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GUIDE to H1B Visa Processing Times: Premium vs. Regular

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

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

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

2. premium processing.

An employer can file in one of these processing types when they file any of the following with USCIS. Below are some of the common options to file H1B visa:

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

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

H1B Regular Processing Time (cap-subject)

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

H1B Regular Processing Documents, Fee

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

How long does USCIS take for H1B Regular processing?

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

Based on USCIS historical processing times, from the last six years (FY 2018 to FY 2023), it can take anywhere from 1.8 months to 5 months for the H1B petition filed in Regular processing using form I-129. See the below screenshot from the USCIS website based on historical processing times for the last six years.

For FY 2023 (until the end of June 2023), as you can see in the below screenshot is about 3.1 months. It means that roughly after you get the receipt notice, you should have the decision on your petition within four months.

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

Current USCIS H1B Processing Time for 2023 ( Regular & Premium)
Current USCIS H1B Processing Time for 2023 ( Regular & Premium)

H1B Premium Processing Time

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

H1B Premium Processing Documents, Fee

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

How long does USCIS take for H1B Premium processing?

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

For FY 2024 season ( until June 2023), the current premium processing time average is about 0.2 months, which is about a week or less. If you were to file in premium, you should get a decision in about ten days as per current processing times.

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

H1B Extension Processing Time

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

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

H1B Transfer Processing Time

Similar to H1B extension filings, for H1B Transfer as well, the processing time varies based on what type of processing you choose. If you file in Premium Processing, you will get a 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 like a new petition, and it can take more time than the 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 most recent years, premium processing has been suspended for H1B cap-subject petitions to decrease the overall processing times of all petitions. But, unlike the new cap subject petition, for H1B Transfer scenarios, employers usually apply for premium processing 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, but still USCIS status says “Case Received,” What should I do?

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

Here are few things  you can do:

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

H1B Visa FY 2024 Processing timelines – Regular vs. Premium?

USCIS continues to have premium processing for H1B FY 2024 season. So, if you were to file in premium processing, you would get a decision within 15 days. As per the historical data until June 2023, it is around 7 days or 0.2 months.

Regarding regular processing for FY 2024 cap-subject petitions, the average processing is somewhat conflicting. Below are the two data points.

  • Historical Trend Data: As per the average processing times given by USCIS in their historical processing times as of June 30th, 2023, the processing time is about 3.1 months ( see above screenshot).
  • Current Trend Data: As per the current processing times, it is anywhere from 2 to 4 months for the California Service center and slightly more than four months for few of the other service centers. See below data from the USCIS processing times website, presented by VisaGrader H1B Processing times.

So, based on two data points, for FY 2024 H1B petitions filed with USCIS, you can expect decision on your case anywhere from 2 to 4 months.

California Service Center H1B Processing Time Aug 2023
California Service Center H1B Processing Time Aug 2023

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

H1B Visa Tracker

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

Register at VisaGrader – H1B Visa Tracker

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

Current H1B Processing times, History

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

H1B Processing times for Nebraska, Texas and Vermont Service Centers as of 2023
H1B Processing times for Nebraska, Texas and Vermont Service Centers as of 2023

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 2 to 4 months based on historical processing times by USCIS in last five years. You can read How to check H1B visa processing times at USCIS Service centers

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


Other Articles


  1. Hi
    My employer said that they would be filing H1B visa in the first week of April and so they did it through attorney. Now my question is will I be informed by USCIS regarding visa filing or receipt no information after accepting application. How can I know my receipt no. without asking to my employer?

    • USCIS will send the information to the attorney. So you would have to get in touch w/ the employer to get updated on it. Once you have the receipt number, you can track the status online on USCIS website.

  2. Hi Saurabh,

    This is a very good initiative taken by you to help people with lots of questions on H1. Thank you very much!

    I heard this time H1 cap is going to be in lots. In that case, when would we know the status of our application?

    What is the approximate timing to get visa for regular vs premium processing? I hear that premium takes 6-8 months. But regular takes nearly a year. Please give me some insight into this.


    • I am not clear why you mean by lots. USCIS will continue to accept and process petitions as they are received until the quota is open. The process hasn’t changed since last year.

      Premium processing takes 15 calendar days for adjudication unless RFE is issued. Regular processing can take anywhere from 2 to 6 months depending upon processing center and timeframes at the center.

  3. Hi Saurabh,
    Million thanks for answering my previous questions.
    I got a mail from visa service people in my company saying “documents sent to USA”
    1) Will USCIS wait for stipulated time to start processing the petitions or they process as and when petitions get filed!!
    2)When is the earliest i can expect my visa get stamped once petition is approved?
    3)Till what time do i need to be patient before i request my employer to change to premium processing and work as early as possible (i.e Oct ’11).
    Million thanks in advance.

    • 1. They would start processing as soon as the petition is received.
      2. You can go for stamping anytime after your petition is approved. Make sure that you have all the required documents when going for stamping.
      3. If you plan to enter and work from Oct 2011, then you can request for upgrade to Premium processing in late Aug, early Sep.

  4. Hi,

    My employer applied for New H1 for 2012 regular H1 quota and the application is received by USCIS on April 1st 2011. So how long would it take to get petition no generally to track ?

    • They are still processing petitions from last fiscal year. Typical processing time is 2-4 months, but you should be prepared for the worst case scenario i.e. 6 months. Keep checking USCIS website for latest processing information for your service center.

  5. Mine is L1 to H1 transfer and H1 filed on 7th Jan 11 and got RFE on 31st March 11.
    responded to RFE with work order and LCA from vendor on 16th April 11 and converted to premium precessing. Please let me know how long it will take to get approval.

    • You should hear the response within 15 calendar days. Time starts from the day USCIS receives your request to upgrade it to premium.

    • Yes, you can. However, if your I-94 has already expired, then you should submit a copy of extension petition as well to show that you timely filed for extension.

