After H1B Lottery Process Steps and Flow chart details by USCIS Statuses

Steps after H1B Lottery – Processing, Approval – Flow Chart

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 538 Comments

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. In this article we will cover typical flow and steps after H1B 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 Lottery ?  Next Steps by USCIS ?

After USCIS completes H1B Visa Lottery, next steps are : USCIS sends out receipt notices, they process & adjudicate petitions, finally send out reject notices. Let’s look at three steps in detail.

Step 1 : USCIS sends out H1B Receipt Notices

USCIS will send out H1B receipt notices for the petitions that were selected in lottery. If your petition was not picked in lottery, then you will not get anything until the reject packages are sent out later towards the end. Below is the typical order of receipts.

  • 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.
  • Based on history, usually they send out these receipt notices for Masters quota first and then Regular quota.
  • Checks Cashed : Your employers/ Attorney will also start to see checks cashed, during this time, if you were to be selected.

Step 2 : Processing of H1B Petition by USCIS – Various H1B Case Statuses

After the H1B receipt notices are sent, then USCIS starts to process/ adjudicate the petitions filed. The USCIS 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 .

Below are the various H1B Visa Case Statuses that your H1B petition can go through, after it is selected in Lottery.

  • 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 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

“A picture is worth thousand words”, below is that picture on H1B visa status flow from employers filing H1B petition to getting a decision from USCIS. Depending on your case, you could go through few or more of the statuses listed above.

H1B High Level Process Flow with Lottery, Processing by USCIS
Steps after H1B Lottery Approval Flow Chart

As you can see in the above H1B case status flow chart with USCIS, the best case scenario after being selected in lottery is 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.

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. I 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. If you need a result early, you can always 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 

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:

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

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.

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 3 : Mail out H1B rejected packages that were Not selected in Lottery  – Final result

USCIS does not mail out reject notices immediately, they will do that step sometime after all the receipt notices are mailed out and they have taken care of the premium processing petitions. Usually USCIS issues a news alert on their website indicating that they have returned all rejected packages. Based on history, we can expect it to be around mid to last week of July. Below are the dates when USCIS returned rejected petitions for previous years to get some history.

  • For FY 2019, it was July 30th, 2018.
  • For FY 2018, it was July 19th
  • For FY 2017, it was July 8th
  • For FY 2016, it was July 14th

Technically, you would confirm your final H1B Lottery result only after you see a H1B Reject Notice from USCIS indicating that you were not picked in Lottery.

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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Comments ( 538 )

  1. CaseReceived

    Status is “Case was Received” since April 13th. Any idea why there is such a delay for getting RFE/approval?

    1. Debarun

      There is a common opinion that for highly experienced people it is taking a long time to get approval . I am keeping my finger crossed.

      1. glasherz

        That would explain a lot. I’ve got 22 years of experience and my case hasn’t moved at all so far. Still on received with EAC151445****.

  2. clarity...

    My case is approved . No i have a doubt. After status is changing to approved,in how many days, all the documents will be received and by when we can book the slot.
    Mine was approved on July 7th

    1. DhoniH1

      Hi, I am also having the same question.. After checking USCIS portal, my employer saying that my case is approved. when we will get the hard copy for approval notice? can some one reply us…

    2. h1Bhopeful

      You should get the documents in 1-2 weeks now the attorney can then mail you the original approval notice with that you can schedule your interview after completing you DS-160

  3. Ganesh

    Hello Friends,

    My petition got approved on July 19th (Even Though it was Sunday).
    case no: EAC1514253XXX

    Thanks
    Ganesh

  4. Kesava

    I did masters in structures having experience of 2 years from india and 1 year in kuwait still continuing in kuwait . I want to work in usa with H1b. I don’t know the correct process for filing h1b. How can I grab sponsorship from employers. So please help me to get H1b and can I apply h1b from us consulate kuwait. . If ok, tell me the process. Thank u

  5. IBM-Bangalore

    Hi,

    Any updates on IBM RFE, more than 1 month, No mails on required documents/ what is RFE about no news

    Thanks

  6. Chaitu

    Hi Guys.,
    I got RFE today.. Could anyone explain what does it mean .. and did any one get this kind of RFE before ? Is there a chance that I am going to get Second RFE after embassy has been submitted. ?

