H1B Visa 2018 News, Lottery, Fee, Predictions

This page is constantly updated with latest news, info, FAQs on current H1B 2018 season. Below are some topics, FAQs covered on this page.

  • Start of  H1B Visa 2018 season ?
  • H1B Quota for FY 2018 ?
  • H1B visa 2018 Lottery Predictions ?
  • Plan for H1B FY 2018 Application ?
  • Find Visa Sponsors for H1B 2018 ?
  • H1B Visa 2018 Fee ?
  • H1B 2018 Lottery Results
  • H1B 2018 Petitions  Tracker – Crowdsourced
  • New President Trump Administration Impact on H1B Visa 2018 Quota?
  • Latest News updates of H1B FY 2018

If this is your first year of H1B visa filing, you must read What is H1B Visa, Requirements, Process . Not to scare you, Last year, there was lottery for H1B season and for FY 2017 USCIS received 236,000 applications .

When does H1B Visa 2018 Season Start ?
Update : USCIS accepted H1B Petitions for FY 2018 starting from April 3rd, 2017 until April 7th. They updated that H1B Cap was reached on April 7th, 2017. 
Typically, USCIS accepts H1B petitions for next fiscal year starting from April 1st. So, for FY 2018, the start date for accepting applications would be April 1st, 2017.  But, for FY 2018 season, April 1st falls on a Saturday, so USCIS will accept applications starting from Monday, April 3rd, 2017.   If you were wondering why called 2018, when in 2017, it is the fiscal year dates that dictate that. USCIS fiscal year is from October 1st to March 30th. So, technically the fiscal year for 2018 starts from October 1st and they accept petitions for the same 6 months before the start date and it would be April 1st, 2017.  You may read USCIS Press release for H1B 2017 Start Date 

What is H1B 2018 Quota ? Regular Cap vs Master’s Cap Quota ? 
Update : USCIS confirmed the below quota cap numbers in latest press release for FY 2018. 
To get some background, read H1B Quota – Regular vs Masters .  There have been many speculations on increasing the H1B Cap due to extremely high demand and bills proposed for the same in the past, nothing made it through. As of writing of this article, below is the H1B cap quota. We will keep this article updated as new changes come in.  The total H1B Quota as of today is 85,000 and it is split like below.

Regular H1B Quota  65,000
Master’s H1B Quota ( Only US Masters Degree Eligible) 20,000

Out of the above 85,000 quota, 6,800 are set aside for Singapore and Chile citizens as part of the free trade agreement between them. Also, check out the article with history of maximum H1B Cap from 1990 to 2017 

H1B 2018 Lottery Predictions ? 
It used to be a speculation whether we would have lottery in previous years, but in the past 4 years, lottery has become common. It is very likely that we would have lottery aka random selection for H1B 2018 season.  We have been writing predictions over the years and all of them have been accurate so far. Check out our H1B Visa 2018  Lottery Predictions – Data Analysis  to get an idea on how many H1B petitions you can expect for this fiscal year.

Update : USCIS Received 199,000 H1B petitions for fiscal year 2018.  H1B Lottery was conducted on April 11th, 2017.

Are you planning for next fiscal year, Read  H1B Visa 2019 – Lottery Date, News, FAQs 

When to plan for H1B 2018 Application – What should be your strategy ?
It is never too late to start planning…Depending on your situation, you may fall in one of the below categories and the suggestions are described below.

  • F1 Student in USA : If you are studying on F1 visa and about to graduate in next one year, you should seriously look at finding an internship or co-op at companies that can sponsor your H1B visa. You can search for H1B Sponsors in a particular area using our H1B Sponsors Search Tool and try to get an internship to work there on CPT or OPT after you graduate. This is a strategic move and will require sometime, so plan well.
  • Working Professional from outside USA : If you are a working professional outside US, planning to work in US, especially  on H1B visa, your best bet is to find Multinational companies ( MNCs) that have major US presence and secure a job there, so that you can position internally for applying to H1B visa, when the season starts. This is a very strategic decision, you need to carefully assess your options, speak to the company if such options exist and then only choose it. There may be many people already in-line for these visas, you need to plan carefully so that you are given a slot in the company’s filing for your next season application.
  • Other H4, L1 Visas :  If you are on these visas living in USA, your best bet is to find companies just like I mentioned for F1 students that sponsor H1B visas and start interviewing and keeping the conversation going so that you can ask them to file H1B when the season starts.

For FY 2017, we have put together a Step by Step Plan on How to apply for H1B 2017 Quota, it gives a guideline on the planning and what steps exists.

How to find H1B Visa Sponsor for FY 2018 quota ?
This is probably the most asked question by everyone. It can be a tricky decision, you need be very careful to avoid fraud.

