Home » US Immigration - Visas » H1B Visa » GUIDE to H1B Visa Processing Times: Premium vs. Regular

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 and 2. premium processing. An employer can choose to file in one of these processing types when they file any of the following with USCIS.

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

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

H1B Regular Processing Time (cap-subject)

If an employer or sponsor files an H1B petition with USCIS using the standard process and does not include an extra fee for faster processing, then the petition is said to be filed in Regular Processing. It is typically when the applicant goes through 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 5 years (FY 2017 to FY 2022), it can take anywhere from 2 to 5 months for the H1B petition filed in Regular processing using form I-129. See the below screenshot from the USCIS website based on historical processing times for the last 5 years.

For FY 2023 (until the end of December 2022), as you can see in the below screenshot is about 3.9 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

USCIS H1B Processing times FY 2023 and before History
USCIS H1B Processing times FY 2023 and before History ( Regular and 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 2023 season ( until December 2022), the current premium processing time average is about 0.3 months, which is about ten days. 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 has not given any info, if they would suspend 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 December 2022, it is around 10 days or 0.3 months.

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

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

So, based on two data points, for FY 2023 H1B petitions filed with USCIS, you can expect decision on your case anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 months.

USCIS Processing times for H1B for 2023
USCIS Processing times for H1B for 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

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

Common FAQs

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

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

Any higher approval chances in H1B Premium processing ?

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

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

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

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


Other Articles


  1. Hi Sourabh,

    I am currently working on an L1 with Company A in the US which is valid till 2013. I entered the US in 2008 and recently had my L1 extended which also went into an RFE for the extension application and eventually got approved. I now have accepted an offer from Company B to start working in the US from 01-Oct.

    Now company B has applied under premium processing for my H1B transfer from the current L1 status. Here’s the question, given that the Company B has applied for premium processing, and I am expecting to get the USCIS response on the H1 petition before Oct 1st, if I quit my current job today and do not get a response by Oct 01 will that push me out of status / make it illegal to join my new job from Oct 01 or can I start my new job as planned from Oct 01 because the petition for the H1 was filed?

    And in case if the petition goes into RFE and I have already quit my existing job will I go out of status till a petition decision is recieved? Also how safe / risky is it based on the current trend for L1 to H1 transfers.

    Thanks for your response.

    • Until your H-1 gets approved, your status is L-1 and you need to be employed on L-1 until then. So if L-1 employer decides to fire you or send you back to India, you have no option but to leave. If there is gap of few days, you can still justify it in future stating you were wrapping things up, but I don’t know how much is “few” days as a lot depends upon the officer who would review this gap in future (in case that situation arises).

  2. Hi,

    My employer is filing for my H1B in premium processing in another 2 days.
    He said it will take 15 days to get the approval.
    Does it really take 15 days or there are chances that it might come in earlier to that?


  3. Dear Saurab,
    One is on valid F1 status (doing MS) having spent 2 years in US, but yet to submit MS thesis and get hie Degree. In the mean time, a sponsor applying for H1B for him.
    He was never on any OPT. Only 3 CPTs he had undergone.

    What would be the condition if H1B denied, should he looses his F1 status too.

    If H1B granted, still will he be able to submit the project work (remaining 9 credits) and get his Degree?

  4. Hello,

    I have an 3.5 years of experience in IT industry.
    Some company is offering me the H1B. I have sent them required documents for the petition. They are telling I need to travel in November some where.

    1. Is it possible to get the H1B Visa in this short time(around two months)?
    2. Is USCIS accepting the appication in September/October?

    I am apprehensive about it. Not able to take any decision. Please help me out. I need to resign from my current employeer to be relieved by November.

    Thanks in advance.

    • 1. If they file H-1 w/ premium processing and no RFE or 221g is issued, then yes it is very much possible to get H-1 visa stamp in 2 months. In case of RFE or 221g, the process can take several months.
      2. Yes, they are as the quota is still wide open.

      I don’t know your H-1 employer is, but make sure to check his credentials and clients as only USCIS scrutinizes them a lot.

  5. I am working in US on L1 Visa for Company A. L1 is till Oct 2012.
    My I94 is till Jan 5.
    I want to go for H1 through other company B.
    If Company filed H1 for me and meanwhile my company A came to know any how about my intentions and decides to send me back India.

    Can I stay in US till decision for H1 pitition comes , even company A asks me to go back India?


    Vicky Kumar

        • You can stay in US as long as you are maintaining your legal status. Until your H-1 gets approved, your status is L-1 and so if your L-1 employer decides to send you back, that’s what you have to do. In case your H-1 gets approved w/ COS (i.e. your status is H-1 now), you don’t need to worry about L-1 employer.

  6. When we upgrade from regular to premium do we get a new receipt number or can the old one be used to check status of premium processing?
    My current J-1 runs out on sept 30th and I’m transitioning to an H1B, I submitted my paperwork to my university in April and they told me they submitted it to immigration in June – however it turns out they did not submit it till August (i have also since found out they have made the same mistake with other scholars who submitted their paperwork at the same time). I decided to upgrade to premium processing two weeks ago and gave the university a check which has still not been cashed – they said they sent out the upgrade the same day I gave them the check – i’m running out of time and I can’t get a straight answer from them and now that I found they have lied I can’t trust anything they tell me.
    when I check my cases status under the old receipt number I still get initial review – no mention of premium processing.

  7. Hi,

    I have a few questions regarding L1B and H1B

    I can most likely work in the US office of my current employer. They will send me on a L1B, however the company is located in a state where I don’t want to live permanently. My ultimate goal is to go to NY. I can either go for the current company I am working with of try to find a company in NY that is willing to sponsor me for H1B. Now I don’t want to go on L1B if there is no change of getting to GC status in a few years. I don’t want to spent like 7 years or so in a state that is not my destination and not be able to change the company I am working with.

    1) Which of the two visa are more favorable i.e. gives a higher change on permanent residency/GC, L1B or H1B?

    2) How long does it take for both visas before I can apply for GC status? Is there is certain amount of time that needs to pass before one is allowed to file a GC application, assuming the company if willing to do it whenever first possible.

    3) How long is the backlog for L1B and H1B? I know it also depends on the country you are from -I am from Belgium- I have looked at the visa bulletin, but I can’t see any specific dates for L1B or H1B for Belgium.

    Please help and thank you.



    • 1. It depends upon the proposed job. Not all L-1 jobs are GC eligible. Also, the timeline depends upon your GC category and your country of birth.
      2. Companies usually wait for 6-12 months before filing GC so that they can do at least one round of performance evaluation and show that GC is being filed because you performed well.
      3. Belgium falls under Rest of the World category. For EB2, there is no wait, while for EB3 there is a wait for 4-6 years (I didn’t check the latest number recently).

      • “1. It depends upon the proposed job. Not all L-1 jobs are GC eligible. Also, the timeline depends upon your GC category and your country of birth.”

        How can I find out if my job is GC eligible?

        • AFAIK, in case of L-1 only managerial and executive positions are eligible for GC. You can check online for what L-1 job positions qualify for GC. You should also check w/ your employer what their company policies are on sponsoring GCs for L-1 visa holders.

  8. Hi, I got receipt number generated on 30th Aug 2011 for my H1B visa extension. It was filed under normal processing initially, and on 8th Sep 2011 my employer made a request to make it under premium processing with USCIS by paying additional fee. Now, USCIS will generate a new receipt number for this case? (or) it will be the same initial receipt number?. Also, in how many days decision can be expected from USCIS, as the application is already with USCIS and moved to premium processing. Thanks in advance.

