Updated : November 25th, 2015

H1B Visa 2016 Filing Season Complete, Cap reached on April 7th, 2015.

Planning for next H1B season, Check out H1B Visa 2017 FAQs

As many of you know, H1B Visa 2015 quota was over in the first week and a whopping 172,500 H1B petitions were received in first week by USCIS.  H1B Lottery / random selection was held by USCIS to select 85,000 H1B petitions to fulfil the work permit cap. Many of the unlucky ones are already wondering about next year H1B Visa quota. Also, some of you are planning for H1B visa for next year, you also would be wondering regarding the same. This article addresses many of the common questions, it will be updated constantly, whenever any changes to info.  Bookmark this page !  To start with, firstly the news updates on this season, followed by many commonly asked questions.

Official & Unofficial USCIS News Updates Regarding H1B 2016 Season 

When will the H1B season for fiscal 2016 begin ?

USCIS will accept petitions for H1B Visa 2016 season starting from April 1st, 2015.  USCIS did a press release on March 12th outlining the details. Read summary of press release by USCIS on H1B 2016 .

Will there be lottery again for H1B Visa 2016 ? Predictions ?

We had lottery for FY 2015 and FY 2014. The total number of petitions filed for FY 14 were about 125,000 and for  FY 2015, there were about 172,500 petitions… As H1B Quota did not increase for FY 2016, and the demand does not seem to decrease, we would very likely have lottery for FY 2016.  Read H1B Visa 2016 Lottery Predictions, Dates, Results

What is the H1B Visa quota Cap Count ? Would there be any changes to H1B 2016 count ?

H1B Visa quota cap count is the total number of petitions that USCIS will accept for a fiscal year to provide temporary work permit for highly skilled workers.  For the 2016 fiscal year, the cap count is as below :

  • Regular H1B Quota : 65,000
  • H1B Masters Degree Quota ( only US Degrees) : 20,000
  • Out of the above, a total of 6,800 is usually set aside for Singapore and Chile citizens as part of the free trade agreement between them.

As per the press release in March 2015, the quota did not increase.  To give some background, as per the Obama executive action in Nov 2014, no changes were announced to the H1B Cap count. There was proposal in 2013 to increase H1B cap from 65,000 to 110,000 and Masters quota to increase from 20,000 to 25,000 did not go through as of March 2015. At least, for this FY 2016 season, the quota is fixed and it will be as above and no changes.

When should I start planning for H1B Visa 2016 ? What are the steps ?

It depends on your situation. Below are few scenarios and your plan.

  • If you are a student on F1 Visa in USA, you need to plan for your internship/ CPT or OPT employment  at a company that can sponsor your H1B Visa for FY 2016. In my view, you should start now to find something for the fall 2014 and continue that for next spring so that you can file for FY 2016
  • If you are in other country and planning for H1B, it is good to start your process around the end of this year 2014. It will give you enough time to find sponsors, search for job, etc.
  • If you are on H4, L1 or other visa in USA and planning for H1B for FY 2016, you also should consider looking around end of this year i.e. December 2014.

We have published step by step plan, you can read the article How to plan for H1B Visa 2016 ?Step by Step Guide 

Most asked Question – How do I Find H1B Sponsors for FY 2016 ?

This is a million dollar question !  One of the biggest challenges is to find a good sponsor that can offer you a job and wait for you to start work after 6 months of filing your petition.  You should review the detail article on How to find H1B Sponsors for FY 2015. Your first place of start is to find the H1B Sponsors in an area or by company. Use our H1B Visa Sponsors Database to search and filter. Read this article on details on how to search in our H1B Sponsor database. We keep the database updated as DOL publishes data. Do NOT share your email or phone number on our website as comments, there are many people do H1B Sponsorship fraud by requesting money using your contact info. RedBus2US.com never provides personal guidance on H1B sponsors or seeks money from anyone, we only display publicly available data on our H1B Sponsors Database page. We DO NOT sponsor H1Bs or guide anyone. Beware of H1B sponsorship Fraud ! 

What about Comprehensive Immigration Reform ( CIR) – H1B Visa Changes ? What are they ?

There have been some proposed changes to the H1B Visa program to cater to the demand in the  US economy as part of the Comprehensive Immigration reform. Below are some of the proposed changes.

  • H1B Cap to be increased from 65,000 to 110,000 per year.  Also have provisions to have it up to 180,000 in case of extreme demand.
  • Advanced degree from US cap quota to increase from 20,000 to 25,000
  • The Filing fee for H1B could go up to 10,000 USD
  • Additional H1B rules to avoid H1B Visa fraud by employers
  • Mandatory LCA posting for 30 days before it is certified.

These were proposed in 2013, but nothing has moved significantly and all the above are just proposed rules. We are not sure when they will be implemented. You can read  Summary of CIR – Immigration reform – H1B Visa and Green Card  to get an idea. The latest update is that Obama has taken executive action on Immigration in Nov  2014  and none of the below are included as part of that.  Stay tuned for updates.

H1B Visa 2016 Fees – Any changes ? How much does it cost ?

There are various components of the fee. The H1B Application filing fee could range anywhere from $1,600 USD to $4,400 depending on the size of the company. The attorney fee can range from $500 to $3000 depending on the attorney. If you apply for premium processing that is another $1,225. The fees has not changed in the past couple of years for FY 2014 and FY 2015. Unless USCIS revises fee based on immigration reform, it should be same. We will keep you all posted. For complete details of the fee by components and break up, read the article H1B Visa  Fees and Who Pays for What ?

H4 Visa EAD rule impact on H1B Visa 2016 Season ?

