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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. I have applied H1B thru Ohio Based Employer with Premium processing .Find my Details below.

    Applied on June 7th
    USCIS received on June 8th
    Received Receipt # on June 11th
    USCIS Status Change on June 11th – Initial Review.

    Still i am seeing the “Initial review” Status for more than 15 days. can you please some one tell how they are doing the process.?



  2. Hi,

    I work with a large IT firm and I am going for stamping in Mumbai consulate. Mine is a EC model.
    My client is not providing a client letter. But there is a SOW in place which I can take and is valid it 2015.
    There are atleast 20 people who went to stamping from my project without the client letter but with SOW and have got their visa stamp.
    But still I am confused. Shall I go for stamping or change my client? What else i can ask from client to make my case strong?

  3. Hi Saurabh,

    My mom (81 yrs old) is travelling on visitors visa from India to States but i was really worried as she is travelling alone & she does not know English, The only language she understand is Hindi.

    We have already arranged wheel chair thru delta airlines

    Kindly advice me on the immigration process at the airport.


  4. Hello Saurabh,

    My employer filed for an amended petition due to change of location. My spouse got a 221g at the embassy and the consul requested for us to submit I-129 and LCA to show new work site. I just received the Receipt Notice will this be enough together with the LCA for the consul to issue a visa for my spouse? Or do we need to wait for the Approval of the new petition considering that I am already here working in the USA. Please help. Thanks


      • Hurtz,
        These days it is almost a must to get H-1 amended for the new LCA. You need to have the final approved notice and cannot use the receipt as an alternate document.

  5. Hi

    I have H-1 B till 2014 with Emp-A and am currently working with Emp-A.I have recently applied for transfer to Emp-B.The LCA filed by Emp-B is approved and i have also received my receipt number (EAC..)Now i see the status of the case is showing RFE.Employer B is trying to provide the requested documents and reply for the RFE.

    In this situation where i haven’t got my approval for transfer yet,can i resign Emp-A and start working with Emp-B?as LCA is approved is it legal to work?

    what are the chances of getting the transfer rejected?
    FYI-Emp-B is a reputed company as well,got more than 7k employees in USA and has several clients too.

    Please help me in deciding as i need to act asap.

    Thanks in Advance

    • Sneha,
      Resign from A only if you are confident about the transfer’s approval. If you resign from A and transfer is denied, then you will be in a fix and will either have to go back to A or file H-1 transfer through another employer ASAP.

      Check w/ B if they feel confident about the transfer.

  6. Hi Everyone,
    Has someone received the LCA form from there employer yet ?? coz all i have received yet is the receipt number .

      • thanks Marvin,
        so i will never get LCA after receipt number ?? What is the next steps now that will follow now?? can , u plz mention that in steps and a approximate time frame please ?

      • but a friend of mine said you will get LCA form after receipt . One more thing, i have some 3 years of experience . Is there any changes of rejection based on years of expereince for H1B ?? also do they also check your bank account balance or minimum balance in account and all that ???

    • Is your’s an India mobile or some other, I ll call you after you confirm, seems like you are very much confused.

    • Shiraz,
      Some employers share LCA w/ the employees; others don’t. LCA is filed prior to H-1 petition and so anyone whose petition is pending w/ USCIS already has an approved LCA. It is up to your employer whether to share it w/ you or not.

  7. Hi Saurabh,

    I submitted all my documents to my employer in Nov 2011. My petition was received by uscis after 22nd Nov 2011 and hence returned.

    My employer has now refiled my petition in the first week of April 2012. My employer had the same set of documents that I sent back in Nov. The payslips that I sent were upto the month of october 2011. Is there a chance of an RFE in my case as the payslips are not from latest months? Can there be other problems?


    • Nadia,
      Are you outside of US at the time of application? If yes, then there is a low chance of RFE being issued for the payslips.

  8. Hi Saurabh,

    Its almost 2 and half months since my H1B petition was file. The status on uscis is still “initial review”.

    I am hoping to get a decision somewhere in next month. The only thing that my employer has told me till date is the H1 reciept number.
    (1) Is it normal for me to have only the reciept number now. Is there any documentation that employers generally send to applicants in case of H1.
    (2) Once my visa gets approved what all documents will I need from my employer? Will I need them in original or scanned copies.
    (3) can i call uscis on their helpdesk and inquire about my case. would they give me any details?