  9. Thanks Saurabh. I will have the details as per what I have worked.

    When I have moved to a different project, my work location has changed. Previously it was Central US and now it is East of US. Job title remains the same but the client is different. How should this be handled while going for stamping? My organization says that they will not change LCA now but will update it during the time of travel. Is this ok?

    Priya. (Thanks for addressing my name)

    • Priya,
      If the location has changed, and then a new LCA is definitely required. I am not sure why the employer doesn’t want to file LCA now, but when you for stamping. Maybe he is worried about the delay in processing at DOL side, and wants you to start working for the client ASAP. This may cause an issue during stamping. The VO may notice that your LCA was filed and approved recently, but you have been working for the client at a different location for a while now. This may give him a reason to issue 221g and possible rejection. In case he doesn’t notice this, you could be still fine.

      Does your employer have an attorney? Ask him or the employer why it’s not being filed now, and how to handle the situation if VO notices the discrepancy.

      • Hello Saurabh,

        Mine is a similar case, but with a difference. My employer filed an H1B for me and I got an approval notice from USCIS on 29 Sept. I was supposed to work for a client, but now the client has changed. However my work location and job title remain same. Just the client is a different company. What is the procedure? My employer says he will file for transfer to the new client later (after I start working there).

        Please advise me.


        • If work location etc are the same then I don’t think new LCA is required. If no new LCA is required, there is no need for H-1 amendment. So I don’t think employer needs to file for H-1 amendment.

  10. Hi Saurabh,

    I have a valid B1 visa till 2011. Recently, I was approached by an US based small company, which is offering a job at their client side in US and also ready to file H1B after I land in US. Can you please comment and guide on following scenarios:

    1.) If I initially travel to US on B1 and once I land in US, the US company files for H1B premium petition in first week of my arrival. How safe and legal is it? I have never ever travelled to US before. As read in older post on this website, it can be a problem once I return to India and go for H1 visa stamping, the VO can ask for the reason for staying back? Are there any other complications which I can face while stamping?

    2.) In case we do the above, what shall be the minimum time I should be in US before I come back to India for stamping (I mean with how many pay stubs shall I return to India to be safe during the stamping process?) Or as soon as I get H1B approved, shall I travel back to India to get it stamped? Which will be the recommended way?

    3.) Can I ask this US firm to file for H1B premium visa while I’m in India and before travelling to US , wait till I get my H1B visa from India? If, yes till when can they file a H1 visa application for 2011, as the October is already approaching? How long will it take to get visa, if they file under premium quota?

    4.) In case they file for H1B while I’m in India, what will happen to my B1 visa? Will it be still valid even after I get H1B approved?

    Please suggest. Your quick reply will really be appreciated.
    Thanking you in advance.


    • Raj,

      1. There is a high chance of denial if filed in 1st week of your B-1 stay. When you enter US on B-1, you show your intent to not immigrate and either be on vacation or attend business meetings and trainings (the original purpose of B-1). However, when H-1 is filed, it sends the message that you lied when entering US and are using B-1 as an excuse to enter US and then work on H-1. That is why there is a high chance of denial. Usually when companies do go this route, they file H-1 after one has spent at least 90 days in US (highest chances of rejection when filed less than 30 days, least chances when filed after 90 days of arrival). Also, you need to have a valid reason to enter on B-1.
      2. If H-1 is approved w/ COS, then you don’t need to get H-1 stamped in passport immediately and can start working on H-1 from the approval start date. You will have to get H-1 stamped in passport when you travel outside of US next and want to re-enter on H-1. If COS is not filed or not approved, then you need to leave US as per the I-94 issued when entering on B-1. You can then go for H-1 stamping immediately or after a while, but you can be questioned about why H-1 was filed while you were in US on B-1.
      3. Definitely they can do that, and that’s the best way to avoid above scrutiny. H-1 can be filed as long as quota is open, and looking at current filing trend it may remain open until early next year. Even though Oct is approaching, the employer can file it as long as quota is open. Your employer may be suggesting the above route to avoid H-1 stamping or to speed up the process.
      4. When you go for H-1 stamping, VO can cancel your B-1 w/o prejudice. However, you mentioned it’s valid till 2011 and so it may be expiring soon as well.

      Let me know if you have any question.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        I really appreciate the prompt reply. This really helps.

        Just few clarifications:
        1.) I understand that if we file H1B petition after 90 days on B1 in US, it will improve the chances of H1B approval but my question is; will still I have to face the problem while attending the interview in India at the time of stamping.

        2.) If they agree on filing the premium H1B for me, while I’m in India, can you please help me understand the process? Steps, documentation and other things I need to keep in mind.

        3.) When can I expect H1B to be approved, if we file under premium quota? Will I get the visa in 15 days?

        4.) While taking the appointment for visa interview, at the website they ask for ‘State of Residence’. For last one year I’m in Hyderabad, so I should select Hyderabad consulate for H1B visa, right? Which document can I take as a proof of this, experience letter from my last employer, with whom I was employed in Hyderabad, will it do?

        I must say you are doing a great work by reply to all of us. This is a very good and quick source to visa related queries.

        Thanks man for running this and keep up the good work.


        • 1. Stamping is an entirely different beast. Approval of petition doesn’t guarantee successful visa stamping. So you should be prepared for everything.
          2. From you they would require resume, education certificates, degrees/marksheets, experience letters (there are bunch of other documents required from the employer). They would then file the H-1 petition for you w/ PP option. In case USCIS needs more information, they would issue RFE which your employer can respond to. Once USCIS is satisfied, they would approve the petition and you can go for stamping. If USCIS is not satisfied, they would deny the petition.
          3. In case of PP, USCIS adjudicates the petition within 15 days. If RFE is issued, then USCIS would re-start 15 day window once they receive the response to the RFE.
          4. It would be Hyd. You can carry rental agreement or experience letter from the employer showing the local office.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            Thanks for responding to my earlier queries.

            In continuation to my previous post, I just want to clarify on one thing.
            The same US based small firm, which is offering me employment through their Indian office, is asking me to travel initially on B1 for few meetings. They say while I’ll be travelling on B1, they will simultaneously file H1B petition for me from their Indian office and not US. They will not do the change of status while I’m in US on B1. Once I’m back to India, I would go for H1B visa stamping to return to US on H1B. Is this scenario legal and correct way to do it?

            While I’m in US on B1, can we file for H1B petition from India? Or is it same as filling it from US? What is the difference?

            If we are not going for visa status change, can we file for H1B while travelling on B1? , Either from US or India?

            Your quick suggestions will really help a lot.

            Thanking you in advance.

          • Yes, they can do that and as long as they are not applying for COS, you should be fine. You may be questioned about your past and current US visits and you will have to provide explanation along w/ itinerary etc. Most of the issues arrise if H-1 is filed w/ COS and USCIS sees it as abuse of B-1 visa and an excuse to avoid visa stamping.

  11. that is the plan saurabh,ill work on my current employer till the 23rd of this month and start working on my new employer on the 26th… i think i’m good coz my employer taled to me this day and told me that they will file the petition this week or early next week,and if my memory serves me right i can start working with my new employer as soon as USCIS received my petition and need not to wait for the petition number before i start,is this right?thank you and ill keep u posted.

      • Thanks Saurabh for sharing your knowledege to all of us. My employer already filed my petition this day, so tomorrow USCIS will receive it.

  12. Hi Saurabh,

    I am on EC model and my american employer has very few H1B employees.How safe a bet is it.
    I have to go to India in Oct end and appear for the interview.


    • Well it’s not possible to give a number, but it’s more secured than EVC model and less secured than working for a direct employer. Ensure you are carrying your payslips, employer related documents, client related document and then just hope for the best.

      Good luck!

