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How to check H1B Visa Case status Online on USCIS.gov? Petition?

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 2023 – 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

USCIS has changed the process to apply for H1B Visa from the fiscal year 2021 and they introduced the H1B Registration Process as the first step before the actual H1B Petition is filed with USCIS.

  • 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

H1B Receipt Notice - Case Number Sample
H1B Receipt Notice – Case Number Sample

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. 

Check USCIS H1B Case Status Online
Check USCIS H1B Case Status Online

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. 

Check Case Status from Tools on USCIS website
Check Case Status from Tools on USCIS website

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 Case Was Received
Case Was Received – H1B Case Status

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 Request for Additional Evidence Notice Was Mailed RFE
USCIS Request for Additional Evidence Notice Was Mailed RFE

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 Case Was Approved Status
USCIS Case Was Approved Status for H1B

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 : Case Was Received and A receipt Notice Was Emailed Status
USCIS H1B: Case Was Received and A receipt Notice Was Emailed Status

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.

H1B Visa Denied Decision Notice Mailed
H1B Visa Denied Decision Notice Mailed

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.

FAQs

Can I track my H1B Petition Status on the USCIS website?

Yes, you can, if you have the H1B Case Number given by your employer.

My employer not sharing H1B Case Number with me, any options?

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.

Can I get the H1B Case Number or Receipt Number from LCA?

No, you cannot get it from LCA.

Can I sue my employer, if they do not share the H1B Receipt Number?

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.

My employer shared the H1B Receipt Number, not the Receipt Notice, How do I know, it is mine?

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.

   

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1,903 Comments

  1. Thanks Saurabh for assistance in this forum. I have few questions.
    1. What is the aproximate time taken for L1-B extension? Is there a way to speed up the process?
    2. is there any difference in process, timeframe for processing if H1-B is filed when a person is in U.S and a person left U.S on his L1-B expiry.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Sumesh,
      1. 2-6 months. One can file for premium processing where USCIS will adjudicate it within 15 calendar days.
      2. Not much difference. When filed while being in US, you also need to file for I-94 extension (if it is about to expire) and no need for immediate L-1 stamping. When filing from outside of US, you will have to go for L-1 stamping in order to start working on L-1 (as mostly L-1 visa expires w/ L-1 petition).

      Reply
  2. Hi,

    My company along with 8 people have filed for H1b,Everyone visa has moved from RFE response to Approved stauts in last couple of weeks,But my status still shows as RFE response review.My L1B and L1A visa was rejected 1 year back filed by the same company.
    Pls advice whether i need to worry.

    Thanks,
    Balaji

    Reply
    • Balaji,
      It is not necessary that all 8 should get processed together as they may have been submitted to different officers. If the RFE reason was same for all petitions, then chances of approval are high as some petitions have already been approved after RFE response was submitted. Your past L-1 rejections will not impact your H-1 outcome as long as you didn’t do anything wrong like submitting false documents, or lying during interview etc

      Reply
  3. Hi Saurabh. I have few questions.
    1. What is the aproximate time taken for L1-B extension? Is there a way to speed up the process?
    2. is there any difference in process, timeframe for processing if H1-B is filed when a person is in U.S and a person left U.S on his L1-B expiry.

    Reply
    • Sumesh,
      1. 2-6 months
      2. There is no major difference. The H-1 petition needs to be filed, and then one needs to go for H-1 visa stamping (after they return to home country after L-1 expiration) and finally enter on stamped H-1 visa. Process can take 2-6 months or longer depending upon RFE/221g.

      Reply
  4. Hi Saurabh ,
    I have received receipt number from USCIS and it shows status highlighted with “Acceptance”. Also i am getting only only 4 status(Acceptance, Initial review, Decision and Post decision acivity”, not like above your example. Please let me know the reason and also help me to understand the H1b process . (Note i have applied on Premium)

    Reply
    • Gomathi,
      That is ok. Your petition will be processed within 15 calendar days as it has been filed w/ PP. Doesn’t matter what statuses are shown.

      Reply
    • Jhayjhay,
      Yes, it is ok. But that petition will also be subject to quota if your previous petition has not been approved.

      Reply
    • So u mean there is no limit of petitioner for one person???coz i havr plan of applying to another employer who sponsor h1b without any fee from the immigrationlawyer..will my current pending applicatio(rfe) affects my new application??

      Reply
      • Jhayjhay,
        Yes, another employer can file petition for you. Current RFE will not impact the new petition unless the RFE is related to you, your experience, qualification etc.

        Reply
  5. Hi Saurabh –

    I am on my H1B Visa currently and I am planning to move to a new Employer who is ready to do a H1b transfer.

    My Question is, if the H1b transfer request is rejected due to lack of information submitted by New employer, is it possible for me to continue to work with the same employer which I am currently working?

    Thanks,
    Megha

    Reply
  6. My H1b expired in May 2009 2 years for approval. It was approved in 2007. My employer did not apply for extension, instead i was sent to India and I came back in 2010 through L1b.

    Some consultant says, I can use my expired H1b and get it extended now. Is it true that if you have H1b approved through cap with in last 6 years, you need not go through cap again?

    Reply
    • Kiran,
      That is correct. The new employer can file a cap-exempt petition for you on the basis of previously approved H-1 petition.

      Reply
  7. Hi Saurabh,

    How can i know if the employer has filed petition for me.

    Employer can file the petition for somebocy else and show me that its mine, as the acknowledgement doesn’t have name/passport no. of the person.

    Reply
    • Santu,
      This is a valid concern. You can either trust the employer or wait for the approval notice which will have the beneficiary’s name mentioned. Until then, there is no sure way to know if the receipt number is your’s or not.

      Reply
  8. Hi,I need some advice. My father is a US citizen. Me n brother are being filed for. We live in jamaica. This filing has started last year march. Now its april 2012. I’m 23 n my bro is 15. Does it take this long for it to be processed??

    Reply
  9. Hi Saurabh,

    Please let me know what all documents are required for filing H4 visa for my wife?
    I am concerned about the marriage photographs..Does they require full marriage photo album or 12-15 marriage photographs are suffice during the interview ?

    Request you to please help me in this regard.

    Thanks..

