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How long does H1B Visa Processing take? Petition 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 H1B petition with USCIS for the first time or even for transfers, you may be wondering on the processing times, delays, what is typical processing time, if there is SLA, many such questions. In this article, we will review all those details and also cover common FAQs as well.

If you are new to 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
  • 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

If an employer or sponsor files an H1B petition with USCIS using standard process and does not include an extra fee for faster processing, then the petition is said to be filed in Regular Processing.

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 in 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 2021), it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 months for H1B petition filed in Regular processing using form I-129. See the below screenshot from the USCIS website. In some cases, it can take beyond 6 months as well due to RFE and other delays related to the H1B Case. Also, in some cases, you may get a decision even faster in 2 months or less as well, if the case has no complications. To check current processing times by service center, you can check the article  Check USCIS H1B Visa Processing times

USCIS H1B (I-129 Form)  Regular Processing times average over 5 years from 2017 to 2021
USCIS H1B (I-129 Form) Regular Processing times average over 5 years from 2017 to 2021

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 a H1B petition in premium processing, employer or sponsor need to file Form I-907 along with premium processing fee of $2,500 when they file H1B petition using Form I-129. The premium processing fee is in additional 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 a H1B petition filed in premium processing. They have 15 days SLA (service level agreement) and guarantee that any H1B petition filed in premium processing will be adjudicated in 15 calendar days or less.

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 extensive load and USCIS cannot meet their SLA. It does not happen often, but happens once in a while during start of H1B season.

H1B Extension Processing Time

The processing time for 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 is similar to 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 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 6 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 upgrade 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 2022 Processing timelines – Regular vs Premium ?

In general, USCIS suspends premium processing at the beginning of the fiscal year. As of now, USCIS has not released any details related to H1B FY 2022 Season. Stay tuned for updates.

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

USCIS Processing times for H1B Visa - VisaGrader
USCIS Processing times for H1B Visa – VisaGrader

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 ?

   

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3,579 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I have a Question on H1 Regular quota nd MS Quota, I finished my MS from a univ which is not accredited. Due to to a communication issue my employer filed my first H1B in MS quota though my case does not fall under that CAP. I dont know whether I am lucky or unlucky it got approved for an Year in 2012 under MS quota without any RFE. Now I have applied for Extension in 2013(still Initial review) and these days its being an Issue for those who filed H1 under MS quota from those schools. I am totally struck in between in a helpless situation now, is that my mistake they approved it for the first time, now USCIS say its ur mistake to study in that univ how can I rectify this situation and continue my H1.

    My Question: is there any chance that I can transfer my H1 from MS CAP to Regualr CAP or do I need to file a new H1 under regular Quota in the future H1 Openings? Please suggest me what to do?

    Thanks in Advance.

    Reply
    • Rohan,
      This is happening more often this year. Your attorney should have looked at the school’s accreditation to see whether it is Masters Cap eligible or not.

      The only way out is to file non-Masters cap-subject H-1 in upcoming quota and then start working on it once it has been approved.

      Reply
  2. Hi Saurabh.

    My company’s attorney has applied LCA for my h1b transfer, it got certified,However they received blank copy in there email (they are saying that it because of there website was down because of maintenance),They have complained for same,How long do they take to send fresh copy of certify LCA?Advise please.

    Reply
  3. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer has filled H1 on April and they say they have received the Receipt number by May14th only. But, are not willing to share receipt no. Instead They have shared the LCA number, LCA start date and end date.
    Mine in Non-premium H1 and as per my employer it is still in Inital review.

    My Queries here, Need your kind suggestions …please.
    1. Can we track the Receipt number using the LCA number ? if yes, can you please guide the process how to?
    2. Anyways I could be travelling to US only after Oct 1st. But, As per the LCA number which my employer shared the start date is August 10th 2013. So Is it means that i would be getting the status of my H1 (approved/denied) earlier to LCA start date i.e on or before August 10th or even later to it.??
    3. As they filed my H1 on april 2nd and have got the receipt number around May 14th after lottery process. I knew it would be 4 to 6 months for an H1 non-premium.
    So, Will USCIS would be updating my H1 status before October 1st by any means, since from Oct1st we can normally work in US Or would they even take more time than October to update the status eventhough we filled H1 by april itself
    (or )
    only in rare case they prolong the dates but normally all who applied by april will get the updates before october itself?

    Expecting your kind reply,
    Thanks in Advance for your precious time in solving our confusions.

    Reply
  4. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer has filled H1 on April and they say they have received the Receipt number by May14th only. But, are not willing to share receipt no. Instead They have shared the LCA number, LCA start date and end date.
    Mine in Non-premium H1 and as per my employer it is still in Inital review.

