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Steps after H1B Registration Lottery – Flow Chart, Process

If you are new to H1B process, one of the many questions you might have is, what are the typical steps after the H1B Lottery happens. USCIS introduced H1B Registration Process from H1B Visa 2021 Season and is applicable for H1B Visa 2022 Season as well. In this article we will cover typical flow and steps after H1B Registration Lottery selection all the way through visa approval and put it in a flow chart so that it is easy to comprehend.

What happens after H1B Registration Lottery ? 

After the H1B registration period starts, employers or attorneys submit the H1B registrations for their prospective applicants using the H1B Registration Online Tool. USCIS runs the lottery for the submitted registrations after the H1B registration period ends. Below are the next steps, after USCIS completes H1B Visa Lottery for the submitted registrations:

  1. USCIS notifies employers regarding registration selection results
  2. Employers file H1B Petition with USCIS using H1B Registration Selection Notice.
  3. USCIS processes and adjudicates the H1B petitions
  4. USCIS re-runs lottery as needed, updates final results

Let’s look at each of these steps in detail in next section.

Step 1 : USCIS Notifies H1B Registration Lottery Results

USCIS sends out an email notification indicating changes in the online system and they need to login to view the updates on their submitted registrations. If a registration was selected in H1B lottery, then the status of the registration would be changed to “Selected” and employer can print H1B Registration Selection Notice.

For H1B FY 2022 season, USCIS Notified Initial Lottery results to all employers on March 30th, 2021. Check USCIS News on H1B 2022 – Initial Lottery Selection done. Also, you can check Sample H1B 2022 Registration Lottery Selection Notice

If the H1B applicant was not selected in initial run of lottery, then the registrations would be in wait list until the end of fiscal year. Based on previous season’s data, the H1B Visa 2022 season submitted registrations could be waitlisted until February 2022.

Step 2 : Employers file H1B Petition with USCIS – LCA, Other info

After the registration process is complete, Employers or Attorneys representing the companies will file the H1B petitions with USCIS for those selected in the H1B Registration Lottery. Employers get 90 days, starting from April 1st, until June 30th to file the H1B Petition for the selected applicant.

As part of that filing process, first employers would need to file for H1B LCA with DOL and get it approved. Also, in the mean time, the employer would prepare the entire H1B package with all details related to employee. This is where your employer would request for documents. Read H1B Visa Petition Documents Checklist, What NOT to give ? Once the H1B petition is ready, the employer or attorney would mail it out to USCIS.

Step 3 : USCIS Sends out H1B Receipt Notices

After USCIS receives the H1B application package, they will process it and will send out H1B receipt notices. USCIS in recent years have stopped premium processing filing option for everyone during the initial filing. But, for FY 2022 season, they have not released any press note indicating the suspension of premium processing.

As of April 5th, 2021, we have premium processing option available for FY 2022 Season and employers can file H1B petitions in premium processing. Read H1B Premium Processing Vs Regular Processing, if you are new to this. If you file H1B petition in premium processing, you would get receipt notification in email. Below are the various categories for getting receipt notices.

  • Premium Processing Email Receipt Notices  : If your H1B petition was filed in Premium Processing, then your employer/ attorney would get email receipt notice. After that the email notice, a physical copy of the H1B receipt notice would be sent to your employer/ attorney.
  • Regular Processing Receipt Notices : If your H1B petition was filed in Regular Processing, then you will start to receive physical receipt notices, there will NOT be any email receipt notice sent. They usually send via postal mail like USPS, so it can take couple of weeks or so.

Also, around the same time, your employer would see below for their fee checks.

  • H1B Fee Checks Cashed : Your employers/ Attorney will also start to see checks cashed for the filing fee, during this time. Only employers or attorney, who used the check would be able to see this in their bank accounts. This is something that cannot be verified by applicants.

Step 4 : Processing of H1B Petition by USCIS – H1B Case Statuses

After the H1B receipt notices are sent, then USCIS starts to process/ adjudicate the petitions filed. The H1B receipt number your employer or attorney gets starts with EAC or  WAC, depending on where it was filed. Read What is H1B Visa Receipt Number – Meaning, Status . You can use that receipt number to check H1B Visa Petition Status online on USCIS website. You can even signup for a free online account with USCIS and track your status.

Below are the various H1B Visa Case Statuses that your H1B petition can go through, after it is selected in Lottery. All of the below are possible case statuses and not mandatory for all the petitions to go through each of the below statuses.

  • Case Was Received and A Receipt Notice Was Emailed
  • Case Was Received
  • Request for Additional Evidence Notice was mailed
  • Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received
  • Case Was Approved And My Decision Was Emailed
  • Case Was Approved
  • Decision Notice Mailed
  • Error : The application Receipt Number is invalid
  • Name was updated.
  • Fees will be Refunded

To know the additional details of each of the above case statuses, read the article Various  H1B Visa Application Case Statuses – Meaning

H1B Petition Processing after Lottery until Approval – Flow chart

Someone said, “A picture is worth thousand words“…Below is that picture on H1B visa status flow from employers submitting H1B registration, H1B petition to getting a decision from USCIS. Depending on your case, you could go through few or more of the statuses listed above. We will look at the various scenarios below in detail.

