Experience – USCIS H1B Petition Approval – A Luck Game !

In H1B Visa by Guest AuthorUpdated : 92 Comments

One of our readers, Amit,  shared his H1B Petition approval experience with our readers. Thanks to Amit for sharing. You can share your experience here 

Background  – Filing H1B visa Petition with USCIS

My company filed the H1B petition in mid Sept 2011, to provide software development services at client location in NJ, US. Client agreed to accept one resource (myself) to travel to their location, but it was not very urgent/demand requirement. My company filed it as non-premium H1B petition with USCIS. As it was Non-Premium petition, and USCIS takes long time to process such request , it was frustrating to wait and to get approval from USCIS. I followed hundreds of tickets in our internal system which manages Visa processing for all employees in my company.

As there is no response from USCIS till mid February 2012, we decided to upgrade the Non-Premium request to Premium processing. Because by this time Client and my company was very keen to get some response on my petition. The day on which we updated the H1-B petition from Non-Premium to Premium,  we got RFE for that. 🙁

H1B RFE Requests 

Now, RFE from USCIS requested  2 major documents
1) Client invite letter on client’s letterhead
2) SOW contract between my company and client’s organization.

It was not easy to acquire both documents. Though somehow we got client invite letter… The SOW was not renewed and we were suppose to send only valid SOW signed from both parties. (Nothing was in my hand, nothing was in my managers hand as well).
Only thing we did was just following up for that SOW till the last minute on 30th April (Which was final date to respond on RFE).

We did not get the SOW and only option we had is to respond to RFE with available documents. And we did that without SOW and kept our fingers crossed.

Now, again waiting cycle started . It was mid May 2012 and we almost considered that this petition would get rejected and we started looking for other options.  The surprise came on 20th May, 2012, when we received confirmation that my Petition got approved (Without SOW). By that time we all had given up on the H1B visa due to unreasonable delays in processing and response pending from USCIS.

Phew !.. Now we have a valid Petition but there are many more issues with that.. which I will share after exercising with it.. till that stay tuned!

US H1B Petition = Its Luck Game

 

   

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Comments ( 92 )

  1. Ramz

    My Fresh H1b Petition is filled this year 2017 and waiting for approval or rejection status. in the mean time Can I travel on H4 to US for 2 months ? is it possible ?

  2. ram

    HI ,

    i am working with one of the MNC and my H1 B case is RFE and am not aware what is the query ( they have not shared ) , now my company is providing Manager letter with out SOW .will manager letter sufficient to get my petition approval …

  3. Robin

    Hi Saurabh,
    Hope you are doing great!
    I have some questions on my H1B visa. Can you please clarify on this.

    I have valid passport and valid H1B visa stamped till 09/30/15 from company “A”. Company “B” filed a new H1B petition which is valid till 05/31/15. When I entered to US I got I94 till 09/30/15 and I started working for company “B”. In between company “A” revoked my petition.

    Now company “B” did not file my extension. Now I am attending interview for company “C”.

    Can you please explain me on my below question

    1. Am I out of status now? As my petition expired but I have valid I94?
    2. If out of status then when can I have to leave US?
    3. If I get a job in company “C” then can company “C” file new petition now as my current petition is expired?

    Please let me know what other option I can do now? I will appreciate on your answers

  4. Raj

    Hi Saurab,

    My employer told that my petition was approved in USCIS website (Before Oct 20th), But still they have not received the hard copy from USCIS .
    How long will USCIS take to send the hardcopy of petition to my employer.

    Thanks
    Raj

  5. arjya

    Hi Saurabh – Pls let me know what are the changes I need to make before going for stamping.
    H1b petition approved with client A in california
    Project scrapped..now I am going for client B in New Jersey. I am with the same employer. Do I need to change only my LCA or also i need h1b amendment? Pls advise. I need to respond in 2 days..thanks

  6. Arjya

    Hi Saurabh – I have a situation. I work with the top 3 IT company in India. I have a H1B petition approved. Initially in my original petition I was travelling for a client in California. But now the project is scrapped. I am travelling for another client in New Jersey. What is the changes needs to be done in my DS 160 and if I need an h1B ammendment or just an LCA is sufficient. My immigration officer says only an LCA is required and I need to put the new work address and stay address in DS 160 and that will suffice. Please advise.