    The petitioner
    U.S USCIS has reviewed your petition/application and supporting evidence, documentation submitted with your petition indicates that your company provided software development.

    Consulate
    You requested that USCIS notify the office or consulate in part 4 of the petition so the beneficiary can obtain a visa or be admitted, but you have left part 4 of the the petition blank.
    Select a US embassy or consulate where the beneficiary will apply for a non immigrant visa.

    Thanks
    Chaitu

  7. sarch

    Hi,
    I am currently on L1B visa through ABC company. XYZ company filled my H1B (COS) application , and fortunately I got selected in lottery. And still waiting for approval.
    My question is if in case I get approval after 30th Sep 2015, then in that case how much time I would get to change the employer. Is it like that as soon as I get approval I have to change the employer.
    As with in a day to change the employer is practically impossible.

  8. Max

    My case was approved. Status now says “On July 15, 2015, we approved your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Receipt Number EAC15148*****. We will mail your approval notice. “

  9. Anne

    I know officially on the 14th of July that I didn’t make it through lottery as well as another colleague in the company . Another one bites the dust. Now thinking of going through the same frustration again in another 9 months seems like a long road. Oh well, I guess the last option after next year is going back to school.

  10. Anonymous

    Hi –

    I am based out of the UK. My H1B new was filed and was selected in the Lottery. My petition is still under processing. I have a valid B1/B2 and I have a conference that I need to attend. I will be traveling to the US for 1 week from July 27th to July 31st.

    Am i allowed to travel for 1 week on B1/B2?

    Thanks

    1. Sach

      B1/B2 visa can coexist with H1B visa as they are both mutually exclusive visa category and for your travel it is not a problem…go ahead book your tickets.

      1. Anonymous

        Thanks Sach. I even verified with the US Visa consular section and they said travel is fine as long as it is not for work under B1/B2. Since its 3 day meeting I am going ahead with the booking.

  11. confusionnn

    My case was approved . But i have a question.
    My name in the application has come wrongly.. Instead of First name and Last Name, city Name and Last name has come.

    But case is approved !! Now will there be any problem when i go for stamping or what can i do now? Please tell me,any one.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You can work with your employer and get it corrected before you go for visa stamping. It should not be an issue to get it fixed. Your employer will have to work with USCIS to get this fixed.

      1. Thanks

        Thanks for the clarification. I shall check with my employer for the same.
        Kumar,we are waiting for your next write up on, how to prepare for the Interview. Hope it is on its way!!! And thanks a lot for a such informative writings and these are real boon for many of us!!!

      2. Prabal

        Hi Kumar,

        Can we go ahead with the Visa interview without correction and get it corrected after the interview?

        Regards,
        Prabal

  12. WiproRFE

    Hi,
    Anyone that has received a status (approval/denial) after receiving an RFE ??

    Please do post. Its been a month since I submitted my RFE Docs

    1. H1B Hopeful

      Yes I received my approval 5 days after submitting the RFE Docs. Are you premium processing or Regular?

      Best of Luck.

      1. RFEsucks

        5 days? That was fast, you must be in premium processing. Mine is regular processing, and its been a month since they got my RFE response — no updates yet.

        1. WiproRFE

          Hi,
          Am regular processing, yea exactly more than a month, still no response.
          @RFESucks : You are from which organization ?

          1. WiproH1RFE

            @WiproRFE

            Hi am also from wipro and submited RFE docs 2 wks back.

            Got to know that wipro submits RFE docs in group and not at individual case level.

            So the whole process takes at least 2 months after submiting RFE documents

          2. Akif Dadan

            Please do update here if you receive any response, or any case you know that has received a response after RFE.

