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GUIDE to H1B Visa Processing Times: Premium vs. Regular

H1B Visa processing by USCIS can vary a lot depending on the service center you filed with and the processing type you have chosen. If you are applying for an H1B petition with USCIS for the first time or even for transfers, you may be wondering about the processing times, delays, what is the typical processing time, if there is SLA, and many such questions. In this article, we will review all those details and also cover common FAQs as well.

If you are new to the H1B Visa process, you can read the below articles to get an idea of the general process, meaning of USCIS and H1B Statuses

H1B Processing Time – Types

H1B Visa Processing time with USCIS varies based on the type of processing that the employer or sponsor chooses when they file the H1B petition. There are two types of processing – 1. regular processing and 2. premium processing. An employer can choose to file in one of these processing types when they file any of the following with USCIS.

  • New H1B cap-subject petitions ( filed after selection in H1B Lottery)
  • H1B transfer petitions
  • H1B amendments
  • H1B Extensions.

Sometimes, USCIS also suspends premium processing during the start of the H1B season in April to handle the high volume and they open the same in phases. Now, let’s look at each of the processing types in detail

H1B Regular Processing Time (cap-subject)

If an employer or sponsor files an H1B petition with USCIS using the standard process and does not include an extra fee for faster processing, then the petition is said to be filed in Regular Processing. It is typically when the applicant goes through H1B lottery and files for a H1B petition after selection in the same.

H1B Regular Processing Documents, Fee

In general, an employer would submit USCIS Form I-129 along with relevant H1B Filing Fee, and supporting documents as listed in H1B Filing Checklist by USCIS. There is no filing of Form I-907 or additional premium processing fee, when you file in regular processing.

How long does USCIS take for H1B Regular processing?

There is no fixed time or SLA ( service level agreement) time defined by USCIS for H1B Regular processing. It depends on the filing location and the load at the USCIS processing center. Also, every case is unique and there can be different processing times for different cases.

Based on USCIS historical processing times, from the last 5 years (FY 2017 to FY 2022), it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 months for the H1B petition filed in Regular processing using form I-129. See the below screenshot from the USCIS website based on historical processing times for the last 5 years.

For FY 2022(which is until the end of September 2022) as you can see in the below screenshot is about 2.8 months. What it means is that roughly after you get the receipt notice, you should have the decision on your petition within 3 months.

If the applicant gets an RFE ( Request for Evidence), then, in that case, it can take beyond 6 months as well. If there are no complexities with the case, you may get a decision much faster in 2 months or less. To check current processing times by service center, you can check the article  Check USCIS H1B Visa Processing times

H1B Visa Average Processing time as of FY 2022
H1B Visa Average Processing time History as of FY 2022 ( Regular and Premium)

H1B Premium Processing Time

If an employer or sponsor pays an extra premium processing fee to USCIS in order to have the H1B petition adjudicated (decision) within 15 calendar days, then that petition is said to be filed in H1B premium processing.

H1B Premium Processing Documents, Fee

To file an H1B petition in premium processing, the employer or sponsor need to file Form I-907 along with a premium processing fee of $2,500 when they file an H1B petition using Form I-129. The premium processing fee is in addition to the general H1B filing fee. An employer can file for premium processing at the time of filing or upgrade to premium processing after filing and getting the receipt notice.

How long does USCIS take for H1B Premium processing?

USCIS takes 15 calendar days or less to adjudicate an H1B petition filed in premium processing. They have 15 day SLA (service level agreement) and guarantee that any H1B petition filed in premium processing will be adjudicated in 15 calendar days or less.

For FY 2022 season ( which is until September 2022), the current premium processing time average is about0.3 months, which is about 10 days. If you were to file in premium, you should get a decision in about 10 days as per current processing times.

If they do not meet the 15 days timeline, they will refund the premium processing fee and continue to process the H1B in expedited processing. This happens, when there is an extensive load and USCIS cannot meet its SLA. It does not happen often but happens once in a while during the start of the H1B season.

H1B Extension Processing Time

The processing time for an H1B Extension petition depends on how it was filed. If it was filed under regular processing or premium processing. If it was filed under Premium processing time, then you can expect to have a decision within 15 calendar days. The fee and SLA are similar to the general new H1B petition. Unlike, if it was filed in Regular Processing, the processing time can vary based on where it was filed and the processing times at the service center.

In general, the H1B extension processing can be slightly faster for regular processing, if there are not many changes in the employment terms and role of the H1B employee. This is due to the fact that USCIS can give some weightage or deference to the previous first H1B approval and use that for the extension.

H1B Transfer Processing Time

Similar to H1B extension filings, for H1B Transfer as well, the processing time varies based on what type of processing you choose. If you file in Premium Processing, you would get decision within 15 calendar days, but if you file in Regular processing, it can vary based on where it was filed and the case. It can vary anywhere from 3 to 6 months or more.

Typically, the H1B transfer petition is filed with a new employer and there is no previous approval history. So, it would be looked most of the times like a new petition and it can take more time than H1B extension petition processing time.

Should you apply for Premium H1B Visa Processing?

It totally depends on your situation. In recent years, many employers try to file H1B in premium processing because they would know the decision faster and can plan accordingly based on that to have the employee work from October 1st. Having said that, unless there is a need, you do not need to apply for premium processing. Think of it logically, you cannot work until October 1st…why waste money?

Also, in the most recent years, premium processing is suspended for cap subject petitions to decrease overall processing times of all petitions. But, unlike new cap subject petition, for H1B Transfer scenarios, employers usually apply for premium because of two reasons, first they can work right away and need not wait till October 1st and secondly they are changing between companies, you do not want to be stuck with old employer during this time. You can consider doing premium, when you are at the beginning of August or early September.

Applied for H1B Petition in April, Still USCIS status says “Case Received ”, What should I do?

Well, unfortunately, there is nothing you can do but wait for USCIS to process your application. As I said above, it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 months or more. All you can do is wait. Do NOT panic that you are not getting any response from USCIS. As long as your application was filed properly and the company is good, you should get approval.