    Reply
    • Prashant,
      Will she be attending visa along w/ you or separately? Assuming she is attending the interview w/ you, she needs:
      – wedding card/album. Usually it is better to have the entire album, but it may be ok to carry just few snaps showing different ceremonies
      – marriage certificate
      – passport w/ spouse’s name noted

      It is not necessary to carry all of the above, but even if you have just one you can use it to demonstrate the marriage.

      Reply
  10. guys need you advice.. is it possible to got an RFE without USCIS notification or emial?
    my petition was filed oct 28, 2011, and in USCIS website it is still in initiaL review. I emailed my employer regarding this coz my friend was already approved we were in the same H1b employer. My employer said that im on RFE..but i never got an email from USCIS.. and now my employer is asking me $2160 for the attrny’s fee for responding the RFE…

    Reply
    • This is very bad. Sourabh need your comments. First of all I dont think , the employee will get this notification directly. And employer is not at all authorized to charge us for such scenario.

      Reply
        • Hi Jhayjhay…

          No . I am still waiting for any kind of update either on site or through Employee. Seems I will reach max 6 month limit as Deepika also reached. 17 nov till 17 may 🙂

          Reply
    • Jhayjhay,
      It is possible that online status and actual status are out of sync. I have seen other instances where this has happened, but it’s not a common scenario.

      Legally, employer can ask an employee to pay for attorney fees, but cannot ask for other H-1 filing fees. If your do decide to pay for the attorney fees, I would suggest making sure it’s worth it. Ask the employer for the RFE notice and the documents/information they are planning to submit. If it looks like employer isn’t providing all the information asked in RFE, then there is no point replying to it as chances of denial would be high. So better to not waste those $2160. If your employer decides not to share RFE notice w/ you, then you will end up driving in dark if you decide to pay for the attorney fees.

      Reply
    • Thanks Saurabh.

      I already emaild my employer about the rfe notice. I pay for the attorny’s fee when my h1b appli ation was filed amounting $3960 do you think that is too much whe.n now they are asking $2160 just for responding for rfe only?

      Reply
      • Jhayjhay,
        Seems like your employer found one of the most expensive lawyer in the town. It would be unfortunate if petition gets denied even spending so much on attorney fees. You will have to discuss the rates w/ your employer.

        You can also talk anonymously to the attorney to know what their rate is. This would tell you whether the cost is right, or if the employer is making money out of it.

        Reply
  11. Hi,

    My employer had filed H1B petition in Aug 2011.In Jan 2012 , it turned to RFE status seeking for few documents. I had shared all the necessary documents and then status was updated in USCIS site as “post decission activity” saying my petiotion is approved. Few days later, I got an e-mail from our attorney that “We received from USCIS the original H-1B approval notice for the captioned beneficiary. USCIS failed to indicate the validity dates on the notice. We have contacted USCIS and they are going to issue an amended approval notice showing the validity dates for the H-1B petition. It may take up to 30 days for the amended approval notice to be received, however, the USCIS officer indicated amended approvals are generally issued in approximately two weeks. As soon as the amended approval notice is received, it will be sent.”
    Now, when i checked the status it is in “ACCEPTANCE” status and updated as ” On April 2, 2012, an amended notice on this case was mailed describing how we will process your case. Please follow any instructions on the notice. ”

    Would you please tell me what does it mean? What could be the exact status in this case?

    Thanks in Advance!!!

    Reply
  12. Hi Saurabh,
    I got RFE on 15th FEB 2012 asking about end client letter,contract info,SOWs etc.
    The same information was submitted to US CIS on 26th MAR 12.
    Any idea when i can get it adjudicated.

    Mine is normal processing.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • AD,
      It can take few weeks to several months for RFE response to be reviewed. There is no standard processing time, although USCIS published 60 days as the prescribed time.

      Reply
    • did you receive an email from USCIS that your case is on RFE?..coz in my case.. i never did but my employer said im on rfe..but on the website it is still initial rview…

      Reply
      • Jhayjhay,
        My status in USCIS site says ‘Request For Evidence’..also i didn’t received any email from USCIS.My employer might have received an email from USCIS.

        Reply
  13. Hi Sourabh,

    As per my knowledge normal H1B visa is for 4 yrs and extendible till 8 yrs. But from some of responses I see that randomly some people got H1B visa with validity 1 yr, 2yr and sometimes 4 yrs. So can you tell me like what kind of precaution we should take so that we can get maximum validity say 8 yrs.? Like can we mention our project lasts that long or something?

    Also if the user is initially stamped h1b with validity of just 1 yr still will he be able to extend the validity till initial count 8 yrs ?

    Reply
    • shrk jos,
      Actually No. Maximum time allowed on H-1 is 6 years (time spent within US). A single petition in itself can be approved for term of 1 – 3 years depending upon what employer requests, what USCIS seems appropriate based on submitted documents and how much remaining time one has based on 6 year limit. Even though the single petition is approved for a short duration, employer can file subsequent extensions.

      Reply
  14. Hi Saurabh,
    I got my petition(I129) approved on February 10, 2012 and I’m yet to receive my petition hardcopy. I’ve heard that usually it takes 2 weeks time to get Hard copy but 5 weeks passed away. Can you please let me know how long does it takes to get the hardcopy of approved petition? DO I need to do anything from myside?

    Thanks and Regards,
    Randy.

    Reply
    • Randy,
      It is usually received within 1-2 weeks by the employer/attorney. In some cases it can take around 30 days. If it has been more than that and your employer/attorney are yet to receive the copy, then they should call USCIS and follow-up. You cannot do anything.

      Reply
  15. Hi Folks,

    Did any of you get your petition hardcopy after 30 days of petition approval..I got my petition approved on 12th march 2012 and I am yet to receive my petition hardcopy..Give your comments..

    Reply
    • Hi Saurabh,
      I have received H1B extension however my wife on H4 hasnt yet.
      I am in the process of transfering my H1B visa , will that cause an issue for my wife’s H4 transfer as well – as she has not got her earlier H4 extension yet?

      Thanks and Regards,
      Ratul.

      Reply
      • Ratul,
        Does she have a valid I-94 or has the old I-94 expired? If old I-94 has expired, then she needs to wait for extension to come through.

        Besides, only the H-1 is transfered and not H-4. H-4 is tied to H-1 and not to the petitioner directly. So it is possible that your H-1 gets transfered to new employer, and she continues to stay on the basis of H-4 extension (assuming it comes through soon). The only nuisance is that your and her I-94 will be out of sync (one based on transfer, the other based on extension).