  13. Hi,

    My H1 expires this month (30th sept) . My wife is also here with me in H4. Her visa stamp is also valid till sept30th. My company has already started my H1 extension application, but for my wife’s H4 extension I would need my USCIS application receipt. What if I don’t have enough time to file for her before 30th. Is that going to be a problem or is it that it does not matters for her if I file for mine before 30th ?


    • Usually companies apply both together, but seems like your company is taking care of your extension, and you will have to file her extension yourself.

      Usually the receipt notice is received within 1-2 weeks, but I am not sure if you can file for extension based on receipt notice. Had your approval been approved, then her extension would have been easier, but now her extension is dependent upon yours. Check w/ your employer if her extension can be clubbed to yours. If not, talk to a lawyer if her extension is possible on the basis of receipt notice.

      She needs her own extension and would be out of status if your extension is filed and not hers.

  14. Hi Saurabh,

    Please answer my query.

    Is it that for a software testing resource, the information entered in DS160 form about project details should not be specific to testing but should include design, development, coding, testing and implementation of software life cycle? Can you please guide me on what should I enter in the form? What is acceptable?

    When applying for H1B, I was in a project. But now my project is changed. So when going for stamping, my organization says that they will not change LCA now but will update it during the time of travel. Is this ok?

    Thanks for clearing my doubts.
    Priya. (Please address my name while answering)

    • Priya,

      I don’t think all those need to be entered for a testing profile. Knowledge of SDLC is one thing, but actually coding, designing etc is not a testing requirement. However, a tester could be involved in design discussion or code walkthrough (if s/he is a white-box tester).

      What all changed when you moved to a different project? Did you change your work location? LCA doesn’t need to be filed unless you change work location, job title etc.

  15. Hey Saurabh,
    It’s been a month my petition got approved and still I dint get the hard copy. When enquirer, it’s said that USCIS themselves have not couriered the petition yet. Does this happen? Is there a way to check about this ?
    Thanks a ton.

    • USCIS usually send out the petition soon after they approve it. Post office can cause delay of 1-2 weeks or in worst case scenario they can lose the package. Your employer should call USCIS and ask the whereabouts.

  16. Hi Saurabh

    My visa is valid from 01-Oct-2008 till 11-Sep-2011. But because of the delay in sending documents, I am not able to have a receipt number so my company is asking me to go back
    a) Can they directly apply for Visa before applying the LCA
    b) If I transfer my H1-B now, can I immediately start working with a new company.
    c) If I do Premium processing, how much time will it take to get the LCA and receipt number

    • 1. No, a LCA is required for the petition to be filed.
      2. Yes, but the new employer will also need to file LCA first and then apply for H-1 transfer. By that time, your I-94 and 797 would have expired (I am assuming they are expiring on 11 Sep as well).
      3. PP is only the petition processing. It doesn’t include LCA, which takes 1-2 weeks. However there is a delay on DOL side and it may take even longer.

      • Sorry , I am putting you into one more question. If I apply for the extension now, and go back to India before getting the LCA, can this extension be processed without me being in the US.
        Also if I Have to go back to India and do a Premium processing to recapture myh time, what is the timeline I am looking at to get back to US.

        • Your extension would be processed and a new 797 would be issued but w/o an I-94. You will have to go for H-1 stamping in India (assuming your visa stamp has expired) by carrying this petition.

          Assuming RFE is not issued, PP would approve the petition within 15 calendar days and then stamping can happen as quickly as 1 week.

  17. Hi Saurabh,

    I am working with Employer A in L1B.
    Employer B is processing H1B transfer now.

    Meanwhile, my wife (who has a L2) is in India.

    Here is my question –
    If my H1B petition gets approved, can my wife get the H4 stamping (before even I go to India for H1B stamping) and come to US?
    Or can she travel to US with the existing L2 for a specific time frame?

    Looking forward for the response.


    • Yes, she can go for H-4 stamping once your H-1 is approved. She would need your H-1 documents for a successful stamping.

      If your status in US has become H-1, then she should enter on H-4. If your status is still L-1 (i.e. H-1 wasn’t approved w/ COS), then she should enter on L-2.

  18. Hi Sourabh,

    My wife’s H1B petition was filed USCIS on 30th Aug under premium consular processing. How long it will take to get the case receipt no. from USCIS?

      • Even if its Premium processing its going to take 1-2 weeks?
        I heard from somebody that USCIS usually takes 1-2 days to generate and notify the receipt no to the petitioner.

        • When I-907 is filed, attorney/employer submit the email address for communication. USCIS sends an email when they receive I-907 and another one when they finally approve the petition. However, I don’t know if they send an email for the receipt number.

          Receipt numbers are always generated within 1-2 days irrespective of whether it’s premium or not. I said 1-2 weeks as there can be postal delays. Unless USCIS sends the receipt number via email, it would send through USPS which can take 1-2 weeks.

          • Thanks Saurabh.
            I have one more question regarding the documentation needed for stamping. My wife’s employer is a direct US employer no EC or EVC concept with her employment. Her offer says Regular full time(RFT). So in this case what documents you think she need appart from the usual petition docs. I m more interested in knowing the docs from employer side (like in case of consulting job , you need a client letter etc..).

            Thanks in Advance!

          • Usually the VO needs to ascertain that the company has enough funds to pay the employee. For consulting companies, it’s determined through client letters which depict that there would be regular cash flow as consulting companies do not generate any revenue when the employee is not billable.

            For non-consulting companies also, one has to depict the revenue stream. If it’s a big publicly traded employer, then VO can get that information online as well. Otherwise it’s better to carry documentation about the product your wife is working upon and documents related to financial health of the company. Is the employer a product based company?

          • Yeah. they are one of the silicon valley semiconductor giants and a fortune 100 company with more 40 billion dollars rev. And you are correct if they google the employer they should get the revenue information instantly.

            And another question is, she is in india now and already resigned and released from her current employer. we are just waiting for I797 approval (pet received on Sep 2, state is still acceptance) Will that cause any issue?


          • She can go for the interview once she receives the approval notice. Documents she should carry include 797, I-129, employment letter, contact details of the company and her manager. I don’t see any other issues. However, remember there is always a chance that VO would issue 221g for administrative processing. Chances are low when filing through big employers, but they are never zero. So it’s best to be prepared.

            Good luck!

          • New H1B Petition approved!!
            Receipt Date- 9/2
            Center- California
            Decision date- 14/2
            Employment Type- Direct RFT
            Processing type- PP
            It took USCIS 9 working days out of mandatory 15 calendar days to approve the petition.

          • Thanks Saurabh!!
            Hey one more question, The start date attorney requested for is 10/1/2011. Now if there is a postal delay in receiving I797 from USCIS and my spouse has to got for stamping beyond 10/1, do you see any issues?

            Thanks Again!!
            You & Kumar are doing a fantastic job. Please Keep going!!


          • Thanks Saurabh!!
            Hey one more question, The start date attorney requested for is 10/1/2011. Now if there is a postal delay in receiving I797 from USCIS and my spouse has to go for stamping beyond 10/1, do you see any issues there?

            Thanks Again!!
            You & Kumar are doing a fantastic job. Please Keep going!!


          • That would be ok. She can go for stamping even after 10/1. However, if there is substantial delay then she should carry a more recent employment offer letter from the company stating that they are still willing to hire her on H-1.

          • Saurabh,
            One more question.
            Does she need the actual petition hardcopy in hand to fill up the DS 160 form & book a appointment?
            Can she atleast keep her DS160 form ready as of now?
            Attorney said it will take a week for USCIS to send the documents to them and another 4 days min to send it to the her in india. A long holiday is coming up(Dushera, and others)
            Kindly advice!!