  13. Srujana

    Hi Everyone,

    Can someone help me out when should we apply for H1b visa if we want to fly in 2016 year.What is this April 1st and October 1st dates mentioned particularly.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Abi

      April 1st is when they accept petitions
      and
      Oct 1st is the day after which you can go to USA (I think so)

      You can apply in 2016 before April 1st, to travel after October 2016. You cannot go to USA before that under H1B visa.

      HTH

  14. Abhay

    Hi Kumar,

    Mine is RP/non-AD and EAC center. Now case status is moved to RFE. As part of RFE document collection, my employer ( consultant) is asking me to sign an agreement. The agreement says i have work for minimum 2000 hours with him. If i break the contract ( do not join or leave before completing 2000 hours) i have to pay him $10000. My question is;
    1. Is these kind of agreement is legal?
    1. what happens if i don’t join the employer after approval
    2. what if i join and leave in couple of months/week without paying liquidated damage.

    Thanks
    Abhay

    1. Manny

      Dear Abhay,

      All the Answers to your questions are purely based on your Employer and these are not Generic questions. So Answering your question is pretty tough.

      This shows you are applying through a Third Party which is fine. However signing a contract with them and paying the penalty for not sustaining the contractual period is solely depends upon your Employer’s discretion whether to wave it or to adjust it.

    2. pavan

      Hey abhay,

      Just accept all the conditions of your employee and wait for your approval, and get the visa go to usa and work for it for 6-7 months, if you have ability/talent to get a new job in your domain, get it and jump to new company. if your employee raise about any legal agreement or some thing else,dont worry.

      NO employee has authority to stop you or make deal with any employer in USA and it comes in human trafficking . so the agreements are useless in USA and no need to consider those agreements.

    3. re

      There is no reason to refrain from signing the agreement. $10000 is just 1-1.5 month salary if you move to USA. If you are not keen to move to USA then you can avoid signing. Agreement signing is not legal, but it can damage the trust and employer can withdraw your petition.

  15. Waiting

    Does anyone with series wac151475XXXX got approval?
    I am still waiting and not sure how long I need to wait for the approval.

  16. Abi

    Hi,

    I have a very important question and hope someone can answer.

    My petition (Regular/ NON-AD) was approved and the below update was received.
    =====================
    Your Case Status: Post Decision Activity
    On July 13, 2015, we approved your Form I129, PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER, Receipt Number EACXXXXXX. We will mail your approval notice”
    ======================

    Sorry I am too desperate and would like you to answer below 3 questions.

    Q1) Can I can go for stamping in December 2015 or January 2016? (Basically a bit late)
    (The clause in my offer letter clearly mentions that my employment start date would depend on the date I go to USA)

    Q2) After stamping, Is there a limit for the number of days before which I need to enter USA?

    Q3) When does the first day of visa validity start? Is it after stamping, or after entering USA? Or in other words, when will my H1B visa start expiring (first day towards expiry)?

    Kind Regards,
    Abi

    1. kkv

      A1) Yes, You can go
      A2). No, once your visa stamped, you can go anytime, as long as you need a valid visa.
      A3). You visa starts the day it is stamped. and you get I-94 when you enter visa, you can stay in US until your I-94 is valid.

      1. Abi

        Sorry, i got one more doubt.

        For example I get 1 year validity H1B visa, will 1 year start from the day of stamping? Or from the day I enter USA and get I-94?

        Also, for how many days is I-94 usually valid? Is it based on any factor? Does my stay in USA even depend on H1B visa expiration or is it all about I-94?

        Regards,
        Abi

        1. kkv

          Technically speaking, You can work in US until your visa is valid. I-94 date will be given when you enter into US ,the date that you get for i-94 again depends on the immigration officer, sometimes it may be visa expiry date and at times you get 1 year from the day you entered in US.

  17. Sree

    EAC151465*** series is still in received state . When can we expect the update, did any of u with this series got approved please share the info

      1. glasherz

        I’ve got EAC151445****. Still on case was received too. Hope, you are right, that it’s getting a bit faster from now on, Nick.

