How long does H1B visa Petition processing Take

How long does H1B Visa Processing take? Petition Premium vs. Regular ?

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 3530 Comments

We have been writing about H1B visa related stuff for a very long time and tracking H1B visa  updates with graphs and analysis. Some of the most commonly asked question on the blog are around processing times like :

  • I have applied for H1B on April 1st. Still my status is “Initial review”, How long does USCIS take ?
  • USCIS received my H1B petition three months ago, still no response. I am worried. Can you tell me how long will they take ?
  • My employer says they filed in June, still no reply from them? How long will they take?
  • What is H1B visa processing time ?
  • Can I contact USCIS and upgrade my H1B visa processing ?
  • Will upgrading to Premium get me decision quicker? I filed as regular processing.
  • Does USCIS have any turnaround time on regular processing application? Why do they take so long?

I can keep on writing various versions of the questions. Let me share few things which I have replied to over and over again on the blog comments. If you know the answers to above, do not read any further…it is just for those who do not know anything.  In case you do not know how to read your H1B case number, read article Understanding H1B Case/Petition Number . Also,  If you do not the various  H1B application  statues, read :  H1B Statuses RFE, Approval, Denial and How to check

What is Regular Processing in context of H1B Visa Filing ?

If an employer filed H1B petition with USCIS by standard process and does not include extra fee to have the petition adjudication( decision ) to be one faster, then that petition is treated to be filed under regular processing.

What is Premium Processing in context of H1B Visa Filing ?

If an employer pays extra premium processing fee to USCIS to have the H1B petition adjudication to be one ( decision ) within 15 calendar days, then that petition is treated to be filed under premium processing.  H1B premium processing is a way to expedite processing your application. It costs additional $1,410( fee increased in October 2018)  and the turnaround time is 15 calendar days.  The goal of premium processing is that USCIS will have a decision of your case within 15 days.

How long does USCIS take to process H1B visa petition Regular processing ?

There is no correct answer to this question. The answer to this question depends on the case and filed location. Every case in unique and every location has its own processing times.  The typical duration for processing any H1B visa application can take anywhere from few weeks to few months. The best case scenario is :  H1B  visa approval decision can take less than 2 months. The worst case scenario for the decision from USCIS can be as long as 6 months or more. You can check article  Check USCIS H1B Visa Processing times

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

Unfortunately, there is no defined turnaround time/ SLA ( service level agreement) requirement for USCIS to respond to H1B petitions filed with them. Remember, H1B petition is just one of the type of visa application of what USCIS handles. They have lot of activities that they handle and did not set any SLA for processing of H1B visa petitions for regular processing. The SLA applies to only petitions filed under premium processing.

Any higher approval chances in 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 $1,410 will increase chances of approval. Read 5 H1B Visa Myths you need to know

Should you apply for Premium H1B Visa Processing ?

Honestly, 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 ? I understand the decision part for preparation and other stuff.  Unless, there is a need there is no point. Besides, in the most recent couple of 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 end of 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  $1,410 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.

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 same. Anywhere from few weeks to 6 months or more in some cases. For current processing times,  read this article : How to check H1B visa processing times at USCIS Service centers

H1B Visa FY 2020 Processing timelines – Regular vs Premium ?

If you filed your H1B visa petition in Premium Processing in April 1st week, your 15 days SLA clock started on May 20th, 2019 and you should hear back on the decision by June 4th, 2019. If you have filed in Regular Processing for FY 2020, then there is no estimated SLA and it can take anywhere from few weeks to few months..so, you need to wait… It can be very frustrating and may seem like you have no hope, but that’s how it works, you just need to wait… Also, if you are really worried, you can upgrade your H1B petition to premium processing. USCIS announced that starting from June 10th, you can upgrade your petition to premium processing, if you want to.

H1B Premium Processing for FY 2020 Season

Is there any H1B tracker where users added their case and I can get an idea of times ?

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

H1B Visa Case Tracker

Check out H1B Visa Processing Times with anonymous data from everyone.

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.

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

   

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Comments ( 3,530 )

  1. Rohan

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  2. Abhishek

    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.

  3. sspr

    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.

  4. sspr

    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?

  5. Martin Gerv

    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 !

  6. Prabu

    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?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  7. rajeev

    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

  8. zahi

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

      1. zahi

        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

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          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.

  9. Priya

    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

      1. Rishi

        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.

        1. Rishi

          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)

  10. praful121

    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..

  11. Satyeah

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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?

      1. satyeah

        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.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          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.

  12. Jing

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  13. Jing

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Jing,
      It should be fine as the translated versions have the school stamp on it. If USCIS really needs to look at the original they would issue RFE for it but chances of it happening are low.

