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Timeline/Schedule to apply for H1B visa petition of 2011 quota in 2010. When to do what?

If you are planning to apply for H1B visa for 2011 quota, you will have to be prepared to match up with the USCIS start date of accepting H1B visa applications this year. USICS typically accepts H1B visa petition for 2011 quota starting April 1st of 2010. Your goal is to get all your documents ready by then. You want to be first in the line. Never know as the market seems optimistic, many might be planning and you may not get a chance in even lottery. In this article, I will give you a brief sample timeline that can help you plan well.

Dates in 2010

Activity to be Completed

Jan 10 – Jan 31thDo homework about consulting companies.

Search on Internet about companies. Network with people. Ask them about other companies.  Get information about good companies in your sector and come up with a list. Get as many companies information as you can. You can always eliminate in next step.

Jan 30 – Feb 10thDo in depth research about companies as suggested in article about Things to verify before you choose an employer. Once you have done. Go to their websites.
Jan 30th – Feb 10th
  • If not in US, ask for experience letters from your current or previous employers.
  • If you are not working in a company make sure you have copies of degree certificates and any other awards copies.
  • If you have a degree from US, request transcripts.
Feb 10th – Feb 20th
Feb 20th – 25th
  • Put up all the employers offers and decide the company you wish to go with.
  • Talk to few people who work in that company and collect additional information as needed.
Feb 20th – 25thCollect all the material that is needed for the H1B visa. You only need copies, DO NOT give any originals. Read this article for complete list of documents you need for applying for H1B visa petition.
Feb 25th – March 1stShip the documents to employer or hand all the documents to the employer in their office.
March 1st – March 25thEverything should be with your H1B Sponsoring Company by March 1st. It takes them 15- 20 days to do all the paperwork and prepare the petition by working with attorney.
March 25th – March 27thThe companies work with Fedex, UPS or other mail delivery systems to have the H1B petitions delivered exactly on April 1st.

This is a sample schedule. Many companies prefer to do it even early. It gets very busy during the month of March. If you know that you are going to go with a particular H1B sponsoring company, you should send the documents even before like February 10th, 2010. The sooner the better. Remember, if you send documents before, the attorneys have time to work carefully as they have time and they will file properly. Otherwise, H1B filing will be prone to queries/ RFE (Request for Evidence).

Plan well and apply on time!

H1B visa 2011 Filing process on time

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  1. Ahaa, its nice conversation regarding this piece of writing at this place at
    this webpage, I have read all that, so at this
    time me also commenting here.

  2. Hi,

    I have received an approved L1B blanket petition and found that name of the client (customer) is misspelt. It has to be “BBB & AAA Solution” but mentioned as “BBB & AAA System”.

    Do i need to get it changed?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Chirag,
      If you can get a new letter that would be best. If not, it should be ok to still go w/ it and explain the typo to VO (if asked).

      • Thanks for response Saurabh, much appreciated.

        However can you let me know how should I go about filling DS160 do I carry over the mistake or use the correct name while filling the form.

  3. Hi,
    I have few questions about applying for H1B visa for 2012-2013 cap season.
    I am currently working on L1B visa due to expire on 6th Oct-2012.I can ask my employer to file an extension for l1B visa.

    I was wondering if however,I can ask my employer to file an H1B visa for me so that when it is approved in October 2012,i can continue to work with the same employer.

    My question here is can my employer file an H1B for me while i am still working for him on l1b visa?

  4. Hi Saurabh

    Currently i am on L1 Blanket visa .Below are my visa and i-94 detail ,
    i -94 expiry : August 2014
    i-129s expiry: August 2012
    Stamped visa expiry : August 2012
    Blanket petetion : indefinate

    I heard that i can continue working on i-94 without my visa extention, my question is, can i continue working on just i-94 validity , and if i apply for H1 visa this year , am i eligible for COS or i have to apply w/0 COS

    Appreciate if you could share me any link from USCIS site which states i-94 is enough for continue working .


    • Amani,
      You can continue to work on L-1 based on I-94 validity. If you want to work on H-1, then it needs to be filed w/ COS and you can start working on H-1 from COS approval date (typically Oct 1 or later). If you want to continue working on L-1, then H-1 needs to be filed w/o COS.