  6. My “EX”-employer wants to me to move to US on an L1 (for which I am eligible) and work till I get my H1 (which would be filed simultaneous alongside the L1). Will starting work on L1 impact my H1 process? Also, ignoring the L2 EAD advantage is it advisable to work on an L1B (not L1A) vs. an H1B.

    • One process won’t impact the other. USCIS will evaluate both petitions and determine if each is eligible for that particular visa category.

      I don’t see any other advantage of L1, as you are planning to have them both filed through the same employer.

  7. Hi Saurabh,

    How are you? i came to US recently and my L1-B visa will be expired after 3 months and I had applied for H1B last January and still it’s in “Initial Review”. My current employer asked me to go ahead apply for extension. Will it affect my current status of H1B or should i wait till the petition get approved?

    Thank You

    • Do you plan to work on H-1 immediately? Was your H-1 filed w/ COS?

      One option would be to upgrade H-1 petition to premium processing, get the approval and be on H-1 immediately. You don’t need to worry about L-1 in that scenario.

      If you still file the L-1 extension, then I am not sure about all the scenarios i.e. H-1 gets approved, and then extension gets approved or extension gets approved and then H-1 gets approved. I am not sure if H-1 approval would abandon L-1 extension. I would prefer to talk to the H-1 employer’s attorney about this.

  8. Hi Saurabh, thanks for your help, one of my friend’s H1 petition was approved in Jan 2011, can he give his visa interview and immideatly start working or he has to wait till October 2011?

    • Your friend filed in FY-11 quota. So he can go for the visa interview, and then enter US and start working on H-1. He doesn’t need to necessarily wait for Oct 2011. Oct 2011 is start date for people who are filing H-1 in FY-12 quota.

  9. Hi Saurabh,

    I have a question if I apply H1-B on April 1st , Can I start working immediately after getting a WAC number ? and when will I get a WAC number?

    Thanks in Advance,

    • No, you cannot start working until 1st Oct or the actual approval date (whichever is later). A person can start working for the employer based on receipt number only in case of H-1 transfer.

        • No you cannot work any earlier than Oct. 1st., even if you H1B Premium Process petition is approved before that. Your employer will receive a approval notice with the start date of H1B visa, that is the earliest date you can start working. If your employer requested start date prior to Oct. 1st, then your petition will be rejected. Like Saurabh said, only if your case is transfer case or extension, then you can work. Or if you are currently working in OPT AND you are eligible for cap gape extension.

          This is one good reason why one should not pay for premium processing. What’s good if you get approved within 2 weeks and before everyone else but can’t work until October?

  10. Hi Saurabh,
    Just wanted to understand the scenario, if a person is on H4 and willing to get an H1.There are two companies ready for sponsorship, what if we go ahead with both of them and ask both the companies to going ahead with Visa petition.
    What will be the consequences in the this case?

    • Legally you can do that. USCIS will adjudicate both petitions. If one or both petitions get approved, then you can start working for the employer for which petition(s) were approved. If COS is approved along w/ the petition, then you would be on H-1 from the date mentioned in approval notice, and need to start working from that date.

      • Thanks for the reply.
        If the applicant on H4 visa, is there a possiblility of COS before 1st Oct.
        So that applicant can start working immediately.
        If yes what is the procedure?

        Thanks in Advance.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            Thanks for your help..Really appreciate the same.
            I wanted to confirm that how much does LCA process take?


          • Hi,

            My case is in Initial review and received on August 24, 2011. It is in premium processing.
            I read premium processing takes 15 days……
            Please confirm is it 15 working days? Then It should be done by September 13, 2011?

            Please confirm.


          • It is 15 calendar from the receipt date. If it doesn’t get adjudicated by then (denied, issued RFE or approved) then your employer should follow-up w/ USCIS.

  11. Hi Saurabh
    currently i am working in Indian MNC. I gave interview to another company(small company) and they are filling my H1B in April. i have not resigned yet. As the small company is asking to wait till visa get approved.
    Since the visa process takes time and i can not work before Oct 1st.
    1. So can i travel to US on B1 visa, while my H1 is getting processed in India.
    2. For travelling on B1, i will need to change my job and join that new company, is it possible to travel in B1 immediately after joining the new company.

    thanks a lot in advance

    • B1 visa is for business purpose. If you plan to use this visa for any other purpose including it as a lieu of H-1, then that will be an abuse of the visa.

  12. Hi
    Now i am working as a software engineer in(mainframe domain)with level-5 comany.
    having 4+ years of experience.how the opennings is going on in mainframe technology in US(california)?I am planning to apply for h1b visa for next FY2012.
    so when i have to start my scrach work for applying H1b visa for next FY 2012?
    is hyderabad consultants are good to process my h1b visa?
    waiting for valuble reply!!!!


  13. I am depressed…no response even after changing to PP
    Dear All,

    Dont know if its happening to me only…

    Regular App.. May 2010
    Upgraded to PP…Mar. 8, 2011
    Confirmation mail…Mar. 11, 2011
    Current Status… ‘Acceptence’

    I check most of the forum replies, people get response between 3-10 days. Nothing is working on my application.

    I have lost faith in USCIS. Going through painful period. I just want an answer whether approved or no, so that I can have visibility on my future.

  14. Hi Saurabh,
    I am in litle bad situation, my B1 Visa is “Cancelled” and L1 Visa was denied “Not specialized”, VO suggested me to apply for H1-B. Hence I am planning to apply for H1-B simulataneously apply for B1 Visa again, is it possible?

    If my B1 Visa gets denied?, will my H1 petiton remain valid?, as there will be denial of L1 and B1 in same year?, will there be any ban of 2 yrs since visa is rejected twice (L1 and B1).?

    Or should I apply for B1 after my H1 petition approval and stamping?

    • You should be fine. I don’t know of any rule that bans an alien for 2 years for multiple rejections. If you have the need of travelling to US on B-1, then go ahead for it. It won’t impact H-1 processing. However, when you go for H-1 stamping, VO can again cancel the B-1 stamp w/o prejudice.