        Does that clarify?

        Reply
    • Hi Suj,

      I got my petition approved on February 10, 2012 and I’m also yet to receive my petition hardcopy. When I asked my employer about this, I’m getting only one answer “We just have to wait until we recieve. No follow up can be done”. Please let me know if we can do anything in this regard.

      Reply
      • Randy,
        IMO, your employer should follow-up w/ USCIS to know why they haven’t received the hard copy yet. There is nothing you can do, but your employer can definitely follow-up. In case it is lost, then they will have to ask for a duplicate copy.

        Reply
  16. Hi,

    (my background i worked in usa for 7yrs and visited india on emergency)
    I went for h1b and h4 visa interview on april 05th,2012. VO asked many questions related to my client and employer control over me. VO wrote everything on a paper in the last and hold all the papers (i797,lca,client letter,papers to uscis, employer tax paper with address)except passports as i may need for other purpose as it may take days or weeks.
    Told me to check the case number on their website and white paper slip.

    Today i got an email to send additional documents (updated itinerary and client letter) .
    Please let me know what is itinerary. So that i can send the proper papers to them. Already i have client letter copy as i they took original from me on interview time.

    Thanks,
    Mathur

    Reply
    • Hi Saurabh,

      Here my question is what is updated itinerary , they are looking for.
      I got client letter hard copy dated Dec 08th,2011 and before interview i asked updated date from Client. They email soft copy of updated date March 15th,2012 for this interview. Already i gave them during the interview.
      So can i take one more print out to submit.

      Thanks,
      Mathur

      Reply
    • Mathur,
      They want details of dates (probably tentative) of when you will travel, work on different projects and return. That’s the itinerary.

      Reply
  17. Hi Saurabh,
    I am currently in US on H1B visa. I got this issued through my company that deported me here to work for a US client. I now wish to change my job. My Visa is valid for another one year…can I work for the new company under the same Visa for one year…or do I have to apply for a fresh Visa..and would it be renewal/change of employer or altogether a new visa (like the initial one)

    Reply
    • M Go,
      The new employer needs to file a cap-exempt petition for you (aka H-1 transfer). Once the petition is filed w/ USCIS, you can start working for the new employer (or you can wait for approval to come through before joining them, if you want to play safe).

      Reply
  18. Hi, this Amity. My employer gave me US offer letter during joining (in Nov 2011) as Senior Consultant but could not file h1b visa last year as cap closed – this year, employer gave same offer letter but as Software Engineer (for new dates), same salary – they say my title remain same at company but just for visa filing, they change title (recommended by their lawyers). Is this legal? What can I do? How to proceed? They are asking me to sign changed offer letter (with different title).

    Reply
    • Amity,
      They might have realized that they will have to pay a higher salary based on old title and are changing the title for the purpose of filing. It should be ok as you are still getting the same salary etc. It just means you were offered a lower salary earlier.

      Reply
  19. Hi Saurabh

    My H1B was filed on Nov 2nd 2011 with VSC. I got my RFE last week. Among the list of documents to be submitted,i was asked to submit Invoices.
    1.How many months invoices are needed …One month will suffice/we need to give for 3 months?
    2.Roughly how much time is VSC taking to give a decison after responding to RFE?

    Reply
    • Prateek,
      1. Invoices? Are you referring to payslips here
      2. They can take 2-6 months to process RFE response. However, as the new filing has also commenced, they may do it early as well to clear-up old load.

      Reply
      • 1) Invoices of 3 months they generally look for. Invoice consists of your Billling rate within the project.
        2) RFE are now a days being processed within 2weeks.

        Reply
        • Thanks Saurabh and Dhan! Yes..my Invoices contain my Billing rate for the project….and regd the invoices…i was not billed in Feb as i went for a month long training…Hence i am submitting invoices of Dec,Jan and March.Should that be fine..?

          Reply
  20. Hi,
    My employer has filed a H1B visa application for me, which is approved and now I am filling my DS-160 for visa interview. The H1 Visa application is for a client that is based in US and my company wants me to work for it, however there has been NO discussion with the client to this end and hence I would NOT get any Client letter issued to me. My question is
    1. What are the chances that I get my stamping done without having the end client letter.
    2. I will be having the MSA and SOW plu an invitation from the US office of my employer stating they have vaccancy and require me to come on-site. Would this suffice in place of end client letter. (though in my initial case papers LCA etc., I have filled in the client’s name and address)

    Reply
    • Goyal,
      1. Frankly, pretty low chances
      2. What is the MSA and SOW b/w? Your US office and Indian office or US office and client?

      Reply
      • 1)End Client letter from the BRM would suffice..
        2) MSA is master service agreement which is signed within contractor and Employer and that is also a contract letter.

        Reply
      • Thanks for the reply Saurabh, frankly very disheartening to read “pretty low chances”, seems I am still hoping against hope :)..by the way…The MSA and SOW are between Client and my company.
        Can you suggest something (document) that I can carry that would suffice in this place….(anything but on my client’s letterhead- as it is against there policy to issue letters to sub-contractors)

        Reply
        • ….(anything but on my client’s letterhead- as it is against there policy to issue letters to sub-contractors)—– Yes you are absolutely correct..there were 10 cases in front for me where they asked for MSA/SOW and end client letter in there RFE and all are now approved within 1-2 weeks of time. Client letter suffice it and if you are from top 5 companines of India ….US consulate would never gone ask for it (90%). But better to carry with you. It would be approved for Sure. H1b is pre approved Visa chances of rejection is very low once approved from USCICS site.

          Reply
          • Hi dhan
            So how is a BRM client letter different from end client letter, are you by BRM letter referring to a letter from the American counterpart of my company?
            Also…very motivating to read the lines ….”US consulate would never gone ask for it (90%). But better to carry with you. It would be approved for Sure. H1b is pre approved Visa chances of rejection is very low once approved from USCICS site.”
            But I am still worried as wherever I search end client letter is kind of mentioned everywhere as a mandatory document to be carried at the time of interview. Though the client I would be working for is top 5 pharma company..does this make my chances better

          • First of all not sure..who told you that end client letter is mandatory.