    • Hi nadia,
      My case Is similar to urs. M Damn confused.
      I need to talk to u. Whoz ur employer?? Wat have they promised?? Can u call me at 9739977451 pls.

    • Hi Shiraz and Nadia,
      Guys, even am under confusion pertaining to the visa process. There hasn’t been any proper communication from the visa desk. Status simply shows initial review for a long time now. Please do mail me if you guys have got any updates on this. Would be helpful.
      My email id is : timmyonguitar@gmail dot com

      • hi Timothy,
        plz call me at 9739977451 , we can discuss about our visa status in detail as i am also confused big time and dont know anyone in person whoz h1b visa is also filed. Hope to here from you soon.

        • Hi My H1B was filed on May2nd and it is still in Initial Review. Can any of you please suggesst. I got my EAC number from my attorney(nothing else). I am haeding back home due to personal reason on July7th and cant return till my visa approved. Do any of you know when it ll happen???

          • Paul,
            You will have to wait in your home country for the visa approval. Then go for H-1 visa stamping and finally return on H-1 visa after Sep 20th. What’s your current visa status?

    • Nadia,
      1. It can take 2-6 months to process. So it is still normal. You can track processing times of fellow members on H1B Visa Tracker.
      2. You will need original 797, copy of I-129, copy of LCA, and other documents related to your job at the new employer.
      3. No. Only employer/attorney can call and follow-up.

  9. Hi Saurabh,

    My H1B was filed on october 28 2011 under normal processing in CSC. Received RFE on Feb14 2012 and my employer submitted the Response on May 2nd 2012.The status in USCIS site is RFE response review. Can you please tell how long will it take for the decision of this RFE approval ?

    • Srikanth,
      Although the prescribed time is 60 days, it can take longer than that as well. It can take as much as several months.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Are the responses handled on first come first serve basis, or they might delayed based on each case. One of my friends RFE response was received by California centre in April 24th and he got the petition approved in May itself(Regular processing) and my response was submitted on April 27th and its still in Response Review status

        • Anand,
          As the cases are assigned to different officers, it is possible that they get processed out of turn. Although they follow FIFO, but it not uncommon to see that trend being broken.

  10. My petition was filed with client X and I am going for stamping for client Y. I have applied for a fresh LCA. What other documents do i need?
    Can this change of client lead to a 221g slip?
    Will my I 129 change because of the change in client?

    • Deep,
      You should also get H-1 amended once the new LCA is certified. I have seen cases where 221g was issued for missing H-1 amendment. Other than that, carry the usual documents for the new client.

      • Thanks Saurabh,

        I spoke to my immigration team today. I work with a large IT company. They said amendment is not needed. It is needed for L1 and not for H1. You go ahead with a fresh LCA and other documents.
        What to do?

        • Deep,
          It is up to them whether they want to do it or not. However, I have seen cases where 221g was issued when H-1 amendment wasn’t dont for the new LCA. So you can take the risk and then do the amendment if 221g is issued.

  11. Hi Saurabh,
    I was on F1-Visa before and on June 13th my H-1 B got Approved.I have few questions on H-4. My wife is in India and I need to Apply for her H4 visa. I have no Idea how to apply H4 visa.
    Do I need to Apply from USA only or Do I need to send documents and she can Apply from India only. How much Time it takes to get her visa approved? Can you please also let me know which documents I need to send her to support her case?
    FYI- she applied couple times on F2 Category but couldn’t Succeed ,does it impacts on her H4 application?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Jay,
      Her F-2 rejections would not impact H-4 visa processing as long as you are in valid H-1 employment and have the documents to show the same.

      She can go for H-4 visa stamping after July 1. You will have to send her the documents, and she will have to complete the DS-160 form for herself. She also needs to pay HDFC fees at one of the participating branches. Later, she will have to schedule H-4 visa interview date using the DS-160 confirmation number and HDFC receipt, and then appear for visa interview.

      If approved, she can enter US on H-4 visa after Sep 20th. If the consulate issues 221g, then the processing would be put on hold until she submits the requested documents and consulate will get back to her once they complete their processing.

  12. Hi.. My consultancy says they have sent the documents on june 8th and it has reached USCIS on june 12th. But the Cap got over on june 11th. Is there any chance that i will be counted in?

    • Nithi,
      There is no chance of making through the cap now. Your company could have shown urgency by sending it through overnight courier service so that USCIS would have received it on 11th. Then you would have made through the cap.