  5. Hi,

    I am currently in L1B status in US working for a Indian consultancy company for a Banking client. I am in US with L1B for past 4 years. My L1 is expiring this August 2012. I am planning to switch to a new job by transferring my L1 to H1B. Is it possible? Is it possible to get transferred to H1B this year itself? I have heard that Even if I get my H1 i would be able to work only after October 2012 and since my L1B is expiring August 2012 I cannot stay in US for the month of September. Given this situation, is there any way out? I have started looking out for H1 sponsors and eventually a new job. I want to do a feasibility check before i proceed. Can some one help?

    • Kannan,
      So H-1 can be filed but like you mentioned, it’s start date would be Oct 1. As such, there is a strong chance that USCIS will not approve COS from L-1 to H-1. This means you will have to leave US at the end of L-1 term and then return to US after getting H-1 visa stamped. Is your I-94 also expiring in Aug 2012? Also, if your employer interested in filing L-1 extension?

      • My employer is not filing L1 extension and my I94 is expiring also by Aug end. So if i find a sponsor who can help getting a H1, I can work until my L1’s I94 expires and leave on Aug and reenter by Oct?

        • Kannan,
          Yes that is what you will have to do. Leave once L-1 expires and then enter US around Oct after getting H-1 visa stamped.

  6. Hi I was in OPT from Jan 08 – Dec 31 st 2010, I have timely filed my H1B before the expiration of my OPT, I have filed my H1B petition with receipt date as September 1st requesting start date of H1B from October 1st 2010, I have actually received my approved H1B petition with validity from May 31st 2011. assuming I was in Cap gap period from Dec 2010 to May 31st, does the “cap gap period apply automatically” as I have timely filed my H1B with requesting start date before expiration of my OPT. I had a same job continuously from the period of OPT till I got my H1B and was continuously working till I got my h1B, am I eligible to work automatically within this CAP GAP Period and I applied for a CAP GAP I-20 with request start date from Jan 28th, 28 days after my OPT expired,

    Please let me know whether I was eligible to work during all that time and I have 28 days gap between Cap Gap I -20 and OPT expiration period ?

    If it is a issue what are the consequences I am supposed to face ? do I have any remedies to fix it

    Thanks in Advance for your kind help…

    • Ravi Kumar,
      Cap-gap is valid only b/w April and Oct and not after that. It can be applied only when F-1/OPT is expiring b/w those months and H-1 is applied w/ start date of Oct 1. So you were in cap-gap period from Sep 1 to Sep 30 and not after that. You should have not worked after that.

      It is better to get a professional legal advice from an attorney on how to handle this situation now.

  7. Hi,

    I am currently on H1B visa since last Dec 2011. My consultant is not able to find any relevant job for me and my project is getting over next week. My consultant can only put me on payroll for a month after that, say till April 2012.

    If I cannot find any job on my own or even consultant fails to find a job for me before April 2012, can I work for any employer based on my prior OPT Extension Status (which was initially valid till Dec 2012)..??

    Or do you have any idea about how long can I stay in US after I am laid off from the job on H1b status?? Is it possible to even stay in US based on prior OPT status or I only have the option of finding an employer who can apply for my H1b transfer visa???

    Your comments will be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot.

    • Urvi,
      You are in a bad position. If your H-1 was approved w/ COS in Dec 2011, then your OPT is no longer valid. If you are not getting paid on H-1, then you are not maintaining legal status and accumulating out of status. This can hamper you in the long run. Ask your employer to pay you ASAP, or complain against him to DOL. You cannot change employers as they will ask for payslips as proof that you have been maintaining status, which you don’t have.

  8. Hi,

    You guys are doing Great job…!!!
    I have a question regarding Green Card Application. My company is ready to sponsor my H1B this April 2012. Is it possible to apply for Green Card while the H1b application is in process?

    Also, I am planning to travel to India in December 2012 after my H1b is approved for stamping purpose, so do you think I can travel to India even if my Green Card file is pending??

    Moreover, do you think there should be any problem for H1B stamping because I might have already applied for Green card?? Are there any chances of rejection due to the same??

    In this case, is it advisable to apply for Green Card next year, so that I can first get my H1b approved, go to India for H1b stamping and then come back & apply for Green Card???

    Any comments from your side will be very useful. Thanks a lot again.