As you know, certain H4 visa holders are now eligible for EAD. The H4 Visa EAD Rule Passed earlier in 2015 and is effective from May 26, 2015.  USCIS will start accepting applications for EAD from those eligible H4 visa holders starting from May 26th. The question is that will that have an impact on number of H1B petitions for this fiscal year  ?  It very likely will have certain impact on the number of H1B applications that are filed for this year 2016 quota. Many of the H4 holders, who would now be eligible for EAD, may not apply for H1B visa, just because it gives them more flexibility to work and more choices to work as well. We would have to wait and see, how much of an impact that would have, but it is very straightforward and no brainer for eligible H4 visa holder to avoid the H1B processing.

H1B visa Premium Processing Changes to H1B Visa 2016 quota ? 

USCIS updated in their press release that the premium processing will be accepted for FY 2016 quota and they will only begin that “no later than May 11, 2015”. What it means for the petitioners is that the official 15 day premium processing clock starts from May 11th, 2015 and their petition could be adjudicated within 15 days from May 11th, which would be May 26th, 2015.  USCIS can process them earlier as well, but their new timeline is just indication for setting the right expectations to meet the stipulated time frame for premium processing.

Track H1B Visa 2016 Cap Count updates ?

As in previous years, we have created a page, where would track the cap count updates for FY 2016. You may check out  H1B visa 2016 Cap Count Tracker.

While you wait, you can check out April 1st – USCIS H1B Visa 2016 Season Starts Today, When to expect Lottery ?

H1B Lottery Completed – Official Tweet and Press Release 

H1B Cap Reached – Official USCIS Tweet and Link to Press release :


Any other questions ?

   

Other Articles


Comments ( 28,609 )

  1. Suresh

    Hi Saurabh,

    Currently i am in US now with B1 Visa. I came here before 2 months in the month of May 2016. In the meantime i got H1 B and it was petitioned. I will be going for H1B Stamping in the month of Oct or Nov 2016. my employer is asking me to stay in B1 Visa for 4.5 months till Oct 2016 1st week.

    1. If i am staying for 4.5 months with B1 Visa, is there any problem during the H1 B stamping in Consular.
    2. if so what kind of problem will be there
    3. if i got H1 B stamped with out any problem and travelling to US with H1B, will be there any problem in immigration. if so what i need to do.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suresh,

      1, 2. It may become an issue. Consulate and USCIS closely look at cases where person stayed for more than 3-4 months in US to understand why they did so. I read a case where H-1 (or was it F-1) stamping was denied b/c the person stayed for 5 months.
      2. Your H-1 has been applied w/ consular processing, correct? So why you want to stay for 4.5 months in US? Do you really have a reason to stay?

  2. M

    Hi,

    I have an approved H1B work permit for FY2016 (approved on 30th June 2015). It is valid till 2018. I haven’t got VISA Stamping done yet.
    I plan to switch to another company in India.
    Do you see any issue in getting my H1B Work Permit transferred from 1st company to 2nd company?
    What should be the process I should follow so that it doesn’t get stuck up. I don’t want to end up losing my H1B due to some mistake.

    Thanks,
    M

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      M,

      Find an employer and ask them to file cap-exempt petition for you. They would need copy of current approval notice for this. Once approved, go for stamping and then travel to work for the new employer.

  3. Ravi Chandra

    Hi

    My case was approved on June 29th 2015 but due to my employer delay(Because I applied through my employer with my own money) I was unable to process further to get stamping done.
    Now I have the required documents , As my company showing as internal project and moving on that from Inida to US (Internal project ) which will end in October 2018 as per petitioner document .

    Now here my question do I need to update all/below my documents for interview with latest dates ? and what are the reason I can say for this delay ?

    1) Offer letter with future dates (September ending )
    2) Petitioner document which all showing project start and end date.
    company documents which are showing any past dates (Do I need to change those?)

    What can be the best answer I can say for interviewer for delay
    1) Recently I got married ( but here they can ask without your present project already in middle then why don’t you need to go there etc ..)
    2) Project got delayed ( In this case do I need to change the documents Project start date and enddate with latest dates)

    Also please suggest best place to attend interview I am looking for Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi on priority wise (Presently I am in Hyderabad)

    Could you please give your valuable inputs which will help me to save my money.

    Thanks,
    Ravi

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ravi Chandra,

      1. Yes, get an updated employment letter
      2. Yes, get updated project documents with new dates. If the location has changed, then get new LCA and H-1 amendment done first.

      You should reply truthfully to all questions related to travel delay.

  4. Sundar

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am working for an MNC A in India. My H1B was applied last year through a small company B last year and I got my visa in Oct 2015. It is valid till Sep 2018. Because of some personal reason I could not join in company B and travel to US on H1B. Also I traveled to US in Jan 2016 on B1 for training and KT though my employer A. I stayed there for 3 months and returned back in Apr 2016. Now I am planning to travel to US on H1B to join in company B in Oct 2016.

    1. Will there be any problem in POE as I am going to join in the company after 1 year.
    2. Will they question about my earlier B1 travel and 3 months stay in US.

    Regards,
    Sundar

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sundar,

      1. No issue. Just carry recently dated documents like employment letter, project/client letter etc
      2. They may ask for the reason for travel. Reply truthfully. You had valid reason to travel and stayed just for 3 months; so you should be ok.

  5. [email protected]

    Hi Saurabh

    My H1B was in CASE Received status.My Question is Company A (US consultancy) sponsored me with some conditions like X years contract and some Y% of bugs once I get a job.
    1)Is it a good idea to change my petitioner from Company A to Company B?
    2)If so when can i apply for transfer and how?
    Company B(India) is offering me a permanent position over US(Parent Company B) if I have H1B in hand.
    3) Comp A will com to know about my transfer and is there any chance of stopping my VISA Process?
    I have not signed on any contract papers till now for company A.
    Please suggest me.I will be waiting for your answer.Thanks in Advance.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      [email protected],

      1. I can’t say whether it is a good idea or not. That’s what you have to judge based upon the 2 offers.
      2. B can file cap-exempt petition for you as soon as A’s petition gets approved.
      3. A wouldn’t know about B’s pending or approved petition.