  13. applied h1b new application on 5th june 2 days later received my receipt number and today got email approved I 129. happy they were effficinet and good job done

    • hi,
      I applied on may24th and received receipt also but still it is in INTIAL REVIEW status. How come u got approval ? is it premium processing ?


    • did you do this through premium processing? I’m surprised you got it so fast. I also got my receipt # within two days but no I-129 approval yet. Please let me know if you pay for premium

  14. hi saurabh,

    My H1B status is shown in the USCIS website as Decision “I129 Petition approved on April 16th 2012”. My company has applied for premium processing. However till now the I-797 approval notice is not received by mail. I am a little concerned now because of this delay. Is this normal. What should I be doing now ?


    • akash,
      The employer/attorney should call USCIS and follow-up on it if they have not received the approval notice by now.

  15. My H1B documents reached USCIS on Jun 4, 2012 (according to my employer). The application is filed in premium (according to my employer). When i checked with them yesterday, they said that they have not received the receipt number yet. Is that possible? Or they are cheating me?

  16. Hi all,

    My H1-B visa petition was filed on 9th April and i have also received the receipt which shows my WAC number in that. with that WAC number you can check the status online in USCIS website and mine still says initial review. My question here is when do we receive the I-129 forms and what after this from our side ??

        • Shiraz,

          If your petition filed in normal processing than it can take 2 to 6 moths and in case of premium filing you can get response in 15 calender days.


          • Hi j, I can see some guys are already receiving Der approval mails and I 129 form , can sm 1 plz tell me wat is dis I 129 form like ?? Wat all it contains ??

    • Shiraz,
      Once the petition gets approved, it will be sent to employer/attorney. They can then share it w/ you. The employer can also send you a copy of I-129 (they already have it as they filed it).

      • Thanks,
        My employer has already given me one doc. In which my wac no is mentioned and Derz a bar code and all. Is dat form I 129 ??

        • Shiraz,
          That is probably 797C. At the top of the page there would be a form number. If it says 797C then it’s the receipt notice.

          It is up to your employer when and if to share the I-129 w/ you or not. They would already have it at the time of filing your petition.

          • Suresh,
            That is not the approval but just the receipt notice (acceptance of the petition). When the employer/attorney receive 797A or 797B, that means approval of the I-129 petition.

          • Hi saurabh,
            I can some guys already getting approval status , but my visa was filed long time back on 9 th April still no approval . Wat can be the cause ? How will I get to know of the approval ?? By mail or thru employer or otherwise ??

          • Shiraz,
            It can take 2-6 months to process. Lot of people getting approval have filed in premium processing, while yours is regular processing.

            You have the receipt number, and can track your status online using it. You will know about the status change on the website. The documents (RFE/approval/denial) will be mailed to the employer/attorney.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            ok…………so the approval process is in the order of who filed for visa before ( first come first serve ) or something else ?? and one more info i wanted. everyone who files the h1b visa gets approval , or some get rejected in approval process also ?? and finally once we get approval , till which date we can get the stamping done? As in , what is the bandwidth for dates ??

          • Shiraz,
            They are processed in the order they are received but it is not always strictly followed. There are other things that can cause petitions to get approved out of order. Petitions can be denied as well during the processing.

            You can go for visa stamping as long as the petition is still valid. At the time of stamping, you will have to carry RECENT employment documents.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            I and my husband too files H4 and H1B petition respectively. USCIS received our petition on April 11th 2012 but still it shows initial review online. I think its taking time. If you get update let me know as i m also bit concerned.

          • Darshika,
            If it was filed w/o premium processing, then it can take some time. USCIS is yet to process April-May petitions and yours was filed on the last day. My high level guess is that it may take 4-6 months in your case.

          • USCIS received our application on 11th april 2012. so it wasnt on last date… its been more than 2 months now.

  17. Hi,

    My RFE was responded on Last week of May 2012 , receipt date was April 26 2012
    I am not seeing any update on the site, mine is Premium from Vermont center…

    Any one in Similar situations ?


    • Nidu,
      Does the online status say that they have received the RFE response? If it has been more than 15 calendar days since USCIS received your response, then your employer/attorney should call/email USCIS and follow-up.

      • Thanks Saurabh, It does not say RFE response.

        Your Case Status : Request for Evidence

        I have told my employers , but they said they will take care, i need not worry … don’t know what they will do.

        • Nidu,
          Once the employer/attorney receive the RFE details (they should have already received it through email by now) they can prepare the response and submit it to USCIS. The status would then flip to RFE response review, and they would adjudicate the petition within 15 calendar days.