    My Queries here, Need your kind suggestions …please.
    1. Can we track the Receipt number using the LCA number ? if yes, can you please guide the process how to?
    2. Anyways I could be travelling to US only after Oct 1st. But, As per the LCA number which my employer shared the start date is August 10th 2013. So Is it means that i would be getting the status of my H1 (approved/denied) earlier to LCA start date i.e on or before August 10th or even later to it.??
    3. As they filed my H1 on april 2nd and have got the receipt number around May 14th after lottery process. I knew it would be 4 to 6 months for an H1 non-premium.
    So, Will USCIS would be updating my H1 status before October 1st by any means, since from Oct1st we can normally work in US Or would they even take more time than October to update the status eventhough we filled H1 by april itself
    (or )
    only in rare case they prolong the dates but normally all who applied by april will get the updates before october itself?

    Reply
  5. www.thesalarypeople.com gives a detailed list of who is hiring whom for how much. I would use this site to get H1B sponsors by city, for example, or verify that a given firm is hiring H1B visas (if listed they do). Also good to see in general who is making how much at your won firm !

    Reply
  6. I have one clarification regarding VISA extension. My VISA will get expire on Nov 2013. I can able to extend. My current work location (LCA) was not changed. But my question is whether i need to attend the VISA interview again?

    Reply
    • Prabu,
      If you are inside US and extension is approved w/ an attached I-94, then no need to re-appear for stamping until your next visit outside US and until your current visa stamp has not expired.

      Reply
  7. Hi Saurabh,

    I am 2003 Btech pass out and My company dell will file H1B for me.
    I had not collected my original/convocation certificate during taht time frame due to some reasons and not not possible .
    Can I be eligible for H1B Visa?

    Rajeev

    Reply
  8. Hello
    i really need help here
    can i stay after my i94 expires while iam waiting for h1b visa?
    i got a job here and i will get h1b visa, iam now on b1 visa ,i came last May .in November i applied for an extension and i got another six months those will expire on 4th May and i cant get h1 till late May ,what do you think i should do?applying for another extension?go outside USA?
    thank alot

    Reply
    • Zahi,
      You cannot stay beyond current I-94 expiration date based on pending/approved H-1 petition. This is b/c H-1 will have a start date of Oct 1 and there will be a break in I-94 continuity from May to Oct. So you need B-1 extension or another visa. Suggest talking to a good immigration lawyer.

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,
        thanks for replying ,iam first year resident (MD) ,and my program told we will get the visa in June because the program is cap exempt .
        do you thing i will get another extension ?is volunteering a good reason?
        iam really worried about staying in USA after applying to H1B visa ,because i got different answers
        thanks

        Reply
        • Zahi,
          Do you mean to say that your H-1 is cap-exempt? If it is cap-exempt b/c your employer is a not-for-profit organization, then it is not subject to cap and will be processed.

          Reply
  9. Hi,

    My current company A is filing H1 visa for me this year. Actually there is no onsite requirement in my company. They are processing the visa just to hold the resources for 1 more year in the same company.

    But, I got a good offer from another company B. If I resign now then my current company will not file Visa. Please tell me when the right time for me to resign so that I can get Visa processed through current company. Also , please tell me if I resign after I get my H1 visa will there be any problem for me if I change the company and go to onsite from that company.

    Also , Please tell me the procedure for going to onsite from company B using the Visa that id processed by Company A.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Priya

    Reply
      • you cannot go for onsite from company B with visa from company A until you transfer the visa from A to B. Transfer is like normal H1 petition but wont come under the quota.

        To transfer from A to B you need to have visa approved and the validity starts from Oct1.
        you need 3 pay slips I guess. so you could possibly resign by Nov/Dec. what I dont know is since you are in India the transfer must get approved I guess before you start to US and you must have stamping. I’m not sure if you should get transfer and then stamping with B’s documents or stamping with A’s documents and then transfer. My guess is stamping with A/then transfer.

        Reply
        • on a after thought this is what I would do

          – wait for visa approval
          – go for stamping and get visa stamped (this you can do before oct 1 as soon as u receie approval)
          – talk to company B on visa transfer (if possible to transfer before oct 1 since you already have payslips from that company then u r lukcy else wait for few pay slipw post oct1)

          Reply
  10. My company is filing H1B petition for me this year. Can I change my passport details in between Filing and approving of my petition. My passport got damaged and the petition is being filied with this passport itself. I have applied for a new passport which I will get in 25 days from now. Is it OK to change passport details then? Will some verification be done by US Embassy during time. If some verification will be done them my passport details will not be validated since by that time I would have got a new one cancelling the old one…. Please tell me whether doc. verification is done after petition approval or during the process

    Appreciate a quick reply.. Thanks in advance..

    Reply
  11. Hi plz answer me

    I am transferring h1b in premium processing.
    I may get result by this Friday.
    I have to give 2 week notice to my current employer on Friday.
    But my new company wants me join rite away.
    My question is
    During notice period if I work for new company ,
    can I take pay from both companies ?

    I am asking this question bcz I am in situation that I cannt avoid
    Notice period to my old employer and immediate start during notice period to new employer .

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Satyeah,
      How will you be able to work for both of them simultaneously and complete work requirements i.e. work 40 hours a week for both?