      • Hi Saurabh, highly appreciate your quick reply, one more question, if i apply for H1 -B before 31st March will my application be considered as 2011 or 2012. if I apply for H1-B before 31st March and my petition gets approved somwhere near June 2011, is it possible for me to start working in US immideatly? or still i have to wait till 1st October.?

        • FY-11 quota is already over. If you apply prior to 1st April, it will be considered as a petition received in FY-11 and as the quota is over, it will be duly returned w/o processing. Any petition received on or after 1st Apr will be part of FY-12 quota and allows the individual to start working from 1st Oct or later.

          • Thank you very much Saurabh, could please tell if visa is refused twice then, is there any restriction that we cannot apply for next two years.
            I am little tensed becuse my B1 Visa is “Cancelled” without mentioning w/o prejudice and L1 visa is refused, so if I again apply for B1 and it gets rejected, I am worried if would be able to apply again.
            Please let me know your thoguhts on this or what I can do in this situation.
            Your help is highly appreciated.

          • I don’t know about any such rules. Moreover, visa cancelled w/o prejudice is not same as rejected visa. If the visa was denied because of false documentation from you, then it will impact future stampings, otherwise there is no direct impact.

          • Hi Saurabh, Thank you very much,
            My B1 Visa was revoked (Cancelled) since I stayed for 5 months and 10 days on B1, but my I94 was valid for 6 months.
            VO was saying that you were working on B1, but I gave him a reason that I was involvled in attending training sessions, also understanding client requirements, giving presentations on approach, also because of holidays season it was difficult to get time from client etc.., hence stay was extended. But VO still revoked it thats why I am worried, what will happned in future stampings, please could you advice what should be my approach.
            Thanks again for u r help.

          • It seems VO thought you misused the business visa. Most likely he would have made a note of that. However, you didn’t overstay as you left US before your I-94 expired.

            It’s difficult to say if it would impact future stampings, but if VO made a note of it in your file, then chances are it may impact your future visa stamping.

  15. Hi Saurabh –

    I have got my H1B (CoS) approved recently.I was on L1 with my earlier company.My new employer who has processed my H1 is now not ready to onboard me as there is an apparent breach of contract between my new employer and my old employer (who is now a client for my newemployer)
    I would like to explore the options that I have legally to support my case here


    • You situation sounds pretty bad. As your COS has been approved, you are no longer on L-1 but on H-1. However, the H-1 employer is not starting the employment because of legal tussle. If there is a non-compete/non-solicitation agreement b/w the employer and you, then you cannot join the client i.e. your H-1 employer. However, if there is no such agreement then you should be fine.

      However, I would STRONGLY encourage you to contact an attorney – both for your immigration status and your possible civil suit.

      • Thanks Saurabh.Do I still have the option of finding another job on H1 and transferring it to a new employer.
        Can you suggest what are the options that the employer has to bail me out of this unprecedented situation.
        Am I “Out of Status” currently?

        • You can find another employer and have them file H-1 for you. Yes, you are out of status as you are not getting paid by your H-1 employer at the moment. I don’t know what contract you and your L-1 employer signed, so I don’t know what legal options you or your H-1 employer have.

          Consult an attorney.

          • Hi Saurabh –

            Is there any time period before which I can leave this new employer if I want to? I know that I’ll need pay stubs for a vusa transfer but is there any criteria?


          • You can leave the employer anytime you want. There is no minimum time you need to spend w/ the employer; however for successful transfer you need to have payslips from the employer.

  16. Hello,

    Need your expertise. I have an new employee who has an Employment Authorization card that does not expire until Jan, 2012. We want to sponser her H1B and concurrently extend her Employment Authorization Card (each for another year). What I gather from the internet is that I need to fill out a ET9035, submit that, once approved, fill out the I129 and submit. Is that correct and am I missing anything? I believe these steps are for the H1B Visa, what about the Employment Authorzation Card, how do we extend? Thank you so much for your time.

    • Yes, those documents are for the H-1 filing. The steps you mentioned for H-1 filing are correct, except as a sponsor company, you are are required to post notices at 2 conspicuous places at your business of the H1B visa filing for 10 days. Alternatively, you can provide notice of the filing to the collective bargaining representative for your employees. You can also use actual LCA filing for this.

      For EAD (employment authorization document), I-765 needs to be filed.

      What’s the current visa status of the employee? You may also need to file for change of status to allow the employee to work in US on H-1, w/o having the need to go out of country and get her H-1 visa stamped.

      • Hello, and thank you for yor response. She currently has a EAD that expires Jan 2012. Is that something she files for or we as the employer file? Is that due April 1st as well? She does not have an H1 right now.
        Would you suggest we use an attorney?

        Thanks, Rachael

        • If you are planning to file H-1 for the employee, then EAD extension is not required (assuming H-1 gets approved prior to her EAD expiry). Once the H-1 kicks-in, she doesn’t need to maintain her EAD.

          EAD is just for employment, but she as an alien needs some sort of visa to be legally present in US. I guess it would either be F-1 (international student) or L-2 (spouse of a worker on L-1) or something else. In that scenario, you also need to apply for COS (change of status) from that visa status to H-1.

          Hiring an attorney would be a good idea, especially if this is the first time you are filing H-1 for an alien. That would give you knowledge about the actual process, and documents required and may be you can file future H-1s (if any) by yourself.

  17. Hi Saurabh,

    Could you please let me know when we travel to US with H1B, do we need Emmigration Check Not Required stamp in our passport?


  18. Hi,

    I got an RFE on Jan31st for my H1b extension filed with VSC on May 10th 2010.I responded the RFE and it reached USCIS on Mar 15th.Can I upgrade to PP now and how will I know the case has been changed to PP from Online status?

    • Once they receive the PP request, there should be a status update w/ following text “Your Request for Premium Processing Service for your I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER was received on XXXXXXXXX. We mailed you a receipt with information about processing. We will mail you a decision as soon as processing is complete. “

  19. Hi Saurabh

    I am currently on H4 visa and intend to convert to H1B.My question to you is when is the earliest i can start work ?
    Is it after i recieve the Receipt or after october 1st?