          You mentioned that RFE has been responded, are you sure about it or is your employer still preparing the response.

          • Hi Saurabh ,

            They said they have responded, may be they must have done a bit late then what was told to me … just guessing… hope to hear in a week , Just being positive 🙂

          • Just now I see the status updated to Response review :

            Your Case Status:
            Request for Evidence Response Review

            Mine is Premium, but still i see

            ” You should expect to receive a written decision or written update within 60 day

  18. Hi,
    My consultancy says they have filed the petition on 8 th June 2012 and now when i can see quota is over on 11th june.
    What are the possibility that my petition is filed as i have not received recipt or anything yet?
    i am worried as i paid that consulatncy for it.
    Please help !

  19. Hi Saurabh,

    My H1B petition status is in Initial. When it can be approved? How much time will it take approximately?

    Thanks in Advance,

    • Naresh,

      If you have filed under regular it can take 2 to 6 months, in case of premium filing they will respond you in 15 calender days

  20. Hi,

    I want to start H1 process now in 2012, Can you pls let me know if i can go a head. Is the H1 Quota still available for 2012.

    • Cesc,

      Lucky for your wife. She can work on L2(dependent of L1) after she applies and obtains her EAD.

      And the EAD will be valid for the period as long the L2 is valid.

      I am was on L2(spouse on L1) during which i applied for EAD and SSN.

      Hope this helps.

  21. Hi Saurabh,

    I heard from my employer that H1 papers are sent on june 6th under normal processing. I have not received any updates till now. will i be counted in this 2013 cap?

  22. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer sent my H1 petition on 5th June , which reached 6th June to USCIS. But after that we haven’t heard from them. On this post I can see that people who file after me also got receipts. Is it possible that my petition is not counted under cap?

    • Ankita Sharma,
      If your petition was filed w/ premium processing, then employer/attorney should have received the number by now. If it was normal processing, then it can take few weeks to know the number (again sent to employer/attorney and not you).

  23. Hi Saurabh ,

    My Hib was filed on 5th under the PP and i recieved the receipt on 7th . by when do you think i will recieve the h1b approval


    • Hi ,
      Turn around time is 15 days for premium. But in general you will get a decision in 9 0r 10 days. It could be approval, RFE, rejection.

  24. Hi Saurabh,

    My Employer had filled my LCA on 8th Jun 2012, can you let me know approx when can i receive the LCA approved.

    And if this time i miss to apply, my OPT Ends in Feb 2013. but the H1B starts in April, will i be in the Status or i will be out of status. Please Explain. I am in a very panic situation.

    • vineeth,
      LCA can take 7-10 working days.

      You can still apply next year while you are in the 60 day grace period. You will be eligible for cap-gap, which will allow you to stay in US but not work. You can also go for OPT extension if you are eligible.

      • Vineet,

        U will be eligible for cap gap and you can also work during this period. On 3rd page of your cap gap i 20 it will be mentioned.
        As we also have been through the same situation so i am sure about this.
        Confirm with your college also.

        • Darshika,
          He will be in the 60 day grace period when the H-1 is applied. So he is eligible for cap-gap to stay in US but he cannot work. A person cannot work in cap-gap if H-1 was applied during the 60 day grace period. If you have went through this situation and did work during cap-gap based on H-1 applied during 60 day grace period, then that was an illegal work.

          One can work during cap-gap only when H-1 was applied while the OPT was still valid.

  25. Hi Saurabh, My pettition was filed by my employer on 7th June (in their internal porral it was mentioned as Filed by Attorney on 7th). Doest make out for 2013 Cap?

    Kindly advise

  26. Hi all,
    Just want to let you know about my case since many of them are concerned about the cap count.
    My case was filed on 6 jun 2012 through pp reached Uscis on 7 jun 2012.Uscis sent the receipt on 8 jun.so my case has been in acceptance status.
    Hope this helps some people who are worried for not getting receipt number.
    Good luck guys.

  27. Hi Saurabh,

    My h1b was petition reached USCIS on 6th June under premium processing. How long does it take to recieve receipt number.

    and what is requirement to meet the cap according to uscis?

    thanks for your brilliant work..


    • Hi My application reached USCIS under PP on 5th June and got receipt on 6th.