    • Viral,
      The employer can file for your GC in parallel w/ H-1. H-1 processing will not be impacted b/c of the filed GC. However, you should not leave US while PERM is under process. You can leave US prior to or after that. H-1 is a dual intent visa, and so it is ok to have a GC pending when going for H-1 stamping.

  9. Hi. I hold a U.S. BS in Computer Science and a U.S. MBA degree. I am currently working as a IT Consultant on OPT, which will expire on Jan 13th 2013, and my boss is willing to file for H-1B petition on the coming April 1st. As I desire to get married back home in June, I have a few questions:
    – If my boss applies for H-1B on April 1st and that I go home in June, would I able to return to the U.S. while the petition process is pending?
    – If I am not selected for the H-1B petition, is it possible that I extend my OPT validity period?
    – As my wife-to-be holds a Master degree in Accounting & Finance and currently works as a banking agent back home, and that I may help her find a job here, is it possible that she gets here and starts working right away?

    If there are any suggestions, I would be very pleased to welcome them. So please, feel free.

    Thank you

    • Eddy T Lepatio,
      This is my suggestion – have the employer file H-1 w/ PP so that it gets adjudicated before you leave US for marriage. If COS is filed and approved along w/ H-1 petition, then you can leave US after the approval and return to be on H-1 from Oct 1. If you leave US while your H-1 is pending, then COS will be abandoned and you will either have to get H-1 visa stamped in home country or file for COS to H-1 later.

      However, if you go w/ option 1 (i.e. leave US after H-1 has been approved), there may still be some complexity regarding your wife’s visa. She will have to enter US on H-4 visa when your H-1 has commenced or enter on F-1 and then file COS to H-4 based on your COS approval.

      She can find an employer willing to sponsor her H-1 and can start working from H-1 approval date (assuming it is also filed and approved w/ COS).

      • Saurah,

        Thank you so much for your response. First, what does ‘PP’ mean? Also, I am trying to request for an interview at the embassy back home, but I do not know whether I should apply for a F-1 visa renewal or a temporary worker visa, considering that my boss may apply for the H-1B this April.

        You first said, “If COS is filed and approved along w/ H-1 petition, then you can leave US after the approval and return to be on H-1 from Oct 1.” So COS filing and H-1 petition filing are two distinct procedures? Is there a chance that I get the approval before the beginning of June?

        You also said, “If you leave US while your H-1 is pending, then COS will be abandoned and you will either have to get H-1 visa stamped in home country or file for COS to H-1 later.” Here I am confused. Does “H-1B visa stamped in home country” mean that I will have to wait until Oct 1st before being able to return? When you said, “file for COS to H-1 later”? Do you mean from back home?

        OK, here is the scenario to make sure I understand what you are saying. According to you, as my OPT will expire on Jan 19th, 2013, if my boss applies for H-1 this April 1st and that I go home in June, then the whole COS to H-1 process will be abandoned, and therefore I will not be able to return to the States. Is this correct? Or maybe the PP (??) would help?

        Please, forgive me as I am new to all this. Thank you, once again, for your assistance. I really appreciate it.


        • Eddy T Lepatio,
          PP stands for premium processing. Under PP, petition is processed within 15 calendar days. So it is possible to receive the decision before June before you leave US.

          In the other case, you will have to go for H-1 visa stamping in your home country. You can go at most 90 days prior to H-1 start date (usually Oct 1), but cannot enter US until Sep 20 on H-1. The other option is to enter US on F-1 visa and then apply for COS while being in US from F-1 to H-1 and then be on H-1 from COS approval date.

          Your employer should file H-1 w/ COS and w/ PP so that it gets processed prior to your departure date. Then you can return on F-1 visa stamp (if it is still valid) and then start working on H-1 from Oct 1 (until then you can work on OPT).

          As for OPT extension, it is based on your highest degree and not your undergrad.

          Does that clarify?

          • Saurabh,

            Thank you so much for your response. OK, here is my concern. I have been in the U.S. since 2006, and my F-1 visa stamp (on my passport) already expired, since the embassy only grants 6-month visa stamps for F-1 students in my home country. This means that I’d definitely need to renew the visa stamp when returning to the U.S. So tell me, does this change the whole scenario? If so, what would be your best advice?


          • Eddy T Lepatio,
            The only thing that changes is that the option of using F-1 visa to enter US is not attractive as you will have to go for F-1 visa stamping. So it would be better to go for H-1 stamping as 1st option, and then travel to work on H-1 close to Oct 1 start date.