  20. I have upgraded my Case to Premium. When I checked the USCIS site, the status says Acceptance for the past 5 days. Still my petition will be approved (or RFE issued) within 15 days?

  21. Hi Saurabh –

    My new employer is delaying my onboarding even after I have got relieved from my last company after my H1 CoS got approved.What can I do here? I am worried this could affect my Green Card approval process later.Though I have resigned from my last company within two weeks of the effective start date on the visa my new employer is showing no urgency to complete my onboarding. Please advise.


    • Once the COS is approved, the alien is supposed to start working for the H-1 employer ASAP. If the employer is not hiring you, then they are not paying you which puts you out of status. Yes, this can come back to bite you when it comes to GC process, H-1 extensions etc. Talk to your employer and make him aware about the rules.

      However, the employer always has the option to cancel your H-1, if they feel they no longer require your services.

  22. Hi Saurabh,

    I have H4 visa until July 15 and have already filed for extension. I am planning to go to India by end of may and come back in first weak of june. Will there be a problem for me to come back ? Is there any law where in the visa should be valid for 6 months in order to enter united states ?

  23. hello,

    It has been almost 9 months since I applied for H1 under regular category and my case is still in Initial status? Do you think they are still processing it, or should i just upgrade to premium processing?

    On a lighter note, I think, the USCIS will directly give me a green card for being so patient 😉


    • Premium processing is always an option available to you, and it’s your call whether you really want to spend those extra dollars to get a quicker result. If you have an urgent need to travel to US, then premium processing is the way to go.

      You can also ask your employer to follow-up w/ USCIS to know when they would actually process the petition.

    • IMO, there won’t be a lottery in the opening week of the quota. Although, I expect it to get filled up towards end of the year (Nov-Dec time-frame). But this is just my opinion.

  24. Thank you so much for answering my questions. I have few more now.
    1. Please explain me about the lot system. If lot system is in place, then would it affect premium processing petitions, if i apply with premium processing in april itself?
    2. When will the PA be for petitions approved through premium processing again by applying in april itself.

    • 1. If lottery happens in April, then all petitions will be subject to it (premium and otherwise). The selected petitions will then be processed – first the premium ones and then the others.
      2. Interview can happen anytime after the petition has been approved, and once you have all the required documents from the employer.

  25. Can i first apply as Regular processing and later change to premium processing? when can a regular processing be changed to premium processing if expected to travel as soon as the visa valid date starts i.e.Oct 1st 2011

  26. when can a regular processing be changed to premium processing if expected to travel as soon as the visa valid date starts i.e.Oct 1st.

  27. I have been asked to initiate my B1 visa ASAP, as I have been asked to travel to US on short term between May first week to June mid. Also, the Project management will be initiating my H1B visa processing in April 2011 window.

    Question 1: So would it be possible for me to initiate the H1B processing in April and still travel to US in May on B1 visa?
    Question 2: Will there be any issue in processing of the H1B given the above situation?

    The other option is after I come back from US (on B1 visa) in June from a short visit, the company would then apply for H1. But I don’t want to take any chance as 65000 limit may get over by June.

    Please let me know on these queries because I need to plan my short term and/or long term accordingly.

    • FY-12 quota will open on 1st April 2011. Your employer can file the visa anytime after that until the quota is open or until 30th Sep 2012 (whichever is earlier).

      This holds true for both premium and non-premium petitions.

  28. If i apply for H1B this april 2011 with premium processing. Should i still wait till october 1st to get a valid visa, provided my petition is approved.??? Thanks in advance.

    • You can get visa stamped anytime after your petition is approved. Filing it as premium ensures that will be adjudicated within 15 calendar days, otherwise it may take months for approval.

      However, irrespective of whether it’s filed as premium or not, you CAN NOT work prior to 1st Oct.

  29. Hi Saurabh –

    I am currently on L1 and I have been sponsered by another company who has applied for my H1 (CoS).The H1 (CoS) was filed with USCIS during October 2010.I am going to be released from this current project and may even have to go back to India. The case status still shows “Initial Review”.I would not like to go back to India as that would significantly reduce my chances of the H1 getting approved.
    Any suggestion for me to know how long would it take for the H1 to come or an alternative way to stay back in the US till I receive the H1(CoS) approval


    • H-1 approvals are still taking 3-4 months, but some of them have been pending for more than 6 months now. I can’t say for sure how much time more your petition will take.

      Here are your options:
      – Leave US when your L-1 project ends. Once your H-1 is approved, you will have to go for H-1 visa stamping and then enter US on H-1 visa stamp in order to start working on H-1.
      – Upgrade your petition to premium processing. USCIS will adjudicate your petition within 15 calendar days of receiving the upgrade request. I don’t know if that gives you enough time to have the approval before leaving for India
      – Request L-1 employer for a month’s extension and then file for premium processing (costs $1250 ). That would give you enough time to get the approval. However, time calculations may go wrong if USCIS issues RFE.

      • Hi Saurabh –

        Will I need to resign immediately once my CoS is approved (assuming that the effective start date would be the approval date) or will I get some grace period? I will need to serve a notice period of 30 days from the day I put in my papers with my current company on which I am on L1.Will that create any issue later when I apply for GC?
        I am interested in knowing what is officially the maximun number of days I can still stay with my current company after the H1 CoS gets approved so that I can time my resignation accordingly.


        • Legally, one should start working for the H-1 employer immediately. There is no grace period; however USCIS at times looks at this w/ a more relaxed view giving you a week or two to wrap-up your old work and start the new one.

          I don’t know if 30 days will be ok or not, as it varies from case to case.

  30. hi Saurabh
    how long does USCIS take to decide the approval or denial after they change the status of REF response review??