          • Hi Saurabh,

            One question. My wife’s employer has sent her a Employment verification Letter (EVL) which she needs to carry to interview as a prrof of employment with the company. This EVL contains almost everything reqd except the start date (which their HR has decided to be 18th October). Do you see there is need of a document needed from her employer depicting the start date?

            What if she verbally tells the VO that start has been decided as Oct 18th and she needs to travel before the start date?

            Do you see the need of a documentation proof of actual joining /start date?


          • Would have been nice to have the start date in the EVL. However, start date is also mentioned in the I-129 that the employer files and as long as stamping date and I-129 date are close enough, she should be fine.

            I am assuming the EVL at least has the date on which it was generated to show that it’s a recent EVL and not several months old.

          • Yeah EVL has its own generation date which Sep 22nd 2011 and a note describing what will be her role and duties in the company.

            Instead of a start date they mentioned something like this
            ” certifies that will be employed by in the capacity of s/w engineer as described in H1B petition, at our facility. will begin employment with upon admittance into US on H1B status.this employee has a continuing offer for full time employment with an annual salary of xxxxxxx USD.”

            And the next paragraph summarize her duties.


          • Hello Saurabh,

            would appreciate your suggestion on below DS160 online visa form queries.

            1. Intended Length of stay in US?
            As Her H1B is a new one, Should we count the no days/weeks/months/yrs from the intv date till the petition expiry(which is 9/30/2013) and mention the same? Or just write the entire petition approval duration which is 3yrs.?

            2. Has your U.S. Visa ever been cancelled or revoked?
            Now since she has already resigned & released from her previous employer, they have cancelled her existing L1 visa. The cancellation stamp on the visa shows “CANCELLED WITHOUT PREJUDICE”. We have selected “Yes” for this item and mentioned the reason in the explanation block as below, Kindly suggest if the explanation is ok.


            4. What should we write for “Present Employer”, as she is already released from my her previous employer services on Aug 26 2011? Should we mention “XXXXX” as her present employer?

            Appreciate your quick response.


          • 1. It should be same as petition duration.
            2. That’s a very detailed explanation. If possible, you should make it shorted. VOs generally don’t have much time to go through long answers.
            3/4. If she has already resigned, then she should write None. Her employment w/ H-1 employer won’t start until she reaches US.

          • Hi Saurabh,
            she also spoke to their attorney for the ‘Present Employer”.
            They suggested that you may indicate the petitioner name (i.e XXXXX).
            Do you see any issues if we mentioned the h1B petitioning company name as present employer?

          • She can put that but she might be asked if she has already started working for the H-1 employer. As she wouldn’t have started working for H-1 employer, she would have to clarify that. However, I don’t think that it would be a big deal.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            Its been pleasure interacting with you. Your valuable suggestions were more than handy for us throughout the process. My better half went for intv @ Delhi and she got the visa. VO took her passport and said you will receive it after a week.
            I thought i should post the intv experience, as it would be helpful to other visitors and readers. so here it goes.
            Though her was a direct employer , nothing much was asked to her, But she saw all the VO’s were literally taking longer time to verify everything for those coming with EC or EVC model, even though they had all documentation.
            So many questions were being asked to even ppl having masters from US, but working in EC or EVC model.
            V- VO
            S- Spouse

            V- Good afternoon!!
            S- Good afternoon Mam!!, How are you doing? (No Answers and she gave this typical american wired look at her)
            V- Pls push your application file.
            S- Gave her the application and couple of other docs like I797 & 129.(mistake)
            V- Pls don’t shoot all your documents at me. I just need
            your application which has been stapled by the officer outside with your passport.
            S- Gave her only the stapled application with passport.
            V- Have you ever visited any country?
            S- Yes.
            V- Which one’s?
            S- US.
            V- How many times?
            S- 5 times mam. My last visit was from -.
            V- Who is your present employer?
            S- I was working with .
            V- Looked at me.
            S- Mam, i have already resigned from my previous employer, on the basis of offer. My last date with previous employer was .
            V- Ok, so which visa were you in when u were in US. Is it L1?
            S- Yes
            V- Ok. is your new employer a direct one?
            S- Yes.
            V- What will be your salary?
            S- told her the salary.
            V- No benefits?
            S- Yes, mam other statutory benefits like health care, bonus and stock options.
            V- smiled. ok, did u do masters
            S- No Mam.
            V- Then ?
            S- Bachelors
            V- from where?
            S- told the name of the university.
            V- What was your subject of study?
            S- Electronics & Telecommunication Eng.
            V- Ok, are your married
            S- Yes.
            V- So where is your husband.
            S- He is in US on L1.
            V- Ok. Mam your visa has been approved, you will get it within a week.

            She did not ask me a single document for her, not even her I797 or payslip or Employment verification letter. Probably she came to know that since my spouse is in US since last 22 month and the employer is direct. Not sure , but all went fine.

            EC/EVC model, pls be careful to mention your Employer’s supervisor name rather than client person when VO ask whom do you report. Ppl fumbled there as she saw and got 221(g).

            Best of luck to all!!


          • That’s great news Biswajit. Congrats to you and your wife.

            I and my wife will be going for visa stamping in December (Delhi consulate + direct employers). Your wife’s interview experience is giving me confidence that we might also be able to avoid 221g :).

            Good luck!

          • Thanks saurabh and Good Luck to you too!!
            Having a direct Employer always helps….
            New Delhi seems to be a safer place than Chennai or Hyderabad.
            Though we always stamped our L1’s at Mumbai Consulate.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            Hope you are doing good..
            I have question. How many payslips required before somebody can try for H1B transfer from his/her current employer?
            Is there any constraint from USCIS side with respect to amount of time a employee has to stay before he/she can try for transfer?

          • If she has spent less than 3 pay cycles in US before applying for transfer then she needs to submit payslips for all those pay cycles. If she has spent more than 3 pay cycles in US, then she will have to submit payslips from latest 3 months.

            In other words, transfer can be applied for within 1st month, 2nd month or any other month. The key is to have payslips as described above.

  19. Hi, My H1 status is reflecting as “Request for Evidence”.
    In the note they have stated that the query needs to be answered within timelines but they have not mentioned the exact timeline. Please let me know what is the time period to answer the request for evidence queries?

    • Are you looking at the online status? Check the physical copy that employer/attorney has received. Usually that has the information on the deadline (it’s not posted online on USCIS website).

    • Too little information provided in this question. You should mention what’s your current status in US, was your H-1 approved w/ COS, what’s H-1 start date. Until then no meaningful response can be given to this question.

  20. I had come to USA on 05/22/2011 on tourist visa along with my spouse from India. We were granted B2 visa upto 11/21/2011. My spouse had returned to India on 07/25/2011.

    I have now been granted H1 visa on 08/25/2011 for 3 years. I want to call my son who is 16 years old to US on H4 visa, at present he does not have a visa. Starting date of h1 is 10/01/2011

    Would appreciate if you can advise us on the following points:-

    1. Who can apply for H4 visa for him

    2. The place where the application is to be submitted

    3. The documents required to be submitted along with the application – in original/copy

    4. The fees to be paid

    5. When can the application be submitted

    6, When can he enter US

    7. Is there any chance of refusal of H4 visa for him since his mother is in India

    8. Would it advisable for my spouse also to apply for H4 visa along with him or can she come to US and then we apply for her H4 visa from here…

    • 1. He has to apply H-4 visa in a consulate by carrying your H-1 approval documents.
      2. Follow the process on VFS website on how to fill the form and submit to the consulate.
      3. Copy of your H-1 petition, employer/client/project related documents, your payslips, W2 (if any), his passport (your name endorsed as his parent)
      4. The usual visa stamping fees
      5. Anytime after your petition has been approved
      6. After his visa has been stamped
      7. Depends upon whether he has all the necessary documents related to your employment or not
      8. Would be nice and they can attend H-4 stamping together.