  7. subbu

    Hi sourabh,
    i applied fresh h1b with IT consulting company in US and now working with major MNC. I have following question
    1. my petitioner sent to me ‘request letter’ to consulate and not provide any client letter
    2. my petitioner ask me to convey to officer that this will be in-house project and they will depute to project based on my travel data

    please advise what will be the case if i will go with the same statement

    Thanks,
    Subbu

  8. shivani

    a consultancy filled my H1B for this year but still they are saying that they have not got the status, either selected or rejected. Are they fooling me or its is correct that there is some waitlist.

    pls help

  9. Amar

    My H1B status showing Post Decision Activity, is that means its been approved ? Can I see what was there in the decision button?

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Amar,
      Yes, it has been approved. The approval notice will be received within 30 days. You cannot see what the text was on old buttons. Did you sign up for update alerts?

  10. Md. Meraj Ahmed

    Hi Saurabh,

    Recently I attended Consulate interview on 6th of December 2012 & got 221 g (White form), after that i received a mail which I replied with few details. till yesterday i could able to track my application by case number, but from last night it says invalid case number, may i know what could be reason. same case number was working till lunch in previous day.

    Thanks
    Ahmed.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ahmed,
      Their tracking system is not 100% reliable and often doesn’t provide reliable information. If you are not able to look up the status online, I suggest calling their contact center and asking for the status update from them.

      1. Meraj Ahmed.

        Hi Saurabh,

        Its have been more then 4 months my application is pending up in 221G (White Slip). Still my application status show as “Admin Process” Can we do some thing at our end.

        is this is reliable site “https://ceac.state.gov/CEAC/” as customer case ask me most of time to refer the above url.

        Thanks,
        Ahmed.

  11. Ashish

    I am having a valid L1 Blanket visa from company x.
    Also same Company X also filed and H1b Petition approved on 5th Sep 2012, but NO visa stamping done.
    I have the scanned copies of approval notice, but not original.

    Now the assignment is cancelled and company is filing to withdraw the H1b petition.
    I am still working in INDIA with company X.

    My questions are

    Q1:- Now another company Y wants to sponsor H1b for me, is it allowed?

    Q2: Can I use the same receipt number and apply for Cap-Exempt H1b or or I need to wait for April 2013 for new quota.

    Q3: Do I need to wait until withdrawl is complete before making a new application

    Thanks
    Ashish

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ashish,
      1. Yes
      2. They will have to file a new petition and submit copy of your current petition to show that you have already made through the cap. This will allow them to file even prior to April 2013
      3. This can be done even before X takes an action on your petition.

  12. SS

    Hi Saurabh,

    USCIS issued RFE on my out of CAP H1-Premium case on 20th Sep 2012. My employer has still not received the RFE copy. Is there any chance that RFE copy is lost? Does USCIS delay the dispatch of RFE copy?

    Thanks,
    SS

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      SS,
      The hard copy should be received within 30 days. If the employer doesn’t receive it, then they should contact USCIS and follow-up.

  13. Ahmed

    Hey Guys,

    Just want to clarify, once the application got approved from USCIS, is there any chance of raising a RFE by USCIS … ?

    It will be great if I could know wether this is really possible or not ?

    Thanks,
    Ahmed.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ahmed,
      Usually it doesn’t. But there is a possibility that USCIS discovers something after approving the petition and goes back to change the status to RFE or denial. Doesn’t happen that often, but I have seen few cases.

  14. pravat

    Hi
    Sourav,
    I received the scan copy of I-797c with EAC No. from my employer on 27th Sep 2012. What does it mean? Does it mean my application has been approved? what would be the next processing? my VISA was applied on 11th June 2012. My current status is Initial Review. How long it may take to get a call for stamping? or it may also get rejected at any point of time for any random reason?

