Today, April 1st, is a big day for many of you awaiting to work in US on H1B visa. The process of H1B has changed over the last few years, where we moved away from H1B Cap being open for few months to closing out now in 5 days, that’s the state of demand for H1B in recent times, despite many Policies by Trump Administration that impact H1B Program. Applying for H1B visa is no longer based on merit and you are subject to lottery, which is pure luck. Many accomplished and hard-working professionals, including students from Ivy League, probably feel first time in their lives helpless as they are counting on luck rather than their talent and effort. Some of you maybe first timers, some of you maybe 5th timers…we will cover some commonly asked questions and what you can expect in terms of timelines for FY 2020 Season.
Beginners or First time H1B Applicants – What is all the H1B Jargon, Basics ?
If you are a first timer and newbie to this overall H1B process, I suggest you read our article that covers all basics : H1B Visa Basics – Requirements, Cap, Fee, RFE, FAQs
H1B visa 2020 Lottery Predictions ?
Update : H1B Lottery was completed on April 10th, USCIS Received 201,011 Petitions for H1B FY 2020
Many of you might be wondering how many petitions will be filed for this year season, we have been doing H1B predictions for quite a few years now and we have been almost correct all the time with around 5 to 10% variance. We have published this year predictions as well, if you have not yet, read H1B Visa 2020 Lottery Predictions
Basics Regarding H1B 2020 Season – Cap Count, Fee , News, Info – Discussion.
We have put together a page that covers all aspects of this year’s H1B season. To understand Cap Quota, Fee, News and other info read H1B Visa 2020 Cap, Fee, News . Most of the discussions happen on this page, many ask questions, share their updates on this page in comments section.
Timelines for H1B Visa 2020 Season
One of the most common questions during H1B season are the timelines like How long are they accepted, when will lottery happen, when will lottery results come, when will my premium receipt come, many such questions. We have covered all of them below.
How long are H1B 2020 Applications accepted ?
As per USCIS Regulation for H1B lottery , they will accept H1B petitions at least for the first 5 business days from the day H1B cap opens. So, they will be accepted from April 1st to April 5th ( Friday ) at least. If the cap is not filled in 5 days, it will be open beyond that…but, as you know we are expecting a lottery, so very likely first 5 days and until April 5th evening close of business day ! Check out USCIS News on H1B 2020 Starts April 1st
When will USCIS Conduct actual lottery for H1B 2020 ?
This always depends on the total number of petitions received as USCIS needs to do some basic data entry to run the lottery. It usually happens in the second week of April. It can be anywhere around April 11th to 13th. Below are the lottery dates from previous years for your reference.
- For FY 2019, it was done on April 11th, 2018
- For FY 2018, it was done on April 11th, 2017
- For FY 2017, it was done on April 12th, 2016
- For FY 2016, it was done on April 13th, 2015.
When will I get my H1B Lottery Results – How long does it take ?
H1B Lottery results are known when either you get a H1B Case Number Receipt Notice that you were picked in lottery or a H1B Reject Notice indicating that you were not picked in Lottery…USCIS does not really send out reject notices for petitions not selected in lottery immediately, they take their time and send it at the last. First USCIS sends receipt notices for selected petitions, then at the end after couple of months or later, they return the packages that were not selected in lottery. Usually, USCIS issues a news alert indicating that they have returned all rejected packages. Based on history, we can expect it to be around July 30th, 2019. Below are the dates when USCIS returned rejected petitions for previous years.
- For FY 2019, it was July 30th, 2018.
- For FY 2018, it was July 19th
- For FY 2017, it was July 8th
- For FY 2016, it was July 14th
How do I know, if my Employer or attorney has really filed my H1B petition ?
In general, the H1B petition or application is filed by your H1B Sponsor or employer and it is their petition. They have full rights on the petition and they are not mandated to reveal the details of their H1B petition, even if it was filed on your behalf with your details. But, as a courtesy, most of the employer share the H1B petition receipt notices, Mail Tracking numbers, etc. with their applicants. Usually the IT Body shop companies try to withhold information or give wrong information. One of the ways you would know if your H1B petition was filed is to ask your employer or sponsor to give below documents/ receipts:
- Copy of Fedex, USPS or any other mail related tracking that was used for sending your H1B petition. You can use this to check the delivery status.
- Copy of the H1B receipt notice from USCIS, if selected in lottery.
- Copy of the Reject notice, if not selected in lottery. (usually in July )
- Copy of the application package sent with details such as letters/ package info (many may not share)
- Copy of LCA related to your H1B petition ( this only indicates LCA approved with DOL, but does not confirm the H1B filing with USCIS)
Can I call USCIS Customer Service to Know about my H1B petition ?
No, you cannot call USCIS to inquire about H1B petition filed using your details. Only the attorney or the employer can contact USCIS, if any delays or any issues.
Whom should I contact to know status of my petition during the process ?
You should reach out to your employer or sponsor and the designated immigration attorney for your company(if any) to know more about your H1B petition’s status. You cannot call USCIS to get any update, they will not give any information. Once your employer shares your H1B case number, then you can track the status on USCIS website
H1B 2020 Tracker – Crowdsourced for general Insights :
H1B Processing can be very time consuming and frustrating for many as it is like a black box and we need to keep waiting. Having some general insights will help the community. So, we have put together a community to anonymously track your H1B Case or application. You do not need to enter any sensitive information, it is fully anonymous and used by many in the past 5 years. If you have filed a petition for FY 2020, please add your case and help the community.
How about H1B 2020 Premium Processing Receipts, When can we expect them ?
If you filed in premium processing and get selected in H1B lottery, your employer or attorney would receive an email notification regarding the same with case number in it.. After that they will receive the physical paper copy of I-797 Receipt notice. Your attorney or employer should get the email notification by May 20, 2019. Sometimes, email may be missed due to error in email id, spam folder or data entry issues. So, wait for the physical copy in mail to be sure.
How does Cashing of Checks work ? H1B Receipt Numbers ?
One of the other ways to know, if you are selected in lottery, is if your employer’s check filed with H1B petition gets cashed. If it gets cashed, means you were selected in lottery and it would have receipt number of the H1B case on the back of the check. So your employer can check their bank account and know beforehand.
When does the premium processing clock start for FY 2020 season ?
The 15 day SLA for FY 2020 petitions starts from May 20, 2019. It does not mean you will get decision only after that. Sometimes, you may get decision much earlier that the USCIS indicated timeline.
Which Receipt Numbers arrive first ? US Masters or Regular quota ?
In general, Advanced degree receipts arrive first and then you receive the regular quota petitions. Most of the selected petitions in H1B lottery would be informed by last week of May or early June. But, one key thing to know is you will not reject notices right away, you need to wait till end of July for that.
H1B 2020 Cap Count, News Updates
We have also created a dedicated page to track the news, quick summary of the updates for FY 2020, season, you can check it out at : H1B 2020 Cap Count Updates, News