Here are few things  you can do:

  • If you are really curious, you may apply for H1B visa premium processing anytime for general petitions by paying  $2,500 and upgrading your case. Your employer has to do the premium processing through the attorney. You cannot do it on your own.
  • You can ask your attorney to call USCIS and ask the status. In the past, one of our blog readers said, they had success and their application decision was done in a week after calling. Although, there is no guarantee. Worth a shot.
  • You can check the particular service center where your petition was filed and get approximate processing times to get an idea. You can do this on USCIS website it is under bottom where you check your case status.
  • Just wait. I understand the anxiety…but there is no shortcut.

H1B Visa FY 2023 Processing timelines – Regular vs Premium ?

USCIS did not suspend premium processing for FY 2023 season. So, if you were to file in premium processing, you would get a decision within 15 days. As per the historical data until August 2022, it is around 10 days or 0.3 months.

Regarding regular processing for FY 2023 cap-subject petitions, the average processing is somewhat conflicting. Below are the the two data points.

  • Historical Trend Data : As per the average processing times given by USCIS in their historical processing times as of August 31st, 2022, the processing time is about 2.8 months ( see above screenshot).
  • Current Trend Data: As per the current processing times, it is anywhere from 5 to 7 months for the California Service center and less than 4 months for other service centers. See below data from the USCIS processing times website, presented by VisaGrader H1B Processing times.

So, based on two data points, for FY 2023 H1B petitions filed with USCIS, you can expect decision on your case anywhere from 2 to 7 months.

Current H1B Processing times USCIS 2022
Current H1B Processing times USCIS 2022

Also, the better thing than the published USCIS processing times is looking at the H1B Tracker data contributed by the community. Check below for more info.

H1B Visa Tracker

You can check out the average H1B Visa processing times using VisaGrader’s H1B Visa Tracker All the data on our tracker page is contributed by users like you. Please add your H1B  case by registering and continue to update your status. It will help others get an idea.

Register at VisaGrader – H1B Visa Tracker

Hopefully, this clarifies most of the commonly asked questions about H1B processing. If you see anyone ask a question on the blog, please point them to this article.

Current H1B Processing times, History

You can check USCIS.gov for Processing times or on a website like VisaGrader.com for the same. The big difference is, VisaGrader has historical data and gives you a holistic view of the processing times across all the Service Centers as in the below screenshot. So, you can check Current H1B Visa Processing Times on VisaGrader.com

Current USCIS H1B Processing times 2022
Current USCIS H1B Processing times 2022

Common FAQs

Does USCIS have any turnaround time/ SLA for H1B regular processing ?

Unfortunately, there is no defined turnaround time/ SLA ( service level agreement) requirement for USCIS to respond to H1B petitions filed with them under regular processing. The 15 calendar days SLA only applies to petitions filed under premium processing.

Any higher approval chances in H1B Premium processing ?

No, applying for H1B premium processing will not increase your chances for getting H1B petition approved.  It just expedites the processing time. So, do not be mislead by the fact that $2,500 will increase chances of approval. Read 5 H1B Visa Myths you need to know

How long does H1B transfer take ? Any difference in processing time ?

In fact, there is no difference between a regular H1B petition and transfer except the transfers are not considered towards cap. So, the processing times are pretty much similar. It can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months based on historical processing times by USCIS in last 5. years. You can read How to check H1B visa processing times at USCIS Service centers

How much was your H1B Visa filing processing time ? Any thoughts to share on the processing time waiting ?


Other Articles


  1. Hi Saurabh,
    Any idea wat is RFE response review time these days? I am waiting for more than 2 months. H1B New EAC, RFE response review on March 27th. My employer is not ready to do premium.Can we followup USICS since it is more than 2 months? Heard we should not do that and will that effect decision?
    Please suggest me. Really hard time to wait so long

    • Pritham,
      Usually the prescribed time is 60 days, but it can take longer than that. Your petition was filed prior to FY-13 they should process it within 2-4 months. If the employer is not ready to upgrade to PP, then there is nothing you can do. BTW, if employer is not upgrading to PP b/c of cost involved, then you can also legally pay for the PP fees.

  2. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer has passed me the reciept number for my petition filing.

    Uscis says “On April 10, 2012, we received this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER, and mailed you a notice describing how we will process your case”

    What i want to know is whether my employer has filed a petition for an H1B visa or for something else(my friends told me that there is something known as OPT visa). Is it possible for me to confirm whether my employer has filed for an H1 visa?


    • Nadia,
      Yes, Your Petition has been filed. You cant get the receipt number unless your case has been filed.

    • Nadia,
      Like Gopi said, you have made through the cap. If you still have reasons to not believe your employer, you can ask for a copy of the 797C (receipt notice). That document will contain the receipt number, your name and other information. That ways, you can be sure that the receipt number really belongs to you.

      • Gopi and Saurabh,

        Many Thanks for the replies.

        I think I am getting a little too much suspicious unnecessarily. Let’s hope that its the H1B petition only. 🙂


  3. Hi Saurabh,

    Keep up the good job!!

    I have completed my Masters degree on may 17th,2012 on H4.
    I have found a job where my employer is willing to file H1B this year. As the LCA has been filed today and later on my H1B woyld be filed in PP.

    I would like to know if i can travel to India during this period of filing for the H1B?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Swarna,
      If you travel outside of US while H-1 is still pending, then your COS will be abandoned. You can return on H-4 visa and will remain on that visa status until COS from H-4 to H-1 is filed or you enter on stamped H-1 visa.

      If you travel outside of US after H-1 has been approved w/ COS, then you can still return on H-4 visa and automatically be on H-1 from Oct 1 (COS effective date).

  4. Hi,
    My H1B petition went into RFE on 6th March 2012 with 1st June 2012 as deadline to reply. My employer sent a reply to the notice on 25th May 2012 and also converted it to premium. I wanted to know if my petition status on USCIS site will change due to Premium processing conversion or when RFE reply is received by USCIS? Is there a way I can know if the RFE reply has been received by USCIS.
    Thanks in advance

    • Vishal,
      Once the RFE response is received and acknowledged, they would update the status on USCIS website (although at times this doesn’t happen). Your employer/attorney will also be informed through email as it is now a PP case. USCIS will then adjudicate the petition within 15 calendar days.