  6. Deepak

    You can travel with your current company documents but this would be a “risky” as there might be questions about your current H1 B Sponsor company, job you do, location etc at the port of entry. There are chances that USCIS might even call the employer and check about you. And imagine a situation where the current H1 Sponsor employer is not aware of your travel and other things and might respond incorrectly to the USCIS officials putting them in a suspicious situation.

    To put an end to all the confusion request your current sponsor employer and see if they can expedite the travel
    Or
    Ask your new employer if they can transfer the H1 even before your travel.

    But on the whole, traveling to US without proper documentation is very risky which might jeopardize your H1b

  7. Suren

    Hi Saurabh,

    My company is delaying my travel to US. And now my expiry is on October 28 2016. I have got an offer from Mycon information systems, they ask me to travel from through my current company documents. They will provide me with accommodation for a month by which time I can get a job and then they will start for my h1b transfer. Can i take this risk ? Can this be practically done ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suren,

      Don’t do that. DO NOT USE your H-1 for travel unless that H-1 employer wants you to travel to US for them. If this new employer wants to hire you, ask them to file H-1 while you are outside US. The new employer doesn’t know the rules and is asking you to take a big risk.

      1. Suren

        Hi Saurabh,

        He has given me an offer letter, he said once we find a job for you we will initiate your transfer. Will there be any problem if I stay there for a month without Salary ?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Surenm

          Again, DON”T DO THAT. You should not enter on an employer’s petition unless that particular employer wants you to work for them in US. You are opening a box of pandora by entering this way and staying w/o pay for a month or so.

  8. Deepak

    KKR, how do you know that your petition was approved? Did you receive the i797 document from your employer? If so then don’t worry USCIS is sometimes late on updating the status on the website. Also I assume you had a RFE on your case and your employer responded to it with supporting documents.

    1. KKR

      Yes, I receive i797 document from your employer and also status updated in USCIS for the same to Approved, Then after status changed to “Correspondence Was Received And USCIS Is Reviewing It”.

  9. KKR

    My case was approved on November 23, 2015 and On July 8, 2016, I did received status change in USCIS to “Correspondence Was Received And USCIS Is Reviewing It”. What it mean?

  10. Mahesh

    Hi Saurabh,
    Firstly thanks for your clarifications. Need clarifications, I am in India and waiting for petition approval,
    1) Once I get petition papers, can I change my India company and future company can arrange me stamping. Is it possible?
    2) After stamping from my current company, Is it possible to me to switch to other Indian company and can I travel from future company with same H1B VISA?
    3) Generally how long the Petition paper is valid? I mean can I use same this year petition papers for next year or do I need to again apply for H1B applications.
    Thanks in advance.
    Mahesh

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Mahesh,

      1. Yes
      2. Yes
      3. New employer can typically apply for new petition within 6 years of original approval date.

  11. Mahesh

    Hi Saurabh,
    Could you tell me if the timeframe details mentioned on this USCIS weblink
    http://redbus2us.com/h1b-visa-2016/comment-page-191/#comment-990555
    Is this realistic? or just a reference. The H1-B or I-129 category for Vermont location supposed to be done by now for all. Could you tell about this.
    Also question, should I get my updated LCA for below scenarios while going for stamping,
    1) if my client changes but client location remain same
    2) if my client changes and client location changes
    3) if my client same but client location chnages

    4) though my client/location chnages, can I still go ahead for stamping with old LCA and get updated LCA at the time of travel? Please suggest.
    Thanks in advance.
    Mahesh

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Mahesh,

      New LCA is required if the location changes (doesn’t matter client is same or not). If the new location is not in same MSA, then new LCA and H-1 amendment is required.

      1. Mahesh

        Thanks. What is MSA ? Is it my project contract agreement document ? Typically how long it takes to get H1B amended.
        1) How long for H1B amendment?
        2) How long for LCA amendment? Thanks

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Mahesh,

          To know about MSA, read here

          1. You can check the processing time on USCIS site for your service center. Typically it is 2-6 months.
          2. There is no LCA amendment but a new LCA filing. It would take couple of weeks.

  12. Jet

    Hi Saurabh/ Kumar,

    My H1 Visa got approved, and now I am planning to go to US to my friends city to stay there for some days instead to my work location.

    Can you let me know will there be any issue at POE because my work location in client letter/ LCA is different from the place i am travelling, What are the chances of getting through at POE?

    Is it worth taking risk or should i book flight ticket to my work location also and go to my friends place for some days and show ticket as proof at POE?

    Please clarify.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Jet,

      The recommendation is to travel to work location and then travel to friend’s place later. However, if you do plan to land at friend’s location be ready to answer possible PoE questions around it. In such a scenario it would be better that you have domestic flights already booked to work location. In addition, your employer should be aware of this travel plan. How long do you plan to stay at friend’s place?

  13. Suja

    Hi saurab
    I completed Masters from School ‘A’ in USA in Dec 2014 and joined School ‘ B’ in Feb 2015. I got through H1B lottery in April 2015. It went to RFE and got stuck in security check now. My I-20 from School ‘B’ is valid till Jan 2018.

    Will my case come under ‘Cap Gap’ automatically ? I don’t want to attend my School ‘B’ any more. Can I continue to stay in USA pending decision from USCIS for change of status from F1 to H1B as my H1B petition pertains to School ‘A’ and not School ‘B’ ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suja,

      You are not in cap-gap as you are still studying at B and have a valid I-20. Cap-gap is invoked only if your I-20 has expired and H-1 petition is still pending COS.

  14. H12015

    Hi Saurabh,

    After long waiting of my RFE, I have below status on my application. I didnt check in last two months I dnt know in that time what happened.

    What exactly the below status says ?