  31. Hi Saurabh,
    This is Yogish Gowda. I am working in USA for ABC company (Indian Based Software Services Company) on L1B Visa. Recently, i have attended a job interview for XYZ company(Reputed American Services Company) and got selected. They have applied for my H1B Visa(Premier processing) on Jan 26th and got RFE on Feb 11th. The RFE is about project details and SOW. The RFE due date is 13 th of March.
    I have a situation here, my current project (in company ABC) got over and the next project will start from 1st week of april. My current company is asking me go on paid leave for a month to India and come back by last week of March. I am thinking of utilizing this opportunity to visit my native place.
    I have few questions regarding the above mentioned situation. I am kindly requesting you to give me your valuable advice on this.
    Condition 1: If XYZ company submits the relevant docs for RFE to USICS and get my H1B petition approved, ( When I am in India )
    Q.1 -> Do i need to get my H1B VISA stamped in INDIA?
    Q.2 -> If yes, how about the probability of success in getting H1b VISA stamped in Chennai Consulate , depending on recent trend of H1B visa stamping in India?

    IMP: Q.3 -> If my VISA stamping doesn’t go well, can i come back to USA for ABC company project on the L1B visa, without any issues? – Important question

    Q.4 -> If my Stamping goes well , i will join XYZ company in USA. But, how about ‘port of Entry’ custom queries?.Do they ask any specific docs from XYZ company regarding project, client letter etc…If yes, pelase list out the necessary docs.

    Condition 2: If XYZ company might not be able to get my H1B petition approved, ( When I am in India )
    Q1: -> Can i come back to USA for ABC company project on the L1B visa, without any issues?
    Q2: -> how about ‘port of Entry’ custom queries?. Do they ask any H1B petition related queries…

    Please guide me , whether staying in USA for 1 more month is safer than visiting India at this point of time.

    • Condition 1:
      1) Yes, you will have to get H-1 stamped in India if you plan to return to US on H-1 visa. In most of the cases, VO cancels L-1 stamp w/o prejudice when one goes for H-1 stamping. If you plan to return on L-1, then it would be better to not go for H-1 stamping, and instead file COS from L-1 to H-1 once you are back in US.
      2) Varies from case to case. If a person has all the supporting documents (most importantly project/client information) and is filing through a reputed company, then there shouldn’t be much of a problem.
      3) Yes. If something goes wrong w/ H-1 visa, VO won’t cancel your L-1 stamp. However, this is not a norm but it’s the most common thing VO does. L-1 and H-1 have different requirements, and denial of one doesn’t mean denial of the other.
      4) Yes, you can be asked about client/project information at PoE. You need to have that information w/ you.

      Condition 2
      1) Yes
      2) Questions will be related to your L-1 visa. Who your client is, how long will you work etc.

      Was your H-1 applied w/ COS?

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks a lot for answering my questions. I need a slight clarification for Condition1->Q1 answer. As per your answer “If you plan to return on L-1, then it would be better to not go for H-1 stamping, and instead file COS from L-1 to H-1 once you are back in US.”
        Some Immigration agent told me that “As per USCIS rule, once my H1B petition is approved , the L1B will become void” – If this is true, how can i come back to US on L1B Visa and apply for COS to H1B without getting H1B visa stamped?..

        • Approval of H-1B doesn’t cancels/voids L-1 automatically. I will list all the possible scenarios:
          1. A person who is on L-1 in US, files for H-1 w/o COS. Even when H-1 gets approved person can continue to work on L-1. The person goes out of US, gets H-1 stamped (at that point, VO may or may not cancel the L-1). If L-1 is not canceled, the person can return to US on either H-1 or L-1; else he can only return on H-1.
          2. A person who is on L-1 in US, files for H-1 w/ COS. The person will have to start working for H-1 employer as soon as COS is approved. The person can still go back and work for the L-1 employer if he files for COS from H-1 to L-1, or goes out of country and enters on L-1 visa stamp.

          In above scenarios, one needs to ensure that basic L-1 requirements are still satisfied i.e. the alien has worked for the L-1 sponsor for at least 1 year in past 3 years outside of US, and the job/skills qualify for L-1.

          Let me know if you have any other questions.

  32. My H1B petition has been filed on Nov 6th 2010. I received RFE in the month of Feb 2011. Within this period i have been shifted to different project. My employer is same but the end client is different. In this case is there any option to update/change the end client details?

    • Hello Shunmuga,
      did you get your RFE regarding client letter, I mean USCIS want to know that why are you not working for the client that you have applied for H1?

      • In my RFE i have been asked to submit client letter. Since i changed the project i can’t get the letter from my previous client. Is there any option that i can submit the letter from the client where I’m working correctly.

        • You should submit the recent client information as that’s the true and accurate information. Your employer can submit a letter explaining why the new client information is being submitted.

  33. Hi Saurabh,
    My H1B petition was received by USCIS on Nov 4th 2010, the status still shows “Initial review” in there website. Is there any way that I can know why it is getting delayed, Or any other process to get is done at earliest.
    Is there any restriction in traveling with B1 when your H1 is in process.?

    • There are several petitions from that month and previous months that are still in that stage. Processing times have been delayed at USCIS centers. One can upgrade the petition to premium processing, which would speed up the process, but it costs $1250.00.

      Yes, it’s ok to travel to US on B-1 while H-1 is still pending.

  34. Hello,

    I see you have been of great help to many people. I hope you will be able to guide me too.

    I graduated in May-2010 and right now working on OPT. I (my company wanted to file but I told them to file next year) didn’t file H1B last year and will be filling my H1B this year (1st April, 2011, my file is ready with attorney). However my OPT is till July-2011 and even if my H1B is approved I will be out of status from 10-July-2011 (End of OPT) till 1st-Oct-2011 (Start of H1B).

    So what are my choices here?

    1) File for Cap-Gap?
    2) File for OPT extension along with H1B application?

    Which option do you this will be safe and best?

    Thanks a lot!!

    • One doesn’t need to file for cap-gap. They are automatically enrolled in that based on the petition filed etc. You can continue to stay and work until 1st Oct 2011 based on this cap-gap.