    PLZ rply

    Thank You

  15. vivek

    Hi saurbh,

    I got 3b. h1-B petition approved- In transit on 4-oct-2012. I got my approved status through my company Only. As my petition filed with uscis on 27- may-2012. After that how long will it take to stamping process? Is it possible to apply stamping for next year with the help of my current petition approved. unfortunetly In my company, They didnt reveals receipt or petition number to any of the employees.

    Is there any way to track my H1B Petition number?

    Thanks
    sekar

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vivek,
      You can only know the petition number through employer or attorney. As for stamping, you can go for it only after your employer agrees w/ it. Do not go for stamping w/o their approval. You can delay stamping for few months, but remember to carry recent documents whenever you go for stamping.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Dinesh,
          One can go for stamping during the validity period of the petition. Irrespective of when you go for stamping, make sure you carry recent and up to date documents.

  16. Raj

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have an approved petition. In case that gets RFE or denial during visa interview, is it possible for a another employer to apply a new petition using the existing petition from India itself?

    Thanks,
    Raj

  17. Niraj

    Hi I have applied for H1B premium processing and on the uscis site it shows acceptance. My previous visa is about to end ,only one week remaining. I am just wondering if it is legal to stay just because you filed for H1B and it shows acceptance.

    Thank you.

  18. runita

    hi
    i applied my h1b on may 24 2012, i have eac no , am checking daily there are no updates, is there any chance of rejection after 3 and half months…?

    1. SravyaPramod

      My application reached Vermont service center on 25th May…OMG it is almost 4 months. Still in initial review… Dont know wats going on @VSC…!! Totally tensed ..

  19. Ankita Khandelwal

    My employer filed H1B for me in April 2012. I haven’t received any Tracking# to track the status of my visa. Every week i get status updates that the waiting for approval from USCIS. How long does it take usually!! What if the quota is over before my visa is approved!!

    1. Ashish

      Hi Ankita,

      There are 4 different service center where all these petition are processed. Each service center has its own average time for processing. It take 3-4 months avg time to get petition approved from USCIS. Quota is already over for year 2012-13 and quota does not matter once your application is accepted by USCIS. In your case you already got file number which means your case was accepted and will be processed by USCIS.

      Hope your case will be approved in sometime. Some time wait is so long to get approval as in my case. I am still waiting for approval since last 9 months.

      Thanks,
      Ashish

      1. Andy

        Hi Ashish

        Why dont you PP your case ? My I94 has expired and I am thinking of pressing my employer for PP if I dont hear from uscis in a month. Mine is initial review for 5+ months.

        Andy

        1. Ashish

          Hi Andy…

          Mine case went into different mode now. We decided to move my case into PP but before we go we came to know by inquiry that my case got approved on March-12 itself and it was never updated in uscis site till now. Now funny part is that uscis says they already sent approval notice but my employer says that they never ever received it. Now we have applied for I-824 for duplicate approval notice and waiting for the same…:(

          USCIS sucks. Dont rely on online status. :(:(

          1. Andy

            Congrats and Thanks Ashish. Sounds like your case got approved in 5 months.
            I will wait till 2nd week of October and then make inquiry.

          2. Himanshu

            Hi Ashish,

            Mine is also the same case. They have requested for a duplicate notice but there are chances that we will have to apply for i824. Can you please tell how much time it usually takes in the process.

  20. Ashu

    Hi,

    Hi guys,

    Here is my case information-

    1- On 14th Nov-2011 my employer filed application (receipt date is 14-nov-11). Fresh h1b with regular processing.
    2- After waiting 4 month I did not received even my receipt notice and no update on my case as said by my employer
    3- After so many follow up with my employer finally they raised inquiry on my case to uscis.
    4- So many back and forth happend and I was totally frustrated with my employer.
    5- After so many internal escalations today (27-june 2102) my employer provided receipt notice and then only i came to know that my case was filed on 14-nov-2011.
    7- Today when i checked my status on uscis site using my receipt number the current status is initial review :(:( I was thinking it got approved long back..:(
    8- Not sure after 8 month why my case is still in initial review phase as it takes 3 month to process a normal fresh application.