    Correspondence Was Received And USCIS Is Reviewing It

    On June 23, 2016, we received your correspondence for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

  15. J

    Hi Saurabh

    I got my H1b approval notice on March 2016, My petition validity is only till Oct 2016.
    I am going for visa interview this week,
    Will there any questions or issues due to my petition validity.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      J,

      They may ask about the approaching expiration date. You can say that approval process took time and the employer plans to file for extension soon after.

      1. J

        I have attended my Visa Interview on Jul-8-2016, and it was approved.
        Today i checked that my visa status in CEAC and it shows “Administrative Processing”.

        How to get the reason why it is in Administrative Processing.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          J,

          It could be for various reasons and one can only guess here. At times, they are trivial and get resolved within few days.

  16. Suren

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a stamped visa in hand, if I do h1b transfer with another employer do I need to go for stamping again ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suren,

      No new visa stamping is required due to change of employer as long as old visa stamp has not expired and has not been marked as canceled in the passport.

  17. Suren

    Hi Saurabh,

    My h1b was approved for one year and expires on October 28 2016. Currently my organization is processing Amendment for Chicago.

    Question 1.

    Is there a timeline in which I have to travel to US so that I can extend visa .

    E.g . Like I have to travel 2 months prior to expiry so I can extend visa after reaching US.

    Question 2.

    Is there any minimum time for applying extension after reaching US ?

    E.g. Like I have to apply for extension before one week or month before expiry ?

    Kindly help me.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suren,

      1. Check w/ your employer if they have applied for extension along w/ amendment. I would expect them to do so as your current petition is expiring in next few months. You can enter even 1 week prior to petition expiration date provided your employer has all the paperwork ready to apply for extension soon after you land in US.
      2. Extension needs to be applied before current petition expires (when you are inside US). If you are outside US, then extension can be applied even after current petition expires.

      1. Suren

        Thanks Saurabh,

        can we extend the petition after expiry when I am in india ?
        My company told if it expires then we have to do cap exempt only

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Suren,

          Extension is a cap-exempt petition. Any petition like extension or transfer which doesn’t go through the cap is a cap-exempt petition. So they all mean the same thing.

  18. H12015

    Hi Kumar,
    After long waiting of my RFE, I have below status on my application. I didnt check in last two months I dnt know in that time what happened.

    What exactly the below status says ?

    Correspondence Was Received And USCIS Is Reviewing It

    On June 23, 2016, we received your correspondence for Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker

    1. Indiguy

      It simply means they are in receipt of your RFE documents and they will start reviewing it. It takes time for non premium petition to get updated on USCIS website.

  19. Rakesh

    Hi Saurabh,

    Good Day..

    Can you please tell me from when 2016 cases approvals will be started?

    Mine is Normal Processing thanks.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rakesh,

      Processing has already started and few have received approvals under RP. You should see movement on your petition in new few weeks or months. No SLA though.

      1. Suja

        Hi saurbh
        Thanks for ur quick reply.
        Others also waiting.
        The employer got the same message from uscis for other people
        Too.
        Anyhow we contacted the employer and he said that his attorny
        Will talk to uscis.
        Let us hope for the best

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Suja,

          If others are waiting as well, then most likely it is stuck in security check related to your employer.

    2. Suja

      Hi saurabh
      I need. One information from u. Last year rfe still in a pending case.
      After we enquire the status and we got the reply from uscis
      Thank u for ur request and uscis will review and process
      Expect a reply by june 26
      What do u think.
      Ur quick reply will be appreciated
      Thanks

      1. administrator
        Saurabh

        Suja,

        Probably stuck in security check. June 26 has passed. Did employer follow-up again? Do you know if other selected petitions from this employer are approved or still pending.

  20. Gaurav

    Hi Saurabh,
    My H1 was approved in Sep 2015 but I did not go to visa interview due to some reasons…Now when I check the visa appointment wait times it says 108 days …Do I really have to wait for 108 days or am I wrong ? Please advice.

    Also will there be any problem at the visa interview for waiting soo long ? Im really tensed.

    1. PA_Kolkata_84Days

      Hi Gaurav,
      Seems u Based out Hyderabad,
      You can check available PA date with below link.

      https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en.html

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      Gaurav,

      The dates are pretty backlogged in India. So you have to wait for those many days to appear for visa stamping. Visa stamping can go either way depending upon your case and related information. It is not impacted by how long you had to wait for your interview date.

      1. Gaurav

        Thanks Saurabh..

        So will the start date be 2016 or would it still be Oct 2015 no matter when I get my appointment and visa stamping done ?

        If so, Is there any way I could recover the time lost without even stepping in the US ? I think Im gonna lose close to 1 year if the start date is Oct 2015

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Gaurav,

          The visa stamp’s start date would be the actual date on which visa stamp is approved. The end date would be same as your petition end date.

          You are not losing anytime. On H-1, you can continue to apply for extensions and transfers until you have spent 6 years inside US on H-1. As you have not travelled to US yet, you still have 6 years of H-1 left irrespective of when stamping happens.

          1. Gaurav

            Thanks again Saurabh…
            That’s a good thing if you are right and I hope you’re right …but from what I heard ( could be wrong ) the Visa Stamp start and end dates would be the same as the dates on my i 797B…( 10-1-2015 to 9-1-2018)

            I request you to kindly read the below carefully.

            Are you sure the Visa Stamp’s start date would be the day I go for the interview and pass and not the petition start date ?

            If you’re saying Interview date is the Start Date on the Visa stamp,
            Does counting of 6 years starts from the interview date (Start Date on Visa Stamp) OR the day I step in the US OR the petition start date ?
            Please advice…
            sorry if you think Im repeating the same questions

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            Gauarav,

            That is true if the petition is starting in future. Let’s say if you appear for stamping in May 2015, then the dates would have coincided. They are not going to backdate the visa just because petition approval date was in the past.