  35. Hi Guys,

    My H1B Petition has moved to RFE status on 3rd Feb 2011. With respect to the same, I have received an intimation from USCIS to provide the manager letter and the signed SOW for the project. In case there is no signed SOW, a client letter will do just fine. My query is that for what project the SOW should be provided. When the petition was filed I was working in some other project under the same client. However, as of now, I am working in a different project under the same client. May be down the line, about 2 weeks from now, I will move back to the project for which my petition was filed.


    • The length of the petition duration typically depends upon SOW duration. If the job responsibilities are same/similar, your client can issue you a letter stating that you will be working on new project and old project during next 1-2 years. Consult your lawyer for exact text format. Also, ask your client how much they are ready to commit in the letter.

      • The thing is that there was a minor restructuring at client end and as of yet there is no signed SOW as of yet. In the absence of a signed SOW, USCIS needs a client letter describing in brief my roles and responsibilities.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        I followed up with the immigration team and came to know that I need to procure two documents for the RFE – manager letter and client letter. I have the manager letter with me signed by my onsite coordinator. In the absence of a signed SOW, I have to obtain a client letter. However, the client is not willing to issue a client letter from their end. Is that the end of the road or is there any third alternative? Please help. The RFE deadline is approaching on 21st Feb.


        • Client letter and SOW are the best bets. Your immigration team can try to convince USCIS by submitting the client information and a note saying they are not willing to issue client letter. They can also submit your timesheets as proof that you are working for the client and will continue to do so. I am not sure if USCIS will buy it, and even if they do then what will be the duration of the issued petition.

          Good luck!

          • Hello Siddharth Sinha,

            I have the similar question but as of yet I did not got query from USCIS, I have applied for H1 in January 11,
            may I know when your application for H1 is received by USCIS and when did you get query,
            please reply back.

          • Hi Vipul,

            For my case the application was received by USCIS on13th October 2010. Hope this helps.


  36. Hello,
    I have a concern. I worked on H1B for three years with my job and my job wanted to extend my h1 to three more years however the 2011 quota was reached and my application was late and cannot be filed.
    what do I do now? Can my job sponsor me as a non profitable organization? or can they just sponsor me for green card? My visa ends in August 2011.
    your urgent response is required. I need to know what I am facing here. I do have a job offer but what can they do to help me now?

    Thanks for your hard work

  37. Hi there,

    my application for H1 is received in January 11 to USCIS, my employer(staffing company) sent client letter along with it, my project is going to end in feb 25, I am sure to get new project but my question is that
    (1) what happen if I change my end client before my H1 is approved?
    is there any chance of visa rejection because of end client is changed ..does USCIS mind regarding changing end client..
    please reply me as soon as possible…I am really tense

    • What are the dates mentioned in the client letter? USCIS may decide to approve your petition only until the end of the client letter. Normally it doesn’t matter if one changes the client (unless job description and/or work location is also changing), but in this case USCIS may decide not to approve your petition or approve it for a limited time based on your original client letter.

      • in the client letter, no dates are mentioned for project end, client letter says the contract is extendable , but the contact is ended by client because of insufficient fund for the project

        • It’s difficult to comment. I don’t think changing projects now will impact the on-going processing. Based on your submitted client letter, USCIS may issue RFE asking for a more concrete client letter, and if you joined the new project by that time then it’s a blessing in disguise (as you will be able to submit a new letter w/ extended dates). But this is just speculation, I can’t really say for sure how USCIS officer will look at these details.

  38. Hi, I got H1 transfer approval on Feb-8 through premium processing with status ‘Decision’ & comment was written that they have sent the e-mail notice. In the e-mail, it is written that they have mailed the Notice of Action. My question is what is the difference between ‘Decision’ & ‘Post Decision Activity’ as both states that the petition has been approved.

  39. Hi Saurabh,

    When can I apply for H1B regular for 2011 quota which starts in April 2011? And when does the stamping for 2011 quota starts? Lets say my petition is approved in May/June, will I have to wait till September to get my visa stamped?

    I know applicants can travel only post October 1, 2011. For me getting the visa stamped as early as possible is more important.


    • Earliest date to file H-1 for FY-12 is 1st April 2011. You can go for stamping anytime once your petition has been approved and you have the necessary documents from your employer. Like you said, travel cannot happen until 1st Oct.

  40. Hi Saurabh,

    My petition was filed with USCIS on 13th October 2o1o. Once I received the EAC number, I used to regularly check the status of my petition on the website. Today itself, while checking the status, I found out that my case status has moved to Request For Evidence from Initial Review. However, the status itself does not provides any information on what evidence needs to be submitted. What should I do now?

    • Your employer/attorney will receive postal mail from USCIS informing what documents need to be submitted. They usually don’t provide that information online.

      • The RFE was mailed requesting initial evidence on 3rd February. How long does it take for this process to conclude assuming the RFE response provided by my employer will provide sufficient evidence for H1B processing?

  41. Hi,

    i am planning to file for my h1b in april 2011, whn is the earliest date that I can be on it on approval. do i need to wait till oct? i plan to visit india in jun-july, can i get it stamped and enter us in jun-july with it?


    • Earliest start date to work on H-1 would be 1st Oct 2011 (provided petition has been approved by then). I assume you are already in US, and will be filing it along w/ COS.

      • Yes I am in US, I already have the job. I m on CPT bt I dnt have OPT left. I plan to finish school in may, I will go for premium precessing in april 2011, so guessing tht I wil be having a decision by april.

        will I be on H1 on approval in May after I finish school. In that case, If i visit India in June – July, can I get it stamped and enter US with that H1B. yes I will be applying w/cos. I already have LCA approved.

        My consultant giving me various stories and making me confused.


        Your help is much appreciated.