      You should ask your Attorney just must receive receipt number in email

    • Goodnews,

      Generally premium processing time is 15 calender days. You will get answer in 15 calender days. In premium procession your attorney may get email notice from USCIS in that email receipt number is there.

      If you got the receipt from USCIS then it means that you have met the cap.

  28. Hi Saurabh,

    My current H-1B is expiring by the end of September 2012 and my H-1B extension petition was approved recently. Can I get my H-1B visa extension stamped before September 2012?


      • Saurabh,

        I have plans to visit India before September.. So I would like to know if I can get my extension visa stamped before it get expires.. this is my 1st extension after the 1st 3 year visa. please advise.

        • RK,
          Yes, you can get it stamped prior to its expiration date. However, there is always a possibility that visa stamping runs into issues. So if you go for stamping, then make sure you have contingency plans.

          • Thanks Saurabh. But could you tell me how soon i can get it stamped ? is there anything like i have to get it stamped no more than 10 days from the expiration of my current visa?

          • Hi, you can get it stamped any time after expiration and before the extension date ends. only thing is that once u go to India after the expiration u have 2 get it stamped. but if u visit before current expiry date thn u hav a choice.

  29. Hi, can you tell me how long it takes a lawyer to actually process the filing for the H1 B visa if you have submitted all the necessary documents? i know that processing time is 2-6 months, i’m just wandering how long it should take to put in the application?

    • Jane,
      That would vary from attorney to attorney. Some may be able to do it within a a day or two, while others can take week(s).

  30. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer applied for my H1B on June 5th. USCIS received it the next day 9.38AM as per the postal tracking. So shall I assume that I would be considered under this year quota or till the time I receive the Receipt number, I am not out of danger??


    • Prad,
      If it was correctly filed, then you have most likely made through the cap. This is b/c there are people (premium processing cases) who got receipt number for Jun 7th filing; and your petition reached USCIS prior to that.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for the info. My application was filed through a normal processing. And my employer hasn’t receiveed any receipt no. as of now. Apart from that was my employer supposed get any kind of acknowledgment when USCIS received the application? Because I enquired from my employer, they said they have yet not received any acknowledgment as well. B/w all the necessary docs with check(H1B app. fee) have been submitted. Any reason why no acknowledgment yet?


        • Prad,
          Receipt number is the only acknowledgment USCIS sends to the employer. These days, USCIS is taking up to 60 days to send out the receipt number.

  31. HI Saurabh,

    I have filled my H1 as a regular and then moved it to Premium. I got the receipt of acceptance of Premium on Jun1st 2012. But till date its still in Acceptance Status. Can you please let me know what is the currently Premium Process taking time.

    • Sheela,

      Standared time for Premium processing is 15 working days. If your petition was converted in premium on 1st of Jun then you might get response by 25th Jun.


      • Hi I have Issue in the sent Documents, my initial Passport say’s my DOB is 82 then i have asked for a correction and i got it with the Original DOB, but Unfortunatly i have Submited the Scaned copy of the OLD One instead of Original DOB. I kind of worried about it. Can please advice if possible.

        • Sheela,
          Once your petition gets approved, you will have to file for H-1 amendment to get the DOB corrected. It will not result in denial, but requires some additional work after approval unless USCIS realizes this during processing and issue RFE for the correction.

    • Sheela/J,
      Actually the processing for PP cases happens in 15 calendar days (and not working days). So it should get adjudicated by 15th. At times, the status remains Acceptance and then suddenly jumps to RFE or Approved.

  32. Hi Saurabh,
    Thanks for the good work you are doing.
    Could you please answer my H4 (dependent VISA) related question? Currently I’m in US (on H1) and my wife and my 5 years old kid are in India. I’m planning to apply for their H4 VISA. Here the concern is my kid’s passport is expiring on 7th Jan 2013. By the time my kid will go for H4 stamping his passport’s validity would be less than 6 months. I’ve heard that at the time of VISA stamping applicant should have at least 6 months of Passport validity. Can you please advise if this is true? Thanks in advance!


    • Vikas,
      Here is what I found on Mumbai Consulate website. As per this you need a new passport if “Your passport is going to expire in less than 6 months after the time you enter the United States.”

      So it is better to get the passport renewed and then appear for stamping.