  14. Sreejith

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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).

  15. Sudipto Jana

    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 ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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?

  16. csiyer

    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!!

    1. allendsup23

      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.

  17. Vinay

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

      1. Vinay

        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

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          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.

          1. Vinay

            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

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            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. Suresh

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  19. Renu

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  20. Naren

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Naren,
      From your perspective, it shouldn’t matter. The petition is still approved and your employer/attorney should receive the approved copy within 30 days.

  21. SL

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  22. SHIVA

    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….

    1. NairSan

      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.

    2. Naveen

      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

      1. administrator
        Saurabh

        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.

    3. Avi

      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

  23. bhanu

    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?

  24. GS

    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.

  25. Jany

    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

    1. Diana

      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! 🙂

        1. Diana

          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! 🙂

  26. Venkat

    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.

  27. Venkat

    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

  28. Suman

    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…

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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).

      1. PAOLO

        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.

  29. Samir

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Samir,
      If the license will improve the chances of H-1 approval, then its better to file the petition after getting the license.

  30. Karry

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  31. Nadia

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Nadia,
      You don’t need to worry about the count of the circles. Only thing that matters is your current status which is still ‘Initial Review’.

  32. Vini

    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.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  33. VR

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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).

      1. VR

        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

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          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.

          1. VR

            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

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            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. Nadia

    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.

    1. y

      Nadia,

      did u receive receipt from USCIS when you paid application fee?
      I applied on May 1 and apprioved Sep 5. I think you should contact USCIS and your lawyer to see if there is anything wrong your application.

      1. Nadia

        USCIS would not contact me. My attorney informed me about my reciept number. That is all the information I have. I have already asked my attorney to give a call to USCIS and ask them if there is anything wrong with the petition if at all.

        hoping for the best!

    2. Singh JK

      Hi Nadia,

      Please convert your application from Regular to Premium. You will start getting replies from USCIS in not more than 10 days. Good luck !!

  35. Alex Jones

    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 ?

  36. Anu

    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?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

  37. Jay

    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

      1. Suman

        My application also received on May 1st and still in Initial Review. But my friend applied on but he got RFE. My receipt number starts with WAC and my friend’s number start with EAC.

      2. Suman

        My application also received on May 1st and still in Initial Review. But my friend applied on 15th Jun but he got RFE. My receipt number starts with WAC and my friend’s number start with EAC.

        1. Aj

          Hi suman,
          Mine also May 1st still in initial review WAC centre but i see some them getting approvals for April 27th cases so may 1st is sooner …..hoping for the best …Guys pls update one u get approvals for may 01

          1. y

            Follow up…
            I have just check my application this morning and status has changed from initial review to post decision. it also says they mailed me a notice that they have approved I129 PETITION. RJ, Suman and those who filed around may 1 should check your status. It is our time now

  38. Vijay

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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).

      1. Vijay

        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

          1. Vijay

            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

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            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.

          3. Vijay

            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

    2. Sreejtih

      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……

      1. Vijay

        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

        1. Sreejtih

          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.

        2. Sreejtih

          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.

          1. Vijay

            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

          2. 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

          3. longwaiting

            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.

          4. Vijay

            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. Naren

    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

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

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

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          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.

      1. Naren

        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.

  40. Jose

    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?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      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.

    1. vinoth

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

    2. vinoth

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

      1. Diana

        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!

        1. chaitanya mudumba

          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.

          1. Diana

            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

    3. Shyam

      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

      1. Arun

        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.

        1. Sree Latha

          Mine is also same case…filled on April 12th…Still initial review…:(.. still how many months we have to wait like this.. 🙂

          1. Nam

            Mine was filed on 9th of April ,Mine is also in the ‘Initial Review ‘ stage.
            Dont know how long it will take.
            Mine is Vermont service centr

          1. Darshika

            opppsss sorry it was 26th & 31st July…. and @SKD yeah i can see future but u have to pay fees for that….. :P)….hahahha…..!!

      2. pratiksha

        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

      3. Vijay

        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”. 🙁

  41. Sriram

    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

    1. Honey

      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 ..!!

      1. administrator
        Saurabh

        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).

  42. Nadia

    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.

      1. Darshika

        Hey Shiraz,

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

        1. shiraz

          Hi Darshika,
          mine was filed on 9th april yaar..still initial review !!! 🙁 , who is your employer and what have they committed you ?

          Shiraz

      2. Nadia

        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.

        1. Deep

          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!!

          1. Nadia

            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.

          2. Nidu

            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.

      3. Sanny

        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 ? 🙂

  43. Mr. RD

    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.

    1. syam

      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

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