            From our company i guess 15-16 people went for H1B visa interview and all got approved. No one was having any MSA,SOW and End client.
            BUt people who got RFE they were asked for all these docs to have the approval . The word doc that we receive from USCIS about end client has description that it should be on Client letter head. But Client never provide us those thins.
            So i had a word with my BRM who is at client location and he talked with our US lawyer and they directly consult with US consulate. Further US consulate told them that BRM letter would suffice it.
            I underwent all these stages so i know about it in deatiled. RFE mostly gets approved in 2 week from the time of receive.
            You can ask your employer to have someone from Onshore or BRM prepare a letter have it signed/scan and mail it to you. You can carry that(incase required)
            Rest depends on you luck. All the best. But i think Your visa would be approved.

          • Hi Saurabh, Dhan and everybody here
            Just had my Visa interview, a few days before…and the officer was very nice…he asked me a few questions about my employer and my role…dint ask for any document at all…he then smiled and told..”Ur visa will be delivered to you in 5 working days”…
            And that was such a relief…
            However, Nobody asked me for any document even my photograph…is that normal (I went to New Delhi consulate)

  21. Hi Saurabh,
    First of all thank you for the advise you have been giving to all of us.
    I had a question regarding my COS and wheather I lneed to leave the country.
    Heres my situation:
    My non-stem OPT with company Z expired on Aug 31. Company A filed for my H1b w/COS and received Notice of Action on Oct 28th i.e. within 60 days of OPT expiration. Last month my employer Company A received RFE regarding my status at the time H1b was filed and the employer sent the reply to USCIS on April 8th with necessary documents from my school. I have to questions (1) What if the decision does not come before April 28th. When should I leave the country in this case. (2)What if the H1b is approved without COS even though I have maintained the status because my H1b was filed within 60 days of my OPT expiration. If the COS is not granted will I be considered out of status?
    I had read that if a person overstays for more than 180 days of his/her valid stay he/she may be banned for entering US for 3 years. So if the decision does not come before April 28 should I leave the country. Will this rule apply to me even though I have maintained the status but USCIS thinks otherwise.
    Please let me know your thoughts on this. I really appreciate your time and feedback.
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Avantika,
      1. You can stay at most for 240 days beyond I-94 expiration date based on pending COS. In your case, it starts from the day OPT expired. So if it is close to 240 days and you didn’t hear anything, then you should leave US.
      2. I don’t know whether they will start counting from the time decision is made or from the date OPT expired.

      I would strongly suggest talking to an experience lawyer about this.

      Reply
  22. I am working on L1 for company A and client is company B. But now company B is agreed to file my H1. So I understand once my H1 is approved, I can start work for company B from Oct 1st. Now I have two questions here. During the H1 process, I want to visit India in June and come back in Aug time.
    1) If my H1 is still in process and If I visit India what would be implications? considering I have given my I94 no for H1 process documents.
    2) If my H1 is approved before June (before going to India or during I am in India), do I need to get it stamped before coming to US. If I get it stamped can I still work for Company A on L1 till Sept end ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Pravin,
      1. Your COS would be abandoned. You will have to return on L-1 and will remain on that status even after Oct 1. To move to H-1, you either need to file COS to H-1 or get H-1 visa stamped from consulate and enter US on that visa stamp.
      2. Your COS would have been approved before you leave US. You can return on already stamped L-1 visa, and then automatically be on H-1 from Oct 1. No H-1 stamping required. This is the preferred way, and see if you/employer is ready to file w/ PP so that it gets approved before you leave US.

      Reply
      • Thanks Saurabh. You reply would really help me to plan the things. I guess I can convince my employer to file under PP. So here would be plan. New company will apply for my H1 under PP and hopefully I will get to know befoe May end. And I can then travel in June or July and come back in Aug without H1 stamping and continue to work with my existing company till Sept end. Just curious if my H1 is rejected, will I be able to continue to work under my existing L1?

        Reply
        • Pravin,
          That looks like a correct plan. Get it reviewed by your attorney as well. In case of rejection, you can continue to work on L-1.

          Reply
  23. Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you are doing well.
    I wrote to you before. This is my case.
    My H1B petition (EACXXXXXX) was filed on Oct7-2011. It got approved on Feb-13-2012. After two weeks the status surprisingly moved back to “Acceptance”
    Now when I followed up with my employer and my attorney, they told me that your petition got approved and they will be sending the hardcopy in 3-4 working days.
    I am confused because of the status that is still showing as acceptance in the USCIS website.
    Can you please let me know if you had come across similar cases like this. Also can you please give your comments on my case.

    Thankyou for you help,
    Abhishek

    Reply
    • Abhishek,
      It might be a technical glitch or something more than that. If the employer has received the hard-copy then it should have been approved. However, to be on a safer side, they should still call USCIS and follow-up.

      Reply
  24. Hello Saurabh,

    My Employer says that they have applied for Premim Processing of H1B. How can I make sure that they have applied for PP. What status USCIS website will show once they receive PP.Or theydirectly show the decision

    Pls advice me on this.

    Thanks,
    Santosh

    Reply
    • Santhosh, For PP, the decision (approve/denied/RFE) will come in around 15 days. Take the receipt number from you Employer and check the USCIS case status site (https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do) for the status. If it is showing Initial review after 15-20 days you suspect that he did not apply PP. Are you in India or US ? Is your employer India IT company or desi consultancy ? Thanks!!

      Reply
      • Hello Shravan,

        My case is as below.

        1. 27 Sep 2011 : USCIS received petition @ CSC
        2. 26 Jan 2012 : RFE
        3. Now they are planning to upgrade to PP.

        I just want to know what status USCIS website wil show once they receive PP. Because I just want to make it sure that my employer have filed PP or they are just misguiding me.

        Thanks,
        Santosh

        Reply
    • Santosh,
      Once it is upgraded to PP, the online status will most likely flip to Acceptance, and they will start using the word “email” instead of “mail” in the status message.

      Reply
  25. Hi,

    On April 05th i have attended h1b visa interview. Currently working in usa for past 7yrs and VO was very rude from the beginning. And told to sit in the back then after 2hrs they call my name on another window.

    I am working in EC model and got letter from client. And they ask few questions , all related to project , employer business. In the last given white slip with case number to check online. If approve then send passport.

    Please let me know what are the chances.