        • This is what you can do:
          – file for OPT 3 months prior to your graduation (OPT typically takes 3 months for processing). This would allow you to work for the period b/w your graduation and H-1 start date
          – file for H-1 in April along w/ COS from F-1 to H-1. The start date of the H-1 would be 1st Oct 2011
          – travel to India and re-enter on OPT (make sure you get travel stamp on your OPT)
          – continue to work on OPT until 1st Oct, and post 1st Oct work on H-1

          But you need to keep in mind:
          – your COS should be approved for this to work
          – if you are planning to travel and re-enter US after Oct, then you need to get H-1 stamped
          – I heard from a lawyer recently, that at times your SEVIS record is mistakingly closed when the student has H-1 approved (but hasn’t started yet) and travels outside US. Consult w/ your DSO about it

  42. Hi,
    My H1B was processed by my employer …Currently my H1b status in uscis website show as
    “Post Decision Activity
    On February 1, 2011, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER. Please follow any instructions on the notice.”

    My query is : After getting this approval, how many more days it can take to get stamping?


      • Thanks for quick response Sourabh,
        One more query: With me , can my wife also go for H4 dependent visa? For the same which documents should I go with. It will be great if you can give me kind of check list and thing to be taken care while going for stamping.


        • Yes, she can attend the visa interview along w/ you.

          Here is a checklist that Kumar prepared sometime back:

          For your spouse, you would have to additionally carry:
          – wedding album
          – marriage certificate (in English)
          – her passport (preferably your name endorsed in spouse section of the passport)
          – her DS-160 form

          • Thanks a lot Sourabh,
            Currently my marriage certificate is in Hindi… will that not work..
            One more query :- Also is it mandatory to give the answer for the question asked to my wife in English. Basically her English is not good enough. So does it involve any risk for getting her’s H4?


          • Marriage certificate will be asked only if the VO feels that she is not your wife. If you have wedding album, wedding card and have her name endorsed in your passport, then you should still be fine.

            Typically, most of the questions are directed towards the H-1 beneficiary, and CO doesn’t ask several questions from H-4 interviewee. So broken English may still work (but remember a lot depends upon the officer – how he takes it).

          • You should be getting an interpreter at the consulate for Hindi…I think you can metion the same on your application.

    • Hi Amit,

      Its great to hear that you have cleared the H1B processing and now ready for the stamping. My name is Siddharth and my H1B was filed on 13th October with USCIS. With regards to the same, can you please let me know, on what date your petition was filed with USCIS? It will help me estimate the expected time for my case.

      Thanks in advance,

      • Hi Siddharth,
        Thanks, My H1B was filled by my employer in August 2010. But till December I didn’t get any response so they converted my H1B into premium process. After that I got 2 RFE and we replied on the time. and yesterday I got the approval. So overall it took around 6 months.


        • Hi Amit,

          Thanks for your reply. My case was filed with USCIS on 13th October. Going by your reply, I think I will have to wait till April before the processing of my case moves to the next stage.As of now, it is in “Initial Review” phase.


  43. Hi,

    I am currently on OPT and my employer is filing for H1. The quota for 2010 is complete and I think they will be able to file my application only for 1st april 2011, my OPT ends on august 15 2011. Please let me know if i will be able to stay and work in US while my OPT ends and H1 application is filed ? What if they go for premium processing ? what if they go for normal processing ?
    Thank you very much for your kind reply.

    • You will be able to stay and work if
      – H-1 is filed with COS
      – H-1 start date is 1st Oct 2011
      – you have maintained valid legal status during this period

      Search for ‘cap gap’ to know more about this provision.

  44. Hi Saurabh,

    Couple of queries..

    1. By the time my employer filed my H1b application it was too late and the 2011 quota was full in January. now they are telling that, they can apply for 2012 quota but only from 01-April-11. once it’s applied in April, how long it takes under premium processing and once it’s approved under 2012 quota, when is the earliest time I can travel to US on H1b.

    2. Since, I was unable get H1b in 2011 quota, can I travel on B1 visa and then parallely apply for H1b while on travel to US in April 2011, under 2012 H1b quota.

    Your quick responses would be highly appreciated…


    • 1. Yes, it can be filed on or after 1st April 2012. Premium processing would mean it would still be adjudicated within 15 calendar days, however the employment cannot start until 1st Oct 2012.

      2. Why would you want to do that? You already have an employer who is willing to file your H-1. Moreover, traveling to US on B-1 for this purpose is abuse of that visa. If you come here on B-1 and then file H-1, you would also have to file COS from B-1 to H-1, and USCIS can then question your intentions of filing B-1. Safer option is to file from India as you already have a sponsor.

  45. Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently working in US on L1. I filed for my H1 with out COS by Premium processing on Jan 5th and got my Approval Notice by email today. If I have to start working on my H1 from April, should I apply for my COS now?

    Can I say I have a valid H1 now? and how long does it take to get the COS if I file it by end of Feb 2011.

    Also, Do I have to leave the country to get th stamping to start with my new employer? I am currently in US only, since I did not apply for COS while filing my H1, does it mean I have to leave the country and get the stamping before joining my new employer or can I continue working in US after getting my COS. Please tell me the pros and cons.


    • COS typically takes 2-3 months to process. So if you apply now, then you may receive the approval by April. However, remember that it may be earlier or later than this date as well. Also, there is no premium processing option available for COS.

      Yes, you have a valid H-1 petition now.

      There are two options to start working on H-1 now. Your employer can apply for COS, and once it is approved you can start working on H-1 (you will have to work for L-1 employer until then). Or you can go out of US, get H-1 stamped, re-enter on H-1 visa stamp and start working on H-1. You have more control on the timing in 2nd case and if you want to give sufficient notice period to your L-1 employer then stamping is a better option. However, if your COS or visa stamp gets stuck, then at least in 1st case you can continue to work for L-1 employer, but in 2nd case you won’t have that advantage.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      • Thanks for the quick response Saurabh, How do I know whether my new employer has filed my H1b with COS or Without COS? Is there a way to find it on the Approval notice?

        It would be really helpful if you could let me know how to find that one… Does the Approval notice say whether it is with COS or without COS?

        Please clarify

        Thanks and have a nice day

        • Saurabh,

          Just a clarification, My Approval Notice says ” The Abouve petition and change of status has been Approved”. Does it mean my H1 has been applied with COS and I got approved for both?

          Correct me if my understanding is wrong… I was asking my new employer to Apply for H1 without COS. Just worried on what will happen to my current L1. Please clarify.