  33. Hi Saurabh,

    I have H1B with Employer A valid from 2010-2013
    I have worked on this H1B for clientB for a year till June 2011.
    After that i joined as fulltime with ClientB and Client B applied H1B (donno if it is transfer or new H1) I got H1B approved from 2011-2014.
    I am working with ClientB till today.
    But now i want to move back to my old EmployerA as my old H1B is not revoked by him .
    My question is – Is it legal to work with old EmployerA with my Old H1B petition ?
    Please reply

    • If the old petition was not revoked, is still valid and A is ready to hire you back, then you can work for them on the basis of old petition.

      • Saurabh,
        I really appreciate your suggestion. As i am hearing many versions i am confused and thought u could clear.
        1)Since My old H1B petition was not used about an year and if i again start running payroll on this petition will there be effect on my future GC Process?
        2) I saw in some sites that H1B should be revoked by employer if not used and even though it is not reoked, it is equally considered as invalid since its not been used for long. Is this true?
        3)And Important thing is suppose i give notice to my current employer(ClientB) , they immediately revokes my H1B petition wrt my last working day. Will this effect my old petition or my I94? Anyways My old Employer will start running payroll from the very next day, But my current H1B revoke will have any effect to my I94 as i didnot apply any new H1B petition and going to work on old 797 and old I 94?

        sorry for lengthy queries . Thanks for your time

        • 1. I don’t think so, but check w/ your attorney
          2. I don’t know about it

          The best thing would be for A to file a petition for you, and you can then resign from B (once A’s petition reaches USCIS). This way you can save yourself from the headache of whether that petition can be reused or not. In case B fires you, then you can join A on the basis of newly filed H-1 transfer.

  34. Hi Saurabh
    I would really appreciate if you can answer my query on priority basis. Here is the scenario.

    I got extension for 3 years from employer A , stamping got rejected .

    Employer A has filed (On May 31st 2011) my new LCA under Quota this year with Inhouse project.

    Now I got another employerB who is ready to sponsor my H1B W/O Quota . they also have Inhouse project .They wants to file my LCA today.

    So my question is Can I file multiple LCA from different employers. or will USCIS reject both the LCA.


  35. My employer(non profit) is planning to file a new H-1B for me. I am currently in my F1 visa and will be moving to OPT status in July 2012. My OPT is valid till July 2013. Since my employer is a non profit organization they told me that I do not fall under 2013 cap count. If my H-1B is filed under non cap, is there any particular timeline for filing the petiton? can they file my new H-1B petiton anytime before next april 2013 for FY 2013? Please advise. I plan to go to india next year in July so I want to get my visa stamped when i travel that time..

    • RK,

      There is no other timeline for filing the H1B petition. You can file your new H1B petition anytime after 1st april 2013. You can file in Premium Processing at that time so that your petition can approve early and you can stamp your visa in india after approval of petition when you travel in india.

      Saurabh, Correct me If m wrong.


  36. Saurabh,

    I had H1B filed for one client and while stamping, there was another. I have I129 for this client. Now in US, my client and location have changed. But I have only LCA changed, my employer says it is fine to have just the LCA changed in this case. Do I need to change I129 also in this case? What are the consequences of not changing this?

    • Priya,

      No need to change I-129 only LCA will do. If both the client at the same location then no need to change LCA if both are on different location you need to change LCA as LCA define what pay will you get in US in specific location.

      Dont worry this is normal process.

      Saurabh, Correct me.


    • Priya,
      Are you the same person who received 221g during stamping asking for H-1 amendment? Off late, USCIS and consulate have wanted H-1 amendment (i.e. new I-129) to be filed whenever there is a change in LCA. You may not face issues in the short term as your visa has been stamped (making an assumption), but in the long run you may have issues when going for H-1 extension or another H-1 stamping.

  37. Hi Saurabh,

    I have a valid H1B visa filed by a top MNC in India under 2012 quota and the PA is completed last month.As of now my project doesnt have any requirement.I am coming across many job openings in US across varios job portals ,so can you please let me know If I can apply for them,in such a case what is the process to be followed.


    • Pradeep,
      You will have two options:
      1. Do H-1 transfer to another employer who is willing to file cap-exempt petition for you. Once approved you can travel to US and work for the other employer (this could be one of the employers w/ job opening published on the portal you are looking at)
      2. Ask your employer if they can have a contract w/ another firm (the one having job opening). Once they agree and sign the contract, you can travel through your current employer and work for the other company as contractor.