          • Saurabh,

            Thank you once again for your help. I just found out that my employer would need to file for Labor of Condition Application (LCA). This process is so complicated! I now understand why most companies would not want to sponsor foreign workers. Oh well, I will just go ahead and do what is needed and hopefully be granted the H-1 petition before I go home. I do not mind staying back home for a few months before being able to return to the U.S., especially as I will still be able to do my duties from distance. Thank you so much for everything. I really appreciate it. I will definitely get back to you in case any questions are needed to be asked. Also, please do not hesitate to let me know in case there is something that I absolutely need to know. Have a greet beginning of the week!


        • One more question. I was told that even though I hold a BS in Computer Science, which is a STEM course, it is impossible for me to extend my OPT because the extension is based on the highest college degree (which is MBA for me). Is it correct?

  10. Hi,
    I am currently in US in H4 visa. My hubbys on H1B. I want to start looking for job. If I file for H1B in Apr, and if it gets approved, can i start working or will I have to wait untill Oct 2012 to start working.
    Kindly let me know.

    • Anupama,
      You will have to wait until Oct before starting to work on H-1. Also that is provided your H-1 is approved w/ COS w/ start date of Oct 1.

  11. Hi ,

    This is Srikanth, i worked for accenture for 3 years 6 months.Presently i am looking for abroad opportunities.Please let me know about H1B procedure and formalieties.


    • Srikanth,
      1. Find an employer willing to sponsor H-1 for you for a position that requires specialized knowledge and for which you qualify
      2. Employer files the petition for you and USCIS reviews it
      3. USCIS approves or denies the petition after their processing
      4. Once approved, you go for H-1 visa stamping.
      5. Consulate either approves or denies your visa request
      6. Once approved, you travel to US and start working on H-1 for that employer

  12. Hi Saurabh, keep rocking…

    My OPT(12 + 17 months)ends on June 15th 2012 and I am Planning to apply for my H1B in April, start date would be OCT 1st.

    There a gap of 105 days, Can I stay/work for more than 60 days(grace period after OPT) if my H1B gets approved?

    Actually I didn’t get what cap-gap is?

    • Kiran,
      Cap-gap is a provision where a person is allowed to stay and work in US if:
      – they had valid F-1 or OPT status at the time of filing
      – the requested start date is Oct 1, 2012
      – the petition is filed w/ COS

      If your petition is filed satisfying above conditions, then you can continue to work even after your OPT gets expired. You can do this until Oct 1 or H-1 denial date (whichever is earlier). Does that clarify?

  13. I am currently on OPT till July 2012, I havent finished school yet, will be done by June 28th. The company that I am working for is in the process of filing for my H1. They are going to send the application in for April 1st. As I do not have proof of competition yet, will get it by June 29th, will that affect my H1 process?

    • Dwight Fontenelle,
      You may not be able to apply in Masters quota if you haven’t completed the studies yet. Your employer can still file it in the regular cap of 65K. If it is filed after June 28th, then your employer can file it in the Masters quota.

        • Dwight Fontenelle,
          If the F-1 is for undergrad, then regular H-1 cap is the right option for you, and not Masters cap. And this can be filed even before the graduation date.

          • Thanks, I was asking because on a website I saw that I had to bring my Diploma to the interview, and I wont have it if the interview is before June 28th.

          • Dwight Fontenelle,
            Actually the other site is right. When applying for H-1 (even regular cap), one needs to have 16 years of education including 4 year college degree equivalent to US Bachelors. So unless you have completed the course, you will not be eligible for H-1.

  14. Hi,

    If a H1b is initiated in April in the premium mode ; Is it necessary that petition start date for the same is still going to be around october; or is it that since the H1b is getting processed in premium mode we will be able to go sooner.

    Hemanth H S

  15. Hey,

    I have already applied for H1B Visa this year but still waiting for it to get approved. I was working on contract basis and now the project is getting over soon.

    I have my OPT STEM Extension visa till next Dec 2012. If I find a new job in another company and if they are ready to transfer my H1B, how soon can I file my H1B transfer file??? Can I start working before they apply for my H1B Transfer file?? Also, can you guide me on some procedure to transfer H1B visa from one company to another???

    Even if my H1B is approved, can I work on the basis on OPT Extension visa in another company or they are no longer considered valid???