    Guys share ur view on this matter. Hope you all got ur work permit approved. Please let me know if you are still in same sitiuation.

    Thanks,

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ashu,
      There are always some outlier cases which do not get processed in time. Unfortunately yours is one of them. You can either continue to wait, or upgrade to PP.

      1. ASHU

        upgraded my case into premium processing on 23-07-2012. No update till now. status is same as ‘Initial Review’. Few question here-
        1- Will my receipt number will be changed as I upgraded case into PP? May be that is why status is showing same after moving my case into PP. I used old receipt number.
        2- How much USCIS online status tracking is reliable?

        Thanks,
        Ashish

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Ashu,
          1. Same receipt number. The status will update to something like on XXX we received request to upgrade to PP.
          2. At times it is not reliable. Did your attorney/employer receive any communication through email? Do you know if the PP notice has been received by USCIS?

          1. ASHU

            My employer is idiot. They are not providing me status on my PP proactivily.

            I dont know what the hell they are doing… They used to say they will get update in 4 weeks on PP.

            Now dont know what to do USCIS site is not up to date and my employer is not providing me correct details..:(

  21. Medy

    Hi Saurabh,
    Thanks for your help here. One more thing I want to ask , If in case my H1 gets revoke, what will be my option to file new H1 as the quota for this year is already full. In this case , I have to loos my current on going project as well , as I don’t have valid visa to work. How should I produce further ?

    Thanks
    Medy

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Medy,
      Even if your H-1 gets revoked/withdrawn by employer you can have another employer file cap-exempt petition for you as long as your previous petition was approved. You will need approval notice of the old petition or just the receipt number along w/ screenshot of online approval status.

  22. Lohitha

    My petition was filled in mid of Sep 2011, I started reading this site from Nov 2011, I have asked few questions about the petition approvals etc. I was waiting for approval till end of March 2012. I was totally confused and frustrated because of this h1 petition pending, and In the month of April 2012, I posted question in this site saying, what to do to know my case status. Then I got a suggestion from Saurabh, to check with the USCIS or go for premium processing, later I told my manager to consult the USCIS through attorney.

    Last week of April 2012, we got the update. My petition was approved on third week of Dec 2011. USCIS was not updated that in site as well as they have not intimated or mailed the petition. So even though my petition was approved in Dec 2011, I got the intimation in last week of April 2012. I received the petition in May 2012. I went to visa interview in this week. I got my visa.

    This is what happened with my case.!! Thank You to redbus2us.com, doing good information sharing stuffs, which helps others.

  23. Siyad Mohammed

    Dear Team,

    As the cap count is going exhausted soon, will there be a lottery process this year. If so who all are taken into the lottery process ? All the 65 k people who have filed petition or who wish to file after the cap count closure ?

    Regards
    Siyad

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Siyad Mohammed,
      Let me answer through an example:
      – Count on June 15: 63,000
      – Petitions received on June 16: 5,000
      So the quota gets over on June 16, and USCIS received 3000 additional petitions on that day. They would do random selection (aka lottery) of just those 5000 petitions to select 2000 petitions. Previously received 63,000 petitions are not subject to lottery.

      1. Sathesh

        Hi,
        As per June 4th Update, H1B Cap slot filled was 55,600.
        Does it mean that USCIS has validated/taken all the applications received by them till June 1st?
        or is there a chance that they might have left few applications to be validated/taken next working day (June 4th)?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Sathesh,
          They have included all petitions received till June 1. The update was published on June 4, but it is for petition received till June 1 only.

  24. vs

    Hi Saurabh,

    My H1 visa is expiring in Sep 2012, started extension process through my company. Meanwhile planning to bring my in-laws here during September 2012 (which I cannot postpone for personal reasons), for which I have to apply B2 Visa for them.