Steps after H1B Registration Lottery until Approval - USCIS processing

H1B High Level Process Flow with Lottery, Processing by USCIS

As you can see in the above H1B case status flow chart with USCIS, the best case scenario after being selected in registration lottery, then petition filing and then to go to approval without any questions or additional information required.  From USCIS Case status standpoint, it would be like below based on premium processing or regular processing category of filing.

Scenario 1 : H1B Process flow for simple Approval Scenario, without any ask for additional documents (Request for Evidence – RFE)

  • H1B Premium processing :
    • First, you will see status “Case Was Received and A Receipt Notice Was Emailed”
    • Second, you will see status  “Case Was Approved And My Decision Was Emailed”
  • H1B Regular Processing
    • First, you will see status “Case Was Received”
    • Second, you will see status “Case Was Approved”

The key information that you need to be aware of is that for regular processing H1B petitions, USCIS do not have any SLA(service level agreement) or time limit and their processing can take few weeks to few months. We have seen cases being approved after 6 to 8 months at times or more, so do not panic, just stay calm and work with your employer or immigration attorney. If you need a result early, you can upgrade regular processing to premium processing to get the decision in 15 calendar days. But, you can only upgrade, if premium processing is available.

Steps after H1B Lottery Video 

The below video is still relevant, we will update with registration steps and create new video.

YouTube video

Scenario 2 :H1B Process flow after Lottery with Request for Additional Evidence ( RFE)

Not all cases go to direct approval like above. USCIS will ask employers to submit various documents depending on the complexity of the case. Typically reasons for RFE could be for the below reasons:

  • Specialty Occupation
  • Needs of the Petitioner for the Services of the Beneficiary
  • Beneficiary Qualifications
  • Employer-Employee Relationship
  • Maintenance of Status
  • Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE)

Check out the article Some of the common H1B RFE Reasons for details on above listed RFE reasons and why you may get them.  As you can see in the flowchart above, typical flow by USCIS case status for approval is like :

  • H1B Premium processing statuses with RFE:
    • First you will see status “Case Was Received and A Receipt Notice Was Emailed”
    • Second you will see status “Request for Additional Evidence Notice was mailed”
    • After your employer/ attorney submits documents, you will see status  “Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received”
    • Finally, after USCIS processes the petition and approves it, you will see status “Case Was Approved And My Decision Was Emailed”
  • H1B Regular Processing statuses with RFE :
    • First you will see status “Case Was Received “
    • Second you will see status “Request for Additional Evidence Notice was mailed”
    • After your employer/ attorney submits documents, you will see status  “Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received”
    • Finally, after USCIS processes the petition and approves it, you will see status “Decision Notice Mailed”

As far as RFE processing goes, it can takes anywhere from few weeks to several months depending on the response time of your employer and USCIS processing times. It is best to work with employer and submit the documents required on time for timely decision and status.

Scenario 3 : H1B Denied Status – Decision Notice Mailed
Not all H1B petitions filed are approved, some may be denied due to various reasons. In that case, instead of approval you would get denial letter and the final status would still be “Decision Notice Mailed”. Also, some of you may see “Name was updated” at times during the flow, the system does the update whenever some clerical updates are done to your case in the system or some internal activity happening on your case, nothing to panic. It is an internal status.

To put things in perspective, the above case status flow was much more complex in the past with the old system and there were much more statuses. You may read Old H1B case Status flow to get an understanding.

Step 5 : H1B Registration Lottery Final Results – Not Selected Status

In the past, USCIS would mail out H1B reject notices after all the receipt notices are mailed in late July or August of the same year. But, since H1B Registration process in place, this is not applicable. The registrations that are not selected in initial round of lottery are put in wait list category and USCIS can run multiple rounds of lottery as needed at a later date.

For FY 2021 season, USCIS ran second round H1B lottery on the registrations in August 2021 and selected applicants were notified. The filing dates for the second round applicant was from August 17th to Nov 16th, 2020. You can check Sample H1B registration from Second Round Lottery . For selected applicants the above steps 1 to step 4 would repeat.

USCIS announced final lottery results saying that H1B Cap for FY 2021 is complete in early February 2021. So, basically they kept the registrations in wait list from April 2020 until Feb 2021. We can expect the same for FY 2022 season as well. So, we may see H1B 2022 registrations waitlisted until February 2022. All the registrations that were not selected would be set to the Not Selected Status when USCIS announces the cap is complete for that fiscal year( which could be Feb 2022).

Once you get an approval letter, you go to next steps like stamping. Check out After H1B Visa Approval – Steps until Stamping 

How was your H1B case status flow? Did you notice any other changes?  Share your experiences and thoughts.

   

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562 Comments

  1. Hi Kumar

    My company is going to file h1b petition for me….
    I have one concern
    My father name in SSC Marksheet/passing certificate is “Xxxxxsing”

    and in all other documents which includes (12th marksheet, Degree marksheet, degree certificate, and all documents has my father name as “Xxxxxsingh” … Will it be reason for RFE or petition rejection?

    What can I do to make it correct?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply

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