  5. Hi Sourabh,
    First of all, kudos to you for clarifying so many doubts in such a simple and authentic way.

    My case is a rare one of H1-B cap exempt category.I held H1B till last year and it got expired on 17th Aug 2011 when I was in India. My employer filed a new petition with USCIS under cap exempt and premium category on 2nd May 2012. I am yet to receive the receipt number.
    Can you guide me what to do in this case?


    • Nishant N,
      Your employer should receive the receipt number within 30 days (may take up to 60 days these days). The petition will be reviewed and either approved or RFE would be issued (same process as your w/ any new H-1 petition). I am assuming your visa stamp in the passport has also expired. So once the petition is approved, you will go for visa stamping and can then travel to US to work for the employer on H-1. You don’t need to wait for Oct 1 to start working as this is a cap-exempt H-1.

      • Thanks saurabh for the quick response. Yes, my visa stamp in the passport has also expired. But since its a PP case and USCIS ETA is 15 days, shouldn’t I expect atleast receipt number in 15 days?
        Also can I followup directly with USCIS PP helpline by providing my name, filing date etc?

        • Hi Nishant,

          I hv also applied PP on 6th May-2012; but no luck yet. The status is still under process. Couple of cases till last month took around 15days. Now it has exceeded. Not sure why.


          • Hi Sameer,

            Have you got receipt number or any other communication like receipt of I-907 ? Also is your case filed by yourself or your company’s attorney?

        • Nishant N,
          USCIS will not provide you any information about your case. There is a huge rush at USCIS center and that may have delayed the PP cases as well. Check w/ employer/attorney if they have received the receipt number via email (as it’s a PP case).

  6. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer filed the H1- B petition on November 19th, 2012. Received an acknowledgement number on November 21st, 2012.

    The documents were sent to the VSC. I talked to my employer, they say that there is no way to check the case status without the petition number. My petition was filed through PP.

    Can you please let me know what should be my next steps? Can I get in touch with USCIS directly?
    Contact numbers?
    Thanks in advance.


    • Praveen,
      Seriously? Your PP petition was filed in Nov and employer hasn’t followed up yet. You cannot contact USCIS, but your employer/attorney should call USCIS to know where that petition is.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Sorry for the typo – H1-B parcel was received at VSC on May 21st. PP processing. USPS sent an ackowledgement. But my employer hasn’t received the petition number.
        Quota is filling up. Can I file the petition once again…?

        My employer filed the H1- B petition on may19th, 2012. Received an acknowledgement number on May 21st, 2012.

        The documents were sent to the VSC. I talked to my employer, they say that there is no way to check the case status without the petition number. My petition was filed through PP.

        Can you please let me know what should be my next steps? Can I get in touch with USCIS directly?
        Contact numbers?
        Thanks in advance.


        • Praveen,
          As long as the petition reached USCIS prior to quota reaching max, you will be considered in the quota. Receipt generation has been backlogged at USCIS offices and that is why your employer/attorney hasn’t received any intimation. Looks like the backlogging now includes PP petitions as well.

      • May 19 th – petiton mailed by my employer.

        May 21st – the parcel received by VSC( USPS tracking number delivery)

        haven’t received the petition number.

        checks (filing fee) have npt been encahsed yet.

        Sorry for the typo.

        • Below are the history of my current case: (i have 2 petitions filed by 2 employers)

          Regular Processing (1st Employer)
          April 19 th – petiton mailed by my employer
          April 20th – the parcel received by VSC( USPS tracking number delivery)
          May 29th – Received EAC number from employer but it was already in RFE.

          Premium Processing (2nd Employer)
          May 24 th – petiton mailed by my employer.
          May 25th – the parcel received by VSC( USPS tracking number delivery)
          May 31st (11am EST) – Notice of Action (Receipt Number from USCIS) Received by attorney and employer and forwarded to me.

          The difference i see from 2 employers above is latter is Fortune 10 company and everything is kept obvious b/w me/attorney and employer,, right from filing LCA until today they forwarded me the EAC number no sooner they received the email.

          Former is a consulting company and i received the EAC number after so much hassle.
          I assume consulting companies and their attorneys just dont want to give that to us for some reason.

          Good Luck for all who are waiting for receipt numbers

          • Saurabh,
            i have a question…when i check the status of that receipt number in i797, i see as below

            “On May 31, 2012, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER. Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283.

            For approved applications/petitions, post-decision activity may include USCIS sending notification of the approved application/petition to the National Visa Center or the Department of State. For denied applications/petitions, post-decision activity may include the processing of an appeal and/or motions to reopen or reconsider and revocations.”

            I have my friend’s receipt number who got on H1 last FY. when i track that,

            “On November 23, 2011, this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER was approved and we sent you an e-mail notice. Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283.

            During this step the formal decision (approved/denied) is written and the decision notice is mailed and/or emailed to the applicant/petitioner. You can use our current processing time to gauge when you can expect to receive a final decision.”

            MY QUESTION IS : USCIS sent the receipt number ONLY today but above says its approved…IS IT ALREADY APPROVED IN JUST 1 WEEK?

          • Somesh,
            If it was filed w/ PP, then it is possible that they would approve it within 1 week. In addition, receipt number generation is backlogged at USCIS. So even while the receipt number was taking time to get out to employer/attorney, they continued to process the PP petition and eventually approved it.

            Does that answer your question, or was I totally off-base (not sure if I understood your question correctly).

          • Saurabh,
            I think you are right..May be while the receipt number was getting generated, they already started the processing..
            And when i was posting this question here, i got an update email from USCIS and this time, i see the wording different as equal to my friends Approved case tracking
            “On May 31, 2012, this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER was approved and we sent you an e-mail notice. Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283”

            The reason why i still couldnt believe is
            Last Friday – Petition was received and we had a long weekend for memorial, and it is just 2 business days…
            I also sent an email to attorney after this email from USCIS, and they havent received any update from USCIS..

