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

Steps after H1B Lottery – Processing, Approval – Flow Chart

In Apply H1B Visa by Kumar495 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.

Background – H1B Case Statuses : As a quick background below are the various H1B Visa Case Statuses that your 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

Various Steps after H1B Lottery until Approval – Flow chart

“A picture is worth thousand words”, below is that picture on H1B visa status flow ! As you can see in the below 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.

Ideal flow for H1B Approval Scenario:

  • Premium processing :
    • Case Was Received and A Receipt Notice Was Emailed –> Case Was Approved And My Decision Was Emailed
  • Regular Processing
    • Case Was Received –> Case Was Approved

The key information that you need to be aware of is that regular processing H1B petitions do not have any SLA 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, 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.

Steps after H1B Lottery Approval Flow Chart

Flow after H1B 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 :

  • Premium processing : Case Was Received and A Receipt Notice Was Emailed –> Request for Additional Evidence Notice was mailed  –> Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received –> Case Was Approved And My Decision Was Emailed
  • Regular Processing : Case Was Received –> Request for Additional Evidence Notice was mailed –> Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received –> 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 be “Decision Notice Mailed”. Also, some of you may see “Name was updated” at times during the flow, it may be clerical updates on your case or some activity happening on your case, nothing to panic.

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.

Check out the next article : 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 ( 495 )

  1. SanathP

    Hello, My H1B visa application was selected in the lottery in April 2017 but my employer did not reply to the RFE before the deadline(Dec 6) and also does not want to continue with the visa application.
    1) Can I get it transferred to another employer?
    2) What is the way forward?
    3) Do i need to go through the lottery again?

    1. editor

      Since your employer is not willing to proceed with the application and has not taken steps to respond to the RFE, the petition would be rejected automatically.
      1. You cant transfer the cap subject petition in the RFE state or after denial
      2. This petition once rejected, cant be used again. You will have to undergo the visa lottery process once again and get a petition approved.

  2. Gayathri


    I got an RFE in August and sent the response in Nov 1st, before the deadline. The status got updated as , ‘Response To USCIS’ Request For Evidence Was Received’.
    After that I upgraded to Premium Processing and on Nov 21st, it said ‘Request for Premium Processing received’. Then when I checked during thanksgiving, it said,
    ‘Case was received and receipt was emailed’. But when I check now, it is saying ‘Response To USCIS’ Request For Evidence Was Received’ again. I don’t understand and I’m worried. Please clarify!!

  3. Vivek Ramji

    H1B petition which was in premium processing, got approved yesterday. The status online says “Case was approved and my decision was emailed”.

    I want to know how many days USCIS takes to mail the I797 itself. It looks like the USCIS e-mails only the decision of yes/no. Not the i797 itself. So how long would USCIS take to mail the i797 given that it’s premium processing?


  4. Vivek Ramji


    I upgraded my H1B petition to premium processing and they received it on Nov 17th. The status currently says “we received your petition on Nov 17th and emailed you the receipt notice”.

    By when can I expect a decision? It’s almost close to 15 calendar days, but I’m not sure if I should be counting thanksgiving holiday and weekends.

    1. Ram

      Its 15 calendar days. You need to include the holidays and weekends in that. Probably your attorney received an update already. It happened to one of my friend, the USCIS site never got updated till now. So please do check with your Attorney once.

      1. Vivek Ramji


        H1B petition which was in premium processing, got approved yesterday. The status online says “Case was approved and my decision was emailed”.

        I want to know how many days USCIS takes to mail the I797 itself. It looks like the USCIS e-mails only the decision of yes/no. Not the i797 itself. So how long would USCIS take to mail the i797 given that it’s premium processing?


  5. Brijesh


    My H1b petition was selected but soon I received an RFE notice. So, my employer and lawyer send the necessary documents sometimes at the end of the October. Now, it’s just a waiting game. But my OPT is going to expire at end of January coming year, so should file for OPT stem extension or wait till I get the decision for my H1B?

    Thank you,

    1. Ram

      If you wish you can expedite the H1B process by upgrading it to premium processing. If not its better to apply for OPT extension so that you will not lose your work authorization.

  6. Sachu


    I got RFE on Oct 12th, mentioning beneficiary qualification. My BTech was in Applied Electronics and Instrumentation. I have been working as a Software Engineer for almost 6 years now. And for the past 3 and a half years I have been working for the same end client and project, which I have been leading. They are saying in the RFE that my degree is not related to the designation. They have also mentioned that I can show a combination of educational qualifications and work ex to establish my credentials. My end client badly wants me working in the US and they would give a strong letter of recommendation if needed, detailing why its necessary for them that my petition is approved. Will that help my case? Anything else in particular that I can do? My employer’s attorney would be preparing the response and most probably, but just wanted to know if there is anything that I can/should do. Thanks in advance.

  7. melbs


    I got an email stating that i was picked up on the lottery since May and also received a receipt of it starting with EAC17XXX . But they also said that they transferred my case to another USCIS. That office now has jurisdiction over your case…

    Its now October and I have still haven’t heard if i got the visa or not.. I am currently on my OPT which expires next year on May. HR also doesn’t know whats going on..Can you please help me and elaborate what do you think is happening?? Do you think i got the visa?

  8. Vibhu

    Hello ,

    1. My H1B application has been picked up by USCIS for H1B FY17-18 [known as lottery picks] and the status on the USCIS website is ‘ Case was Received’
    This status doesn’t seem to change for the last 3 months.. Can some one help with what should i be doing? Is this delay normal?

    2. As per my employer, My case is approved – what if i change job is H1B case approved transferable among employers?

    3. The LCA petition is valid till 2020 – How long should i wait to see the case getting approved and passport being stamped?