      Reply
      • Hi brother,

        With my current employer my recent project finished during notice period and he is paying me in notice period as well as part of company policy . Thats why i got this scenario and is it fine to take pay or not from both companies.

        Thanks man.

        Reply
        • Satyeah,
          So you will start working for new employer but will get a salary from old employer as part of the separation process (like cashing out PTOs etc), right? I think it should be fine, but I suggest talking to your new employer’s H-1 attorney as well.

          Reply
  12. Hello dear Saurabh,

    Thank you for your time.

    I am doing H1B Visa transfer right now. I am still working for my current employer, havent resigned yet.

    Could you please clear it for me when I can start working for my new employer. The HR told me that I can work once they file the paperwork. I know the USCIS ususally takes two weeks to issue the receipt number after they received the paper.

    My question is do I need to wait for the receipt number or I can start working for the new employer once we got the confirmation number from Fedex or UPS?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    Sincerely,

    Jing

    Reply
    • Jing,
      You can start working once USCIS receives your petition i.e. when FedEx/UPS tracking shows that it has been delivered. However, note that if your transfer is denied, then you need to stop working for new employer immediately and go back to old employer or file for H-1 transfer to another employer.

      Reply
  13. Hello dear Saurabh,

    I am applying my H1B transfer right now. I got my master degree in U.S. and bachelor degree in my own country. I only provide english translation bachelor diploma, degree and transcript with school stamp on it, do I also need to provide the original copy of foreigh language diploma and degree?

    By the way, I provide the U.S. master diploma and transcript.

    Will this be a problem?

    Thank you and have a good day.

    Sincerely,

    Jing

    Reply
  14. Hi Saurabh,

    One doubt regarding visa extension \ transfer. My visa is expiring in May 2013. My current company will apply for extension in May. As you know , USCIS will again take 2-3 months for approving\rejecting the extension. Suppose in that time frame, I want to switch to another employer B, will it affect the transfer process. I know its a fresh cap-exempt petition, but does that mean there are chances of rejection because of the pending extension. Actually I also wanted to know the requirements before switching

    Reply
    • Sreejith,
      Let’s say you file for transfer after your I-94 has expired and extension is still pending. There is a possibility that USCIS may issue RFE asking for extension to be approved first (to bridge the I-94 continuity) and then process the transfer petition. If you want to file for H-1 transfer, try to get it filed prior to I-94 expiration date. Or talk to your current employer about filing an early extension (they can file at most 6 months in advance).

      Reply
  15. Hello,

    I got a H1B visa extension till 30 Nov 2015. Now if I apply for visa transfer to a new employer, will my validity will change or it would same ?

    Reply
    • Sudipto Jana,
      Every petition has its own validity dates which depend upon what employer requests and what USCIS deems appropriate. So if the new employer applies for cap-exempt petition (aka H-1 transfer) on Jan 1 2013 and requests 3 years, and USCIS agrees, then that petition will be valid till Dec 31, 2015. If USCIS feels that 1 year is appropriate based on submitted information/document, then it will be Dec 31, 2013.

      In any case, your current petition will remain valid till it’s validity date and can be used by that employer till that date. New petitions will not change the validity date of already approved petition.

      Does that clarify?

      Reply
  16. Hi,
    My H1B petition is approved.. And I am planning to appear for the PAI, with my wife, processing H1/H4 together.. My wife works for YYYY company now.. Is there any risk in attending a H4 interview with a Job in Hand in India?
    Anyways on the issuance of H4, she would be resigning..
    I am little confused with this.. Pls help!!

    Reply
    • Do not worry. Your wife do not need to resign from the company before H4 stamping. I went for interview with my wife. VO asked her if she is working. She said yes and also told him current company. Visa was approved without any issues. Even if VO asks more, then she can say she will resign from the company later as she has project in hand which she wants to finish first. Something like that.

      Reply
  17. Hi,

    I am currently located in Hyderabad, and I have an H1B visa till June, 2013. I have moved to a new project in the same organization, the new project manager wants me to file an H1B amendment in premium processing.

    Can I file H1B amendment when I have my visa and current petition expire on June, 2013?

    Also, my new project manager has confirmed that I will be filing H1B extension in premium processing immediately once I reach US.

    If I cannot file an H1B amendment, do we have any work around, like H1B cap exempt?

    Thanks in Advance,
    Vinay

    Reply
    • Vinay,
      The employer needs to file new LCA followed by H-1 amendment. Once approved you can travel to US using the new petition and old visa stamp. This H-1 amendment is cap-exempt.

      Reply
      • Thanks Saurab,

        Between I have not been to US earlier (no SSN), the petition that was filed for earlier project is no more in contract with our company. So can we still go ahead and file for H1B amendment for the new project of the same company, while the current petition is about to expire on June, 13 (< 6 months from current date)?

        Also will there be any restriction/issues while entering US (port of entry).

        Appreciate your prompt response.

        Thanks in Advance.