    Thanks,
    Binny

    Reply
    • Binny, What did he ask you ? and how did you respond ? Is your employer small consulting company or an MNC ? Did he see any of your docs? Based on this we can predict the chances. Thanks!!

      Reply
    • Binny,
      The chances vary from case to case, and there is no one size fit all answer to your question. It will depend upon the documents requested and submitted.

      Reply
  26. Dear Saurabh,
    Hi again. Yesterday I was told by my US employer (for H1B) that the USCIS/ immigration department there has asked for my PCC. And, I was told that I have to go to the RPO (Regional Passport Office) and apply for the same. Could you please guide m
    1. how to get it – apply to RPO or the Police station?
    2. how many days should this take? &
    3. what documents I need to carry?
    4. My biggest concern is that (I feel it’s the same case for all the H1B candidates) I do not have any evidence that I my petition has been filed in US for H1B & that the USCIS has asked for PCC – will they be asking for any such documents? (please note thatI have not been given my EAC number too and will only be able to get that some time in next week -because of the easter hols there). Anxiously awaiting your response.
    Thanks in anticipation once again.

    Reply
    • Ajay,
      1. I don’t know where you should go. You can talk to your RPO if they will issue PCC, else go to your local police station.
      2. I don’t know
      3. You will have to check w/ RPO or police station
      4. Once you know your receipt number, you can track it online to see if the status is RFE (that’s what the status should be if USCIS needs additional documents from you or employer)

      Reply
  27. Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you are doing great.
    I have one query regarding COS from H4 to H1.If say company A has filed H1 without COS for me and I am on H4 currently.Can company A file only COS (i.e H4 to H1)?? If so, how much time it takes? Do we have PP for COS? Also, H4 has been filed by my spouse company (which is not company A).

    Thanks,
    Ram

    Reply
    • Ram,
      Are you asking that A applies H-1 w/o COS for now, and once approved applies just for COS? If yes, then this can be done IMO. Just the COS will take 2-3 months, and there is no PP service available for just the COS. You can check the same w/ A’s attorney as well.

      Reply
  28. Hi Saurabh,
    I appeared for L1Blanket visa interview on April 3, 2012 and VO asked routine questions and said that I and my wife qualify for the visa and issued me 221G pink slip and said that they need some additional questions to be answered.
    They retained my passport and asked me to submit mine and my wife’s CV. Please advice what does this means.
    What are the chances for getting visa stamped and any idea how much time it may take?

    Thanks for help!!

    Reply
    • Manoj,
      When issuing pink slip, they usually do background check on the person. What industry are you and your wife working in? It is usually issued when the job industry is on TAL (technology alert list). These are usually resolved in 3-8 weeks and often result in approval.

      Reply
      • Dear Saurabh,
        I work in Semiconductor Industry and my wife is not working. She is having 1 year prior experience. She left the job in 2010 and she is having MSc in Biotechnology.
        VO didnt ask anything to my wife about her job. It is the Indian officer at other window asked for my wife’s CV. He first asked my CV and then my wife’s. The pink slip does not say that I need to submit her CV, now I am thinking what to be done.
        Regards
        Manoj

        Reply
        • Manoj,
          In your first post you mentioned “asked me to submit mine and my wife’s CV” but later you said they didn’t ask her CV in the pink slip.

          In either case, submit the documents they have asked for in the pink slip and it should be resolved in 3-8 weeks. Semiconductor is probably on the TAL.

          Reply
  29. HI…
    I am currently holding L1B Visa which is valid till Nov’2012. I travelled to USA this april 1st, 2012.
    Now I am worrying about once my current L1B visa expires in Nov’2012, can I apply for H1B visa filing ? Or I have to go for L1B visa extension. With the fact that L1B visa fresh petition or extension are getting rejected 90-95%, I am worried if I have any option to file H1B visa ?

    Thanks in Advance

    Reply
    • Abhishek,
      The employer can file H-1 for you w/ COS. You will be on H-1 from COS approval date (usually Oct 1). Once you are on H-1, you don’t need to worry about your L-1. However, if H-1 is not approved or COS is denied, then you will have to go through L-1 extension.

      Reply
    • sampath,
      Usually 60 days are given to submit RFE response. Exact time given to you will be mentioned in the RFE notice.

      Reply
  30. I have applied for H1B through my corporate. My application petition is approved on Jan 26th and it’s status is in Post decision activity. But I’m not given with receipt number as of now to check it in application. When i ask for the details, I got a response that hard copy of the petition is not received from USCIS and they are saying they have applied for duplicate copy of the petition and it will take 6 to 8 weeks. Is there any chance to miss the hard copy petition or my corporate is trying to postponed my travel date? please advice. Is there any case like me?

    Reply
      • but, they are saying the petition has been lost somewhere while receiving. I would like to confirm whether is there a chance to miss the petition like this or not? or is there any way to track the hard copy petition that was sent by USCIS?
        so after waiting till march, they are saying they have applied for duplicate copy of the petition.
        So it looks like if we dint get the hard copy of the petition, no other go to track it. is it so?
        Please clarify.
        Thanks in advance.
        Kanag.

        Reply
        • kanag,
          Yes, there is a possibility of petition getting lost in transit as it is sent through normal post. Whether this happened in your case or not, only your employer would know. You need to have approved copy of petition in order to proceed further. If they have applied for duplicate, then you will have to wait for it.

          Reply
  31. HI Saurabh
    My petition approved. My client and location is changed in that case we need to apply for an amendment correctoka? How much time it will take for Amendment. Do we have any premium processing in Amendment. Is it RFE’s also will be applicable in the Amendment.

    Regards
    Bala

    Reply
    • KBK,
      Yes, new LCA needs to be certified as amendment needs to be filed. I think PP services are available and it can take 2-6 months under regular processing. Yes, RFE can be issued.

      Reply
  32. Hi Saurabh,

    I am curious to know if a break in educational career could result in visa rejection at the interview?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • rongDecisions,
      It doesn’t as long as you eventually complete the course. It may impact F-1 visa though. You would sitll have to get your degrees and certificates evaluated by an education equivalency agency to know if you have minimum education/experience required for H-1.

      Reply
  33. Nov 17 2011 filed H1B and still in initial review :(. Requesting all of u to respond to this if you are still waiting or got approval for H1b when filed during oct- nov.