            6 years include only the time spent inside US on H-1. So it will start the day you land in US, and stop/pause the day you leave US.

          3. Gaurav

            Thanks a lot Saurabh…How do you know soo much are you an attorney ?
            I guess I got what you said in your last response……and it makes sense too…..So basically what you’re saying is ,
            If the petition start date is Oct 1 2015,
            And even if I appear for interview in May 2015 the Visa Start date would still be Oct 1 2015 .
            But If I appear for interview in July 2016 the Visa Start date would be July 2016….
            Right / wrong ?

          4. administrator
            Saurabh

            Gaurav,

            That’s correct. I am just another H-1 holder like you. Had I been an attorney I would have been charging instead of giving out free advice 🙂

  21. Indiguy

    BeHappy,

    For Question# 4, an expert attorney on immigration can answer it. I’ve seen cases where people have filed H1-B before 1 yr cooling off period and now working/staying in the US without any issues and concerns.

  22. Indiguy

    BeHappy,

    I think most of queries you have already been answered. Anyway, for your clarification here it is again.

    1) Answer not required.
    2) Answer not required.
    3) You can stay for another ~3 yrs plus anytime that you spent outside US during your first 3 yrs of stay in the US on L1B.
    4) I think you mean May 2017, in that case also you will get ~3 yrs on H1B, please see Saurabh’s reply to my post below. You will get only 3 yrs because you applied for H1-B before cooling off period of 1 yr and clock didn’t reset, that mean you have to wait for complete 1 yr before starting the process again to get full 6 yrs.
    5) Yes
    6) Yes, you can travel back and forth. Matter of any trouble is questionable and it all depends on CBP (Customs and Border Protection) officials. Usually, they don’t trouble anyone without any reason.
    7) Around 1 year.

    So, in overall you can’t get full 6 yrs with your H1-B and your best bet is to get the stamping and travel by end of Sept-2016 rather than waiting till May 2017 because you will get only ~3+ yrs to stay no matter when you travel with new H1-B.

  23. BeHappy

    One Question: I stayed in US for 3 years on L1B and awaiting H1B stamping in India. If I travel with H1B and gap less than 1 year from my last stay in USA, how long I can stay? also if I travel after a gap of 1 year, how long I can stay in USA.
    If any company files GC for me, then I long I can stay? Thanks in advance.

    1. Indiguy

      3 years. Better stay back and complete 1 year out of the US if you are almost there otherwise you will be allowed to stay for 3 years unless your employer files for greencard.
      If you come back to the US after 1 year of your stay outside US then you have full 6 years.

      1. BeHappy

        Thanks, Say I came back to India after 3 years stay in USA with L1B VISA on March 2016, and if I get my H1B VISA by October-2016 and travel back USA (8 months gap in India), Will this 8 months also considered as part of total 6 years permission?
        1) Total 6 years means March 2019 or March 2019 – 8 months (india stay) = May 2018?
        Also, if company applies GC, then how long I can stay ?
        1) Is it till GC is approved?
        2) Or is there constraint like I should not travel back to India till GC is processed (to keep GC application status valid)?
        Please clarify, thanks in advance.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          BeHappy,

          1. Only time spent inside US is counted.
          2. There are several stages of GC process. If PERM is pending for more than 365 days or PERM is approved but I-140 is pending, then you can get further extensions in 1 year increment. If I-140 is approved, then you can get further extensions in 3 year increments.
          3. No such constraint.

          1. Gaurav

            Hi Saurabh,
            My H1 was approved in Sep 2015 but I did not go to visa interview due to some reasons…Now when I check the visa appointment wait times it says 108 days …Do I really have to wait for 108 days or am I wrong ? Please advice.

            Also will there be any problem at the visa interview for waiting soo long ? Im really tensed.

        2. Indiguy

          BeHappy,

          As Suarabh said, time spent inside US i.e. you can always recollect the time you have stayed away mean the time you spent in India for a month vacation and so on.

          3 years mean 3*365 days. 8 month time you are staying away and it is not counted towards H1-B. Since, you are already out of the US for 8 months, I would suggest spend 4 more months and get full 6 years in your hands unless you are in hurry and stay Happy :-).

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            Indiguy,

            One correction to your post – the clock is not reset if his H-1 was applied before 12 month cooling period was over. The clock is reset only when H-1 is applied after staying outside US for more than 1 year.

          2. Indiguy

            Saurabh,

            I’ve seen cases where people have started H1-B process before completing 1 yr cooling off period, got through everything and working without any issues in the US. So, it is a matter of clarification and may be some Attorney can answer it correctly.

          3. administrator
            Saurabh

            Indiguy,

            There was one case in this filing season, where RFE was issued for this reason. Yes, in the past I have seen instances when this was not the case, but more recent experience says otherwise.

          4. Indiguy

            Saurabh,

            I’ve seen quite a few cases in 2012. If that’s the case then people who are already in the US and their greencard is under process, then they might face the heat from USCIS about their stay. I’m saying so because of the stringent scrutiny USCIS is doing now a days.
            Just my thoughts.

  24. Gaurav

    Hello Saurabh/Admin,

    I applied for H1B this year(2016) , however , based on reply from Consultancy through which i applied , my petition is rejected,didnt got through the lottery.
    I want to know if that is really a case , how can i know?
    Do i need to ask the employer for the rejected letter from USCIS?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Gaurav,

      Yes, you should ask for the rejection letter. Sample rejection letters have been uploaded on this blog (see latest article from Kumar). The letter should have your name, employer’s name etc.

      1. Gaurav

        Ok , looking at the H1B fees blog here , it appears i was not asked the right amount require of Visa filing and it made me suspicious if they forwarded my candidature for lottery .
        Can you tell me other than rejection letter what else is returned which i can enquire with the consultancy!