        Vinay

        Reply
        • Vinay,
          Yes, they can file new LCA followed by H-1 amendment and you can then travel to US. If you already have visa stamped in the passport, then nothing else is required; otherwise you will have to go for H-1 visa stamping as well after the amendment is approved.

          Reply
          • Thanks Saurabh,

            My company travel team had a bit concern of filing H1B amendment, as my current petition & visa is expiring within 6 months. They also said that I may experience issues at port of entry in US. But your comments have clear my doubts now.

            Regards,
            Vi nay

          • Vinay,
            I don’t think there will be an issue at PoE if you travel w/ old visa stamp and amended petition, even if it is valid for less than 6 months.

            Besides, when the amendment is filed, the employer can request a longer validity period. If the petition is expiring within next 6 months, then they can file for H-1 extension and get it approved for 3 years.

  18. Hi Saurabh and all,

    I am in a weird situation. Can someone suggest me?
    My H1 and Driving license both are expiring on 12/12/12. My employer has filed for extension just today as we got a approved PO from client today only.
    it might take two weeks to get a receipt notice from USCIS.
    Assuming if get the receipt notice before my License expires and if i go to DMV with receipt notice, I can get it renewed for anywhere between 3 to 8 months
    if i get a receipt notice after my license expires, and when i go to the DMV office i wont be having a valid license and I might need a new license. Can i get a new DMV license with receipt notice and not an actual H1 on hand?
    I am in NJ, my employer wanted me to file regular mode not premium.

    Thanks, Pl. suggest me.

    Reply
    • Suresh,
      One can file for DL extension even after the previous license has expired (at least that is true in CA). Also, lot of DMVs do not offer DL extension based on extension receipt. They need actual approval notice before providing the DL extension. In that case, your employer will have to file H-1 extension in premium processing so that you can get it in time for DL extension.

      Reply
  19. Hi Saurabh,

    Please help me.My petition has been filed in June and i got RFE and the last date to submit RFE is 3rd Jan,2013.Now i want to go to India to attend my brother’s wedding on 20th dec. and come back to US by 24th dec.My questions are:

    1)Can i go to India and ask my employer to submit RFE in 3rd week of Dec. so that i can return on my H4 visa before i get any decision.

    2)And if i can go,then what is the next step to do.Should i submit my new I-94 or will my petition be abandoned or anything?Please help me so that i can take a decision wheter i should go or not.

    Reply
    • Renu,
      1. You can leave US anytime. If you leave prior to H-1 approval, then your H-4 to H-1 COS would be abandoned. In this case, H-1 would still be processed and may get approved, but status will not change from H-4 to H-1. So you will have to file COS from H-4 to H-1, or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.
      2. You need to submit the I-94 you have w/ you. While returning back you will get another I-94 for H-4 visa.

      Reply
  20. Hi Team,

    Can u please confirm me the below thing.
    when i checked my receipt number online first it shown as Post Decision activity and after 3 hrs it moved back to Decision.
    Iam just worrying what is happening on this case.
    it is showing presently as like this.

    Decision

    On October 18, 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.

    Reply
  21. Hi ,

    My Husband H1B was filed in june 8 th and it got approved last month.what is the next step and how long the This will be valid if stamping done or have time to go for stamping.Is there any worst cases after getting h1b petition approval won’t get visa stamping ,& at the time of stamping may get rejected, if it happens what to do ?
    Frankly to ask if the status is showing Approved means u have h1b visa in hand or not ?

    Thanks,
    SL

    Reply
    • SL,
      He now needs to go for stamping. He can go for stamping anytime during the validity period of the H-1 petition. However, if there is a delay in going for stamping, then he needs to carry more recently dated documents like offer letter, client letter etc. Yes, there is a possibility that stamping may be denied. Petition approval is 1/3rd of the game. Another 1/3rd is stamping and last 1/3rd is finding a good stable project.

      Reply
  22. Hello Everyone,

    I got my H1B application approved today.

    Receipt Date – JUNE 8th – 2012
    Approved Date – OCT 10th – 2012..
    Center — Vermont (EAC)

    Its been tough waiting for the status to be changed from INITIAL REVIEW to POST DECISION ACTIVITY … 124 days total …..Hope everyone who are awaiting will have a gud news this month itself..

    Shiva….

    Reply
    • Congrats Shiva…!

      Not sure what is happening with the applications filed between 25th and 31st May…Looks like no one between these dates are getting any update yet…Atleast 5 cases i have added in my portfolio between these dates are still in initial review.

      Reply
    • Hi Shiva,
      My status moved to POST DECISION ACTIVITY on 9th Oct’12 . What are the necessary steps after this status update? Will my employer will take care of it apart from medical and Interview stuff..

      Thanks in Advance
      Naveen

      Reply
      • Naveen,
        Your employer/attorney will receive the approval copy. Then you have to go for H-1 visa stamping. Check w/ your employer about their assistance as some employers help w/ that, while others leave it to you.