      1. Worried

        yet to receive RFE details from my employer, they told it takes about 10 days to receive for them. correction in my case number: EAC1514252***. Its RP/NON-AD.

        1. SameBoat

          I am yet to receive the mail myself. I applied through consultancy in US, I am thinking this might be something related to docs missing. How about your employer?

  18. Ram

    Kumar,
    please clarify. I have applied for h1b through a consultancy and was told the case report was showing like “pending”. what does this mean??? and can i be still hopeful on the report being positive.

    1. Manny

      Ram : Did you see the Case as Pending ? There is nothing called as “Case Pending”

      Did you get Selected in the Lottery Pick up ? If so did your Employer give you a Copy of your Receipt Notice in other words I797-C. With that you will be able to see the status by just logging into this site
      egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Ram, I dont know what they mean by pending. You can ask them to send the application receipt number, if selected in lottery so that you can check the status online. If you can ask them for the scan copy of your application receipt and they give it, it would be great for you to validate too.

  19. Waitingg

    EAC-15-146**** series and still in received state.
    Any idea,till when this wait will be there? Please help as i am getting tensed 🙁

    1. Regnonadv

      Same here.. In same state since May 1st (receipt received date) . April 13 is the date mentioned in receipt .. Eac151465 xxxx series. Reg non adv!

    2. Optimist

      +1. Same series and still waiting. But if there are couple of us, then I would suggest, relax, probably good news is on it’s way.

  20. COnfused

    Hi Kumar,

    My peririon for H1B was approved. My company is now asking me to travel to Malaysia for 6 months. How can I give VISA interview from Malaysia? Please help this confused soul.

  21. test

    I applied H1B from India through company A. it is still in processing ( case Received). Now i got offer from company B. I prefer company B than Company A. what should i do now? please help me.

  22. sanju

    Hi,
    I have applied H1b from a hyderabad consultant and after chasing them for weeks, they informed that it has been approved. They are not sharing any information about receipt number or any USCIS communication. They have been in H1B business for long hence I went with them. All I hear is that ‘you dont worry, we will come to you if there is a query’. I have traveled many countries and US is not new to me. Is this a normal behavior of consulting company or am I getting special treatment? Please also let me know if 1 Oct is the D-day, how soon I should know about my lottery?

      1. SameBoat

        I applied through a consultant as well. They shared the receipt number as soon as they got it, different matter that I got RFE 🙂 Something is wrong at your end.

        1. hello

          In my case they shared the receipt no, the soft copy of the receipt and the case got approved also .but now they are not giving the approval notice.not sure what to do.very depressed.I think they have given wrong receipt and i have been tracking the wrong case since 2-3 months.

        2. Neha

          I didn’t get selected in the lottery this time and have got only one chance left. I wish to go for an extra application from a consultancy. Does anyone knows of such trust worthy people?

          Thank you in advance.

          1. waiting....waiting

            AD- Advance Degree
            Non-AD : Bachelor degree
            PP- Premium Processing
            RP- Regular Processing

    1. Yogin

      Mine is also approved online . Waiting for approval copy by mail. Can you please tell me how long it will take o get hard copy by mail..?

    1. prashanth

      hi
      congrates, we had received the receipt number is there any way that we can track our application status with the receipt number

  23. PAC

    Hi Kumar,

    Couple of Question for you.

    What is Public Access File related to H1B ? WHo needs it ? Does it also required for candidates who has not been picked up for H1b lottery?

  24. Rocky

    Hi,

    So my case moved to RFE too. Out of 10 cases before and after me, there are 4 RFEs. That’s 40 %!!
    I applied through a US consultancy and most likely they would have missed out on client letter.

    Does anyone know if RFE without client letter normally go to approval or denial? Anyone whose RFE resulted in approval this year yet?

    Details:

    Case:EAC15146XXXXX
    Receipt date: 13th April.
    Notice date: 30th April

    Any thoughts appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Rocky.

      1. Rocky

        Hey Ak,

        I will update this information once I have the decision on RFE. This might help next years candidate. At this point, I think it will be unfair on the consultancy and other candidates.