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Gaurav,

          The package is returned which contains rejection letter and other documents submitted by the employer. The only letter added from USCIS side is the rejection letter and so looking at it would make it certain that the petition was applied but not selected.

    2. BeHappy

      Thanks Saurabh and Indiguy for your very invluable response.I just need below clarifications,
      If my travel details are like below,
      1) I stayed in USA with L1B from May 2013 to April 2016 (Around 3 years, travelled back to India end of April 2016)
      2) My company applied H1B on April 2016 (This year when I was still in USA and lottery is through)
      If my H1B is stamped in October 2016;
      3) If I travel to USA with H1B on October 2016 (after 7 months spent in India), How long I can stay in USA with H1B?
      4) If I travel to USA with H1B on May 2016 (After 1 year spent in India), How long I can stay in USA with H1B?
      5) If PERM and I-140 both are approved, then can I apply H1B extension multiple times till GC is approved?
      6) while PERM and I-140 are approved and H1B extension also received, during this period, can I travel back to India and come back Or will there ne any issue at POE?
      7) What is typical/average timeframe for BE graduate to get PERM and I-140 approval?

      Thanks in advance
      BeHappy

      1. administrator
        Saurabh

        BeHappy,

        3. You can stay for 6 years minus time already spent inside US on L-1
        4. Same as (3). USCIS recently claimed on a petition that application filing date determines clock reset. As your petition was filed before you stayed outside US for 1 year, clock is not reset
        5. Yes
        6. No issues. You will have to go for H-1B visa stamping if the same has expired
        7. Preparation work for PERM could take 6 months, PERM processing would be another 8-10 months and I-140 processing would be 4-6 months. You can take it as a 2 year process.

  25. BeHappy

    Need help: My L1B extension was denied April 2016 (stating specialized skills not meeting criteria), However my H1B lottery got picked and waiting for Approval notice. Does my L1B extension denial will have any impact on my H1B process or is it totally different. Please suggest and till what date approval process goes on?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      BeHappy,

      L-1 extension denial will not impact the H-1 petition. Are you inside US? If yes, then you would have to leave US once L-1 is denied. You can return on stamped H-1 visa around Oct 1.

      1. BeHappy

        Thanks. I am already in India now. What is timeframe to get approval notice from USCIS for H1B as actual working will start October 1st onwards. Does this approval process goes beyond October? Also as L1 extension was not through, should fill any form asks if previous visa rejected as Yes or just No. As L1 visa was through but not extension. Also I am putting same skills/role whatever I filled in L1B application. Please advice.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          BeHappy,

          Most of them will be processed by Oct, but there is no such SLA. So some may get delayed beyond Oct, especially the ones which have RFE issued.

          When completing your DS form there is a question asking about previous visa denials/refusals. Answer to this should still be No if just your L-1 petition was denied but not the visa stamp. However, if any future employer asks about past denials, then you need to tell them about this one as well.

          1. BeHappy

            Thanks a lot Saurabh Sir, Your portal and clarifications are really very helpful. Have a nice day.

  26. H1B Raja

    Hi All,

    My H1B visa got approved on Nov2015, but my company(US Employer) has not sent for h1b stamping due to lack of projects. They told to wait till the situation comes to normal. What are the options I have now apart from wait and watch?

    a. Can I know for how many years this H1B is valid without stamping.???

    b. Is there any other option to enter US??

    c. can I apply for H1B transfer with a new employer now?

    Kindly suggest…

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      H1B Raja,

      1. That particular petition is valid for the period mentioned on 797 doc. Usually it is 3 years but could be 1 or 2 years as well.
      2. Find another employer, get cap-exempt petition filed and approved, appear for stamping and travel to US to work for the new employer
      3. Yes

    2. malathy

      Hi anyone got reciept from logic planet for this year and any one h1 b visa got approved from logic planet last year.
      thanks ur quick reply can be appreciated

  27. H1b2015Case

    Hi Saurabh, Kumar, Others,

    My case is from last year and in RFE status.
    I just got to know from some other consultant that we can get to know that status update through attorney in case the consultancy is not responding . And once selected in lottery it is cap exempt and can be transferred to other consultancy. Is this correct?

    1. sms

      Same case – Experts Please reply to me
      Hi Saurabh, Kumar, Others,

      My case is from last year and in RFE status.
      I just got to know from some other consultant that we can get to know that status update through attorney in case the consultancy is not responding . And once selected in lottery it is cap exempt and can be transferred to other consultancy. Is this correct?

      Thanks
      Sms

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      H1b2015Case,

      You are eligible for cap-exempt petition only after the initial petition has been approved. If it is still pending, then you are not eligible for cap-exempt.

      1. RAJA

        Hi saurabh,

        My case H1B got picked and RFE for projected related query but it was insufficient so that it got denied.

        Can I apply/resubmit with another project with current employer? Or how can I go through it when my case is denied for project related RFE?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Raja,

          Your employer can either file an appeal/MTR against the original decision, or apply next year in the cap. You are not cap-exempt and so another employer cannot file a petition for you this fiscal year.

  28. Stem Student

    Hello ,

    I am working for employer A and I applied for my stem opt extension and received an RFE to submit the new I20 by completing the I983 form by 08/15/2016. My current OPT period was going to expire by 06/30/2016

    Employer B has sponsored my H1B and currently it was under processing and received an RFE .

    Can you please provide a suggestion for the below questions

    1) If I apply my stem OPT extension with employer A and H1B process with employer B will there be any effect for the stem extension & H1B process ? Because both are different employers
    2) I will respond to my H1B RFE by this week , if it gets approved do I need to change my employer to employer B ? or else can I continue working with my employer A until october 1st 2016 ?
    3) Can I continue my H1B process with my employer B and Stem extension process with employer A ?
    4) Can I apply for Cap Gap once my H1B gets approved and with draw my current stem Opt application ?