          • Did the approval notice come with an I-94 attached at the bottom of it. If yes, then your COS has been approved, and you are on H-1 now. If the I-94 is there, it would have the same number as your current I-94.

            If it came w/o I-94, then either COS wasn’t applied or it was applied but not approved (although the reason doesn’t matter here), and you are still on L-1.

          • Thanks again Saurabh,
            I got my new I94 along with my approval notice. As you mentioned my New I94 number and my old I94 number are same.

            1) Does that mean my L1 is invalid now and I am on my New H1?

            2) Can I continue working on my L1 with out Joining my new employer ? If so, how long can I continue.

            3) I have to give 1 month notice period to my existing employer, can I serve the notice period on my L1 and then move to my new employer after a month? will this impact my status?

            4) In the mean time I am filing H4 for my dependents. As I mentioned earlier am in the US with my family.

            my biggest concern is, I don’t want me and my family to be on out of status under any circumstances

            5) All am looking for is, can I continue in my L1 for another a month and then go to my new employer. Please advise.

            Thanks a lot for all your responses

          • 1. You are H-1 status now, and not L-1. If you want to work on L-1, you need to leave US and re-enter after showing L-1 visa stamp. Or file COS from H-1 to L-1.
            2. You shouldn’t do that. Working for 2 weeks or so is still fine, but I wouldn’t encourage anything longer than that.
            3. One month is little on the longer side. But if you don’t have any other option, then do what you have to do.
            4. I know it’s too late to say this, but you should have done that along w/ your H-1 filing. Your dependent’s status is determined from you. They must be on L-2 now, which is no longer valid status as you moved to H-1.
            5. Like I said, one month is little too long; but if that’s what needs to be done then that’s the way it is.

            It seems your employer did the mistake of filing your H-1 w/ COS because of which your dependents were left on L-2, and you have the issue of serving the notice period at L-1 employer. Talk to an attorney to see if you have more options.

  46. I am on H1 in USA from May 2010 & is due to expire Aug 2011. I changed my employer last month & my H1 is getting transferred under normal processing at California Service Center as my new employer does not go for premium processing. I got the transfer receipt dated 27 Dec 2010. After getting the transfer receipt, I joined the new employer in the start of Jan 2011. Now my employer is saying that since there are backlogs for H1, it will take 4 to 5 to get the final approval of notice. My wife & child never had any US visa. In the meantime, I want to get my wife & child to US on B2 visa. What are the challenges if I go for their B2 & what all the documents required for it?

    • Actually you can get them to US on H4 visa as well. You can send them your recent paychecks, employment letter, old 797 and information about pending H-1 transfer.

      Do they plan to stay here for few months and then go back, or continually stay with you while you are here? On B2, they can only stay for few months, while on H4 they can stay as long as you are staying and maintaining legal status in US.

      • Thanks Saurabh for your reply. Our case is bit complex. When I was working with my previous employer, we applied for H4 at New Delhi embassy in August last year. But that application went into admin processing & is pending till now. Embassy required some documents & after submitting those documents, we never got any message from Embassy & their application is still pending admin processing. My previous employer was India based consultancy company with 100+ H1B employess & I was working in Employer->Vendor->Vendor->Client model. Now this January I changed my employer & this company is a very big MNC firm with 100K+ employess worldwide, have very good presence in India also & here I am working in the Employer->Client model. Since they donot go for premium H1 transfer & they are saying that it is going to take 4-5 months, so I am thinking of bringing my family initially on B2. Since my visa is also expiring Aug 2011, so when I will go for my H1 restamping, then will take my family along with me for their H4. Do you see any challenges in this? Please let me know.

        • Yes, your case is complex. I am not sure if she can go for B2 interview while her H4 visa is pending, or if there is a way for her to stop current H4 processing, and file afresh once you have moved to the new employer. But you need to remember, B2 is a temporary visa and she may be allowed to stay in US only for few months. At that point, she would either have to leave US, or apply for Change of status to H4.

          You said that your employer is a big company. It’s best to take a legal advice from their attorneys (I am guessing they have qualified attorneys based on their size).

  47. Hi there,
    I have done premium processing for the H1B visa. I know that my petition is approved. but in the online status, there are four options, forth one is “Post Decision Activity” . currently my status is in the same (Post Decision Activity).
    I want to know that how many days still it required to complete whole procedure?
    Can I say that I got H1? or still I have to wait?


    • Typically that’s for administrative work. I think you can safely assume that your petition has been approved. Your employer/attorney should receive the petition within a week or so.

      If you are outside of US or if your petition was filed w/o COS (while being in US), you still need to get H-1 stamped before finally declaring victory.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for the reply.
        I am in the US, but I would like to ask you that what are the chances now to get H1?

        what is the meaning of COS?


        • COS stands for Change of Status. Typically people opt for that when they are already in US, and want to start working on H-1B w/o going for visa stamping. If your petition was filed w/ COS, and your COS is approved, then you can start working on H-1 as per the date mentioned in approved 797.

          However, if COS is not approved or was not filed, then you either need to file COS or get H-1 stamped before start working on H-1.

          Do you know if your petition was filed along with COS?

          • Hi Saurabh,

            I have no idea about COS. But I can explain my case.
            I am currently working Full Time on CPT (student visa) and before my CPT get over, my company have applied for the H1B.
            I do not know about COS.
            What do you think, do I need to approve COS?
            I can ask my attorney.

            Thanks a lot,

          • Hello Saurabh – I am on L1 visa and applied for H1 this year and asked for COS. But now because my L1 xtn got denied I have to go back to India asap. How will that affect H1 w.r.t. COS. Will they automatcially deny COS even if they approve my H1 ? Under that scenario is it safe to assume that I have to go for H1 stamping in case H1 petition is approved ?


          • As soon as you leave US, your COS will be considered abandoned as your I-94 record would be closed. Your H-1 would still be processed, but it would be approved/denied w/o COS.

            Yes, you would have to go for H-1 stamping in case petition gets approved.

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