    Just to support each other and see the count 😛

    Reply
      • Saurabh,

        My petition was filed on OCT 28th. still in Initial review. 🙁
        how does it really work? those who filed in Nov are hvng status updates.howevr in my case i have waited for 5 long months n i still see the same awesome stat “initial Review”. God bless !

        Reply
        • Friends, See below link

          http://ibnlive.in.com/news/us-hikes-h1b-visa-fee-move-to-hit-indian-it-cos/243862-2.html

          USCIS also said that applications for the most sought after H-1B work visa used extensively by Indian IT professionals for the fiscal beginning October 1, would be accepted beginning April 2.

          Reply
          • No…My friends who have filed on the same day as mine Nov 21st, 2011 @ VSC were approved..and also i see a lot of Nov petitions approved in the below link..:( no idea why it is taking so much time..
            http://forum.murthy.com/index.php?/topic/32150-new-h1b-regular-processing-nov-2011-vermont-center-vsc/page__st__20

          • I believe Saurabh, that they are processing Oct- Nov petitinos together. Also the date April 2 looks very promising to me.
            Lets pray lord Vishnu – Visa God here where I stay . 🙂

            || Om Vashatkaray Namah ||
            || Om Paramatmane Namah ||

          • I received my H1 approval notice from my HR, hang in guys you should also recieve good news soon.

            My petition was filed on Nov14 at VSC.

        • Awaiting,
          Based on the approvals given out in last few weeks, it looks like they are processing Oct-Nov petitions together. Your petition will still get a priority over those filed in next fiscal year (unless they are filed w/ PP). So you should hear something soon.

          Reply
        • Hi Awaiting!!
          We are in the same situation..Mine til now is still in INITIAL REVIEW. It was filed Oct. 28, 2011 @ vsc..

          Reply
          • i understand.. we will wait patiently. i have a feeling they will approve ours soon .. relax for sometime and stop thinking about it.. trsut me it works.. You get it when you get it 🙂 i know that its not impossible.

    • Saurabh,
      as per what i ve learned, there is no way to follow up with USCIS. and the status on their helpdesk number is only the automated version of d one on their site.I have read that they have been processing oct-nov petitions together .
      you are have been doin this for quite sometime. per your experience whats the longest time frame they have taken to process the regular petition?

      My I 129 petition is in Initial review since Oct 28 at CSC.is there kind of a deadline for them to process our petitions? and looks like there is no way i can get it upgraded to premium due to some constraints.also heard that couple of them did nt have a status change but received the approval mail directly.. does that happen?
      Do answer when you find time ..! cheers

      Reply
      • I have read it somewhere that longest time could be upto 6 months , hope it doesnot happen to us. Mine was filed on nov 14 at EAC

        Reply
        • Rohit, congrats . nice to know this. Your status on uscis did not change ?
          I think it was initia review till yesterday and suddenly u got notice from HR. this seems nice 🙂

          Reply
      • Deepika,
        This is correct – calling USCIS will provide no new information than what is already available on the site. Usually the petitions are reviewed within 6 months, but I have seen some outliers which took close to a year.

        As the new fiscal filing will start next week, they would try to get as many old petitions reviewed as possible. Even when new petitions are received, old petitions will get priority over them, unless the new petition is filed w/ PP.

        If one cannot upgrade to PP, then the only option left is to wait patiently. This attribute comes in handy when dealing w/ all these visa/immigration issues.

        Reply
    • Hi All,

      Filed on Nov 21st, 2011 @VSC and i got an RFE on April 2, 2012..no idea wht is the RFE is abt..will update once i knw any..

      Reply
          • thats nice.. two of them already got the updates 🙂 congrats to you both Rohit and Suhasini! 🙂

          • shrkjos,
            Trust me being impatient about it makes the situation worse. jus chill for sometime .things will fall back to its place.

          • hi deepika, m still with u .. 🙂 Mine is also still initial review 😛

            Listening to “Hold on for one more day” this song now days

          • Hi Deepika!

            My case is still in intial review filed oct 28,2011 @vsc..im started to worry now since my friend who filed on the same daTE service center and employer already got approved and now waiting for her package from the atty for her to sched the interview with cnslate..

          • shrk jos & Jhayjhay,
            Lets wait for some time. i also heard that for few of them the status on the website showed initial review But they received the approved petition directly on mail 🙂 so don’t lose d hope 🙂
            Do post your status once you get the approval.

          • shrkjos,

            Hey my petition got approved. like i said,the status in the site says “initial review” but i got the approval mail from Uscis :-)Good luck to everyone.!

          • Wow Deepika. nice yaar. congrats … 🙂 now m only remaining 🙁 ..

            btw you got the mail or your Sponsoring US company HR got this mail.

  34. Hi Saurabh,

    I am in USA on H1 B since last more that 3.5 years. Currently I m in USA. My wife went to India for vacation. She was already in USA for near about 3 year on H4 visa. She went for H4 interview on 5th Mar, 2012 at Mumbai consulate. She got 221G yello slip that “Not in PIMS”. After 1 week she got the email that her admin processing is complete, submit the Passport. She submitted it to VFS Mumbai. After 1 week she got her passport back from DHL without stamping with another 221G blue slip. On that they asked for all the doc related to my employment (like employer tax return, full packet of I129, educational evaluation, cover letter, contract letter etc) and my tax return and my educational certificates. I m working on EC model. Could you please do let me know that what is the chance of H4 visa approval. I am going to send all those doc very soon.
    Thanks.

    Reply
  35. Hi,

    Whether anyone appear recently for h1b and h4 visa together. Please share your experience and the questions.

    I am working in EC model and got client letter , i797, lca, i129, paystubs, w2

    Thanks,
    Mathur

    Reply
    • Mathur,
      In addition to these documents, you would need marriage certificate, copy of old I-94s and wedding card/album. Also you need to be clear about employer-employee relationship.

      The focus of interview will be on your H-1 and if approved H-4 approval should be a trivial.

      Reply
      • Thanks Saurabh for good info

        I already worked in usa for 6plus years and have all these papers.

        Please let me know more on employer-employee relationship.
        My employer office and Client main office is in Same building. My employer daily attend meetings and timesheet get approve from a portal by client Vice President and it sent timesheet to employer mails & approved copy to me.