  38. Hi Saurabh,
    I am really in bad situation, really appreciate if u can reply me.
    Actually i am working with Company A on H1B but recently i thought to move Employer B ( i have worked with this employer on H1B before joining Company A and my old H1B is valid till next year and Employer B didnot revoke my H1).
    I have resigned Company A but unfortunatly i couldnot move to Employer B and took back my resignation. Company A accepted me to stay with them .
    But problem is due delay in communication with HR and immigration team about my cancellation of resignation, they started the process of my cancelling H1B with company A and yest USICS received their packet but still not received the receipt. Now they are again applying H1B for me may be tommorow they will submit.
    My questions are:
    Will this transition effect my Status? I am really concern about this.
    What if i get receipt for cancellation of H1 before i get receipt of new h1 ?
    How long does H1 Cancel process take?
    As i have valid H1B from my old Employer B am i safe side even though i get cancellation receipt?
    Please reply.

    • Venk,
      It may be ok as they are immediately filing for H-1. As the same employer is withdrawing and filing the petition, they can reason w/ USCIS about the case. Cancellation can take few months to process, and I don’t know how much time it takes to receive the receipt number. It might be the same receipt number as the original petition.

      Make sure you start getting paid through A as soon as the petition is filed, thereby maintaining your status. Did you discuss w/ your attorney?

      • thanks saurabh,
        Yes my attorney also said that if i get new H1B recepit number before my old H1 officially get cancelled i should be good.
        But worst part is i have my Wife H1B filed and which is in RFE response review since almost 2 months. As we have submitted my old H1B and since it went for cancellatoin how far will that effect on my wife H1B approval? Any idea on this? Going for premium at this moment will anyway help us? so that we will have chance my wife H1B gets process before my old H1B get officially processed and cancelled?
        and by the way is there a chance we can take my cancellation of H1B submitted? Is there any way for that? My attorney didnot answer for this. Please let me know if you have any info.

        • Venk,
          Regarding your wife’s H-1: If USCIS has an issue they will issue RFE and at that point you can submit new H-1 petition information. Your H-1 petition is required to show that she was in valid status at the time of application, which she was as your H-1 was valid at that time. It is up to you whether to upgrade to PP or not.

          In the last question, are you referring to withdrawing the H-1 cancellation request? I think you should be able to do that, but not sure.

  39. Hi Saurabh,
    You are doing a great job.
    1. My employer has applied for H1B petition through premium processing on 25th April, 2012. How long does it take for the approved petition to be delivered?
    2. Does 15 calendar days (premium processing) mean that they will report the status (approved or not) with in that time?

    • Tanu Goyal
      1. It should have been processed by now. Did you check the status online?
      2. Yes, they would either approve it or deny it or issue RFE within 15 calendar days.

      • Thank you Saurabh. My company told me that it may take another month or so. I am just waiting for their reply. They did not provide me with reference number to check online.

    • Hi ,

      My application was a regular processing at VSC with the date April 9 th as received date and its in Initial review. Last time my file was touched on 18th April2012.


      • My application was received on april 13th by uscis and sent the notice of receipt on april 26. Still in initial review.

        • My application was filed in VSC (receipt date 9th april) regular processing. Got the approval notice today. So i guess they are approving early april petitions.

          • Amit,

            Congratulations!!!. Mine application in the USCIS website indicates that they received the application on April 9 and mailed the notice. So Can I expect the approval this week ? 🙂


          • I am guessing you should. But cant be sure of that. Saurabh may be a better person to answer. I was surprised myself to see such a fast approval. From what I saw, it takes at least 4 months for approval(if not more). In fact, the delay was expected to be much higher this year due to high volume of filing.

          • Thanks. But VSC processing time for Regular H1 be is mentioned as 2 months as on March 2012 in USCIS website for I129 application. Do you expect they cross that timeline ?

          • Generally they do cross the deadline.
            Check out the blogs arnd. Ppl generally say it takes 4-5 months. In fact petitions filed in Nov 2011 were approved arnd march-april 2012.

            I was lucky (prolly my years of penance and praying paid up).

            In any case, u can get an idea by visiting

            some ppl have mentioned their case statuses

          • Jai,
            Yes, the timeline will definitely change. In Mar 2012, they were wrapping up w/ FY-12 petitions. Now they have close to 70k petitions filed in about 2 months. The processing time will definitely go up. Also that time is indicative. There are folks on this forum who filed petitions in Nov 2011, and got approvals in May 2012 even though the published time was always 2 months on the site.

        • Anil,
          Once you have the receipt number, you can track it online on USCIS website. They also mention “Last Updated Date” (LUD), which tells when was the file last touched.