    Questions:
    1. Can I use current I797 (which will expire soon) to get B2 visa. Will this affect their B2 visa in anyway like, tenure, being approved or rejected?
    2. I would get EAC for extension in one week (not sure), can I use that as proof of my legal stay. Will that be accepted and help B2 visa processing.
    3. As an alternative, can someone else (in Us, not same state) sponsorfor them, but book flight to my place and stay and I take care of them?

    Please advise as to which of the above (or better option that you have) will work for the current problem. Thanks much in advance.

    Cheers,
    VS.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      VS,
      1. Yes, you can use it. It will not impact the outcome of their B-1/2 visa stamp
      2. If they go for visa stamping now, then you are still in status even w/o the extension. So you can send the existing 797, and if the extension has been filed then copy of 797C
      3. It is better for you to sponsor them as your spouse seems like their closest relative. Who else is in US?

  25. meena

    Hi Saurabh,
    My h1b premium processing has been received by USCIS on 26th May. right since few days it shows something known as “OMB Control no XXX” in red below.
    What does that mean?

    1. meena

      Saurabh,
      I forgot to paste the OMB control number .
      After I enter my reciept number and click “Check status” below
      its displayed as OMB control no. 1615-0080
      Expiration date 6-30-2012 in red

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      Meena,
      I don’t know what it means. You are entering the receipt number on USCIS website and getting this message?

      1. meena

        Yes saurabh when receipt number is entered. It shows acceptance ICON (Circle one) but below the page it says OMB control no. 1615-0080

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Meena,
          I don’t think OMB number has any relevance to your petition processing. You can check w/ your attorney as well.

          1. Bhuvan

            Meena,
            The ‘acceptance ICON’ is reflecting that your petition has been recieved by USCIS. This shows the current status of you petition. I believe that acceptance icon is shaded and the next icon is ‘Initial Review’, Right?
            No need to worry about OMB control number.

          2. Reena

            Hi Saurabh,

            My company is filing my H1B today. do u think, I could able to stay with in cap if they submit today, I requested them to send through overnight courier. Do you think they should go for premium processing at this stage

            Please suggest me!

          3. administrator
            Saurabh

            Reena,
            There is a 50-50 chance. Next update from USCIS will provide more clarity.

          4. Reena

            Thank you Saurabh for quick reply. Does it mean that if USCIS receive my petition tomorrow or day after tomorrow (at max) and still if we don’t hear any update from USCIS reg H1B cap count till that time, does it confirm my filing is done part of the cap? Please clarify.
            I believe my employer’s attorney has couriered all my H1B docs to USCIS today(max tomorrow if not today!)

          5. administrator
            Saurabh

            Reena,
            That is correct. If USCIS publishes a report on Monday saying that the quota didn’t get over by Friday and if your petition reaches USCIS by Friday, then you have made through the cap.

          6. Reena

            Hi Saurabh,

            Im in a real trouble. I got an offer letter on may 21st and submittd all my docs on may 23rd. My employer hasn’t submitted my H1 B(NEW) petetion to USCIS, He is saying that my file is with Attorney, and they are submitting on monday, He told that he has got an account with USCIS, from where he knows about cap count everyday, and trying to convice me. He is sure that cap will be still there by Monday? How can it be posible to have an account with USCIS and know about cap count everyday? Im so confused .. Now Im running out of time and dont have any other option..

          7. administrator
            Saurabh

            Reena,
            USCIS doesn’t have any facility for employer to create an account to get daily cap counts. If the employer is so confident, then ask him what count he is getting for Friday June 8th. Then compare it w/ USCIS official count which will be published on Monday.

            Quota may or may not be open on Monday. Good luck!

          8. Reena

            Hi Saurabh and Team,

            Finally , My employer said that my file has gone from Attorney to USCIS,
            I asked him for the shipping Info, He said that Attorney is not going to provide the shipping info. He told that usually he would get letter from USCIS in two days after they receive individual package.

            Does any one of your employer got a letter after they sent H1B petition? If not, how would anyone know that package has been received by USCIS?

          9. administrator
            Saurabh

            Reena,
            Cap was reached on June 11th. Follow-up w/ employer/attorney about the delivery date.