        Cheers,
        Yogesh

          1. Rocky

            Thanks AK.

            Talked to my employer about this and he suggested to wait for the hard copy in about 10 days. Strangely I have about 1 month to reply to the request whereas another candidate got 3 months!!

  25. Srinivas

    Hi Friends,
    my case came into RFE on 19th june.today i got mail from my employer about RFE. USCIS is asking about details of the project, project duration, some of the company projects & education evaluation. also they given dedline to submit on 20th september 2015. my employer told my company is going to submit all required documents. my case regular/california, WAC1514151xxx series.

  26. Anand

    Hello friends,

    I am new in this field, I want to know How and where can I apply for H1-B visa ? My knowledge is zero in this field. Please guide me.

    Best regards,
    Anand,

    1. iRequest

      You can appear for the interview 90 days prior to Oct 1st starting date of WP 2015/16… So you can appear from July 1st..

  27. varmak

    Got my petition approved today. Vermont centre (EAC15144XXXX /NONAD/Regular).Thank you Redbus and Kumar for your regular updates.

    1. raj

      Hi,

      I am also in the same situation, before my number got approved and after my number got RFE. my position is still case was received.
      any idea how they will pick and process the applications.

    2. waiting for aprroval

      Same here..before case number RFE and after my case approved.But mine still case received.any on epls comment

    3. Waiting

      In my case two nos after me and before me are approved and mine s still case received . God alone knows in which order they r processing 🙁 🙁 I wish they follow some sequence .

  28. sriram

    Hi Team,

    Currently I am working with some company, I am having valied H1B visa now.
    Is there any chance to transfer this visa to some other company from India and will go to us?

    Thanks,
    Sriram

  29. Nam

    Hi. Do we receive a receipt number/tracking number if the case has been filed for regular processing? My case has been filed in april and no news yet. I am wondering if I should have number to track the status of my application.

    1. Prabal

      Yes, we receive receipt number in case the application get selected in the lottery. Please consult your Attorney or Employer regarding the same.

  30. swati

    Hi Raghu,

    My case is still in status :” My case was Received ” . time anyy idea, how muchtime frame is needed to work on it .

  31. Swetha

    Hi,

    Current Petition status is “Request for Additional Evidence Notice Was Mailed”. My employer did not receive any Mail (till 07 Jul). How many days it will take? Is there any way to get the query mailed by USCIS before receiving the mail?

    1. Rocky

      You could try e-receipt of the notice. This option should only be tried if you have not received an update by the time they mentioned in the update.

  32. Bikash

    Kumar,

    What’s the latest timeline to get a approval/denial for regular applicants without RFE. Is September 30 a deadline. If in case one does not receive the decision by then, is the applicant allowed to work until the final verdict comes.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Sushil, Unfortunately, there is no way to get result fast. You will have to wait for USCIS to send you the rejection package.

  33. RAHUL

    Hi.
    Does the recent technical snag in the visa computer system affect the approval process of H1B??
    One of my friends H1B got approved in 2 months timeline. His approval came before the technical issues at USCIS.

    Anybody else whose application has passed 2 months timeline??

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      The recent technical issue is related to Visa Stamping system. It is not related to the visa approval system of USCIS. It should not impact.

      1. RAHUL

        Thanks.
        I know there is no SLA for petition approval. Still what is the average time for the approval based on your previous experience?

        1. administrator
          Kumar

          Rahul, it is very relative, there is no blanket answer. Ideally you should have the decision in about 2 to 3 months or less. I have seen cases, where it goes much longer up to 8 months or more with RFEs…One of the things we all need to be aware is that, you cannot start working until October 1st, so technically, there is no rush from USCIS perspective to adjudicate the petition before that date, unless you filed under premium processing.

  34. iRequest

    Thanks Admin. We are awaiting for your next post that will cover from Post approval to stamping, interview questions, documents to be submitted and how to apply for dependent visa before stamping/after stamping etc.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      We have few articles on the blog around that topics. Having said that, will write an article consolidating all these…

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