            Looking at the status, can you tel me if this is Approved?

          • Somesh,
            Yes, it is approved. The wordings are correct now as it was filed w/ PP. The initial wordings were for regular filings and so was incorrect. Probably your friend’s petition was also filed w/ PP.

            Also, PP cases are adjudicated within 15 calendar days and not 15 business days. So probably they are working over the long weekend to adjudicate as many cases as possible.

            Good luck!

          • Saurabh,
            i dont know how else to Thank You…You were spot on.
            i compared it with one of my other colleague’s approval who had his petition filed in regular processing last year and the wording’s are right as you said..
            i strongly believe its approved now (even before my attorney could confirm it)…Thanks a Ton.
            I had a constant touch with your forum for last 1 year or more than that, for my B1 application, documents required and then Stamping..
            Now that i have my petition approved, i will need your help when i go to Chennai for Stamping next month…i believe July1st is the latest and entering US will be Sep20th, the lateset (man, i learnt all this from your forum)…
            Thanks a ton again..i will be back last week of June to redbus and i m taking a small vacation while i fly back to India for stamping..

  7. Hi Saurabh,

    I am on H1b visa since Oct. 2011. I intend to call my mother on I-134

    In ques # 7 can I include the value of my bank balance, shares & property in India

    Also kindly apprise me the site from where I can download I-134 which can be saved on PC

    • Aki,
      It asks for US assets, and so I don’t think you should include about assets in India. You can check w/ others who would have completed the form recently.

      You can download the form from USCIS website. You can search online, and it is one of the top results.

  8. Hi Saurabh,

    I am going for H1B stamping on 6th june at Mumbai Consulate, can you guide me with some questions that are recently asked my them…Please help…

    • Rajesh,
      You can search for interview experiences on this blog or elsewhere on the web. Usually they ask about employer, job, client, employer-employee relationship etc.

  9. Jus a doubt with respect to the visa interview for new h1b(2012) . LCA was posted sometime in Nov 2011 and h1b approved in may 2012 and interview nex week.

    LCA states the primary work location as A and it has B and C added under multilocation page as the client operates in diff places in US.

    my ds160 has A as the work location as the LCA was posted in A and client letter specifically has B as my work location and i intend travelling to location B only. Is there any pblm with respt to the location now? how shld we handle this in the interview?

    • MV,
      I don’t think it should be an issue as all these locations are covered in the LCA. A better thing would have been to mention B in the DS form, but I think it is not a big deal. If questioned, you can tell the officer your reason – you wanted the DS location to be same as primary location from LCA but actually would be working at B which is another approved location.

  10. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer has filed my H1B New petition in the 2013 cap. Once approved my wife also intends to travel with me on H4.
    The problem is, in her passport, her address and surname is different than mine. But my name is included in her passport as spouse.
    While going for the visa interview/stamping, will it create any problem?
    Do I need to have new passport for her with her surname and address changed (same as mine)?

    • Abhi,
      It shouldn’t be a problem. It is not necessary to have same last name and address in the passport. You should carry other documents like marriage certificate, wedding card and album to show that you guys are married.

  11. Hi Saurabh
    I had H1 B with Company A,then project got over in Company A.
    So got a new job and got H1 B with extension for Company B,meanwhile i was in long leave in Company A
    Now i came to india on a vacation and got 221 (g) while trying to get stamping for Company B,and company B not able to provide required docs.

    Now i rejoined Company A in india and got a US project,Now i have to go for stamping again for Comp A.

    My question is will i be questioned abt working with Comp B since i did not resign Comp A while in US? Is that not legal what i did?I had valid visa with both of them.

    when i goto stamping now Can i say Comp B cannot fulfil 221g so i went back to Comp A?

    • Ayushi,
      I don’t think it was illegal but it might be unethical. However, I don’t think it should be an issue when going for H-1 stamping through A. Yes, you can say that you left B after they were not able to respond to 221g, and moved to A.

    • Krishna,
      Once the RFE response is submitted, USCIS will adjudicate it within few weeks to months. If it was filed w/ premium processing, then it will be done within 15 calendar days of receiving RFE response.

    • Mine is also in RFE response review status since 01st May not sure how much more time it will take..keep us updated if you hear anything.

  12. Hi,
    My employer has filed for H1B this FY. Currently the status is LCA posted at the work location. Now I would like to know the following.
    1) How long does it take to get the LCA certified?
    2) How long does it take to file the H1B petition after the LCA is certified?
    3) Is there any premium process involved to speed up the h1b petition filing. please note I am not talking about the premium process ($1225) involving H1b petition decisioning.
    4) last but not the least, how is the H1b cap count updated. Is it basing on the number of applications reaching the USCIS or the count is incremented basing on the petition number allocated after the application is reached. I came to know that the petition number will not be allocated immediately once the petition is filed.

    Can anyone please answers these questions. My employer says, that my petition will be filed on June 23rd. What are my chances of going through the cap?

    • Kaleem,
      1. LCA certification takes around 10 days
      2. Petition can be filed soon after LCA has been certified and has been posted for enough days at the work location
      3. No such process. The filing process itself is in the hands of the employer. They can speed it up as much as they want. Once it reaches USCIS, only premium processing helps in speeding up the process
      4. The count is updated based on the petitions reaching USCIS office. USCIS then allocates petition numbers to all petitions that made through the cap. If a petition gets denied during processing, then it is considered out of the quota.

      There is a 50-50 chance that quota may be open on June 23. You will have to follow next few weeks counts to see if there is an uptick in the filing rate.

  13. Hi Saurab,

    My H1B is stamped. H4 for my wife & two kids is also stamped last month. She has been currently working for a MNC in India, in which they are forcing her to go for L1A since she is a critical resource in the project where she works. Luckily US offices of both of us are located just around 5 miles.

    My question is that, Will she be in a position to travel to US if her L1A is rejected in the consulate?