      BTW, it seems you file H-1 w/ COS from B-1 to H-1. It would be nice if you can you share your experience w/ the readers (contact Kumar who can guide you how to submit the experience) as lot of people on this forum question about B-1 to H-1.

      • 1. Wat do u mean by W2 (if any)
        2. When can we start the process of h4 & when will be here as u know that my h1 start since 10/01/2011
        3. I haven’t started so i don’t have any pay slips & is that ok while getting h4?

        I did h1 after 90 days of entry in us on tourist visa & i process in premium & it was quick, I’m happy with USCIS….

        • 1. W-2 is a tax form which needs to be carried in case one has been generated. Employer sends it out to the employees every Jan for work done in past year. So if your son goes for interview in Feb 2012, then he needs to carry a copy of the W-2
          2. Like I said in answers 5 and 6. He can apply for H-4 once your H-1 petition has been approved and he can enter US once his visa has been stamped.
          3. If he goes for interview prior to 1st Oct, then no payslips are required. Otherwise he would need to carry payslips for period after Oct.

          • I’m sorry to bother u once more but i wanna know one more thing do i have to show money in my American bank to support my family here in America is that necessary & minimum of 3 month pay slip?

          • Payslips are required if you have already started working on H-1. Also, it’s not necessary to show bank balance.

            You can send the offer letter stating your salary, and that would let VO know how much you earn and how can support the family in US.

          • You can apply for SSN after your H-1 actually starts. As your H-1 is starting on 10/01, you can apply for SSN after that date. You can get the updated list from SSA website, but AFAIK they would require copy of your I-94, passport and 797.

          • i went to VFS site & it said that i need to have original I129 & A797, I have original A797 but I129 has been submitted to USCIS & not received back, Kindly Advise

          • Hey Saurabh,

            I’m on a H1 visa in usa starting from Oct 1 2011
            I’m filling DS-160 for my minor son H4 visa application (Who is in india now)
            What do i fill in the following questions

            1) Purpose of trip to usa?
            Option Specify

            2) Who will be the Principal Applicant is it me or my son?

            3) Intended length of stay?

            4) Person paying for trip?

            5) Contact person in usa?

            6) Primary Occupation (he has already passed SSC in India in march 2011)

          • 1. What are the options? Otherwise it should be dependent or something.
            2. Not sure
            3. Same as your 797 duration
            4. You
            5. You
            6. None as he is not working in India and shouldn’t be working in US while on H-4.

          • Purpose of Trip to U.S.
            ALIEN IN TRANSIT (C)
            CREWMEMBER (D)
            TEMPORARY WORKER (H)
            EXCHANGE VISITOR (J)
            OTHER (N)
            NATO STAFF (NATO)
            RELIGIOUS WORKER (R)
            Which one i have to select from the above Plz help me….

  21. Hi,
    I am on H1b right now and i’m transferring to a new employer. My last day here in my current employer is on Sept. 23 and i’ll start in my new job on Sept. 26, my concern is my new employer hasnt filed the sponsorship for my visa and im afraid that once my current employer cancels my H1b on them i will be out of status. is that right?my I-94 will expire next year.so will i be out of status when my current employer cancels my visa or im still in status till my I-94 expires?if my current employer cancels my visa and i still dont have the receipt notice on my new employer do i have to leave the country?

    • You always need to be employed by at least 1 employer when on H-1. Your new employer needs to file the petition prior to end of your current employment. You can then join the new employer on the basis of filed receipt. You can continue to stay on the basis of I-94, but to maintain status you need to be getting paid all the while.

      • so it means to say that i am illegal if my new employer doesnt receive the receipt notice before my current employer cancels my H1b?will i have a problem in the future if that happens because my new employer will sponsor my green card.

        • I wouldn’t say you will be illegal but you will be out of status i.e. you are allowed to stay based on your I-94, but you don’t have valid employment at that time.

          If it’s just few days it may still be explained at a later stage. So ask new employer to file H-1 ASAP.

          • thanks saurabh!one more thing, what are the consequences just in case that i’ll be out of status, im just afraid that in the future this might cause headache to my green card application.

          • If USCIS questions your stay and determine that you were indeed out of status, they can deny your AOS (adjustment of status). It can also impact future extensions or H-1 transfers or H-1 stampings if they question about that period.

          • So the right decision to do is to go home if my new employer does not apply H1b sponsorship then just apply for h1b stamping to my country of origin?

          • Correct.

            I was looking at the calendar and seems like you will be working till Friday for old employer and new employment will start on Monday 09/26. Assuming that’s your plan, I think you should be fine. It is reasonable to assume you are not employed over the weekend for any employer. Let me know if that’s not the plan.

          • My brother is on F1 Visa in US since Aug 2009, completed 2 year stay in US having finished all his theory credits including mandatory attendence in School, but yet to submit his capstone projet (thesis)for getting MS degree.
            In the meantime, an employer is ready to sponsor him for H1B now, that too on premium process.
            Two quries arise here :—-
            1. What would be the condition if H1B denied, should he loose his F1 status too and would be forced to leave US?
            2. If H1B granted, still will he be able to submit the project work (remaining 6 credits) and get his Degree?
            Please do reply as it is urgent.

          • 1. They wouldn’t cancel his F-1 unless they find out something seriously wrong while processing his H-1 (for example, he didn’t maintain his F-1 status or was working w/o CPT etc)
            2. In case his H-1 is approved w/ COS, he will be on H-1 status from the approval date. He can still submit his project work, but he would have to let the school know that he is on H-1 and not F-1. His primary responsibility would be to maintain full-time worker status and not full-time student status.

            Let me know if you have additional questions.

  22. Hello, Saurabh

    My interview in th embassy has just been, and my documents (support letter, resume, and passport) were sent to “clearance check”. Could you please comment it. What do they usually check, and what does usualy become a problem?

    Thank you in advance.

    • They would do a background check of you, and also employment check where they can call the client and confirm the validity of the letter etc. There shouldn’t be a problem as long as documents are genuine and if you have nothing to hide. However, it may take months for them to complete it.

      • Thank you.

        Could you please tell me what is usually in background check? My education is in technology allert lists (I am a physicist), and I used to work in science (linked with technology used in military (night vision)), but in the US I am going to work in oil, i.e completely in another field. Could all this damage my case?

        • Usually the check is done to ensure there is no criminal record. However, **I think** when people have done work/education in sensitive fields (defense, nuclear etc), the check would encompass those as well to evaluate the risk. This may be what they are referring to as “clearance check” to ensure you can be admitted in the country. I can’t say for sure how it would play out.

  23. Hi,
    According to my attorney, the paperwork for my H1-B visa was filed mid-July. However, he still hasn’t provided me with any case number or any receipt letter. Is it normal to take this long to get any response from USCIS?

  24. Hi,
    I’m currently in the US on a J-1 which expires on the 30th of September. I sent my H1B (cap exempt) paperwork into my university in April, they didn’t do my LCA till end of May and then sent off my application in June. I’m supposed to have a start date of Oct 1st so that i’m not unemployed for any period of time, I have tried repeatedly to get info from my University and they don’t respond and when I do get in contact with them they tell me I’m a 50-50 to get it in time and that if I want to pay the premium processing I can but they have no advice and they don’t have time to check into my case. USCIS cashed my processing on Aug 11th, but I haven’t received a receipt number? Any advice, do you think it’s worth it to pay for the premium processing? I can’t afford to be out of work due to health insurance etc

    • Receipt takes 1-2 weeks to reach the employer. Your university should receive it within that timeframe. If not, they need to follow-up w/ USCIS. As you are bound by 30th Sep date, it would be better to upgrade it to premium processing to ensure you get the result by that time. As there is chance that RFE can be issued, it’s better to file PP early so that you/employer has time to respond to any potential RFE.