    1. XYZ

      I am also in the same boat. I am with employer B on opt ..but employer A has applied h1b and is pending. Can I apply for cap gap with employer B?

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      Stem Student,

      1. No issues
      2. No change required. You would have to stop working for A on Sep 30 and join B from Oct 1. This makes assumption that H-1 is approved w/ COS
      3. Yes
      4. You can do that. Wouldn’t A come to know about B’s H-1 once you move to cap-gap as they would have to get updated I-9 from you.

    1. suja

      hi
      is it for last year we are also waiting for last year.
      that is why
      congrats
      if it is last year can u write to us the consultancy and what was the rfe and when did u submit ur rfe.
      thanks

      1. H1b2015Case

        Hey Suja,

        My case is also from last year and in RFE status. Did you find out any way of transferring to other consultancy, or getting status update through attorney or something?
        You applied through which consultancy?

  29. Deepak

    You should believe your employer with receipt number that he has shared with you. And the only way you can confirm is to ask for a scanned coy of the receipt and verify the number he has provided to you. Most cases if the employer is genuine, there could be very less chances of error on the receipt numbers. Meanwhile Good luck with your RFE…

  30. Little Confused

    Hi Saurabh,

    Please suggest
    I got H1 approved last year Nov 15 , I’m in India and now I got the project but not able to get the stamping done before Aug as appointment slots are not available .

    But I’ve 10 years BI multiple USA visa valid till 2024. Can I go there and then start the project on H1?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Little Confused,

      Do not travel on B-1 if your intent is to work on H-1. Keep checking dates and maybe something will pop-up. Some folks are also exploring options to appear in Dubai or Colombo, but I don’t know if they have been successful or not.

  31. 221-gTringApps

    Hi All,

    I appeared for visa interview from Tringapps. Unfortunately I got 221g white slip asking for detailed project document. Is there any one who applied by Tringapps and got 221g. If yes, could you pls tell how long they took to submit the documents. ANd what is your status now?

    Thanks

  32. Anil

    I received the receipt number from my employer last week when I checked it in the USCIS it is showing status as RFE. How would I know that receipt number is mine or not….coz he is not sending the scanned copy of receipt number….any suggestions….

    1. Indiguy

      There is no way you to find whether the receipt belongs to you or not unless you have the receipt notice. You employer is the one who should be providing you with a copy of it.

  33. Amendment

    Hi,

    Received LCA certified and filed petition to USCIS for amendment in regular process.

    How long will it take to get I-129 and receipt number?

    Thanks!

  34. Jagadesh

    Hi Friends,

    Don’t believe Ardent Technologies INC, this is cheated consultancy for H1B. This consultancy having branches in India.
    From India Subba Ancha(91-7702840596), From USA Jasti point of contact persons. Recently one incident happened, Recently some persons travelled to USA, in the board of entry immigration people are questioned about ardent and immigration team tried to call ardent technologies people but ardent not responded and those people again came back to india, and also whatever given documents those are fraud. So dont believe these stupid people.

    1. Malathy

      But how come ur H 1b visa got approved.
      Before approving H1b visa it is their duty to check.
      If it is fake they should have approved
      Any how u have written about the consultancy when is ur H1b got
      Approved
      Good

      1. Jagadesh

        Malathy,

        Yes it is approved, but after approved travelled to USA, In the immigration team are questioned about Ardent technologies INC, we provided all the documents to immigration team, after that immigration team tried to call Ardent people, but they are not picked the calls, before travelling we informed to Ardent technologies people, even if we informed they are not responded to immigration team. Once we came back to India we tried to call vas appalaneni(Ardent CEO) so many times and we sent a mail to so many times, still now they are not responded. Here(India) we worked in MNC’s and once it is approved we resigned current company and travelled to usa and at the same day came back to India. This is very critical situation. 10 days back again one of the persona travelled to usa, and again immigration team are questioned and tried to call ardent technologies, then ardent responed but ardent people told to immigration team right now we dont have any openings for suitable openings for him/her. Now think about in my place how is situation. Yes malathy i agree your point but approving visa team is different and immigration team is different. Dont think once visa approved means reached to USA, the main focus is have to clear immigration round. But your employer having any issues or any bloked list immigration team found that one.

        Here am wondering ardent technologies inc people are telling dont have any branches in India, but i found one of the branch is there in hyd that consultabcy name Ardent technologies(Hafeezpet, Hyderabad). I given contact number bloody idiat subba ancha delaing india branch, Both are same. The main focus is ardent technologies only money.once we given money they wont responded.

        1. Malathy

          Hi jagadish
          Sorry to hear about ur case.
          Thanks for sharing ur news,
          Can I ask u some more questions
          What was ur rfe
          When it was approved
          Can u write to me
          Thanks

          1. Jagadesh

            Hi Malathy,

            I got RFE on september and my stupid employer(Ardent technologies INC) Responded on dec and case was approved on Feb 2016.

          2. Well wisher

            As per USCIS, All the Visa expenses should be paid by the Employer only. Company wants you to work there as they are not able to find skilled resource for that particular Project there in US. If you are paying to some company means you are doing Fraud with USCIS.

            That’s the reason your Visa is Cancelled.

            For all other readers, It’s a Big risk if you are going via Consultancy. You will loose your current job and money both.

    2. Malathy

      Hi one more suggestion to mr.jagadish
      If u have H1b visa and. U can try another company in US provided if they havenot can cancelled ur h1 b visa.
      Mr.Saurbh Can clarify I don’t know I am right or wrong
      Ok

      1. Jagadesh

        Hi Malathy,
        My visa cancelled with comments(VISA CANCELLED WITH PREJUDICE pursuant to 22 cfr 41.122(h)(3)/(4) of the INA) and in the passport next page one more stamp is there(Application for admission withdrawn W39007).

        Am not sure what is these comments.