    4. suppose the LCA is for X client How can i get my passport stamped for a Y client?


    1. Ram

      of course yes. All cases are filed in normal processing. This year there seems be tighter scrutiny of applications. So its normal that process is getting delayed. There are many petitions still pending with USCIS. Please be patient and wait for an update.

      1. Geetha

        Thanks Ram . But Many people were telling this year processing is fast even without premium processing. That’s probably false news I guess my friends who ever have applied from big mncs are also waiting.

    2. Tanvi Garg

      My name is Tanvi,
      I have applied for H-1B visa and my name got selected in the lottery process, after that i didn’t get any update , I’m afraid as everyone was expecting that we get the approval letter by September end , its almost end of august and i didn’t get any update .
      Is anything to be afraid of, or its their way of processing the visa’s

      1. Ram

        Tanvi, Have you received your receipt number? Are you tracking it in USCIS site?
        This year please do expect delays in processing as there is a strict scrutiny of applications. There are thousands of applications still pending with USCIS.

  9. Rony

    My Case Status is still as below?

    When can I expect some action? Please let me know

    Case Was Received
    On April 11, 2017, we received your Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Receipt Number WAC1713650257, and sent you the receipt notice that describes how we will process your case. Please follow the instructions in the notice. If you do not receive your receipt notice by May 11, 2017, please call Customer Service at 1-800-375-5283.

    1. Rohan

      Hi Rony, I am on the same boat , “case was received” , this is the status online. Did you find any way to know what is happening ?

      1. Ram

        Rony and Rohan, there was many others like you with case received on April 11 and still waiting for an update. As all cases are in regular processing, we don’t have a deadline from USCIS. So please wait patiently unless your case is picked and processed. All the best!

  10. Shankar Velli

    I have done my masters from US (in May 2017)and mine is a STEM degree. My OPT start date is 26 June 2017. I have a job offer but my employer is not e-verified, though he is willing to file my H1B. So I will not get OPT extension. My question is that if I get selected in 2018 lottery, I may get a decision around May/June 2018 but I will be entitled to work from 1 Oct 2018. My OPT will expire on 25 June 2018. How can I continue to work/live in USA from 26 June 2018 to 30 Sept 2018?

    1. Tejaswi

      If your H1-B is picked, your Employment Authorization will be automatically extended until 30 Sep 2018, It will be updated in your I-20. I suggest, Google about “Cap-gap” when you get a chance. Thank you.

  11. Yashaswi Dotiya

    I have got “Decision Notice Mailed” status after which MTR was filed to challenge the decision in Mar 2017. But till now, there are no updates on the site. Could anybody help me in tracking the status or where can I follow up on this ?

  12. Your friend

    Hi Friends,
    We received receipt notice from USCIS. But, there is no update after that.

    Can you please help what are the next stages and steps for me to check for?

  13. Kishen

    My employer submit application for H1B visa on Sep 30, 2016 but still he is saying that he is waiting for decision. Can anybody tell me How much time will this application take? My employer saying that every thing is Ok in case but decision is still pending. Please guide me what should I do?

    1. Shruti

      How come the employer filed on 30th Sept? During April-May 2016 itself, there were around 2,36,000 applications already with USCIS. Only 65,000 applications get picked every year. Then why did your employer file on Sept 20th when the applications were already full in Apr-May itself? I think he is bluffing. (Though I’m not very sure if it’s still possible to file in Sept after knowing that the applications were full already). Please check with someone who has proper knowledge about it. FYI, my employer filed on April 1st 2016 and by end of May, I got mail that my visa didn’t get picked in the lottery.

    2. Daisy

      With this English, how do you expect to work in the USA? It’s important to make yourself better to obtain better opportunities. Unfortunately many North Indians (Delhi, Mp, up and Bihar persons are the worst) and people from Andra /telangana-villages don’t think it’s important to improve their English, this is one is the reasons, Americans feel, unworthy-Indians steal their job. Get a masters degree and improve your English, your prospects will improve automatically. There are a lot of intelligent educated Indians out there.

  14. h4toh1

    Hi ,

    We have received i797 C receipt after lottery But we have noticed that last name has been misspelled where as I 129 application has the correct name , Please suggest what we can do in this case

      1. h4toh1

        Hi Saurabh ,

        Thanks for your reply . We went for cruise trip and we were not aware that our I 94 changes . Now we see I 94 has been changed . Does it affect anything on my h1 since its still in process?

  15. Faz


    My H1B was selected in the lottery. It is for digital marketing analyst role. I did master’s from US. What are my chances of getting H1 and when should I know it?


    1. administrator


      No one can speculate your chances of getting H-1. Once you have the receipt number follow it online on USCIS site.

  16. Raf

    Hi Priya,

    Quick question. How did you find out that you were picked on the lottery? I am still waiting my result, but don’t know how to check for the result.
    Thank you,

  17. priya


    My H1 got picked yesterday in masters quota. My question is I checked my LCA today and there is a mistake in zipcode of my client location. will that be a problem? Do I need to change it now or I should wait for the receipt number and if I get any RFE then need to proceed with the change?? I haven’t informed to my employer. So please let me know what are the steps I need to take.

    Thank you in advance.

    1. administrator


      Too late to change the LCA. How big is the typo? Is it still in the same MSA? Did you contact your employer/attorney about this?

      1. priya

        Hi Saurabh,

        if Zip is 12345, in LCA its 12435. My question is how does this affect me like will I get any RFE regarding this? I didn’t contact my employer or attorney reg this. As I am waiting for my receipt number.

        Another Question is,
        Currently I am on opt and going to end on 22 june 2017. so, Currently on which status I will be?? Do I need to update anything in college? what are the next steps do I need to take if rejected?

        Thank you.

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