  • If you are student in the US, it is very straight forward, you find the list of H1B Sponsoring companies using the tool in an area as I mentioned above and get an internship in one of them so that they can sponsor your H1B visa.
  • If you are professional planning to arrive in US from outside America,  it can be really tricky.  If you work for an Multinational company ( MNC), then they will have some internal process to pick the candidates and then process H1B visa for them…The other option that has been used and abused is the consulting companies route…Many a times, the H1B aspirants approach a body shop IT consulting company to file H1B for them and they apply for the same. It gets nasty with the body shop consulting companies.  The comments on this H1B Companies Reviews article are quite eye opening. I advise, you beware of the consulting companies and avoid fraud.
  • Also, WE as RedBus2US do NOT provide any guidance or assistance or sponsor anything. If someone claims that, it is pure fraud and they are trying to trick you, we are not responsible for that. Please be careful

We have an article that we wrote for previous season, you may read article How to find H1B 2017 Sponsors to find out various options.

What is H1B Visa 2018 Fee ? How much does it cost for the company ? 

The H1B fee varies by the size of the company..As of FY 2017 season, it can range anywhere from $1,600 USD to $7,400 USD + Attorney Fee. On December 23, 2016 , USCIS increased the H1B fee component of base filing fees, which was $325. The below table is updated with the latest fee updates from USCIS.  There are various fees components that make up this number range, for more details Read Summary of H1B Filing Fee 2017 – Who pays for What ? . Below is a high level summary from FY 2017 quota.  If any changes, we will update this accordingly.

H1B Fee Component Fee in USD
 Base filing fee $460
AICWA Fee $750  or $1,500
Fraud prevent & detection fee $500
Fee based on Public Law 114-113 ( if applicable) $4000
Premium processing fee (Optional) $1,225
Immigration Attorney Fee Varies from $500 to $3000

H1B 2018 Lottery Results – Checks Cashed, Receipts : 
One of the most asked questions is when will I get to know the lottery result for my petition. Well, this depends on many factors and there is no set SLA or date.  To put things in perspective,  last year, USCIS did a news alert indicating that they have returned all the rejected H1B petitions on July 8th, 2017. So, you can expect the last date for receiving final lottery decision around mid July 2017. …As we had about same number of petitions filed for FY 2018, it may be slightly earlier or even later in July or even early August 2017…  Few of the ways you would know, if you are selected in lottery is that, if the check that was filed with your H1B petition was cashed, or your employer gets the actual physical receipt notice in mail to them. If you filed under US masters quota, SEVIS update is another indication that you were selected in H1B lottery for FY 2018.  Ideally, your receipt numbers should arrive within 1 to 2 months…but, you never know, until you get a reject notice to be sure !

H1B 2018 Case Tracker  :
Did you apply for FY 2018 ?  With premium processing suspended, it is quite hard for applicants to know the general status of everyone to understand their situation. We have put together a tracker along with good graphs for analysis. It is completely anonymous as we do not capture your case number or any personal information. It is community contributed data, the more you add, the better for everyone, including  You !

Track your H1B Case

Anonymously Track your H1B Case - Share and Get updated from Community.

New President Trump Administration Impact on H1B Visa 2018 Quota?

We do not know, if this news release is directed by Trump administration or not…but, on April 3rd, 2017 the start date of H1B season, there were set of new announcements made by USCIS to report and prevent abuse of H1B program. Check out USCIS New measures to report, prevent H1B Fraud  . Besides this, as of the today ( article updated date), nothing has been officially ordered or specifically implemented by New President Trump Administration. There are many speculations on how H1B program will become tougher with higher wages, quota limits, etc… but, nothing has been officially signed. We will update the article as new updates come in.

Various H1B Bills  in US House and Senate  – Will they be passed for FY 2018 ?
There are few bills that are introduced in 2017 and at various stages in both house and senate. There are many confusions regarding the same bills like the minimum wage will go up to $130,000 USD, etc.  Fact is that nothing has passed and there are very slim chances for them to get passed before start of FY 2018 season. You can check H1B Bills Tracker to get more details on current status. We will keep the article updated as new things are passed.

Latest News about H1B 2018 Season 
High Level Latest News for FY 2018 is listed below. But, all the Latest News are tracked on our H1B 2018 News and Updates Tracker Page. Check out below.

H1B 2018 - Latest News Updates

Most recent and complete history of all latest breaking news updates from Official sources like USCIS and Unofficial sources for FY 2018 Season.

Are you planning for FY 2018 quota ?  What are your questions ? Add your thoughts.

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Comments ( 11,654 )

  1. 3rd timer

    Hello friends,

    Finally my h1b petition approved after RFE. Now my question is : can we wait for stamping for 2 months as I want to apply for dependants visa for my family along with me and my son’s passport is still awaiting?

    3rd timer

  2. 3rd timer

    Hello friends,

    Finally my h1b petition approved after RFE. Now my question is : can we wait for stamping for 2 months as I want to apply for dependants visa for my family along with me and my son’s passport is still awaiting?

    3rd timer

  3. abhiraj

    Hello experts
    I got my h1b approved with sow and client letter for client a. Now due to visa delay i had to move from client a to client b. I dont have my visa stamped and just have approval notice, can i transfer my petition for client b? How to do and what is the process and what are approval chances?