  40. Have 3 questions fr u:
    1. My son is an undergrad from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, graduated in Dec 2011 with a major in Sociology.
    what Cos will sponsor a Sociology Major on an H1
    2. He is working with a Co on his OPT period which ends in Feb 2013. If this Co. does not sponsor him what r his options
    3. If you can suggest some consultants who can help him find H1 sponsors it would be highly appreciated. Its a bit scary with all the stories one hears of consultants taking fresh grads fr a ride, etc
    Would appreciate an early reply. Best regards

  41. Hi Saurabh,
    I need some information about L1 to H1 transfer. I am on L1 in US, valid till 2014. I got new employer and they are filling H1 for me with change of status. I need to visit India, Since H1 starts from October, can I visit India in August/September and came back to US on L1 itself? Or I need to wait till October to go to India and stamp H1 on my passport? Please let me know if you have any idea about this. Thanks in advance.

    • Sahil,
      You can leave US once your H-1 w/ COS gets approved. You can return on your current L-1 visa prior to Oct 1, and still be on H-1 from Oct 1. If you leave US prior to COS approval, then your COS will not go in effect from Oct 1. You can return on L-1 and will remain on L-1 even after Oct 1. To move to H-1, you will have to file COS from L-1 to H-1, or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.

      Does that clarify?

  42. Hi Saurabh,
    My H1b pettion is filed on 31st may 2012 .But No lca posting is done.can u plz let me know if pettion are being filed wodout lca posting and wil my visa come under cap count since cap count is increasing,pettion filing means it will come under cap count??

    • Shikhar,
      Internal posting is a must for H-1 processing, unless there is a bargaining representative in your company and LCA was sent to them. If none of these were satisfied, then your employer has cut corners, which is really not advisable.

      Anyways, based on your petition submission on May 31, you will be considered to have made through the cap.

  43. Hi Saurabh,
    I had H1B from a big MNC company which got approved in 2010. But i have never travelled US on H1 but i came US this year on dependent Visa. My question is
    will i come under Cap – exempt? and
    Can any employer file Cap exempt petition for me or only my previous MNC had to file Cap exempt petition?
    What all required for me to get Cap- exempt? I have my old 797 copy. Will that suffice? or do i need original copy of that?
    Appreciate your answer. Thanks

    • Rev14,
      Yes you are eligible for cap-exempt H-1. Either a new employer or the old employer can file H-1 petition for you, and they will be cap-exempt.

      From old employer, you just need copy of approved 797 in order to file cap-exempt petition.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        I heard that i will eligible for Cap exempt only if my Old h1b employer(MNC company) didnot revoke my H1B. Is this true?
        If they have had canceled my h1B will i not eligible for cap exempt?
        how will i know if petition is cancelled or not?
        Please advice.

        • Rev14,
          That is not true. Even if the employer has withdrawn the petition, you can still go for cap-exempt H-1 petition. The only time one cannot use the old petition is when USCIS revokes the petition as part of their processing (for example when consulate sends the petition back to USCIS for reconsideration).

  44. Hi Saurabh,

    My H1B FY-13 petition is filed with USCIS on 31-May-12.
    Any idea as to how many days does it take to receive the Receipt Number from USCIS.


  45. My H1B(regular) went into RFE and USCIS received the response on April 27, still the status is in RFE rsponse review.
    Please let me know if anyone has received updates on their RFE cases where repsonse is received after April 27.

  46. Saurabh
    My H1B visa was approved by uscis on may 21 2012 (Premium);still my employer didnt got the approval notice from california service center. can you pls let me know how long it will take to approval notice?

  47. Hi ,

    My H1B petition got approved on MAy14 2012 , But still i didnt get the hardcopy of the approved petition from my employer ., Could you please let me know normally how many days it will take to get the Hardcopy.


  48. Hi Saurabh,
    I appreciate your work and thank you for your time.
    Here is my situation:
    my H1b petition was filed at vermount on Nov 16th and still it is initial review.
    I have found another employer who is ready to file new H1 for me.
    My question is
    1) Can i file another H1 while the first is pending?
    2) I donot want to inform about my old H1 to my new employer as they might not go ahead. Will there be any problem if i donot inform the new employer about my old H1?
    3) Legally will there be any option while applying new one to inform if we have filed h1 previously and still in process?

    • Surr,
      1. Yes
      2. It should be fine
      3. Legally you are not bound to disclose that information to your new employer


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