    Thanks in advance for your help!


        • Rajan,
          Usually they don’t cancel the previous visa stamp, but nothing stops them from doing so. So there is a possibility that H-4 gets canceled. Don’t know the probability of this happening though.

  14. Hello Saurabh,

    My h1b visa is valid till 5th feb 2013, when shall I ask my employer to file for an extension. Is there any time frame or extension can be applied now as well?
    Does extension have the 2 modes of processing normal & premium. How much time it takes

    • Bhuvnesh,
      If the person is inside US, then the extension can be filed as early as 6 months prior to petition expiration and as late as just prior to petition expiration date.

      If the person is outside of US, then the extension can be filed as early as 6 months prior to petition expiration date and as late as several months after the petition has expired.

      Yes, both regular and premium processing modes are available. Regular processing can take 2-6 months, while PP will be done in 15 calendar days (not including LCA and RFE time)

  15. Hi

    I currently have H-1 B visa from employer A valid till oct-2014 and im in USA currently.

    Now am planning to change my company and employer B is ready to transfer by visa.
    After transfer i might my visa transfered and i start working with employer B, If i had to travel to india for vacation in between i.e before2014 my visa expires do i still have to go for stamping in india to come back to USA?

    Please let me know asap

    • if i travel to india beofre my visa expires i.e. before 2014,so i have to go for stamping as i would be working with employer B after my visa got transferred?

    • Sneha,
      As long as you have visa stamped in the passport from A, you don’t need to go for another visa stamping even after changing employers.

  16. Hi Saurabh,

    I see the status as below…

    On May 15, 2012, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER. Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283.

    As per the above comments i think my petition got approved ,but my company havnt got back to me regarding this approval so are there any checks i need to do whether my petition got approved or not .

    How long does it take to reach my company frm USCIS.


  17. Hi Saurabh,

    I am H1B, completed 2 months of employment. My employer is not giving me salary stub. He is saying for security, we cant give you salary slip. He is also giving me less salary.
    Please suggest what to do? Should I complaint in Labor and Law after 3.5 months

    • Bittu,
      What rubbish! There is no security concern in giving salary slips. He is probably holding it back so that you don’t change employers. If doesn’t get resolved amicably, you should consult w/ an attorney and then file complain w/ DOL. If the salary given is less than LCA amount, you should definitely complain to DOL as this is hampering your legal status in US.

  18. Hi Saurabh,

    I have my VISA interview appointment next week. I just noticed that in the DS 160 form by mistake i have mentioned my annual salary (is USD) instead of the monthly salary. Please suggest what can be done now- should i go ahead with the same interview date and if so is it going to impact my VISA. Can i submit a new DS 160 and take both the confirmation to the consulate ?

    Also could you please let me know if the salary to be mentioned is the prevailing wage rate or the LCA wage rate mentioned in my petition.

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Suchi,
      You can do either of the two – complete new DS form and schedule another appointment; or you can go w/ same DS form and let the consulate officer know about the mistake. IMO, the error is trivial and can be corrected at the consulate w/o causing too many issues. So its up to you. You can call and check w/ VFS as well.

  19. Hi Saurabh,

    I have two H1B petitions as below:

    1. New H1B approved and Visa stamped for Oct’10 to Sep’13.
    2. H1B amendment since new client and location with the same employer approved for Oct’11 to Oct’2102.

    Please let me know if I continueue in the same location/client should I go for extension by Oct’12 or can I continue till Sep’13, since I have the initial approved petition/Visa stamping?

    And If I change from current employer, will they consider intial H1B or Amendment?

    Thanks & Regards,

    • Vin,
      If you are working at the new client location, then the 2nd petition is the one applicable. So extension would have to be filed around Oct 2012. When going for H-1 transfer, you need to submit the 2nd petition as it will be related to your current client and location.

  20. Hi saurabh

    I have H1 with x company and approved on april 2012.Im currently in india and want to transfer to Y.is it advisable and ok as my old company not releasing me and do i have to again do petition and stamping.

    • Arun,
      Y can file a cap-exempt petition for you. You don’t need to go for stamping again. Once approved, you can travel to US on Y’s petition and X’s visa stamp to work for Y.

  21. Hi Saurabh,
    My H1B petition was delivered to Vermont Office on 16 of April. I am still waiting for the receipt number. When I called my attorney he said it may take few more days.
    Please let me know how long will it take to get the H1B receipt number?
    What can be the reason for this delay?
    What should I do to make sure I will get the receipt number asap?


  22. Hi,

    I would like to ask something about premium processing. Here is the scenario: Suppose we have two applicants who, in the eyes of USCIS, will get an H1B. Applicant X applied, say, on April 10 but didn’t pay the premium processing fee. With this, applicant X is still in queue for processing (because there are others who applied before April 10). Now, applicant Y applied, say, on April 25. Let us assume that up to April 25 applicant X didn’t receive any notification from the USCIS (he is still on queue). Here is the question: Is there a high chance that applicant Y will get the approval ahead of applicant X (because, all things equal, X and Y are both eligible and on the road to receive the H1B). Thank you in advance.

    • Ed,
      It depends upon several factors. If lot of petitions are filed, then Y (filed through premium) can get approved prior to X. There is no simple logic here.

  23. Hello Saurabh,

    My husband received a 221g during his embassy interview for H4 because my employer transferred me to a new facility and the papers that he brought for the interview were for the last facility.The consul asked for a copy of the I-129 and LCA stating my new work site. The consul also asked for my bank statements coz my husband has already submitted the pay stubs. My employer provided me with a new LCA for the new work site and they asked me what other documents did the consul want to be sure before submitting the documents.
    My concern are:
    > The new LCA stated minimum wage is not reflective of what I presently receive with my employer
    > Do I need to provide a new I-129 provided I just arrived last February and my employer decided to transfer me to a new facility?
    > Will this delay my husbands H4 stamping considering that my present wage does not reflect what was written on the LCA?

    Please enlighten me on this. Thank you very much!