    1. Ram

      Are you planning to change just your client or the petitioner/employer who sponsored your visa?
      If its just change of client, you(Your employer) need to file amendment. To get stamping, you have to wait for the approval of amendment. Approval in normal processing can take 4-6 months of time.
      If not, your employer can file it in premium processing in which you would get result in 15 days. If you are in USA already, you can file amendment for new client and start working with the receipt number.

      If you are outside USA, Mostly what people do is, they get stamping with existing petition and then later while travelling they apply amendment and travel with receipt number. Travelling and working with amendment receipt number is completely legal.But in this method, be sure that you have all the required documents of client A.
      Depending on your situation please choose the right method for you.

      If you are planning to change your employer it self, then your new employer has to file transfer of petition. You can work for new employer after obtaining receipt number or approval of the transfer of petition.

      I have an question for you, are you currently in USA? If yes, why are you worried about stamping now?

    2. Ram

      One more point to add, as of 01/21/2018 US government is shut down. Due to this shutdown, Department of Labor would be shutdown. This would delay the new LCA processing. Due to this amendment and transfer can be delayed. So please consider this point to. We are currently not sure how long this shutdown go on and what would happen in next couple of days.

  4. NK

    Hi All,
    I had stayed in USA from Nov-2012 to Jul-2017 on L1B. In 2017 i had filed H1B and it was approved in Nov-2017. But i had left USA in Jul-2017. Now using approved H1B if i enter in USA in Aug-2018, will my time counter reset or i will get only remaining 1.3 years? I had applied as COS, but on my exit from USA i assume its automatically converted to counsler processing. Your inputs on it will help me. kindly suggest. Thanks.

    1. Ram

      @NK To retrieve the 6 years you have to file H1B after 365 days of stay outside USA. But since you have applied it without cool off period there is a chance that you would get only 1.3 years. But please do confirm this with an immigration attorney once. Good luck! Happy and safe travel to USA!

      1. 3rd Timer


        I think Ram is correct. You are only eligible for 1.3 years. If you have applied and approved on or after August 2018 then you could able to use 6 years. Realistically in some years (like Y2010) you can apply around August. Nowadays it is filling up faster. So, to get 6 years then that is possible only if you would have applied in April 2019. Also, as Ram suggested check with your attorney too.

  5. H1B RFE

    My employer responded to rfe 2 months ago..The status is still rfe response received..Is USCIS taking more time this year?…is there any one waiting from 2 + months post rfe submission?

    1. JJM

      RFE submitted on 31/10/2017. Not heard anything yet. Attorney submitted a service request yesterday. Hopping to hear some response in next 30 days.

    2. Ram

      There are many who are waiting more than 4-5 months after RFE response. This year there is a delay in processing of cases. If you want to know your result faster, better to opt for Premium processing.

  6. WorriedFellow

    hi!! My OPT extension is valid till May26,2018. My H1 was filed in Apr2017 and got denied on Nov 6, 2017 due to lack of client letter. I work for consulting firm. My father is sick and I might need to travel in last week of January 2018 to India. I have 2 questions:

    1) I got my latest I-20 with travel signature yesterday. That means I am in valid status and my SEVIS is active, right??
    2) I have OPT extension EAD card(valid till May 26,2018), offer letter, pay stubs. I can carry these and safely travel and come back, right??

    1. 3rd Timer


      1. yes.

      2. Yes. Also carry i-983 form you have submitted to get an extension, transcripts etc as well. Usually they allow but remember that there is always element of risk involved during OPT travel.

  7. Gayathri

    I was in cpt when I applied for h1b , got my masters after applying so unfortunately I dint submit my masters while responding rfe coz my employer said so.1.will tat be a problem 2.i submitted SOW for 1yr,i couldn’t get more than tat will I get approval for 3yrs. Tis wait s already irritating.

    1. 3rd Timer


      1. No. Almost all the specialty jobs require only 4 years degree after K-12 school. Masters and Phd will not give an added advantage during adjudication process except US Master’s and PhD holders are eligible for extra 20K quota. That means you are eligible for two times/year in a lottery if your case is not picked in first 20k lottery. Since your’s was already picked in the lottery in general quote it doesn’t matter.

      2. It depends on the VO officer. If the VO decides that the work available for only one year and all the other cafeteria’s are met (like job requested by your sponsored employer is indeed specialty job, not much US work force is available for that job and your offered equal or more than the required wages for that job and you have minimum qualifications (4 year degree)) then he/she gives an approval for initially one year. Then you can renew it latter for remaining 5 years. You have to remember that getting first time approval is harder. Once it is approved then it somewhat easy to get an extension later.

      –Good luck and all the best for your RFE approval.