          10. Reena

            Hi Saurabh,

            I couldn’t get in to cap. The attorney sent my file yesterday(11th) evening. I choosed a wrong employer, I dont know what delayed them in submitting mine, They never shared any info about LCA approval or Filing info.. I have follow up them all the time. Last 3 weeks were so stressful after I got the offer, shared the docs and finding out info from them.

            Finally I ended up in a situation, not even able to file it on time. Sorry for taking your time but I truely appreciate your suggestions/support in this blog. I have to look for College or finding out a way to get a work visa.
            But I already completed my Masters in Europe. I dont know, Howz it going to work out,,

          11. administrator
            Saurabh

            Reena,
            Sorry that it didn’t work out for you. Also, don’t be disheartened about the cap thing. Although you have already done Masters from Europe, doing the same in US is still a viable option – it opens new doors for you as you can then work on CPT/OPT, be eligible for Masters Cap, have a better resume and can approach direct employers instead of routing through consulting companies.

            Good luck!

      2. pravat

        Hi
        Sourav,
        I received my the scan copy of I-797c with EAC No. from my employer on 27th Sep 2012. What does it mean, does it mean my has been application has approved, what would be the next processing, my VISA was applied on 11th June 2012. My current status is Initial Review. How long it may take to get a call for stamping? or it may also get rejected at any point of time for any random reason?

        Please reply.

        Thank you

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Pravat,
          797C implies petition was received by USCIS. Once it is approved, USCIS will issue 797A or 797B and send it to the employer/attorney. Only after that can you schedule for visa interview.

          1. Ramana

            But in I-797C it is written…

            Notice Type : Approval Notice
            Class: H1B
            Valid from : 10/01/2012 to 10/01/2015
            Consulate: Chennai.

            So, does it mean I-797C is APPROVAL NOTICE.

            It also mentions NOTICE DATE as September 17, 2012.

  26. Medy

    Hi this one is not related to this post, but I want to ask you something.

    In my case I have more then two vendors between my employer and end client.
    I came to India in Jan 2012, got query (some docs )then submitted docs in Feb again got call and went for interview they told they will inform me the status. after 1 month , in March ,I got possible revocation letter from USICS. My project is still going on and I am allowed to work from India as well. Still waiting on reply from USICS that my H1 is revoked or not.

    Question is what is the best way to go back to USA ASAP?

    Is it possible if one of my vendor transfer my H1 and I can go for interview again ?
    If I want to apply for new H1 , quota going to be problem for me ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Medy,
      It would be better to move the primary vendor and work in EC model (employer-client). Right now you are working in EVVC model which has a very high chance of rejection.

      Your vendor can file cap-exempt petition for you (not subject to quota) and you can go for stamping once that has been approved.

      1. Medy

        Saurabh,

        Here are my few further questions:
        In this situation, Can I transfer my H-1B to some other vendor or my prime vendor? Or I have to file new H-1B ONLY?

        If I have to file new H-1B (With new vendor/prime-vendor), then that will be cap-exempt petition?
        In both case I have to go for consulate interview, thats not an issue!!!
        P.S My possible revocation is due to employer’s mistake and I am also planning to file motion or something after my employer get revocation.

        I will appreciate your feedback/input….
        Thanks

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Medy,
          You can do H-1 transfer to any employer. H-1 transfer is always a new petition for that employer but which is cap-exempt. This means it is not subject to quota, April 1 filing and Oct 1 start date.

  27. Siri

    Hi Saurabh,
    As per USCIS during Acceptance they verify all the documents and all documents signed,fees etc..after that they accept or reject..
    I recieved my reciept number EACXXXXXXXXXXXX but status shows still acceptance,it means wheather it’s accepted or still Acceptance process going on?

      1. Siri

        Hurry…!!!!
        Today it is showing Accepted…
        On June 4, 2012, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER. Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283..

        Relaxed today….but it’s pretty fast..my employer filed petition on May 25th…
        Any way Thank you Saurabh for all my Q’s and clarifications…

        Thanks a Lot!!!

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