        @Saurabh, could you please help me about above points, i mean
        1.can i transfer my h1b to another employer?
        2.or can i apply to new h1b?

        Please help me on these points

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Jagadesh,

          As it was canceled with prejudice it may be accompanying a ban of entry to US. You should talk to a good immigration attorney to explore all your options.

        2. Well wisher

          As per USCIS, All the Visa expenses should be paid by the Employer only. Company wants you to work there as they are not able to find skilled resource for that particular Project there in US. If you are paying to some company means you are doing Fraud with USCIS.

          That’s the reason your Visa is Cancelled.

          For all other readers, It’s a Big risk if you are going via Consultancy. You will loose your current job and money both.

  35. Gowdam

    Hi Saurabh,

    Planning for h1b transfer from tcs to another employer,

    1. If my transfer gets denied does it mean I lost my h1b completely or it is still active with tcs ? and I can travel anytime with tcs ???

  36. tcser-frustrated

    Can some one mail to corporate about this frustrating H1B process .. its really very dead slow in knowing the status in TCS .
    No response from fdfu or visa team .

  37. Anurag

    Hi Admin/ Saurabh,

    My employer is saying that I should be still hopefull for my h1b to be picked in lottery as they haven’t received any rejection yet.

    My employer told me to wait till June last week.

    Saurabh / admin, should I be still hopefull ?

    Regards anurag

  38. Rahul

    Hi Saurab,

    My application was picked in lottory.

    I have following question. I went to Sweden last year for one month on work permit. When I submitted my details to my employer for H1B visa I have sent the passport with balnk page by mistake (Passport details sent before Sweden travel) .

    Note: Since it was work permit for Sweden there no stamping on passport. only arravial and departure informtion avialable on passport.

    Will it be any issue during visa interview?

    Regards,
    Rahul

  39. PA_Dates

    Dear All,

    Can u plz post here the exacted PA date waiting time to different consulates,
    e.g Hyderabad it’s 2 month.
    Please quote for other locations.

  40. Amendment_vs_Stamping

    I have approved H1B petition (Not yet stamped), there is amendment required for location change.
    My Doubts are:

    1. Can we apply for Amendment & paralelly apply for PA date to save time.
    2.Can we appear for PA any consulate location..?? e.g. Kolkata,Delhi,Hyderabad Channai.
    3. Hw long amendment take..??

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Amendment_vs_Stamping,

      1. If you intend to carry new location documents for stamping like client letter etc, then it is better to get the amendment approval and then appear for stamping. So your amendment should be approved by the time you appear for stamping.

      2. Yes, you can go to any consulate

      3. Few months, say 2-4 or may be 6. I think PP option is also available for this

  41. pinky

    Hi friends,

    My employer raised an SR last week and received a denial on Monday. The status on uscis website still shows as pending case-reply received.

    Looks like Uscis is not updating the website even after the decision is taken.

    Good luck to all those who are waiting.

  42. DJ

    Even I had applied last year (EAC & RP). And it is in RFE received status from September 3rd 2015 !! When i ask my employer they r replying stating they r following up on it but i dont think they r really doing it.
    When I asked about raising a SR they said they have raised it and uscis replied to it saying we r working on it. Does uscis give such generic statements when an SR is raised?

    Someone suggest me a way out of how can get my case to be taken for evaluating? Does anyone have any information about the backlog cases deadline?
    On an average how many cases are the similar as mine?

      1. Srisailam

        Mine too .. Rfe response received from 21st December.. I’ve got same reply from my employer.. Waiting really sucks

      2. ABC

        You can try premium processing to get the result within 30 working days. Its too long waiting , but it will cost you around 1225$.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      DJ,

      There are some handful of cases that stay in processing for such a long time – most of them are in security review. You can upgrade to PP and that would force USCIS hands to tell exactly what is happening w/ the petition.

      And yes, they can provide such general responses to raised SRs.

      1. DJ

        Thanks Saurabh.

        But how to whether the case has went under security review or not? Is there any particular request to be raised for it ?

        And any idea of how long the security review would take and will there be any chances of getting a positive result for the cases that go under security review?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          DJ,

          There is no set processing time for petitions stuck in that review. If you upgrade to PP and it is stuck in security review, then USCIS will have to inform the same. If not, they would adjudicate within 15 calendar days. That’s why I said it is forcing USCIS hands to show where the delay is.

    2. Waiting_Response_to_RFE_received

      I am in the same boat and know of 2 other folks who are also waiting. EAC/RP, response to RFE received on Oct 2nd. Those who are waiting are from some consultancy or the other.
      There is no response from the consultant nor does he want to follow up. Guess its game over.

  43. Darey

    Hi Saurabh,

    My employer(mid sized company) sponsored H1B for me last year(EAC). My petition is in RFE since last year and when contacted month ago, my employer notified me that out of 4 applied cases two were approved and they are awaiting for the remaining including mine. Recently, I contacted them and they mentioned results could be known anytime soon since they see the activity in backlog. I am confused about what activity could be visible to them or how sooner can I get to know the result. Greatly appreciate your advise regarding this. Thank you.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Darey,

      Even I am not sure what activity he is referring to. He may be referring to blog posts/comments where others from FY-16 have mentioned about their petitions getting processed after long delays, but not sure if this is what he is looking at.

      Unfortunately, there is no SLA for RP. You have the option to upgrade to PP. Also, when you say status is in RFE, is it RFE issued or RFE response received? What was the RFE about?

        1. Darey

          Hi Saurabh,

          Do I still stand a chance, or I can give up and move on with my other plans. I have emailed my employer for the same and no update from him. Neither I am bugging him since I have made my mind and currently US is not my top priority. But, I want to get this finalizied:)

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            Darey,

            I would suggest working on alternate plans as well. If this petition gets approved then it’s good for you, but at least you won’t be delaying your career based on this black box.

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