      • Thanks so much – I’m going to upgrade. After getting HR involved they finally sent me my receipt number and despite my application being sent in June, USCIS didn’t open till August 9th, so I may be a week short of getting it processed in time.

  25. Hey saurabh,
    I have H1b visa being filed by my employer.I received an RFE regarding the client letter.Submitted the required info and my petition got approved.I changed my project in between within the same client.Submitted the new ones in RFE.Is this RFE going to impact my H1b visa stamping..i have it in 2 weeks…if asked hw shld i handle the shift in project details…pls reply..

    • You should carry the latest information, as that is also the information you submitted as part of RFE response. If asked about the shift you can say that client had a change in priority and now wants you to work on another project and not the previous one. It would also be helpful if the project information contains the duration of the project as well. It would give confidence to VO that your project is for long duration and wouldn’t change again in near future.

  26. Hey Saurabh,

    How long does it take for the approved petition to reach my employer. My petition got approved on Aug 8th and i still havent received nay information from my employer. When asked, they say they havent received my petition yet!!!

    • It should be received within 1-2 weeks. As it is sent through USPS, there is slight chance of letter getting misplaced. Also ensure employer has given his updated address to USCIS. Your employer can also call USCIS and follow-up on the same (you cannot call USCIS to follow-up).

  27. Hi Saurabh,

    My Employer is planning to file my H1B under premium processing mode, since the requirement is very urgent.

    So, Couyld you please tell me if they file my petition now under Premimum processing When i can travel.

    from your above information i came to know that status can be known after 15 days from the date of filing, so once i get approval from USCIS can you please tell me what are all the other formalities needs to be completed to travel.

    Incase if my Petition is approved by Sept 26th 2011 then could you please tell me when i can travel.

    Your help will be greatly appreciated.

    • Once petition is approved, you will have to go for visa stamping. You can travel only after that. Even then, the earliest start date to travel is 20th Sep 2011, but you cannot start to work until 1st Oct 2011.

  28. Hi Saurabh,

    Please reply this. I am a regular to this forum…

    If H1B new petition is approved, what are the chances of getting the stamping done? What are the chances of success rate?

    If LCA needs to be done for a new client, how much time does it take usually?

    Priya Vishwanath.

    • Lot of factors determine successful stamping. Primary amongst them are employer credibility, job requirements, project/client information, your profile etc. I cannot provide a concrete number, as every case is different.

      New LCA typically takes 1-2 weeks, but there is some delay at DOL at this moment. So it may take longer.

  29. I have tourist visa & i came to states on 25 may 2011 & went back to India on 25 June & my visa expires on 25 november 2011 (6 months visa), Can i come back in the month of October with out any problem?

    • Hi Laila,
      You can travel to US at anytime if you have a valid visa. Visa is just a travel document. When you reach US and at the port of entry the immigration officer will give you a I94 with a valid date, that date will be the eligibility for you to stay in US.

    • Did you enter US prior to this current visit? If this 2 month visit is the only visit, then you should be fine. Otherwise it may be a problem at PoE. In either case, you can be asked why you want to enter US again. Depending upon your response and past visits to US, you may or may not be granted entry to US. Even if entry is granted, your duration would depend upon your reason to enter US.

  30. If i have came to states 2 years ago & my b1/b2 is expired & Now i have employer to file for my work permit, how does that work & what are the requirements?

        • If your I-94 expired 2 years ago and you are still here, then you are here illegally. Forget about work permit and I-140 and I-485 – first consult an immigration lawyer on how to get out of this situation.

  31. Hi Saurabh,
    Right now, Now i am in US on B1 visa. My Current employer file my H1b Visa. Would it safe if your on B1 and current employer is ready to file your H1B.

    • Depends how long ago you entered US on B-1. When one enters on B-1, they tell USCIS that their intent is to be here in US on short visit and will return after that. They also show USCIS that they do not intent to immigrate to US. However, H-1 is a dual intent visa that allows one to immigrate when an employer files GC for that person.

      If B-1 to H-1 is filed too close to your entry date, USCIS can question the intent and deny the COS. USCIS closely monitors B-1 to H-1 petitions. If it has been more than 90 days since you entered US on B-1, you should still be ok, but there is always certain degree of risk questioning the intent.

      • I got B1 visa from current employer 6 months back. But, I came to US in june last week and I am still in US. They are filling my H1b visa from a lawyer, who is asking for I-194 copy, My max departure date is 26 Dec 2011.
        There is any benefit to file a visa from a lawyer? As per your comments, it seems 90% chances to approved USCIS ?

        • I don’t know why you would feel I am indicating that there is 90% chance of success. Success of the petition depends upon your profile, employer’s credentials, proposed job offer and in this case your intent of entering on B-1 and moving to H-1.

          As it has been b/w 30-60 days since you entered US on B-1, it’s better to have a lawyer involved for the paperwork, who can also respond to USCIS in case they question about your intent.

          As your I-94 is expiring on 26th Dec, ensure that you do not stay in US beyond that date in case your H-1 is still pending or has been denied. To get a quicker response, your employer can file it w/ premium processing option (USCIS adjudicates the petition within 15 calendar days). As a lawyer is involved, he can guide more.

          • yes.. Even I don’t want to stay more than 3 months on B1. So, I’ll back to india within one month. They are just changing my payroll from india office to US office. As per my profile and employer creditably should not be be a problem because they are VVIP member in Indian embassy.
            Yes, they are as filing premium processing option.
            Still, After USSIC approved my visa, i have to go india for visa interview. Or is it possible within US?

          • If USCIS approves the petition w/ COS then you will be on H-1 from the approval date and need to maintain that status. You don’t need to get H-1 stamped in passport as long as you are in US. When you leave US next, you will have to get H-1 stamped from your home country in order to return on H-1 visa.

            If USCIS approves the petition w/o COS, then you will remain on B-1. To return back on H-1, you will have to get it stamped from home country.

  32. Hi Saurabh,

    I am in the US (my L1 visa has expired) but my petition for L1 – extension got approved. My wife is going to India and I will be going to India later. I know that we all need to get the visa stamped (L1 for me and L2 for my wife) before coming back to the US. My questions is:
    1) I got for visa stamping first and then my wife goes later. My visa got approved and but my wife’s visa got rejected by the US Consulate. Can I travel to the US with the my approved visa.

    2)My wife goes for visa stamping first and then I go later. If my wife visa got approved but my visa got rejected by the US Consulate then can my wife travel to US with her approved visa.

    • 1. Yes you can.
      2. L-2 and H-4 are dependent visas which are meant for family re-union. If your visa gets rejected, then her being in US on L-2 doesn’t constitute family re-union. If the dependents are in US, while primary beneficiary is not in US for a long term, then that is term as “parking” and is really not encouraged. So even though she can legally enter US on L-2, but if your visa has been denied she shouldn’t enter US until your L-1 gets resolved.

  33. Hello Saurabh.

    My wife is on an H1. I arrived in the US about 3 weeks back on an H4.

    If an employer wants to file for H1 for me now, will the USCIS raise concern over the fact that I have been here as a dependent only for a month or so? Meaning – would they get concerned over my intent to enter the US?