    I am really very confused and tensed. Any help from your side will be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot.


    • If the new employer is e-verified you can immediately start working for them on OPT. However, once you leave your current employer they will have no interest in your filed petition and can request to withdraw the same, which would mean that you are out of the quota.

      Here is what you can do:
      1. Upgrade your current petition to PP
      2. Once it has been approved, file H-1 transfer and start working for new employer on the basis of receipt

      Once your H-1 is approved w/ COS, your status would be H-1 from the mentioned date and you can no longer work on OPT.

      Did I cover all the questions?

      • Hey Saurabh,

        Thanks a lot for your quick response… Ya you did cover all my concerns..

        The thing is am working for a client through a consulting company on a contractor basis and the project is getting over soon. My consulting company (who has filed my H1B) is finding a different job for me but I was just wondering if I can find some full-time job on my own. What should I ask from that company???

        Is it possible to work on OPT STEM Extension after my H1B is approved and till the time other company is filing my H1B transfer??? If yes, for how many days???

        Thanks a lot.. You are doing excellent job…!!!

        • The new employer will most likely ask you if you need visa sponsorship or not. You can let them know that you do need sponsorship and they can file a cap-exempt petition for you on the basis of already approved petition.

          You can work on OPT STEM extension only if your H-1 is approved w/o COS. If it is approved w/ COS then you have to work on H-1 from the approval date. If you want to continue working on OPT, then you need to travel out and in of US on F-1 visa stamp before your COS gets approved (this would abandon your COS and your status would remain OPT STEM even after H-1 gets approved).

  16. Hi ,
    I am planing to come USA with H4 visa as my husband is working on H1 visa, i am working as an oracle DBA in india, is there any chance to get the job in USA and my H4 visa can be converted into H1.

    • You will have to find employers ready to sponsor your H-1 for a position that requires your skillset. Once that is filed and approved, you can start working on H-1.

  17. Hi Saurabh,

    Yesterday my employer (client) told me that due to financial crunch they may not retain me from next pay period. and my h1b visa is also going to expiry in dec 27, 2011 (even my employer recently apply for h1b extension for the same (lca processing)). So in worst case if i need to travel back to India on or before Dec 27, Will my employer should pay for my return ticket or I need to arrange it?

  18. Hey,

    You guys are doing fantastic job…!!!

    I started working on OPT from June, 2011. My company is ready to sponsor H1B visa for me anytime from now as I have completed six months working here. But unfortunately the quota for this year is reached.

    My OPT will expire in next June 2012 and I will not be able to work on H1B before 1st October, 2012 even if its approved. Can you suggest me the appropriate way so that I can still keep working during the time-period of June-October 2012?

    Can I apply for OPT Stem Extension right now and then file for H1b in Arpil 2012??? Is that a possibility?

    Can you please inform me the way to remain in status all the time and able to work throughout without any stoppage? Thanks.


    • OPT extension can be applied 6 months in advance (or 3 months, I am not sure).

      You may be able to work b/w June and Oct on the basis of cap-gap. Have the employer file H-1 w/ COS and based on cap-gap you can continue to stay and work in US until 1st Oct 2012. In case H-1 isn’t approved until 1st Oct, or is denied, then you will have the usual 60 day grace period (or you can file for extension).

      • Thanks a lot for your reply..

        Do you think I will be eligible for cap-gap or not… ??? I heard that USCIS would not grant cap-gap if your interval between OPT expiry and 1st Oct, 2012 is more than 90 days…

        Can you please help me out with that information??? So that I can inform my employer what exactly to file for… Thanks a lot…


        • You will be eligible for cap-gap. I have not heard of any such 90 day rule. I have seen cases where OPT expired in May, but person was able to stay and work until Oct.

          For more information on cap gap, look at the USCIS page on the same.

          • Thanks Saurabh…

            I really appreciate your help. I have posted some of the info from USCIS website:

            What is the F-1/H-1B “cap-gap”?
            Cap-gap occurs when an F-1 student’s status and work authorization expire in the current fiscal year before they can start their approved H-1B employment in the next fiscal year beginning on October 1. An F-1 student in a cap-gap situation would, in most cases, have to leave the United States and return at the time his or her H-1B status becomes effective at the beginning of the next fiscal year. Depending on when the student’s status expires, such circumstances could require the student to remain outside the United States for several months.