        Reply
    • Hello,
      I got my H1B application approved today.
      Receipt Date – 06/11/12
      Approved Date – 10/12/12
      Center — Vermont (EAC)
      Non masters Quota.. Regular processing.

      Good luck everyone

      Reply
  23. Hi Saurab,

    My H1B petition filled on 31st May,2012. And I status update from USCIS telling my status has been changed to RFE on 9th August 2012.
    My employer asked me to wait for 5 weeks atleast to get the RFE mail from us.Now after waiting for 5 weeks I asked them the status now they are telling that autorney
    is following up with USCIS.My question is will I get extra time to respond to RFE? I am more worried now as OCt 17th is last date to respond to RFE for many of my
    friend who received RFE on the same date as mine.
    Is this the usual case or some time wrong with my case?

    Reply
  24. Hi,

    I am currently in the process of filling up DS 160 for my H1 B visa stamping and my wife’s H4 visa stamping. Currently, we are in US and will be going to India in the second week of June for visa interview and stamping.

    Just two small questions on DS160.

    1. One of the DS 160 question asks: US Contact information (Contact Person name and Address).
    Should I write my employers name and address as US contact information in both of our DS 160s? or Should I write my employers name and address as US contact information in my Ds 160 and my name and my address in my wife’s DS 160?

    2. Another question states: Do you have any immediate relatives, not including parents in US?should it be my name in my wife’s application and my wife’s name in my application.

    Reply
  25. Hi Saurabh,
    My visa status has changed from RFE response review to post decision activity which says We have approved i129.does this mean that my visa is approved.what does post decision activity mean?
    Thans

    Reply
    • Hi Jany,
      Congrats! Yes, it means your H1B has been approved.

      You should receive an official approval notice in the mail within a week. With that, you can renew your driver’s license just like I just did! 🙂

      Reply
        • No problem!
          I’m surprised your lawyer hasn’t called to inform you. Anyway, whichever address was put into the application that’s where the letter with the official approval notice will arrive at.

          In my case, it went to my lawyer but then she gave it to me. We only keep the bottom part, the top part you hand to your employer.
          Congrats again and I hope you celebrate! 🙂

          Reply
  26. Hi,
    I filed my H1B Case through a consultancy from US.During my USCIS documents submission It was mentioned as working with XYZ employeer.Latter, I changed my job.Does I need to carry any additional documents during further processing ?

    Please share your thoughts!!!
    Thanks a lot
    Venkat.

    Reply
  27. Hi,

    Its not something new..I guess lot of folks are on the same state.I filed my case around 3 months back..Its still showing as initial review state..Can I change my case to premium ?Can some one please advice..

    Thank you,
    Venkat

    Reply
  28. Hi Sourabh,
    RFE issued to my petition yesterday. Is it a rare situation or it will be common for most of the H1B aspirants? If atorney sends the required information then in how many days USCIS will review that and take decission…Just estimated time…

    Reply
    • Suman,
      It is not unusual for RFE to be issued. Look out for the RFE reason and then work w/ employer on how to respond to it. USCIS usually gives 60 days to respond to the RFE and once they receive the response they may take up to 60 days to adjudicate (but they can take longer as well).

      Reply
      • You should expect to receive a written decision or written update within 60 days of the date we received your response unless fingerprint processing or an interview are standard parts of case processing and have not yet been completed.

        Reply
  29. Hi Saurabh,
    I am under H1B finishing 2nd approval and 4 years in Dec 15 , 2012. Right now, I am under part time H1B status. I am taking Pharmacist exam and employer says it creats difference when we file H1B with pharmacist license. I would be having licence around November first week I have two options. File H1B transfe, renewal right now OR File it after having pharmacist licence in November under premium processing. Waiting for reply. Thanks.

    Reply
  30. Hi Saurabh,

    Currently on Cap-Gap Opt which runs out on Sep 30, my H1b petition shows RFE yet to receive the letter. What are my options after Sep 30. I know I need to stop working but can I continue to stay in US while I respond and its under review.

    What happens when it gets approved, do i need to get stamping or can i continue to work without the need for stamping. Thanks for all your help.

    Thanks,
    Karry.

    Reply
    • Karry,
      A person on F-1/OPT usually has 60 day grace period. Check w/ your attorney if you have that buffer even if your cap-gap gets over. You should also upgrade your petition to premium processing so that it gets evaluated early (you can upgrade while responding to the RFE).

      Once the petition gets approved w/ COS, you can start working on H-1 from COS approval date. No stamping is required until you travel outside of US next. If COS is not approved, then stamping is a must prior to start working on H-1.

      Reply
  31. Hi Saurabh,

    When I check my status online the I see only 4 circles. The second one labeled “Initial review” is highlighted in blue.

    “Check my status page” initially shows a lot more circles including RFE stages etc.

    Is this normal for me to see the screen with only 4 circles on it?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  32. Hi Saurabh

    Thanks a lot for your help.
    I’m currently on L1-B with Company A. Company B applied H1-B COS for me and it is still in Initial Review since 4th May. I’ve a question for you.