    • Hurtz,
      1. You need to get paid at least the amount mentioned in the LCA. So if your salary is less than LCA amount, you already have an issue irrespective of what’s going on w/ husband’s H-4 stamping. You should start getting paid as per the LCA
      2. When a new LCA is filed, H-1 amendment needs to be filed w/ USCIS. This involves new I-129 filing and another 797 being issued by USCIS. Consulate is asking for these documents for H-4 stamping
      3. Yes, it can delay the stamping. If the officer notices the discrepancy in the salary, they can reject the visa and notify USCIS about it

      • Hi Saurabh,
        1. Would that mean that if they don’t pay me according to what is stated in the LCA they have breached the signed employment contract am I right?
        2. They employer said that they only need to supply me with a new LCA, so if my husband fails to submit an amended H1 and new 797 there’s no way my husband can get that visa.
        3. If the consulate notices the discrepancy this could reflect back to my employer and I will also lose my status. Am I correct?
        4. Do I need to consult a lawyer now?

        • Hurtz,
          1. They have breached the H-1 rule by paying you less than LCA. This is probably a DOL violation
          2. He can try to go w/ just the new LCA. However, the consulate has clearly mentioned that they need new I-129, so it may not get approved
          3. Yes, they will most likely inform USCIS about this who would start the investigation at their end
          4. Yes, you should consult one. I would suggest not going to the one used by the employer as they would have a conflict of interest here.

  24. Hello Saurabh,

    I worked on L1 Visa for 10 months (From April 2008 to Feb 2009) for Employer A. Then I went back to India and switched to employer B. Employer B filled H1 B for me and i came back to USA on 12th october 2009. Could you please tell me if my 1st 10 months in USA are also considered in current 6 Yrs of H1 B? Can i stay here for 6 Yrs on H1 B or I have to go back 10 months before my H1 expires. Please let me know. Also Do you know any good consultancy in USA to file H1 B for my wife? She is on L1 now.

    Thank you very much for your help.

    • Rahul,
      Yes, it will be counted as the time spent outside of US b/w L-1 and H-1 was less than 12 months. So the clock is not reset. I don’t know any companies that I can recommend for H-1 filing.

  25. Hi Saurabh,

    Appreciate your support on all the queries.
    My company has filed H1b this april-2012 (premium processing), and the petition has been approved. My question

    1. when can i go for stamping , is it the case i can go for stamping immediately or do i need to wait till september / october along with non-premium h1b cases.
    2. Is premium processing implies only fast processing of petition ?

    thanks a lot in advance

    • Arun,
      1. You can go for stamping at most 90 days prior to H-1 start date. If the H-1 start date is Oct 1, then you can go for stamping on or after July 1.
      2. Yes, it also quickens the petition processing. Once the petition has been approved, it is no longer applicable.

  26. Hi Saurabh,
    My H1B expires on July 31 2012. My Employer is working on filing my H1B extension.
    Im working in USA.My wife is in india.

    1)If i initiate my dependent visa stamping now whether US Consulate will approve dependant visa till july 2012?
    2)If dependant visa is approved,Whether she will be able to travel by june 2012 to USA?
    3)What is procedure for getting extension for dependant visa?


    • Ramanan,
      1. Yes. If approved, its expiration date will be July 31 2012
      2. Yes, she can travel to US. She will be issued I-94 until July 31 unless your petition has been approved by that time
      3. She will have to file I-539 (extension of status) and submit your approved petition as reference for extension

      It may be better to have your petition approved early w/ PP so that your wife can get a visa stamp valid for a longer duration and also gets I-94 for a longer date. This way there is no dependent extension required after she enters US.

  27. Hi Saurabh,
    First of all, I appreciate the good work that you are doing.
    I have a question – I have applied for H1 extension in Nov 2011 and now I’m going to get it approved in sometime. My family is in India and they have H1B stamped on their passports with expiry as Jan 2012 so that is already expired. I wanted to know for depenedent VISA, do I need to go back to India in order to get the dependent VISA for them or would it be done from US only with the help of I797 and I don’t need to go to India.


  28. hi, I am Mary Grace from the Philippines. Just got an email from an employer in Oakdale California that I am offered a job as a staff nurse. In their email they said that they will provide me with work and residence permit after I have the coinfirmation of the prototype copy of my employment visa(H1B Visa). Am I the one who will apply for H1b Visa or my employer? Thank you.

  29. Sourabh,

    It almost 1 month that I have received my USCIS receipt no. How will one know that their processing has actually started or is in the queue for some officer to take my case and start the process. Is there a way we can find this out?

  30. I heard that we have to wait till October 1,2012 for USCIS to give us a Personal Appearance date no matter at what time you applied after April 1 ,2012. Does premium processing help us to get Petion approved soon and get a PA date earlier?

    • Vathu,
      A person can go for H-1 stamping at most 90 days prior to H-1 start date. So if H-1 start date is Oct 1, then you can go for stamping as early as July 1. Even when filing w/ PP, it will be approved for Oct 1 start date. So PA cannot happen prior to July 1 even in this case.

      • Thank you Sourabh. And one more question , my address on my passport is Address A. When I filled in the PRD from my employer I had given Address B. Still the petition is yet to be filed with USCIS and it is in queue with my empoyer. I have recently shifted house and now staying at address C. Will this be a problem? Should I request my company’s attorney to change address from B to C before he files the petition with USCIS?

        • Vathu,
          I don’t think it will be an issue if you have changed address while H-1 is under process. You can let your attorney know to keep them in the loop.

  31. Hi,

    My H1B petition was approved on the USCIS website on 19 March 2012. But the approval notice has not reached my employer as yet. They’ve now told me they’d apply for a duplicate approval copy. My petition was submitted under premium processing.
    Can you tell me if there would be any definite turnaround time from the USCIS’s side once the request is submitted?
    Also, I understand that USCIS sends the approval notices via snail mail. However, in cases like these, when we apply for a duplicate, would they send it via courier? Any information would be really appreciable.

    Many thanks in advance!