  8. Wage Level1

    Hi All,
    Wanted to share journey for my case on Wage Level-1 RFE which got approved this week.
    Education : BCA & MCA from NIT
    Expr : 9+ years
    Technology : ERP ( Application dev and testing )
    Employer : Level B with ~1000+ employees around the globe and 200+ employees in USA (Most of them are citizens though )
    Salary : $30K more to level 2 required salary

    I was completely down when when i got this RFE , the SOW was direct contract & customer was in top 5 companies of fortune 100 listing & I was only one in my company who got this RFE.

    My HR supported beyond the company policy of “Not Sharing” such details with beneficiary.

    So in parallel with my attorney , I reached out some immigration attorneys located in SF and got some very important inputs ( It costed me around 1500$ which i spared out for spending it for PP ) to understand how case can be documented when you are not college out or fresher and i am telling you all this was very helpful in preparing supporting documents from my end.

    Below are the documents which we filed as response of RFE.
    1. letter from authorized person (I am not sure who signed it , My HR took care of getting it signed ) in my company detailing my roles and responsibilities on day to day, broke in percentages , work review mechanism , performance appraisal process & communication methods when i am located at customer site.
    2, Letter from HR confirming salary difference ( More than level 2 ) and describing reason given was experience with skillset and showcased other employees salary located in different customer locations (w/o mentioning names ) and also education with expr. for each of them. couple of screen prints of hiring process followed in my org and listings for such job positions in company’s website.
    3. OES wage calculation for which sum was 0.
    4. org structure–> Reporting to account manager but no employees reporting to me.
    5. Attorneys case buildup by showcasing DOL guidance and pointing out designation or expr.
    doesn’t matter if activities performed at worksite falls under wage-1. and salary is no how barrier for employer to pay , 4 DOL indicators ( supervision, experience, education, certification ) supporting documents, Comparison of my roles with OOH and ONET activities ( which were fortunately matching with my roles and responsibilities documented earlier )

    6. Some survey & legal documents were submitted ( Which i tried but never got access on contents of same )
    Though outside support was helpful but at same time my company attorney was not bad and he pulled those Laws strings correctly.

    Since i spent my PP money for gathering stuff from additional legal advise, I stayed back for normal processing and it took 2.5 months to get final decision.
    Hope this may give some idea on how to deal labour-1 if you are experienced candidate and your salary is more than required by law.


    1. 3rd Timer

      @Wage Level1,

      Congratulations for your H1 approval after long wait. Also, thanks for posting your experience and I am sure it will be helpful to many people who are/were/will be in similar situations.

  9. Green2018

    Last week I received my green card. Before that I was on H1B for only one year. Do I need to do anything with my H1B paperwork? I am not sure if I need to return it or maybe keep it just in case? Does anyone know… Thank you so much!

  10. Confusion

    Hi Ram/3rd Timer

    Recently filed H1-B transfer/extension, in this process i was traveled to india for emergency and recently got RFE and replied to RFE with PP, and it got denied, instead of filing MTR can you please suggest any ideas.

    1. Brausa


      I got my H1b denied on December 30th and received the notice on January 8th. I’ m currently living in USA but coming to my home country beginning of February.
      I will try to come come back in July to do my Masters Degree. I was accepted at school for the Spring semester but couldn’t start because I was waiting for the H1b results.

      What are my chances to get the F1 visa to come back? I have lived here for 12 years but always on visa. Do you think having H1b denies will affect their decision. Has anyone here had the same situation?
      My attorney says I need to leave soon so they let me come back without any problems. Do you know how long after having a denial will be conseideref out of status.

      Please any feedback is appreciated.

      Thank you

      1. 3rd Timer


        Sorry to hear about your denial. Since F1 is non-immigrant intent VO may deny issuing a visa to anyone who he/she think may stay in USA and not come back. Having said that if you able to convince the VO that with plan like after graduation you will go back to go home country then the vis will be issued. So, i suggest you to prepare well for the questions like what will you do after completing your studies and why you are planning to go for masters degree. Good like all the best for your next options including student visa interview.

    2. 3rd Timer


      Sorry to hear that your application is denied. If the reason for the denial is due to SOW or job related then you can switch to new company and try again if you dont want to appeal for current denial.

  11. KanuB

    Hi Ram, 3rd Timer,

    If I am in US working on H1-B and my H1-B is about to expire, my company files for extension before the expiry date:-

    Query here:
    If my H1 approval gets expired, Can I continue to work in US for my employer till the time my H1 extension gets approved or denied? or do I need to stop working in US and come back to India till my H1 extension gets approved?

    1. 3rd Timer


      Yes, you are authorized to work for 240 days pending the extension application. If you want to speed up then you can go for PP in that 240 days. I guess, if you do not get any response then you raise a service request and continue to work. If that happens or the denial happens then you should consult with your employers and their attorneys about how to proceed. Also, I believe if the case is denied then you should stop working.

  12. krishna

    HI ,

    I have my I797 Approval and i am going to raise amendment for my new client, as i have already stamped, can i travel to US with my amendment Receipt?

    1. 3rd Timer


      Yes. This is according to some other people who did the same and they didnt face any pbs at the POE. However, you should carry all the relevant documentations during your travel.
      All the best and Safe travel.