            How does cap-gap occur?
            Under the prior regulation (and unchanged by this rule), an employer may not file, and USCIS may not accept, an H-1B petition submitted earlier than six months in advance of the date of actual need for the beneficiary’s services or training.
            As a result, the earliest date that an employer can file an H-1B petition for consideration under the next fiscal year cap is April 1, for an October 1 employment start date. If that H-1B petition and the accompanying change-of-status request are approved, the earliest date that the student may start the approved H-1B employment is October 1.
            Consequently, F-1 students who are the beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions with October 1 employment start dates, but whose periods of authorized stay (including authorized periods of post-completion OPT and the subsequent 60-day departure preparation period) expire before October 1, are in many cases required to leave the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad, and then seek readmission to the United States in H-1B status.

            I found this information on USCIS website and that is what confused me a lot… Do you have any suggestions on the same??

            Thanks a lot again.

          • The petition will be filed on April 1 and start date is Oct 1. The difference b/w the two is 6 months, and that satisfies the requirement. Is there any other confusion?

          • Hey Saurabh,

            The confusion is:

            ” F-1 students who are the beneficiaries of approved H-1B petitions with October 1 employment start dates, but whose periods of authorized stay (including authorized periods of post-completion OPT and the subsequent 60-day departure preparation period) expire before October 1, are in many cases required to leave the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad, and then seek readmission to the United States in H-1B status”

            My period of authorized stay expires before October 1st, does that mean I cannot work any longer and have to leave US? And then seek readmission to US on H1B?

            Sorry for lot many queries. I just wanted to get clear on it.

            Thanks for your quick responses.


          • This is what I see on USCIS website “Consequently, F-1 students who do not qualify for a cap-gap extension, and whose periods of authorized stay expire before October 1, are required to leave the United States, apply for an H-1B visa at a consular post abroad, and then seek readmission to the United States in H-1B status, for the dates reflected on the approved H-1B petition.”

            It says that students who do not qualify for cap-gap and have authorization period expiring prior to Oct 1, need to leave US. Once you qualify for cap-gap this is no longer valid.

            Does that clarify?

  19. I missed the deadline of Nov 22 for filing H1B visa application this year.
    The travel desk of my company said I can submit the application in Jan 2012 now. But I believe the quota opens only in April.

    If i want to go to US by May 2012.
    Can I get a H1B by May 2012 if i file in Jan 2012 ? Is it still a draw system for H1b ?
    Or do i need to apply for L1B instead?

    Please let me know. Thanks.

    • The petition cannot be filed prior to April 1, 2012. One cannot start to work until Oct 1, 2012 or actual H-1 start date (if later). L-1 can be applied only if your job and duties satisfy L-1 requirements.

      • I am in India currently.
        If my petition is filed in April 2012, by when can i expect my H1 visa ?
        Also is it still a draw system ?

        Please let me know.

        • Petition processing might take 2-6 months (or longer if RFE is issued). If filed w/ premium processing it will be adjudicated within 15 calendar days. Once approved, you can go for stamping. In either case, the earliest start date is Oct 1, 2012.

          Draw would happen only if USCIS receives more petitions than the quota numbers available.

  20. Hi Saurabh,

    Thank you for giving all these info, it helped a lot. But I still haven’t got the answer to my issue.

    My OPT start date 05/12/11 and end date 12/23/11

    I’m already working with a company, started recently so they haven’t applied for H1 yet. Today I learned that the cap for this FY has been reached. Obviously I’m worried.

    1. Can I still apply for H1 right now and wait til April, or I have to send my application in April?
    2. Could I be eligible for cap-gap, since I need 3 extra months between OPT and H1 to be legal in the US.
    3. Since my OPT length is only about 7 month, could I get a little extension on that, since its supposed to be 12 months OPT ,not 7 or 8… It happened because USCIS somehow didn’t process it when I applied in Feb. 2011, and I had to call them multiple times til May when they finally processed everything within 2 weeks.
    4. As my last option, if I go back to school for MBA, can I get CPT soon enough to continue working at the same company?

    What do you think would be the best, since I want to keep my job at the company without any interruptions. I might consider going back to school, as my last option, for my MBA, since I only have BA degree for now.