    What will happen if I get the approval after 1st October (let say 2nd October)? I heard that I will not be able to work with my current employer from the next day (i.e. 3rd October) onwards? is that true?

    or Can I decide the joining date with my new employer based on my convenience?

    My main concern is, It would be really tough for me to get my experience certificate from my current employer if I don’t give them the proper notice. I don’t want to mess up anything at the last moment. I asked the same question to my lawyer and she responded ” For discussion purposes, let’s say your H-1B is not approved until Mid-October – that means that your H-1B status would be effective on the date of approval and you will no longer be in L-1 status. Technically, at that point you should no longer work in L-1 status for your current employer, however, it is also understandable that you need to give your two week’s notice before joining your new employer. In this situation, USCIS often overlooks the brief period of time that it takes to leave one employer and join the new one “.

    My new employer is ok with anything, they said I can join even after a month but my L1 is going to be invalid from the next day. I come to my question directly, who is going to track that I joined the new employer immediately or still working with old employer. I’m not going to continue with the old employer but I need to give minimum 2 weeks notice.

    Reply
    • Vini,
      If H-1 gets approved w/ COS on Oct 2, then legally you are required to work for H-1 employer from Oct 3. A week’s overlap may be ok, but you will be in gray area if you continue working for L-1 employer beyond H-1 approval date w/ COS. The more you stay w/ L-1 employer, the bigger issue it can in future.

      This may not be tracked immediately, but can be an issue in future when you go for H-1 extension, H-1 stamping, GC processing etc.

      Reply
  33. Hi Saurab,
    I am on H1 visa and my wife is on F1 visa ( on OPT voluntarily working). she wants to change from F1 to H4. Do I have to go to Lawyer to complete this process or I could do it myself?
    If I have to do my self then will you please give some idea about the application process.

    Thanks,
    VR

    Reply
    • VR,
      You can do it yourself. Submit form I-539 along w/ the fees and required documents. This includes documents related to her F-1 (to show that she has been maintaining status) and to your H-1 (to show that she will be able to maintain status after COS is approved).

      Reply
      • Saurab,
        As I mentioned, she was voluntarily working. Do I need to any letter or other document to show that she was voluntarily working or OPT card is sufficient to prove that she is legally staying in USA.

        Thanks,
        VR

        Reply
        • VR,
          Voluntarily working on OPT can be little tricky. One can volunteer on OPT only if there are other employees (non-aliens) who are volunteering for similar kind of job. Otherwise USCIS can consider it as a sham to hide unemployment period on OPT.

          Reply
          • Saurabh,
            My situation is complicated. On OPT my wife joined Desi Consultancy but they never found a job for her( Already more that 6 months). Now for COS from OPT to H4 ( I have H1), she has to show that she has valid status. Do I report it as voluntarily employment or what should I do?
            Am really frustrated. Please help me out.

            Thanks,
            VR

          • VR,
            It would be a lie and is not as simplistic as it sounds. I suggest talking to an immigration lawyer about the best course of action.

  34. Hi ,

    Next week I will complete 5 months of waiting in initial review.

    USCIS shows that they recieved my application on 17th apr. The latest status on uscis is still INITIAL REVIEW!

    I have seen many cases where the receipt date was later than that of mine and people got approval in august itself. what could be wrong with my application?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  35. Hi Saurabh,

    My 2013 cap subject H1 has been approved. Can I transfer my H1 to another employer before Oct 1st ?

    If yes, Right now I only have the scanned copy of the I797A. Is that enough for the transfer ?

    Reply
  36. My H1B Extension was received at California Service Center on June 18th. It is regular processing and still under Initial Review. I am now in India for a family emergency since July and I am working from home since then. Now I am done with the purpose of the visit. My current H1b expires on Sept 30th. I don’t know if I should wait for approval and get the stamping and then go back to US or if I should go back to US now. Can someone let me know if I can re-enter US with the current stamping? will my being in India have any impact on my H1B Extension approval? Are there any if’s and but’s?

    Reply
    • Anu,
      If you travel now, you will get I-94 based on old petition. Your current petition will still get processed but will not be issued w/ any I-94. So after returning you will have to immediately file for extension (prior to Sep 30th).

      If you upgrade petition to PP, and then return to US (prior to Sep 30th), you will get I-94 for the new date and there is no need to worry. If you travel to US after Sep 30th, then you will have to go for H-1 stamping using the new petition.

      Reply
  37. Hi Guys,

    My H1B was filed on 11th June and its still under initial review. Any idea when can any movement will happen? I am so confused!!!

    Regards
    J

    Reply
  38. Hi Saurabh,

    My H1 petition was applied on Oct 21, 2011 by regular processing. Got an RFE on Feb 17, 2012 and consultant replied to it on May 24, 2012 (delays due to getting the educational evaluation done twice). The USCIS website still shows as RFE issued on Feb 17, 2012. What should I do in this case?