        Thanks,
        Mathur

        Reply
        • Mathur,
          Based upon what you have just mentioned, you seem to satisfy employer-employee relationship requirements i.e. employer exerting control over your daily/weekly tasks etc. However, the consulate can still issue 221g to validate your responses during 221g. Do you know any other employees who have gone for visa stamping recently? Knowing their experiences will also help.

          Reply
  36. Hi,
    Yesterday I went for H1B stamping in hyderabad.The VO has issued a white slip 221g with admin processing marked and retained all documents including my passport and told me that it would take a day or two to take a decision.I have other visas to other countries and my employer is asking me to travel this weekend.Could you please guide me how to know when we get the passport and is there a way we can ask the consulate to send the passport?I checked the vfs site with the case number given to me but it says the case number does not exist.

    Thanks,
    kiran

    Reply
    • Kiran,
      It can take few weeks to several months. You can track the passport on the VFS site. To track using case number, you should check US consulate’s Hyd website.

      Reply
        • Kiran,
          You can wait for few days to see if it gets approved (like mentioned by the officer). If the delay becomes unbearable, then you can request for the passport to be returned. Your visa stamp would be rejected in this case.

          Reply
          • Thank you Saurabh,

            Can we ask for the passport if the admin process is going to take long and re submit the passport for stamping once the admin process is complete? or the admin process would be stopped and the petetion would be rejected if we ask for passport?

            Thanks,
            kiran

          • Kiran,
            I am not sure about the exact process here. You can mention specifically that you just want the passport to be returned as you have to travel elsewhere and still want the admin process to continue. You can also mention that you can submit the passport after they are done w/ their admin process.

            However, if they get the understanding that you want to withdraw the entire case then they can reject the visa stamp and send all documents back to you. They can even decide to send the 797 back to USCIS to reconsideration and revocation.

            Talk to your attorney on how to word your letter to them.

          • Thank you Saurabh for the valuble information.
            I have valid L1 visa and work visas to other countries.what happens If I

            1.Ask for passport back and continue the admin process.I may have to travel to US or other coutries in the mean time and submit the passport for stamping after completion of admin process.
            2.Ask attorney to withdraw H1B petetion.
            How will it affect me in future?

            Thanks,
            Kiran

          • Kiran,
            1. If you ask for passport, they can consider it as abandoning of the interview and let USCIS know about the same. You need to tell them specifically that you just want the passport as you need to travel somewhere else, but want them to continue processing the visa request.
            2. Why withdraw the petition from USCIS?

          • Thank you Saurabh for the valuble information.If I ask passport back and opt for admin process to continue can I travel to US for a month or 2 on valid L1 I have ?(I can submit the passport for H1b stamping after returning from US on L1)

            Thanks,
            kiran

          • Kiran,
            I cannot say w/ surety how this will play out. They might decide to cancel your L-1 as you have gone for H-1 stamping, or they can leave it as is (in which case you can travel to US). Check w/ your attorney on how to proceed.

  37. Saurabh,

    A quick question, I recieved RFE and due to some avoidable circumstances (personal/family), i want my application to be cancelled and don’t want H1 to be processed further.

    Can this be done? Is there any way I can cancel my application? IF cancelled, would this impact if I file H1 again in future ?

    Please let me know?
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    JK

    Reply
    • JK,
      You can request the employer to withdraw it (they will get a financial impact). You cannot cancel it yourself. If the RFE requires documents from your side, then you can decide not to submit them and let the petition go into denial. If it gets denied b/c of reasons related to you (and not employer), then it can impact future petitions. If it is withdrawn then there is no impact.

      Reply
      • Thanks Saurabh,

        If the RFE is regarding Client letter/contract paper, would that be considered as “reason related to me for denial of application? would this impact future petitions?

        Thanks and Regards,
        JK

        Reply
  38. Hi Sourabh,

    After H1b I am looking forward to apply for Green Card US for permanent residence. Can you briefly guide for the same. Also during H1B interview i heard that we should not show our intention of permanent residence in US to consulate officers ; they might reject the visa and they look for returning candiadate from US, is this true ?

    Reply
    • shrk jos,
      H-1 is a dual intent visa which allows one to immigrate to US. So even if the VO knows about your intent to immigrate, they cannot deny the stamp on its basis. It is more relevant to F-1 and B-1 which are purely non-immigrant visas.

      You need to find an employer willing to file the GC. Once you submit the documents, they would place the ad and later file PERM for you. Once approved, they can file I-140 and once it is approved and your priority date is current I-485 can be filed.

      Reply
  39. Hi,

    My H1 is filed under Out of cap category in Jan-2012. when I tried to check my case in the USCIS website, it shows as “Your case cannot be found at this time. Please try again”. Please let me know why this message is shown and the status of my case is not shown.

    Reply
    • Rajesh,
      It might be technical error. Ask your employer to confirm if the receipt number is correct. If yes, then they should call USCIS and get it sorted out.

      Reply
      • Hi,

        Thanks for your reply. I have few more question, please help me with your answers

        My H1B extension was denied in Mar-2009 and I left the country immediately. Also, my L1-B individual visa was filed and it was also denied on Oct-2011. Now my campany has applied for H1B(on Jan-2012) under out of cap category(for the remainder period in my H1B where my extension was denied in Mar-2009) and it was filed with USCIS on Jan-2012 and got the receipt as well. Hope I am eligible to apply under the out of cap category. I still have 2.5 years remaining in this H1B.

        Reply
          • Thanks again. Also, this H1 I got it in year 2003 but as I mentioned I completed only 3.5years(as I was travelling between INDIA and USA) in USA and finally returned back to INDIA as it was denied on Mar-2009. Sorry to ask you again the same question. Hope I am still eligible under cap-exempt H-1 category(filed on Jan-2012). Please re-confirm.

          • Rajesh,
            The rule of thumb is that H-1 should be from last 6 years. Your petition was originally approved in 2003. I think it can still be used for cap-exempt purpose.

          • Thanks Again Saurabh.
            I spoke to my employer to check my case by calling USCIS as my case number could not be tracked online but the case number is correct. They say they can check it only after 20weeks as USCIS generally takes around 20weeks on the decision. Basically they do not want to check with USCIS before 20weeks. Can I call and check on the status? would it be an issues if I can the USCIS customer service.