    Thanks in advance,

    • 1. H-1 cannot be applied until April 1, 2012.
      2. No, you are not eligible for cap-gap
      3. I am not sure, but it is worth trying.
      4. It will depend upon the school. However, not many credible schools offer CPT from day 1.

      I can’t think of any other options. You should consult an attorney to know what else you can do in this situation.

  21. hi, thank you for providing such valuable information. My company has initiated H1B in premium mode on Nov15. But i heard LCA to Petition application will take 1 to 1.5 months. Is this true? If so do i have a chance to get my H1B for this year quota? Does US Consulate stop accepting applications after a certain date assuming there are more people in queue than the quota available?

    • DOL takes 7-10 days to certify the LCA. If the still need to file the LCA and post it for 10 business days on the work-site, then I doubt if you will be able to make through this year’s quota. USCIS will stop accepting petitions once that magic number is reached.

  22. Greetings

    1. Can I apply for the Stamping again on the same I-129 Petition to New Delhi Consulate after denial by Visa Officer due to Non-Availability of Proper Job Offer?

    2. If I can apply for the stamping again then what would be the process?

    My Background:
    My petition was denied for stamping on 5th May 2011, as my employer was unable to show any proper client letter or Job Offer for me there in United States. So, can I go for Stamping again in the same consulate?

    Please help, any information would be highly appreciated. I’m feeling very confused.


    • 1. Yes, you can
      2. Same process. Get HDFC receipt, fill-in DS form, schedule appointment and attend the interview.

      Make sure you and your employer have taken care of the initial rejection reasons this time. Also, when your visa stamping was rejected, did the officer send back the petition to USCIS for confirmation? If yes, do you know if USCIS re-affirmed the petition or issued NOIR?

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for the reply, @ the time of last interview with visa office he kept all my documents including I-129 and sent back to USCIS for confirmation I feel but not sure but they kept all my documents and kept for more than 3 months. and on 5th May 2011, I’ve received my I-129 Original petition and a letter from USCIS stating the reason why they have denied issuing the visa this time.

        Please let me know if I still can go for Stamping.


        • Put your 797 receipt number on USCIS website and see what status it is showing. Before re-scheduling your interview, you should make sure that the petition is still valid and has not been revoked. You can also get your employer/attorney involved and ask them if they have any updates on your 797.

          • Hi Soaurabh, I just checked on USCIS.gov for my I-797, it is l,iying under Post Decision Activity and showing they received my case from State Department to review it and USCIS will let me know once the review is done or complete.

            Let me know the next steps to go forward.


          • You should wait for USCIS to complete the review before re-appearing for the interview. They may take few months to complete the process.

  23. Hi Saurabh,

    I m currently on h4 visa in USA. I m employed with an TOP IT company from India and I have taken Loss of Pay vacation. My company has initiated the process for H1 visa and will be filing it by next week. Once i get my H1 approval, when i go for visa stamping will it have any impact since I was already holding H4 visa?


    • No, there shouldn’t be any complications because of your previously held H-4 visa. Ensure you carry your spouse’s payslips for the most recent period you were on H-4.

  24. I Have 6 yr of exp, with Bachelor degree in computer sci from pune university. I am working with an MNC software company.
    My Question is, am I eligible for H1 through company? Can my current company file my H1?

    • Yes, you are eligible from education and experience perspective. As long as your job is specialized enough, the employer can file H-1 for you.

  25. Hi Surabh,

    Your blog sounds very promising and all your answers to the questions where perfect.
    It might sound silly though, My first question – H1B Cap count start once the H1b is filed or it is approved ?
    2nd – I have applied through primium processing and I got 2 RFE’s already, any idea about the chances of getting my H1B approved/denied. ?

    Appreciate your answer.

    • 1 .H-1 cap is increased by 1 once your petition is received by USCIS and receipt number is generated.
      2. It would depend upon how satisfied USCIS is w/ your response. Unfortunately, there is no clearer answer to this.

  26. I was returned from US on September after working 6 years with H1 visa. I would like to go US again, but for applying again I need to stay one year outside of US. Can I apply H1 visa 2012 quota on April by commiting leave India after September.

    • Yes, H-1 can be applied in April 2012 (FY-13 quota) w/ start date of 1st Oct 2012. Your employer can submit your past immigration stamps to show that you would have spent more than 365 days outside US by the time you H-1 gets approved and you are ready for travel on it.