    Regards,
    Vijay

    Reply
    • Vijay,
      Ask employer to call USCIS and follow-up. It may be a technical issue (site not updated) or something more serious (documents lost etc).

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for your response. I have asked the employer to call USCIS to check on the case. Have been assured of an update on this by the end of this week. However, I am worried about the fact that all of my friends who had received an RFE got a letter of acceptance when they responded to the RFE. However, my employer says that USCIS does not give any such letter and moreover that they have faxed the RFE response. Is it possible to fax an RFE response to USCIS? I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best. 🙁

        Regards,
        Vijay

        Reply
          • Hi Saurabh,

            Thanks for your response. My employer just informed me that the USCIS has confirmed over the phone that they have received the RFE response. However, the online status still is the same – that of RFE being issued. Why is the online status not being changed? Can I trust the employer here?

            I will speak to my employer again to confirm whether I need to change to Premium.

            Vijay

          • Vijay,
            At times the online status is not updated correctly. If USCIS confirms that they have received the response, then you can trust them on that.

          • Saurabh,

            Thanks for all your help and suggestions during the past 1 year and 2 months of frustration and anxiety. Today, I finally received an e-mail from USCIS stating that my petition has been approved. I guess my case has probably taken the longest of all. 🙂

            Regards,
            Vijay

    • Your case looks similar to mine. Mine was filed on Sept 1-2011. RFE on Nov 30. No RFE documents recieved till April 14, 2012. RFE response date was April 25. Made it premium and got it approved by April 30. Finally landed in US in June 2012. Was frustrating……

      Reply
      • Hi Sreejith,

        Yes, I read your story and had commented on that too. My case does look similar to yours. However, yours ends on a happy note; while mine – I am not too sure. 🙁

        One more update that I got from the employer was that we can make an amendment to the petition by showing a client project (it has been initially filed as an Internal project).

        Now, am not sure if that would work, especially since it has been almost close to year now. 🙁

        Regards,
        Vijay

        Reply
        • I have no idea why USCIS was so reluctant to give out the RFE docs in my case. You atleast got the RFE docs right ? Make sure that the employer has responded to that. Ask them for premium processing.

          Reply
        • If your petition date is Oct 2011, its almost hitting one year mark now. Premium processing would surely help. I didn’t have that much patience. Mine was in September. Pressurize your employer for premium processing.

          Reply
          • Hi Sreejith,

            Yes, I got the RFE docs. The employer responded to the RFE as well. Got confirmation of the response from the employer. However, there is one catch. I checked the fedex receipt number and tracked it online. It says the response has been delivered on May 15, 2012. The RFE response due date was May 14, 2012. I guess that means automatic denial??

            But, the employer says that USCIS has confirmed receipt of RFE response and they are currently reviewing the response. That is the reason I am not going for premium. As am not sure whether to trust the employer. I have given up hope and have started looking for better opportunities in India itself. 🙂

            Regards,
            Vijay

          • Hi Sreejith,

            Just thought I would give an update on my petition. After nearly 1 years and 2 months of wait, my H1 was finally approved today! I am all smiles now! But I guess, it’s only half the battle won. Still need to go for my stamping.

            Regards,
            Vijay

          • Hi Vijay,

            Congratulations!.

            My case also similar to you. Applied on May15th 2012(Veremont) and got RFE on Oct 9th.

            My employer responsed to RFE on Nov 28th with PREMIUM PROCESSING but still my online status still showing RFE.

            My employer told that he got confirmation from USCIS and they are reviewing RFE. I don’t have complete trust on my employer.

            For your case how many days it took for chaging status from RFE to RFE response review.

            Looking forward for your reply.

          • Hi,

            In my case, the online status never changed from RFE to RFE Response Review. It showed RFE on Feb 17, 2012 and straight away changed to Post-Decision Activity on Dec 18, 2012.

            Since my case status did not change at all, I kept following up with my employer about my case and got it in writing from him that USCIS has accepted the response to the RFE.

            Hope that helps.

            Regards,
            Vijay

  39. I have applied for my H1B extension on June21st.And it is still initial review.
    here my Question is my wife who is on H4 visa and her extension is also filed same.
    Is she can travel to india when her extension is pending.
    Will it effect my H1B extension.

    thanks,
    Naren

    Reply
    • Naren,
      It will not impact the outcome of your extension, but her extension would be abandoned. When is her H-4 visa stamp expiring?

      Reply
        • Naren,
          Her extension would be voided once she leaves US. To return to US, she will have to get H-4 visa stamped for which she would need your approved H-1 petition.

          Reply
      • Hi Team,

        Can u please confirm me the below thing.
        when i checked online my receipt number first it shown as Post Decision activity and after 3 hrs it moved back to Decision.
        Iam just worrying what is happening on this case.
        it is showing presently as like this.

        Decision

        On October 18, 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.

        Reply
  40. I am currently applying for an H1-B transfer. My attorney has told me that that he is filling the LCA with the dept. of labor which should take up to 7 days. He says he will file for the H1-B petition immediately right after this.