  13. Prajith

    Hi Ram, 3rd Timer,

    I have interview scheduled in another 2 weeks. I am currently working with employer1. My H1B petition was processed by employer2. Employer2 has sent all the documents to me. The documents are LCA, roles and responsibilities letter, offer letter, employer tax return, org chart, salary information, employer business operations, certificate of existence, project details, sow.

    They have also sent the I-129 form which they submitted. My application went for RFE and then approved. When I asked employer2, they specified the RFE is related to employer and they will handle it. Now they have not sent any document about RFe and the response they submitted.

    Will there be question related to that in consulate interview? The employer says there will be No. I am little bit worried. Please help.

    1. 3rd Timer


      Congrats for your approval. It looks like the employer 2 has given all the relevant documents and you will be fine. Please prepare well, example, you may asked questions about new company, how you know about this company and your new roles& responsibilities, your experience (resume) etc. Good luck and all the best for your visa stamping.

  14. SA

    Hi Ram & 3rd Timer,
    I have applied for PP on Jan 2nd. On Jan 2nd the case status changed to ‘case was received and receipt notice has been emailed’. And today is my 15th day i.e 16th Jan. Can you guys say whether we need to count 15 calendar days or business days? And also if i do not receive any update from USCIS in these 15 days, what should be my further steps?

    1. 3rd Timer


      USCIS uses calendar days for PP request. So, you should expect a reply, initially by mail and later by hard by from them on or before 15th day. I suggest just wait for couple of days then ask your attorney to email them. PP cases handled by separate dept so you can contact them by email. However, some very rare cases USCIS may decide to refuse PP and continue to do normal processing. If that happens you will get the PP fee back. Good luck and all the best for your RFE approval.

      1. SA

        Thank you 3rd Timer.
        My 15 calendar days are finished, dint get any response.
        My lawyer will call tomorrow to USCIS and initiate a refund.
        After the refund is done, will my case be again processed as a Normal processing? or do i need to re-apply for PP to get faster response?

        1. 3rd Timer


          As per USCIS, they still treat the case as PP. Please read below,

          “Premium Processing Service provides expedited processing for certain employment-based petitions and applications. Specifically, USCIS guarantees 15 calendar day processing to those petitioners or applicants who choose to use this service or USCIS will refund the Premium Processing Service fee. If the fee is refunded, the relating case will continue to receive expedited processing”

          Link (First para): https://www.uscis.gov/forms/how-do-i-use-premium-processing-service

          — Good luck and all the best for your approval.

  15. H4toh1

    HI ,

    My spouse h1 got approved after rfe .Meanwhile we had applied for h4 EAD as well but still that’s in recieved status .

    Could you please let me know the process to withdraw EAD application ?

    1. Ram

      Please call USCIS customer care and check with them. They will help you with that. For H4 EAD, principal applicant can directly contact USCIS with queries.

  16. saj

    My H1 B is expired on 07-Nov-2017. And have applied for visa extension and LCA (as it was different client). Now I want to move to different client. Is that possible?

    Thanks and Regards

  17. Shri

    Hello Ram,

    Today I got the news from my employer regarding my h1b petition get denied.please let me know any chance to reply denied USCIS

    1. 3rd Timer


      Sorry to hear that your case is denied. You have the option to appeal the the MTD (Motion to Denial). However, it is hard to predict the success rate. Also, your employer and their lawyer needs to convince that appeal could be successful. Meaning, the appeal depends on the reasons listed in the denial.
      Check the following link for how long it would take,


      January 15, 2018
      An appeal is first reviewed by the service center which takes about 2 months. If the decision stands, the appeal will be forward to the AAO which starts a 6 months processing time from that point. We have not heard back on the appeals our office has filed.
      — Good luck and all the best for your appeal to be successful in case if you have decided to appeal and also for other options.

      1. Shri

        Hello Ram and 3rdTimer

        Today I check with my employer regarding appeal condition but they are not ready. Please let me know what are other options so I can used current selected petition.

        1. 3rd Timer


          Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, you didn’t have any other option for last year lottery selected petition. However, you can try this year again but the downside is it first required to be selected in the lottery.

  18. Swati

    Hi ,
    1. How much time will it take to get the hardcopy of approval letter ?
    2.Almost Everyone is getting 221 g after interview , is this good time to go for it ? or Shall I wait for few more months ?
    3. I heard that after interview if VO handover the passport there are more chances of getting visa denial ?
    4. After approval can I directly change my employer ?

    1. 3rd Timer


      1. How much time will it take to get the hardcopy of approval letter ?

      One to two weeks. However, if you or your employer not received it more than 4 weeks then your employer or their attorney can contact the USCIS to send the duplicate copy. If you try to contact them before 30 days then USCIS ask you to wait for 30 days and contact.

      2.Almost Everyone is getting 221 g after interview , is this good time to go for it ? or Shall I wait for few more months ?