  27. Hi,

    You guyz are doing a great job here. Appreciate a lot. I have question reg my OPT and H1B, hope you clarify my doubt

    My OPT end date is August 31, 2012. By latest which month, employer has to file H1 so that my OPT is extended and I continue working till H1B is approved.

    I am raising this question, bcoz the employer has some 8-9 month evaluation period and will file H1B after that. So in my case it will be after June 30, 2012. So I am worried that whether two months (July, August) before my OPT end date are enuf to file H1B and get eligible for Cap gap extension.

    • Assuming quota is still open on June 30, 2012, your employer can file H-1 for you w/ COS and request start date of 1st Oct 2012. This would allow you to be eligible for cap-gap and continue to stay and work in Sep 2012. If your H-1 doesn’t get processed in time to start by 1st Oct, you can request to upgrade it to premium processing (PP). USCIS adjudicates PP petitions within 15 calendar days.

  28. Plese can someone give me an answer. I am on my opt and expires January 2012. I just got hired by a company and they will sponsor me. I should start next week with work which its fine because as i said i have 3 months left on my opt. Today its September 30, so, if they apply for my h1b soon , like october am i going to be able to continue working after january? I know the deadline to apply its april 1..but what happens if tey submit paperwork in october. how that goes? pls help me understand this:) thank you

    • If the company applies for H-1 now, then you can continue to work on OPT while H-1 is pending and OPT has not expired. If your H-1 is still pending and OPT expires (i.e. after Jan 2012), you will have to stop working, and you will start using the 60 day grace period you have on F-1 or you can file for timely OPT extension to continue to work on OPT (don’t know if you are eligible or not). If your H-1 gets approved anytime prior to or after OPT expiration, then you will have to start working on H-1 from the date mentioned in the approval notice (assuming H-1 was filed and approved w/ COS).

      Does that help?

      • it does thank you so much.its much clear now. and considering if they submit the papers in the next few weeks..usually how long it takes to know if my h1b was approved? does it take more then 3 month? i mean …what do u think most likely i might be able to get it before january 16th or no?

        and i have one more question? if the uscis approve an h1b do they usually put the start date the same day as the day they approved it?

        thank you so much

        • H-1 processing would be done within 15 calendar days if filed w/ premium processing. Else, it may take 2-6 months. In case USCIS issues RFE against the petition, then it would taken even longer.

          What you can do is file the petition w/o premium processing (it costs $1225 more). If you don’t hear anything by mid-Dec, then you can upgrade it to premium processing so that you can receive the result by Jan 16th.

          When filing the petition, employer requests a start date, which can be at most 6 months in future. Let’s say employer requests the start date X. If USCIS approves the petition prior to X, then they would set the start date as X. If USCIS approves the petition later than X, then they would set the start date as the approval date.

  29. Hi,

    I am planning to fly in Dec-2011. But my company has yet not filed my H1B.

    What is the last date before which they must file my H1B anyhow?
    Will i be considered in the current quota?

    • It needs to be filed before the quota gets exhausted. At the moment, quota may get exhausted by Q1 2012. So you still have sometime, but you need to follow the weekly counts on USCIS website to be on top of it.

  30. My opt and 60 days grace period has already ended. But H1B process is still pending. What i Wanna know is what are the consequences if my H1B got denied.
    Will I still have time to get enroll in a college?

    • If you are in cap-gap period, then you can continue to stay until 1st Oct. In case your H-1 is denied, you either need to leave US or move to another visa status like F-1 or B-1 (difficult if your I-94 has expired). You have the option to upgrade the petition to premium processing, so that you can receive the result early.

  31. Hello Kumar! Thanks a lot for your helpful insights and advice! I finished college in May and am on OPT until June 2012. I was wondering if I could and should apply for an H-1B visa for the current fiscal year or for the fiscal year beginning October, 2012. Do you have an opinion on this? Your response would be much appreciated. Thank you!

    • You can ask your employer to file your H-1 in Dec and submit June 2012 as the start date (start date can be maximum 6 months in future). This way you will be able to file in this year’s quota and maximize the OPT period.

        • One doesn’t need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes when working on OPT (as for tax purpose the status is Non-Resident Alien). This could result in around 5-7% of saving per paycheck. That is why personally I feel strongly in favor of maximizing the OPT period.


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