One of the most commonly asked questions on the blog related to H1B petitions filings is: “How do I check the status of my H1B petition or case status online. Many applicants are worried about their status and some say “It has been 4 months since I filed, no reply from USCIS or still my case is in the case received status”. In this article, we will review how to check H1B Case or Petition status online on the USCIS website and what each of the various statuses looks like.
If you are new to the H1B visa filing process, USCIS is the government entity that accepts H1B registrations in an online system. They also accept H1B petitions for the applicants who are selected in the H1B registration lottery selection process. You can check more details on current H1B season details at H1B Visa 2024 – Lottery, Registration Dates, Quota, News
Before we go into details, you need to understand the difference between H1B Registration vs. H1B petition. Let’s review that.
H1B Registration vs Actual H1B Petition Difference
- H1B Registration : It is the online registration submission by a H1 Sponsoring company on behalf of an applicant that they intent to file H1B visa petition, if selected in registration process. As part of H1B registration, employer only submits basic information about applicant in the H1B Registration Online Tool. The employer does not send any physical packages or forms to USCIS. The H1B registrations are submitted by H1B sponsoring companies as a first step in the overall H1B process.
- H1B Visa Petition : H1B Petition is the actual H1B Visa application package that includes H1B Labor Condition Application(LCA), filing fee, and all documentation related to applicant, that is submitted on behalf of H1B applicant. Only applicant selected in the H1B Registration Selection Process, also called as H1B Visa Lottery , are eligible to file the H1B Petition. USCIS sends out a Case receipt notice for H1B petition received by their office.
In the below section, we will focus on the H1B Petition or H1B Case Status to check online. If you are looking for Registration or Lottery status, check the article: How to Check H1B Lottery or Registration Status online
H1B Case vs H1B Petition Status ?
Many use the terms H1B Case and H1B Petition interchangeably. In fact, both mean the same. What actually happens is that after someone is selected in H1B Visa Lottery during the registration process, they submit the entire application package with USCIS. Submission of this H1B application package is often called filing the H1B Petition.
After USCIS process the H1B petition, they assign a case number to the same. This is the case number that is used to track the status of the petition. Many call the H1B petition as H1B Case after USCIS issues the receipt number. So, these terms are used interchangeably and both mean the same.
H1B Visa Petition Filing with USCIS, Case Receipt Number
After an applicant is selected in the H1B registration process, the employer has a choice to file an H1B petition on behalf of the selected applicant. If the employer chooses to file an H1B petition, they would file an H1B petition with USCIS by completing the necessary I-129 Form, attaching supporting documents, relevant filing fee, and other information.
After USCIS receives the H1B Petition, they give a case a number for the submitted H1B petition, which is called USCIS Case/Receipt Number. As this number is specific to a H1B petition, it is also called the H1B Receipt Number. USCIS sends a copy of the receipt notice in the postal mail to the H1B sponsor or attorney.
The H1B receipt number is on the top of the I-797C Receipt notice in the first row and first column as shown in the below screenshot. It starts with WAC, EAC, or other letters that signify the service center followed by digits. For more on the what each of the letters mean, read H1B Receipt Number Meaning
Anyone, including the H1B Applicant, can use the H1B Case Receipt Number given by USCIS to check the H1B petition status online on the USCIS website. If you as an applicant do not have a copy of the receipt notice, you should ask your employer or attorney to share that information so that you can check on the USCIS.gov website.
How to get H1B Case Number? Get from H1B LCA ?
In order to get H1B Case Number or H1B receipt number, you need a copy of the H1B receipt notice as shown in the above screenshot. Only your H1B employer or Sponsor, including Attorney, would have the H1B receipt Notice. In most cases, the companies share this receipt notice with the applicant, so that they can check their case status online. You cannot get the H1B Case number without having the H1B receipt notice. So, you must talk to your employer or attorney to get the same.
H1B Labor Condition Application(LCA) is submitted to the US Dept of Labor before the submission of the H1B Application to USCIS. So, this does not have the USCIS issued H1B Case Number and you cannot get it from LCA. You can check the details of an LCA on websites like H1BGrader to see what an LCA contains.
How to Check H1B Visa Case or Petition Status on USCIS website ?
Step 1 : Go to USCIS Website Case Status link : USCIS Check Petition Status.
Step 2 : As shown in the screenshot below you enter the H1B petition Receipt number and click on Check Status, you will get the latest status of your H1B case.
You can also go to the menu and click on Tools and then you will see Case Status Online on the page to get to the same URL and enter H1B Case number.
Various H1B Case Statuses on USCIS
Each of the H1B applications filed with USCIS can go through many steps and can have various statuses as part of the adjudication process. Let us look at some of the common statuses, such as ‘Case Received’, ‘Request for Evidence(RFE)’, ‘Approved’, ‘Decision Notice Mailed’, and understand what they mean.
USCIS H1B Status – Case Was Received
As soon as USCIS receives your application, they will update their system and it will show the initial status that reads “Case Was Received” in their online system. Below is the sample screenshot. All it means is that USCIS has got your application and they have just receipted the application, next step is to process the petition and then adjudicate the case.
USCIS H1B Status – Request for Evidence(RFE)
For some cases, USCIS asks for more info called Request for Evidence (RFE) and send a letter to your employer/ attorney asking for more details. Many called this in short as RFE or as H1B query too. As per USCIS, RFE means “A request for evidence is made when an application/petition is lacking required documentation/evidence (initial evidence) or the officer needs more documentation/evidence (additional evidence) to determine an applicant’s eligibility for the benefit sought. We may send you a request for evidence at any stage of our review. The request will indicate what evidence or information is needed for us to fully evaluate your application or petition.” If your H1B petition is going through RFE, the online status would look like in the below article.
USCIS H1B Status – Case Approved for regular processing petitions.
If your H1B visa petition was approved, the system would show a status saying “Case Was Approved”, when the application was approved and when they mailed you the I797 decision notice. Here is how it shows on USCIS site for approval.
USCIS H1B Status – Premium Processing, Email
If you filed your application in premium processing, you may see different status update, because the initial update is communicated via email, it would say “Case Was Received and A Receipt Notice Was Emailed”. Check the below screenshot for approval status on USCIS for an H1B premium processing application
USCIS H1B Status – Decision Notice Mailed Status (Denial)
Unfortunately, some people get H1B visa petition denials, here is how USCIS would show the status “Decision Notice Emailed” and tell that your H1B was denied. Check the screenshot.
There are many more statuses that an H1B petition can go through, you can check the detailed H1B Statuses, Flow of Status in the USCIS System.
Yes, you can, if you have the H1B Case Number given by your employer.
No other options, your employer or attorney filing h1B petition has to share that information with you. If they do not, there is nothing you can do. Most employers share that info.
No, you cannot get it from LCA.
No, you cannot sue the employer to get an H1B receipt number. H1B Petition is employer’s property and filed by them. You cannot seek its details by filing a lawsuit against them.
Well, there is no way you can know just by looking at the H1B receipt number. You need to look at the H1B receipt Notice so that you can be sure that it is yours. The receipt notice has the name of the applicant. USCIS’s online status does not show the person’s details.
You can also check the article on How to check the online H1B processing times on USCIS website to get you an idea of the approximate time to process.