      It looks like lot of 221g is issued this time. I believe it is depends on the individual cases and also it depends on VO. So, if you are planning to India trip then go for for it. Similar to lottery it is hard to predict the VO’s mind.

      3. I heard that after interview if VO handover the passport there are more chances of getting visa denial ?

      Whenever the VO is satisfied with the interview and the documentation provided and he/she decided to issue the VISA then they keep the passport. Once they keep the passport that means visa is almost issued, however, in very rare cases they still ask you to submit some documents. If the VO felt that they want to verify something (it could be many things. like the company you are working has some red flag which may or may not have etc) then they give you 221g and give the passport back to you. What that means is, you have to answer the questioner asked in the 221 g form along with any supporting material like resume to submit online. Then you have to wait for 4 to 8 weeks. Some takes longer. There is a case number given in the 221 g. After submitting the details you can track the number online. Once it is approved then you need to submit the passport to nearest VFS center. Then they take 3 days to paste the visa on your passport. But, I suggest you not to worry about the 221g because it is something, like visa lottery, not in control. Just answer truthfully to VO questions then the rest will take care itself.

      4. After approval can I directly change my employer ?
      There is two scenario. (1) Lets say you are currently in USA and your status already changed to H1 due to COS requested when you applied last April. If that is the case then it densest matter with stamping. You can change employer any time and because you are already in H1. (2) However, if you have requested CP then some people are saying you will become cap exempted only after visa approval. Some people are saying it is not the case and you cn transfer to other company. As a safe side it is better to get visa stamping approved for CP cases to facilitate the smooth transfer.

      Also, keep in mind that when you attempt visa transfer for COS cases USCIS require you to prove your status from visa approved time to visa request time. That can be done by W2 or pay stubs etc. One or two pay stubs are enough. For CP cases you can request visa transfer without any pay stubs just after the visa stamping because you are not yet started to work in the intended company in US.

      But, for both the cases (COS or CP), when you request visa transfer it will get same scrutiny as a original petition. Meaning the new job require to meet all the criteria, if not it will ended up with RFE.

      —Anyway, good luck and all the best for your visa stamping and transfer later.

    2. 5 timer

      1. Should get within a reasonable time frame.
      2. If you have all the documents and you can clearly express your intent, it should be fine regardless of what time you appear for the interview.
      3. Obviously. no brainer
      4. Yes

  19. imcool24

    I am still waiting for my RFE response decision . If there is no decision till March then can i refile a new petition through my existing petitioner(for 2017-2018) in the 2018-2019 quota ? I am aware that the lottery system may go and will be replaced by an online system which will allow petitions to be filed only for eligible ones.

    1. 3rd Timer


      I guess it is possible. But instead of paying extra $6k for a new petition why dont you/your employer upgrade to PP and see what happens? Also, I believe if the new one is picked then USCIS may ask to withdraw earlier one or recent one. To avoid these conflicts your best option is go for PP.

      1. imcool24

        @3rd Timer — thanks for the guidance. There are high chances that before USCIS starts processing the new petition( if picked up) , the previous petition result will be out. If previous petition is denied then i will have the new petition as backup.

        1. 3rd Timer


          As per USCIS, they still treat the case as PP. Please take read below

          “Premium Processing Service provides expedited processing for certain employment-based petitions and applications. Specifically, USCIS guarantees 15 calendar day processing to those petitioners or applicants who choose to use this service or USCIS will refund the Premium Processing Service fee. If the fee is refunded, the relating case will continue to receive expedited processing”

          Link (First para): https://www.uscis.gov/forms/how-do-i-use-premium-processing-service

          — Good luck and all the best for your approval.

  20. Riyaz

    i Have approved petition and i never went for stamping So my employer withdrawn my petition..
    Is another employer can apply fresh H1B Petition with Cap Exmpt?

    1. 3rd Timer


      Some people are saying unless otherwise it was stamped then USCIS may not considered as the petition counted in lottery, meaning it is not cap-exempt and they won’t transfer. But others are claiming opposite, ie, you can transfer to new company once it is selected in the lottery and approved.

      So, if the opportunity arise in your new company suggest to your new employer and get their immigration lawyer’s opinion. Other option you have is schedule a 30 min consultancy with some experienced immigration lawyers and clear your doubts before you speaking to your new employer about the transfer. It may cost you from $100 to $300 rang but it is the best option I believe and also worth paying the money.

  21. Akki22


    I have been waiting for more than 5 months now after response to RFE was sent. I was picked in lottery in April and then in September the response was sent for RFE which I received in July.

    I am filing H1b through a consultant and this is my first H1 processing. Never applied for L1 in the past. My consultant is not sharing any details with me and my visa application is in a complete black box. I have lost hope as it’s been really long with the same status on USCIS site.

    Experts please suggest on my case. Is it safe going through a consultant looking at the current situation in USA?

    1. CapG

      I am on similar situation perhaps my response was sent a month earlier than yours in August. It’s annoying already.
      I just have a question for experts here, my employer is nominating me for H1B visa this year. Is it possible for nominations if one is already pending?