          • Rajesh,
            But you don’t want to follow-up on decision. You want to follow-up to know why receipt number is not showing on the site. There is a difference b/w the two. Unfortunately, you cannot call USCIS and only employer/attorney can do that. Try explaining the difference to employer, maybe they are confused about the ask.

          • Hi,
            My employer called and checked USCIS and my case is still in progress. I understand that for some people it takes around 4-6 months to know the decision. Mine was filed on 31-Jan-2012 and it is around 3.5 months now. Does it mean that if it takes more time there are high chances of RFE?

  40. Hi Saurabh,
    Thanks for your comments. They are really informative and very very helpful. I wanted to know that after H1B visa extension denial within how much time does one need to leave the US ? Can it be reappealed with USCIS?

    Thanks and Regards,
    Ratul.

    Reply
    • Ratul,
      If your I-94 has expired, then you need to leave US ASAP after H-1 extension is denied. Your employer can file MTR, but that doesn’t grant one legal status to continue to stay and work in US.

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,
        Do we have some definition or estimate as to what could be asap here. The thing is that once we get to know that the extension is denied and to leave US, one would need to book flight ticket, sell car if one has one , close bank account etc. – so does asap in that case mean 5 days , 10 days etc.

        Also USCIS may provide denial but the status does not immediately reflect on their website or may reach the employer say in 4-5 days.

        Thanks and Regards,
        Ratul.

        Reply
        • Ratul,
          This is a gray area. If one stays for 1-2 weeks to wrap-up things etc, then the same can be reasoned w/ USCIS in future. However, if one stays for a month after denial then it becomes difficult to reason that w/ USCIS in future.

          Reply
          • Hi Saurabh,
            I finally got my visa extension on 4th April after almost 7.5 months and am relieved. Thanks for all the info that you provided. However my wife’s visa who is on H4 still shows initial review. I would have thought that her visa would immediately get approved as soon as my visa gets approved. Is it not so? Does the 240 day rule to stay in US (after I-94 expires) is valid for her too?

            Thanks and Regards,
            Ratul.

          • Ratul,
            Yes it applies to her as well. Were your applications filed together or separately? If your petition got approved, then hers should also get approved soon.

          • Saurabh,
            They were intended to be filed together however due to some reason they were filed separately. Ok i will wait for a few more days for her approval to come through. If i need to expedite to PP, i guess the fees in this case is 325$ right?

            Thanks and Regards,
            Ratul.

  41. Hi,
    My petition was also filed on 20th Oct, but still shows as Initial review. Whereas many of my colleagues who had filed on 19th Nov even have it as approved.
    By when can i expect a response? an last date for petition approval?

    I have written the same thing in someone’s comment.. So please reply to anyone 🙂

    Reply
    • Yogesh,
      They are processing all Oct-Nov petitions together, and so not really following FIFO logic. Your petition should get processed in next couple of weeks. Looks like their plan is to process most of the petitions by April 2012.

      Reply
  42. Hi Sourabh,

    My petition status got changed to RFE and requested for client letter but now I got released from the project and currently am on bench and cant get the client letter. Any idea what will be the validity of RFE status within which i have to submit the document as they have not mentioned any due date. but I heard validity is 2 months otherwise the petition will be withdraw.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Mallik,
      Usually 60 days are given for RFE response. But you will have to see the RFE notice to know the exact time given to respond.

      Reply
  43. Saurab

    Pls nlighten me…i check uscis website it was shawn there that in vermont service center h1b visa to be isued abroad has been processed petition filed til november 20…mine was file october but it still in initial review..i’ mstarted to worry now…do i have to call uscis or let my employer do follow-up???

    Reply
    • Jhayjhay,
      That information is just indicative and implies majority of petitions until that date have been processed. They are currently processing Oct-Nov petitions. If your petition doesn’t get processed by end of this month, you should ask your employer to follow-up w/ USCIS.

      Reply
  44. Hi Saurabh,

    Thanks for all the Info you are sharing through this forum..Its really helpful…

    My Company Filed for my h1B on Nov 2nd 2011 and it was filed with USCIS on Nov 9th 2011 and the petition no was generated on Nov 15th 2011. USCIS website still shows Initial review. My petition no starts with EACXXX, which means its filed with VSC. Can you Let me know how long more i need to wait for the decision.I see quite a few petitions filed around Nov 15th have been approved.

    Need some light on this…

    Reply
  45. Hi Saurabh,
    My petition moved to RFE on 6th March 2012 but my employer hasnt received any RFE notice yet. How long does it take for the RFE notice to reach the employer? How long before I ask my employer to get in touch with the USCIS?

    Reply
    • Vishal,
      It usually takes 1-2 weeks for it to reach the employer. At times, it can take up to 30 days. After that, your employer can call USCIS and follow-up n the same.

      Reply
  46. Hi Saurabh,

    Below are my queries:

    1. My petition got approved on 15th March and the validity of the petition is less than a year, till 3-Feb-13. Why is that some people have got the petition with a validity of 3 years and some with one year or less?

    2. My client is still the same, but the location has changed. Do I have to apply for a new LCA or a new H1B petition has to be filed.

    3. Due to some personal reasons , if I cannot travel by 3-Feb-13, can the validity of the petition be extended. Or a new petition has to be filed for a travel after 3-Feb-13 which will be cap exempt.

    Reply
    • Divya,
      1. It depends upon what your employer requested and what USCIS seemed appropriate based on submitted documents. What’s the duration of submitted contract?
      2. Yes, new LCA and H-1 amendment
      3. Yes, petition can be extended at most 6 months in advance. It’s approval will depend upon the documents submitted at that time along w/ your adherence to immigration laws etc.

      Reply
  47. My petition I-129was submitted in august end and on jan 13 i recieved RFE,then i submitted all the needed documents and on 8 feb it went to RFE response review,but till now i have not recieved any decision,it is a matter of worry as the people who submitted documents in march have also got it approved,please help if anything can be done @ my end.
    it seems my cases has been missed,is it is possible ?
    As one of my colleagues on same and before date got approved and mine is still pending.

    Is 60 days SLA and only after that we can do anything…..can’t we do anything before?

    please respond…..advice what should be done.

    Reply
    • Mothi,
      Even during RFE response review they can take 2-4 months. There is not much you can do except to request for PP upgrade where USCIS will adjudicate it within 15 calendar days.

      Reply

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