    • With H-4 it is still ok. You have been here for 3 weeks, and LCA etc would take another 2 weeks. So by the time petition actually reaches USCIS, you would have been in US for more than 30 days. I think you should be ok. However, if you want to be extra careful and if the employer can wait for few more weeks, it’s better to file after 60 days.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        My husband was on l1B, he then went to India for his visa renewal and did not get the visa. He tried twice and somehow could not make it. I came here on L2 and got a H1B done. I will be traveling to India in Oct and will also try to get my H1B stamped. I have the following questions, if I get my visa:
        1. Will it be easy for him to get a H4 visa.
        2. Should we both go on the same day for visa interview.
        3. Due to some family commitments he can not come here before Dec 2011 and if the H1B quota still remains then by when can a company file for his H1b. Is there any time limit that he has to wait for after coming here on h4 and only then apply for his H1B.


        • 1. Yes, provided you have got your H-1
          2. Together is better. This way they can go through all the documents once and don’t necessarily go through them twice (one for you, one for your husband)
          3. There is no wait period. However, filing after 30 days is often recommended.

  34. Hello Saurabh- I am currently in the US on an F1 visas pursuing my second master, and I recently got a job offer from a well known company and they are willing to sponsor my H1. Their intent is to apply for next year’s CAP, but I would rather have them apply for this year’s H1, since this will be financially and physically better for my situation as I have to attend this school to keep an active CPT while I am working, my questions are:
    1 -If they agree to apply for this year’s CAP, how much processing time do you think we are looking at before I can physically start working? (Assuming premium processing), because they need me soon.
    2- Can I start working as soon as I get the approval (15 days if premium), or do I need to wait for a formal approval?

    I am really concerned that the company doesn’t want to deal with this hassle, and I would like to find alternative solutions that will be convenient for both of us, without driving them away.
    Deeply appreciate it.

    • 1. Premium processing means USCIS would adjudicate it within 15 calendar days.
      2. If filed and approved w/ COS, you can start working on H-1 from 1st Oct or actual start date in approval notice (whichever is later).

      • Saurabh- I did finally get the approval to apply for this years H1B, but I am a little confused,
        Is the employer required to finish all his paper work before October 1st 2011?
        I was under the impression that They can apply at anytime between now and April of next year before they start next years Cap, in other words as long as the Cap is open.
        I was told that they have to apply before October 1st if I want to start this year otherwise I have to wait for next year’s H1.

  35. Hello Saurabh,

    Could you please answer a question regarding h-1b interview.
    I have to provide several required documents that originally is not in English (for example diplomas, work history documents or pay slips from current employer). Do I have to translate and verify them? Or the council will not demand english versions and will be satisfied with the originals?

    Thank you in advance.
    Best regards

    • They might want to look at English documents; otherwise they wouldn’t know what the document is stating. So it would be nice to carry English copies. I don’t know if you can translate them yourself, or you need to translate them using a professional and later have them notarized.

  36. Hi Saurabh,
    I have recently got married and My wife will be travelling with me on H4. I have following concerns
    –> We do not have each other’s name endorsed in passports.
    –> My wife’s surname is also not changed after marriage.

    Please suggest.

    Thanks for your help.

    • If you have marriage certificate that should also be a satisfactory evidence. You can also carry wedding card and wedding album to show that you are indeed married.

  37. Hi,

    I am wondering what a better visa would be a L1 or a H1. I can most likely get a L1 with my current employer as they have a branch office in the US. for a H1 I would need to find an employer.

    My questions are :
    1) Is L1 a better visa or H1 for applying for a permanent residency card and how long after I get into the US to work can I start to apply for permanent residency (green card)?
    2) Do I need to file the request for a GC myself or does my employer need to do that?
    3) Is it advisable to hire a lawyer for the request?
    4) How long does the processing and final answer maximum take? I’ve heard about 5 years on average, read that somewhere. I hope this is not true.
    5) After I get my green card issued am I free to go where I want without being tied to my employer?
    6) Will the green card be issued for a lifetime or do I still need to leave the country if I don’t meet certain requirement e.g. don’t have a job for a certain time.
    7) After how long after I get into the country initially either on L1 or H1 can I apply for US citizenship?

    Thank you in advance so helpful this site!

    • 1. Only certain L-1 positions can eventually materialized in to a GC. Different companies have different policy on GC filing. Some can file as quickly as 6 months after joining, others may want you to stay for at least 2 years before filing GC.
      2. Employer files the GC
      3. Depends upon the employer
      4. Depends your employment category and country of birth. It can be as less as 2 years or as long as 10-15 years
      5. You can change employers on H-1 also. But yes, being on GC gives more freedom. Additionally you can also take a break from work on GC, which you cannot do on H-1.
      6. There is no such requirement.
      7. Once your GC arrives, you will be eligible for citizenship after 5 years.

      • Thanks Saurabh
        1) What’s the difference between a H1b and a L1. Should I go for L1 or H1b? How do I know which L1 can be materialized into a GC?
        4) How can I find out? I am from The Netherlands and work in IT admin/engineering. Do you know if there currently still is the backlog fas it was in 2006 as I read somewhere?

        Would be really great if you would have an answer for me.


        • 1. Whether one goes for L-1 or H-1 depends upon the employer and the job responsibilities. L-1 is a intra-company transfer, while H-1 is not.
          4. Go to Visa Bulletin which has information on latest priority dates. If you qualify for EB2, then dates are current for your country, else there is a backlog of 4-5 years (ROW for EB3).

          • Hi,

            On this forum some guy is mentioning that an L1 process to green card is much faster
            “The visa you will be on will probably be an L1 (inter-company transfer). Your husband will be able to accompany you but cannot work (I think). The advantage of the L1 is that it is much quicker to get a green card than with other visas (took me 3 years). Once you have the green card (which your husband will get too) then he can work legally.

            Read more: http://www.city-data.com/forum/legal-immigration/1363214-uk-la-me-husband.html#ixzz1WVurg6dM


            Do you know if this is true? I need to find out what my best changes are on getting a GC in the US

            Thanks you so much

          • GCs on L-1 don’t require PERM to be filed, and are thus faster. So the only time saved is the PERM processing time (which can be few months). The biggest delay in GC is availability of priority date. As long as the priority date mentioned in the visa bulletin is not same as your GC filing date, your AOS cannot be filed.

  38. Hi Saurabh

    I am currently on L1 visa valid till sept 2012 and a sponsor is ready to do H1B for me. My spouse has valid L2 and is currently in India. I want to travel to India and get them here. My questions

    1) Can i travel and be back on L1/L2 visa while petition is in process or even approved.
    2) Assuming that the H1B petition will be filed by end of Aug 2011 and knowing the fact that the processing time is min 2 months, can we stay after sept 30th in US based on H1 filing reciept.

    • 1. You can as long as your want to remain on L1/L2. If you enter on L1/L1, your final status would be L1/L2 and not H1. Also, if H-1 is in progress while you leave US, your COS will be abandoned. To move to H-1, you will have to re-file COS or get H-1 stamped from outside US and enter on that visa stamp. Remember, if your dependents are in US, they also need to file COS from L2 to H-4 when you file COS from L1 to H-1.
      2. As long as you are working for L-1 employer and H-1 COS hasn’t approved yet, you can continue to stay and work on L-1 (i.e. until L-1 expiration date). If H-1 COS gets approved on 1st Nov, then you will be on L-1 till that date. If H-1 COS gets approved on 1st Sep, then you will be on L-1 until 30th Sep.

      Does that answer your question?

  39. Saurabh
    I really appreciate the time you take to answer these question. Thats really nice on your part. I had another question that might help people in my same situation.

    I had a question in regards to real estate investing activities while holding an H-1B status. My plan is to make a real estate investment, which is considered a passive investment, to purchase a small apartment complex (4 apartments).

    I am aware that during the period I will hold the H-1B status I can only receive payment from my employer. Nevertheless, it is to my understanding that I am able to make passive investments, so the following questions I am making are in the context of a real estate investment.