      1. VenkatRaman

        Hi CapG – I was in a very similar situation. My RFE was sent to USCIS in august and the decision was pending for a long time. Last week i took a decision to upgrade to premium processing and it got approved within 2 days. So my suggestion is if you have funds then better go for premium processing though there is always a risk involved in premium processing

        1. 3rd Timer


          Since there is no decision yet, yes it possible to apply next year (October 2019 start date) from the same company. But, the new petition costs at least $6k so why can’t they go for PP and done with it? Anyway, Good luck and all the best for your approval for this year application.

    2. VenkatRaman

      There is always a risk involved if going through a 3rd party consultant. I suggests you thoroughly do proper background checks of the vendor before taking a decision.

    3. 3rd Timer


      If I read it correctly, you have applied through consultancy but working for different employer. The application was picked in lottery but waiting for RFE. So, if that is the case then you just need to wait for the approval due to slow process this year. Other suggestion is to upgrade to premium processing if you are able to afford $1225 fee. That is the only way at this moment to get the reply quickly from USCIS. It will not guarantee the approval but at least it will speed up the process. The approval depends on if the job applied is really specialty occupation and the Wage level quoted in LCA.

      Also, if you are planning to apply next year then I suggest you to wait one more month because the current administration going to announce the procedure for lottery, meaning they are going to propose a procedure to reduce the number of applications prior to lottery.
      If you plan to apply this year (Oct 2019) then take a decision after that. Based on the chatter it looks like it going to be more scrutiny in coming years.

      1. Akki22

        Thanks 3rd Timer!

        Do you think going through a consultant can be troublesome considering the current scenario?
        Also, is the new increased minimum wage has become a law?

        1. 3rd Timer


          1. Do you think going through a consultant can be troublesome considering the current scenario?

          I would not say it is troublesome to file through all the consultancies. However, the project availability is genuine, the projects falls under specialty occupation, the wage level offered is at least 2 or more, strong & detail SOW, client letter etc then it is easy to get approval. Else, it will end up in RFE and long wait. So, I am guessing many (small) consultancies play it safe meaning they wont file unless they feel also the same. For big MNC’s, I am not sure how they approach this year.

          2. Also, is the new increased minimum wage has become a law?

          I dont thing it will become law in near future. This opinion is based on how the law is created in USA. But, executive branch can come up with the policy guidelines saying for a given job (software developer) if more than one application is received from the same county then the high paying job gets priority than the lowest one. Or other words not all the pay’s treated equally. This is my assumption. May be we come to know next month. But, arbitrary wage like minimum $90K etc require law that will not going to happen in near future.

    4. consultant

      And while waiting patiently for the RFE decision, I am sure you have mocked up your resume with multiple bullet points & years of onsite experience. right?

  22. Vinoth

    Hi Ram & 3rd Timer,

    I am waiting for my H1B Approval, if it get approved how long it will take for my spouse to get H4.

    And is there any way that I can take my Spouse and Kid for H4 dependent visa interview , when I appear for H1B interview. If so can you please detail me the procedure for the same.

    1. 3rd Timer


      Since it is consular processing for your spouse and children, I believe you can apply for a visa interview when you appear for the interview. But I am not very sure though. Please check with your company’s lawyers and get their opinion as well. Good luck and all the best for your approval and visa stamping.

    2. Nimesh

      HI Vinoth,

      Yes you can go for stamping together. I went with my spouse and kid for stamping together and also traveled to US together, its easy you get stamping together. Thanks Nimesh

  23. Duong Vu

    Hi all, my case finally got approved. So much thanks for the great effort from the Admins especially Ram & 3rd Timer who kept our hope alive for such a long waiting time. Here’s my case timelines:

    April 2017 – Case recevied
    May 2017 – Case transferred from Vermont to California center
    August 11th 2017 – RFE on both WL1 & SO (computer programmer)
    November 8th 2017 – Response received
    Jan 12nd 2018 – Case approved (got approval PDF from company’s lawyer, website still not updated)

    So don’t lose hope if you’re getting RFE, stay positive and things will come out just the way it should be. I still have the stamping interview ahead but I hope they will be easy on me.

    Thanks all, btw, I’m from Vietnam.

  24. Sabitha

    One of my colleague had interview on last week of December. He was asked very usual questions.
    Who is your petitioner?
    How did you know this job exists?
    What will be your salary?
    Who is your client?
    Where will you be landing?
    Roles and responsibilities?
    Nothing very specific.
    But after 20 minutes of answering to the usual questions, he was asked to wait. The lady consulate then discussed about his case to some co-workers (he was able to see that) and after 45-60 minutes, he was called again and was given 221G. That had very confusing reason.
    “Your case is refused for administrative processing. Your case will be reconsidered only when administrative processing”

    Even attorney has no clue about it. Does anyone had same experience?.
    Any idea why his case was not approved irrespective of answering all questions right?