    Prabhata Chaitanya

    • Prabhata Chaitanya,
      I don’t think they will send it through courier. Also, it will not be treated as PP as that service was only for the initial filing. This can take few weeks (6-8 maybe).

      Did your employer/attorney change their address after the petition was filed? Lots of petitions are lost b/c office address changes and USCIS is not updated about the same.

  32. Hi Saurabh,

    Thanks for all the valuable information you are providing in this site,which really helped me.
    Well my Visa is recently approved on May 9th,well but the Start date seems to 1st oct 2011 till Sep 30 2014,however my petition is filed on Nov 21st and approved on March 5th.So in such a case already 8 months has been over.So what will be my actual validity period,will it be the same or will that be erveised later.

    • Pradeep,
      The petition validity is still what’s there on the hard copy. However, every person gets maximum 6 years on H-1 and only the time spent inside US is counted towards that limit. So you have not used any of that time. Once your petition is about to expire, extension can be filed to get another term. This can be done until you reach 6 year limit.

      Does that clarify?

  33. Hi Saurabh,

    I have my H1B approved petition, yet to go for the VISA interview. My husband is currently in the US with F1 status (Nonimmigrant student visa) in a different location than my client location where I will be working. I would like to know if there could be any impact of my husband’s presence in the US on my VISA (I have furnished my spouse’s details in the DS 160 form). Kindly let me know.

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    • Suchi,
      There shouldn’t be. F-1 is more restricted visa than H-1 as the former is non-immigrant while the latter is dual intent. You should mention about your husband in the DS form, and it should be fine.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Thank you very much for your response. I am sure you must be aware, while filling the DS160 form we don’t have an option to choose the type of VISA for spouse/any relatives residing in the US. I just had an option to choose from the following option : Nonimimgrant / Immigrant / Green card holder / Other(I don’t know). So I had selected the Non-immigrant option. Probably I can expect some questions with regards to this during my interview with the VO?

        Thanking you.

        • Suchi,
          Yes, the VO can ask the question during interview about the husband. At that point, you can mention the visa status.

  34. Hi Saurabh,

    A quick question. When an application is in PP and gets RFE, while submitting RFE the employer again has to mention thet it is PP? Or USCIS has a track about it?

    The reason i am asking is, one of my colleagues application was under premium which later got RFE. But it is more than a month the petition in is “RFE response review” as reflecting in website. He did not get the decision in 15days. What can be done in such sases?


    • H1BVisa,
      They would know that it is was originally filed w/ PP. In case of your friend, his employer should call USCIS and follow-up on the case.

  35. Hi Saurabh,
    I have H1B sponsored by Co A. Recently, I moved to Co B in B;lore.Now the situation is like Co A has cancelled H1B before I initiate h1B transfer.but visa was given for 3 year and it will be end by Oct2013.

    Question: Am I still eligible to transfer H1b Visa?

    Thanks in advance

    • Shankar,
      Yes, if you have copy of the approval notice or at least the receipt number, you can still go for H-1 transfer.

  36. Hi Saurabh,
    My husband is working with Employer A on H1 and on this H1 i went for H4 stamping which is valid till 2013 and now in US. But now my husband changed his employer to B. and Employer A said he will cancel the H1. on this situation will my H4 effects because it got stamped on old H1?
    will i have to apply H4 again?
    Really appreciate your help.


    • HJ,
      As long as the previous H-4 visa stamp is still valid, you are fine. You don’t need to go for stamping again after your husband changes employer.

  37. Hi Saurabh,
    I got my receipt number. When I checked my status in USCIS there is some thing like OMB number and have some expiration date. What does it mean?

    • Hi Saurabh,
      How can I make sure that the receipt number belongs to me only? Can I ask receipt notice from the employer? Generally how USCIS communicates the receipt number to the atorney or employer? They do email or courier the notice?

    • Suman,
      The receipt notice will not have your name. So you cannot be really sure that it belongs to you. They post the receipt notice to employer/attorney. In case of PP, they also email the same.

      I don’t know what you are seeing on the screen as OMB and expiration date.

      • actually the reciept notice does show the beneficiary’s name. you should ask your employer to send you a scanned image of the reciept notice.

    • This number is not related with your case in any way. Its the office of management and budget number related with government office paperwork. Ignore it.

  38. Saurabh,

    My H1B petition was filed for Client A on 11th Nov (Normal processing) at CSC, which later was upgraded to Premium processing. I got RFE on 13th Feb, but by then my client changed to B. Now, i submitted all the documents (new LCA for client B, Cover letter stating the reason for client change, Client letter, SOW, MSA etc) for Client B to respond to RFE. The status got changed to “RFE Response Review” on May 4th.

    So 15 calendar days for decision starts from 4th May as the application is under PP?
    And also are there any chances of rejection as the client changed before petition approval (Though i have all the valid docs for Client B)?


    • ABC,
      Yes it starts from May 4th. I don’t think there should be an issue as you are submitting new LCA and other documents. But who knows.

        • ABC,
          Yes, it happens; especially when the processing takes several months and during that time one project closes and another one opens up. I have seen both outcomes for such instances. In some USCIS has denied for change in client, but in others it has approved them (which I think is the right thing as the new documents are being submitted). That is why I think your petition should get approved w/ new information.

  39. Hi Saurabh

    My H1-B visa is in RFE state.
    1. Once the documents is filed with USCIS , will it take more than 2 months for them to give a response?
    2. Is it advisable to apply for tourist visa during this period?

    I would be really grateful if you could reply

    • Devika,
      1. It can take around 2 months under regular processing.
      2. I am not sure if the consulate would know about your H-1 petition when you go for B-1 stamping. Assuming they don’t, you can go ahead w/ B-1 stamping. In case they know about it, then they would probably reject B-1 stamping as you would have shown immigrant intents by going for H-1 visa (which is a dual intent visa).

      • Hi Saurabh

        Thank you for the information…Had one more query, hw long it takes for the whole process of applying for a dependant visa of US citizen take?