    As I am currently working for another company under and H-1B. I would like to know if I can start working immediately for the new employe, right after my attorney files the petition and as I wait for the approval for the transfer. As now it is Aug 15th, could someone tell me if it is realistic to think I can join the new employer by the first week of september?

    Reply
    • Jose,
      Legally, you can start working for new employer from the day transfer petition is received by USCIS. The downside is that in case transfer gets denied, you will have to go back to old employer or immediately file H-1 transfer to another employer.

      Reply
    • hi
      congrats
      is it a regular processing?
      center please?
      how your number starts? my number is eac121139*****
      still in initial review ……

      Reply
    • hi
      congrats
      is it a regular processing?
      center please?
      how your number starts? my number is eac121139*****
      still in initial review ……

      Reply
      • Mine was received on Jun 11th and on Aug 16 I received an email with approval notice telling me that it’s in the mail. This is regular processing. This is the Vermont service center.

        Best of luck to those of you still waiting!

        Reply
        • Hi Diana, have u applied through premium processing. I have also applied on June 11th 2012 and till now my H1 extension is in Initial review state.

          Reply
          • Hi Chaitanya!
            No, mine was regular processing. Not premium. But it wasn’t an extension, it was a regular petition. Now, I don’t know if that affects it.

            Good luck!
            Diana

    • Hi,

      My H1B was filed on April 9th 2012 and still under Initial Review (as of 13th August). What do I hope for? a RFE after 4 months or an approval? Normally how quick is the turnaround for RFE’s?

      Shyam

      Reply
      • Mine too is in the same status. The application was filed on April 17th and stilll under Initial Review. We just have to wait i guess.

        Reply
      • Mine is is in tha same condition..dont know when its going to approve..it is tennessee centre.applied on first week of april..dont know what this INS doing??

        any update please let me know?
        Thanks in advance

        Reply
      • Shyam,

        You are still better off. My H1 was filed for the previous year on Oct 21, 2011. Got an RFE on Feb 17, 2012. Replied to the RFE on May 25, 2012. Still waiting for approval. Worst part, USCIS website does not even say “RFE response received/review”. 🙁

        Reply
  41. Dear Saurab,
    I have B1/B2 Visa valid till 2022. My Passport (Indian) is expiring by Jan 2013.
    I intend to visit US in Sept 2012 and return by Oct 2012 fir sure.
    Is an issue my PP should be valid by 6 clear months from the date of my entry into US?
    Please clear my doubt
    Thanks
    Sriram

    Reply
    • Saurabh , u can’t enter any other country if u don hv passport validity at least of six month so renew ur passport first than go to US ..!!

      Reply
      • Honey,
        6 month validity is required for visa stamping and not entry to US. If the passport is valid for a shorter duration, the officer will issue an I-94 for shorter duration. The person will then have to get passport renewed followed by I-94 extension. So yes, it is better to get passport renewed first, but that doesn’t stop one from entering US (as long as the person has the visa stamp and doesn’t mind the nuisance of filing extensions).

        Reply
  42. Hi,

    Is there any “bank balance” requirement in H1b? I mean does the applicant need to have some fixed amount of money in his/her account here in India while the petition processing is underway?

    Thanks,
    Nadia.

    Reply
      • Hey Shiraz,

        What is your H1 process status?? any updates??… we filed on 11 th April 2012, still it shows initial review… 🙁

        Reply
      • Guys,

        can you please refrain from posting effectively “empty and meaningless” replies.

        My original post remained unanswered because the other posters would think that the original post has already got a response. But actually there is nothing useful in there.

        This is just a request not a comment.

        Thanks.

        Reply
        • Well Nadia, you don’t need any bank balance for H1b. VO might ask for your salary slips and account statement, but that’s to check if you are employed or not.

          All the best for your visa!!

          Reply
          • Hi Deep,

            Thanks for the reply.

            1) I think my employer/attorney has submitted my payslips for last year(between aug and oct).
            2) I have not passed on my Bank statements to my employer yet.

            Can an RFE be raised due to any of the above?

            Regards.

          • Hi Nadia,

            Payslips are not required of your current employer.
            Only previous employment proofs are considered along with other docs, thats what i gave and it was approved.

      • Looks like Nadia & Shiraz are the most confused H1B applicants.

        Guys, have patience pls 🙂

        No need to have bank balance in India for any kind of job visa application for any country. If one has lot of bank balance, why need to try for h1b in the first place ? 🙂

        Reply
  43. I applied for my transfer on June 28 and got apporval on July 3rd. I was worried since my passport was expired but I guess there are some benefits of having a advanced degree from US.

    Reply
    • Satish,

      i am in same situation, i would truly appreciate if you can answer my curious query. My passport expired 3 days ago and i am trying to get a tatkal or regular renewal. since the processing time gets me closer to sep 23 my visa expiration date i am getting confused. Do u need valid passport to apply for extension with same employer-

      thanks alot
      syam

      Reply

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