which displays the counter numbers. When my turn came..

        Q. What is your name?
        Q. Your purpose of visit?
        Q. When is your stamping date?
        Told me to place my fingers on the device. Stamped with date on the DS 160 confirmation page and asked me to carry the same page for stamping.

        Completed. Walked out within 10 minutes of the entry.

        Stamping: 22nd, September, 2015
        Time: 10:00 AM
        Place: Hyderabad

        Reached consulate by 9.20 AM and security people were allowing 10’o clock slot people as well. Made us to sit for 5 minutes, then security check up and then allowed us to sit in chairs where lot of people were sitting and waiting. They were calling few peoples at a time and my turn came at 9.50 AM. My finger prints were verified and gave me a counter number along with a white pamphlet (which contains US rights). Here comes my turn

        Greetings exchanged (VO is typing typing…). VO voice is very low that to the previous person she repeated ‘your visa approved’ for 4 times.
        Q. What is name of the company that is sponsoring you?
        Q. Who is your client?
        Q. Designation? (I requested her to repeat this question twice)
        Q. For how many years you are with this company?

        Done, she said your visa is approved and kept passport on the other side and didn’t even wait for my reply and said ‘NEXT’. I came out at 10.05 AM. My interview lasted hardly for only 1 minute.

        Hope this experience helps you.


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