        Regards Devika

          • Hi Saurabh

            My HI-B is in process, but my husband is a US citizen by birth ..So if H1-B gets rejected, I need to go for dependant visa. I have read that process takes even longer time…U awre of how long it would take?

          • Hi Devika,
            If your husband is US citizen, he can sponsor you green card and you will get in few months, you dont have to go through H1 process, or did you mean your husband was born in US and has Indian passport.

  40. Hi Saurabh,

    How much time will it take to get the hard copy of the petition once it is approved? Petition is in premium mode

      • My petition got approved one week back. I will post my experience once i go thru interview. My case is very interesting one. It was in RFE status for 5 months (Nov-Apr).
        By RFE, I mean simply RFE( not RFE response etc). My employer told me that USCIS officials acknowledged the delay on their part. Total 8 months..that too because,it was upgraded to premium @ rfe response.

  41. Hello Saurabh,

    I didnt know where to post as I am new in this but I have couple of questions

    I am on F1 visa.. I applied for opt in march with TSC which got approved and apparently got lost in mail.

    I applied for a replacement card on 25th april . This time i applied online(E-file) and today I received a notice saying I have a biometrics appointment.

    They didnt ask anything else. Is there anything to worry about ? Are they going to ask anything else after my Biometrics?

    Thanks in advance

    • Nathan12,
      I don’t know. Biometrics is a routine thing, but I don’t know if that would be the end of it or if they can issue RFE to ask for additional documents/information.

    • Hi Saurabh,
      My wife is currenly on H4 visa which is expiring on june 25th 2012. She got admitted for fall semester 2012 into a good university and has gotten the I-20. Will she face any problem if she goes for F1 stamping to india? OR is it better to do COS while remaining in the united states? please advise.. thanks.

      • Amit,
        I would say do a COS while in US and then go for H-4 stamping when she has to travel outside of US next. COS chances are better than F-1 stamping.

        Is she currently in US or outside of US?

  42. Hi Saurabh,

    I’ve a valid H1B visa. Petitioner is TCS and it’s a new H1B petition. If I switch company now, how would it impact by H1B visa usage?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Karthick,
      One gets maximum 6 years of H-1 time (unless Green Card application is filed and reaches certain stage). Only the time spent inside US is counted. So if you have not traveled to US, then you are still eligible for 6 years of H-1 even after moving to the new employer. Else you can deduct the time spent inside US on H-1.

      • Thanks for your response Saurabh. I’m in India now. What if my current firm cancels my visa while I switch? Do I need to go through the petition approval and stamping process all over again?

        • Karthick,
          Petition approval is always required for the new employer. They would need a copy of your previously approved 797 notice (or just the number) and then file for cap-exempt petition (aka H-1 transfer). No need to go for stamping in this case. However, if the old employer asks for your passport and gets the visa stamp canceled through consulate or if the visa stamp expires, then you have to go for stamping again.

          • Thanks a lot Saurabh!
            1) My visa stamp has petitioner as my current firm and the Receipt number of that petition. Is n’t that a problem? Because if a new petition filed by new employer is approved . Visa stamp and I797 details will mismatch. Do they cross verify these details in port of entry or just the visa stamp is enough?

            2) My H1B transfer case petition will take the same span for approval unless it’s filed with premium and petition validity will differ from the current one based on the documents submitted. Is that correct?

          • Karthick,
            1. It won’t be an issue. Visa stamp is just an entry document and not really tied to an employer. If it gives you more confidence, you can talk to new employer’s attorney as well.
            2. Correct

  43. Hi Saurabh,
    My petition is approved.
    Now there is another case for which I need your help. My wife is working for central govt. as officer and going to USA for two week meeting(On B1 Visa). Since my H1B got approved so I want to get H4 visa for her. So my question is can she apply for two visa one as my dependent (H4) and another is B1 from her department ? does it matter which visa she get first ?

    Thank You.

    • VirgoAP,
      H-4 is a dual intent visa while B-1 is a non-immigrant visa. In several cases, they cancel the earlier visa when going for the new one. So if she has to travel on B-1, then I would suggest going for B-1 now and after she returns from US then go for H-4 visa stamping. At that point, the officer can cancel the previous B-1 visa stamp.

  44. Hi,
    My new H1b petition got approved on 3 Apr and still not recd the hard copy.Is this delay normal or shld we check with uscis?Anybody from April got the hard copy of approval?

    • MV,
      Employer/attorney should receive the copy within 30 days. If not, they should call USCIS and follow-up.

  45. Hi Saurabh…I applied for h1B on 13 of April..to the Vermont office..still I dint get any acknowledgement …can I know how long will it take to get the h1 online tracking number…

    • Radhika,
      It can take up to 30 days to receive the receipt number. Check w/ employer/attorney if they have received it or not. They can also call USCIS to follow-up.

  46. Hi Saurabh,

    USCIS raised an RFE for my case. Responded to RFE. But earlier it was normal processing case. Somewhere in this forum itself I read that

    “If it used words like “email” vs “mail”, then it has been filed w/ PP.”

    My employer told me it is in premium processing. But wanted to confirm it. It is written in the USCIS website saying that they will notify by mail. Is it true that then it will be in PP.

    • Navin,
      The determination of PP vs regular on the basis of these words is more prevalent when the petition is in Initial Review and Acceptance stage. Once it reaches RFE and RFE response review, the message is much more standard and it is difficult to make that distinction.

      When was your petition filed and when was RFE issued? If it was within 15 calendar days, then there is a chance that it was filed w/ PP.

  47. is there anyone else here whose still awaiting reply from uscis for petitions filed for 2012. Mine was filed on nov 21 2011 at CSC (normal procesing) and still the status is initial review.
    My employer called uscis and they told still the background check is happening and of we want for speed processing upgrade to premium. What do you think i have to do????

  48. Hi Saurabh,

    I H1b is cap exempt and Premium Process. On 2nd April USCIS raised RFE. We have respond to RFE on 24th April. Can you how much time it will take now to get approval of petition.


      • Hi Saurabh,

        I had my petition was under normal processing and they have received RFE response on 25th April. How much time it will take now to get approval of petition


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