    Some info: He has visited US multiple times already with B1 and L1. He has 12 yrs of exp. He had not got RFE.

    1. 3rd Timer


      It is unfortunate that your friend’s application went in to admin processing.

      (a) Any idea why his case was not approved irrespective of answering all questions right? It is not necessary that the VO needs to issue visa based on the answers. Also, the answers to the questions if they are right or wrong is subjective. So, if the VO feels sees some red flag like in the answers even though it is technically right answer, they will issue 221 g to verify further.

      Example if some one applying for PhD visa and the visa officer not sure it is sensitive they simply issue 221g to see if that is the case. We have to remember that they don’t know all the answers. In that situation they check further. I do hope the visa will be issued to your friend unless other wise the company who sponsored him/her under red flag. Also, similar to regular H1 approval process, administrative processing takes some time and hard to predict. And, there is no way to upgrade like PP for admin processing.

      1. Pavan

        I know few cases got rejected due to person working with the same company for long time under L1 and same company applied for H1. think that way once.. it may wrong also

  25. 1st time h1b stamping

    Hi Ram,
    I just got my H1b petition approved, May I know when is the earliest that I can apply for this interview process? I would like to get it done and over with. Can I apply for the interview now for a December date?
    What are the documents that we need for the VISA filing? Could you please share the H1B Visa Stamping Documents list if possible ?
    The I-797 Approval Notice has any validity period ?
    Do I Need a Medical Examination?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. 3rd Timer

      @1st time h1b stamping,

      when is the earliest that I can apply for this interview process? Any time after you receive your approval.

      Can I apply for the interview now for a December date? Yes. But VO may ask you to show the client letter. If the client letter is saying December 2019 then you may ended up in denial or Admin processing or ask you to apply later date.

      What are the documents that we need for the VISA filing?
      Applied 1-129 copy (if possible), the approved i-179, SOW, client letter, experience letter, Resume etc. Check this blog and I am sure find separate forum for this.

      Could you please share the H1B Visa Stamping Documents list if possible ?
      Please check/browse this forum.

      The I-797 Approval Notice has any validity period ?
      Yes. It will be written in the notice.

      Do I Need a Medical Examination?

  26. VenkatRaman

    Hi Friends – My Prayers was finally answered and after a long wait my H1B was approved. Here is the timelines

    April 2017 – Case Picked in Lottery
    June 2017 – Received RFE on Speciality occupation
    August 2017 – Responded to RFE
    10 January 2018 – Upgraded to Premium Processing
    11 January 2018 10 AM – Case was accepted
    11 January 2018 7 PM – Case was approved

    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions

      1. VenkatRaman

        This was filed at Vermont Service Center…..Looks like USCIS is holding the RFE decision so that people will upgrade to premium and they can earn extra money. My case was approved within 12 hours after it got upgraded to premium

        1. Raj A.

          Hi Venkat Raman
          I am going with same situation. I got RFE for speciality occupation and my lawyer said not to put it PP as it might cause rejection. Just want to know what documents you submitted for speciality occupation to see if i have similar case and I can upgrade to PP.

  27. KanuB

    Hi Ram, 3rd Timer,

    I have received H1-B approval way back in September 2017 but for due to first missing petition and then some information missing information in petition I haven’t been able to go for stamping. Unfortunately I have received approval of petition only till September 30 2018.

    My queries are:-
    1. What is the impact if I am unable to go for stamping before petition expiry date?
    2. Do I still remain Cap-Exempt after petition gets expired i.e. 30 Sept 2018?
    3. For how many years one remains cap-exempt after getting selected in lottery and getting an approved petition?
    4. What is the usual timeline for getting petition extension done? For Sept 30 2018 expiry, what is the latest that I should ask my company to file for extension ?
    5. Can I still change my employer and transfer my H1-B after petition is expired?

    Thank you

    1. 3rd Timer


      1. What is the impact if I am unable to go for stamping before petition expiry date?
      No impact.

      2. Do I still remain Cap-Exempt after petition gets expired i.e. 30 Sept 2018?

      3. For how many years one remains cap-exempt after getting selected in lottery and getting an approved petition? 6 years from date of approval. Lets say your is approved for a start date of October 1st, 2018 then you will be cap exempt until September 30th 2024. You can use anytime with this period. Example, if your first entry to US occurring on 2021 then you can work till 2017 continuously. If you take a break then that unused time you can recover too.

      4. What is the usual timeline for getting petition extension done? For Sept 30 2018 expiry,
      what is the latest that I should ask my company to file for extension ? I think it is 120 days before the expiry date.

      5. Can I still change my employer and transfer my H1-B after petition is expired?
      This part is not clear. Some people suggesting if the original (Company A’s) petition is not stamped then the transfer is not possible. Some say it is possible. So, It is unclear to me.

      1. KanuB

        Thanks a lot 3rd timer.

        Follow up query:-

        1. If I get my H1 visa stamped from Company A which filed my original petition, in this case Can I transfer my petition to a new employer after petition is expired?

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