    My questions are:

    Is there a maximum amount of money I am allowed to invest in real estate to not be considered passive?

    Do I have to hire external managerial services if the properties I am leasing are more that 1 or does the number of properties even matter?

    Does living in the apartment complex will waive the need to hire external managerial services?

    How would an investment of this nature be seen in the eyes of USCIS at the time I apply to my green card, could it affect the decision USCIS make?

    I understand this is a very technical question, I will also plan to see an attorney, but I just wanted to ask here because it seems there is very helpfull information in this forum.

    Thank you!

    • I don’t know all the answers to these questions, but I know that one can own property while on H-1, and can then rent it out. The income collected is considered active and should be reported in the tax return. I don’t think there is an upper limit on how much one can invest, and shouldn’t impact your HC processing. If you want to hire a property manager, and then expense him it may not be possible when filing personal returns. You may have to form an LLC for that. These are just my opinion and they may be off my miles. So please consult the attorney before taking any action :).

  40. Hi,

    Please can you tell me who evaluates an applicants qualifications to the applied position? Is it the USCIS or the US consulate?


    • If it is during petition process, then USCIS evaluates the qualification. During the visa stamping process, it’s the consulate that does this.

  41. Hi

    what are the docs are required from employer to file the H1
    How much time req. to get LCA approved
    Can my employer apply H1 after 30 Sept.
    And if i got H1 after 30 Sept then when would be the joining date, do i have to wait for another one year or i can join in between.

    Thanks in advance

    • LCA can take 1-2 weeks. It can be applied after 30th Sep in case quota is open. Looking at current filing trend, it may still be open. You can join soon after your petition gets approved and you get your visa stamp (I assume you are filing from outside US).

  42. Dear Saurabh,

    Please tell me how long usualy it takes for atorney to prepare all documents required for visa stamping (after visa approving)?

    Thank you.

  43. Saurabh I have a question, My Company already send the application form and according to FedEx it has already arrived two days ago, when will USCIS provide my company with the case number?

  44. Hey saurabh,
    This is a general question. A persons name is slightly with a spelling mistake in his passport. A letter is missed actually. While the name is correct in his college documents and office documents. This being the situation, his employer has filed for H1 and all the necessary documents are submitted. Will a problem arise due to name mismatch in passport and other documents?

    • I can’t say for sure. It doesn’t look as big a difference as first name/last name issues, so it may still be ok.

      However, passport is required at other places as well (DL for example). So it may be a better idea to get it fixed.

  45. Hey Saurabh! how are u?

    I could not locate where to write the email you write it as below

    I am in US right now. I had arrived in US with my wife on 05/22/2011
    and have a visitors visa upto 11/21/2011. My wife has returned to
    India on 07/25/2011. I have a son aged 15 10 months who is in India
    right now. He does not have a visa.

    I want to apply for H1 B visa for myself. What amount of yearly
    salary I should declare so that when my son applies for H4 visa in
    India he should not have issues. We also intend to apply for H4 visa
    for my wife after she returns to US with my son.

    Please reply by tagging my name so i understand it for me
    Thanks Husain

    • Hello Hussain,

      H-1 visa needs to be applied by a company and not by self. Your family’s H-4 visa cannot be applied until your H-1 petition is approved. So here is the flow:
      1. Find an employer willing to file H-1 for you
      2. Have the employer file the H-1
      3. Once the H-1 is approved, send the docs to family in India
      4. Family goes for H-4 stamping

      However, there are several other things one needs to take into consideration (employer credentials, proposed job etc) that could result in success/failure of the petition. You can read about them in other articles on the blog.

      You are currently in US on B-1/B-2 visa. It is not recommended to file H-1 while being in US on tourist visa. USCIS will most definitely question your intent (B-1 is not issued to be used as an excuse to enter US and file H-1).

      Let me know if you have any further questions.

      • I already have a employer willing to file H-1 for me & as u said there are several other things one needs to take into consideration (employer credentials, proposed job etc) that could result in success/failure of the petition. i understand that also what i wanna know is does it matter that i m doing a part/full time job & does the pay package matters since i wanna get my family here…..

        • It doesn’t matter. You will have submit the necessary information (part-time/full-time, salary etc) in the LCA. Once USCIS approves the petition, your dependents can join you. It doesn’t matter whether your salary is 50K or 100K.

          • One last thing if the H1 get approved my wife & my son both will be automatically be on h4 or do they have to go thru an interview in india & chance are for success/failure?

  46. Hi sourab,
    i have 10 years B1/B2 visa. what is the procedure to transfer to H1 or L1 Visa in USA. do i need to stamp the visa again?

    • Do you plan to file H-1 or L-1 after entering US on B-1? If yes, then that’s not the right thing to do. Doing this may cause USCIS to question your intent.

      If you are outside of US, then you can have your employer file H-1 or L-1 for an eligible position. Filing from outside US is independent of any B-1 visa stamp that you have in your passport.

  47. Saurabh,

    Iam looking for some help in I-129 amendment process. I got job in one of the financial client but as per their requirements Client is asking to change my LCA with Client location address and we did that. Also they are asking to change the secondary work location on I-129 form to client address. We applied the petition for that but Iam worrying about what type of proofs or documents that we need to provide to USCIS to approve that petiiton. Unfortunately Client is not willing to provide any client letter or SOW proofs so Can you please suggest on this. Do the USCIS ask for any documents if we put primary work location as my company location and secondary work location as client location. We already provided certified LCA with client location address.

    • I cannot say w/ confidence if you will be asked to submit proof for secondary location or not. Check w/ your attorney (or get one involved if there is none right now). However, as the primary location has already been changed (and approved by USCIS) to client location, changing secondary location shouldn’t invoke that much scrutiny.

      • Saurabh,

        Thnx for reply.I didn’t change primary location in my H1 copy as my primary location will be my company address only and have all proofs for that however as per client requirements I need to change secondary location in my H1 so Iam worrying about if USCIS will ask any proof to change the location. Unfortunately client is not willing to provide any documents to USCIS and I have only LCA with client location address only.Is that proof will be sufficient or any suggestions that can help me.

  48. Hi,
    I have recently faced my H1b Visa interview from another country rather than country of my origin, as i am presently working here for a mobile operator. I am a telcom engineer.
    The interview seems OK. I answered all the questions right: like what i am doing here, which company i will work for in USA? How did i konw them? Where is their office? Will they outsource me? etc. etc.
    Later on, the Visa officer called two/three more guys(some other senior visa officer may be) and they discussed for couple of minutes. After that session, my visa officer give me a white slip(221.g) with a tracking number/bar code number on it and gave back my passport to me. I asked her whether my visa is going to be approved. She said, everything seems to right. But they need to do some administrative processing which will take couple of days. They will call me and then i have to come again with all my documents and passport. During my interview, visa officer didn’t ask for any document though i was having all of them with me except my I-797(H1b approval notice). The visa officer didn’t ask me to bring any sepcific document.

    Now, when i read the 221.g White Slip, it read like this– ” You have been temporairly refused under INA s.221g as we lack certain documents or information needed to reach a decission in your case. For further instructions, please refer to the box below:
    BOX MARK: We need to verify certain documents you have given us or statements you have made. We will contact you”

    Now, please advise: what is exactly happening here? am i rejcted ? Is it another way of saying NO? Please advise. Also suggest what is this 221.g white slip is all about.

    I am too much worried.


    • It’s not an outright rejection. They would review the submitted documents and then decide whether to approve or deny the visa stamp. Note that there is no set timeline for this. It may take weeks or even months for them to process.

    • Thanks Peter. I hope we are able to educate more people about the visa programs, to not only reduce the abuse but ensure everyone knows what the laws are, so that they can abide to them.


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