If you were picked in H1B Registration Lottery and applied for H1B petition in the recent H1B Visa 2021 season, you many have receipt case receipt notice. When you check the H1B Case Status online, you may see various status like “Case Was Received”, “Name was update”, etc.. You may not fully understand each of these status meaning. This article is meant to clarify each of those H1B Case statuses meaning and give complete flow of the same.
H1B Case Receipt Number – Check Online
Firstly to make it clear, if you were selected in H1B Lottery for a fiscal year and your employer has filed a H1B petition, then your employer/ attorney would have got a case receipt number for your H1B petition. They may have shared that case number with you as well. You can use that Petition/Case number from USCIS and check status online at: Case Status on USCIS website
What’s the H1B Case Number? Processing ?
The H1B receipt number is a 13 character alphanumeric string that is given by USCIS. It typically starts with EAC or WAC. You may read Understanding H1B Case Number Details, to know more info. For high level understanding of how each H1B petition is processed at USCIS, you should read the article H1B processing steps at USCIS adjudication center.
Also, in the past, USCIS used to assign many statuses like Acceptance, Initial Review, Decision, Post Decision Activity, etc. Some of these have been changed with the new system this year. To get an idea of the past flow and statuses, you may read H1B Old Case Statuses and Flow. Below information corresponds to the latest H1B statuses available on USCIS website for a H1B petition.
Various H1B Case Statuses on USCIS website
Below are the various Case Status that you usually find on USCIS website, when you Check Case Status on USCIS website.
- 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
- Withdrawal Acknowledgement Notice Was Sent
- Case Was Transferred and a New Office has Jurisdiction.
Let us look at each of them in detail
H1B Case Status Text – Form I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker
If you notice any of the H1B statuses’ text below, all of them would say “Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker”. The reason is that, when you file a H1B petition with USCIS, you would use form I-129, thats why you see the status text to indicate the form number. USCIS does not explicitly tell H1B Visa petition in the status as the form I-129 is also used for other visa types as well. It can be confusing, if they put in all visa types in there, so USCIS intentionally does not put in H1B in there and only indicates the form type. Your receipt notice would have “Class Requested” as show in below screenshot, indicating it was a H1B petition.
Case Was Received and A Receipt Notice Was Emailed
USCIS emails receipt notices to petitioners, if they filed their H1B petition under premium processing. The H1B case status “Case was Received and a Receipt Notice was Emailed” indicates to us that the petition with this case number was filed under premium processing with USCIS. A receipt notice with case number and details about processing was sent to the email of the attorney/ employer. Below is the screenshot for the described status.
Case Was Received
USCIS only emails receipt notices for premium processing applications. For H1B petitions filed under regular processing, USCIS will send out the receipt notices via traditional Mail/ Post. The H1B case status “Case Was Received” indicates is that the petition with this case number was filed under regular processing and USCIS has received the same. The receipt notice hard copy will be sent to the attorney/ employer’s postal address on how it will be processed. Check below for screenshot of the described case status.
Request for Additional Evidence Notice was mailed
If USCIS wants more information on a H1B petition, they will ask for the same information. The H1B case status “Request for Additional Evidence Notice was mailed” status indicates the same that USCIS wants more info. As part of the adjudication process of the H1B petition, the USCIS adjudicator of this petition, with this particular case number, needs more information to make a decision on the case. The adjudicator issued a Request for Additional Evidence notice, which is commonly called as RFE (Request for Evidence).
The employer/ attorney will get an RFE notice from USCIS indicating what documents they need to submit for further processing the case. It has an expiry date and employer/ attorney has to respond to that request by that date. USCIS will NOT process this particular case until they receive a response from the employer/ attorney with the requested information. Below is the screenshot of described status.
Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received
After USCIS receives a response to the RFE, they will update the same in their online system for the H1B case. This H1B Case status “Response to USCIS Request for Evidence Was Received” corresponds to the same. All the status tells us is that USCIS has received the response for the issued RFE Notice on the particular case with that case number from the employer/ attorney.
The response from employer/ attorney could be either documents or any other supporting material that was requested by USCIS supporting the H1B petition. If your petition is in this status, it means that USCIS will start processing the case as they have received requested documentation. The status also tells the petitioner that when you can expect a decision/ update on this case. Check below screenshot for RFE response status.
Case Was Approved And My Decision Was Emailed
Usually, if you file in premium, you would informed by email. This H1B case status “Case was approved and my decision was emailed” indicates the decisions of approval that is sent by email to the attorney/ employer. This case status only appears for the H1B petitions filed under premium processing. Below is the screenshot of the status.
Case Was Approved
The H1B case status “Case was approved” is self explanatory. It tells that the the H1B petition with this particular case number was approved and they plan to send out the approval notice to the employer/ attorney by traditional post/mail. This case status appears only for petitions filed under regular processing.
Decision Notice Mailed
Not every H1B Application gets approved. Typically USCIS will issue an RFE and then review the evidence before making the final decision. If USCIS is not convinced with your petition’s supporting documents, they will deny the H1B petition and the case status will be shown as ” Decision Notice Mailed”. Your employer will get a notice indicating why the petition was denied and they can act on it as per the instructions, if they want to challenge the decision by providing additional documents, etc. Below is how it looks.
The application Receipt Number is invalid
If you do not enter a valid 13 character H1B case receipt number, USCIS case status website will give you the above error message saying that the application receipt number is invalid. All it means is that, either you have taken the receipt number wrong from your employer or entered it wrong in the box…or maybe your employer did not give you the correct case number. Below is the error screenshot.
Name Was Updated
This is one of the very confusing statuses that USCIS online system gives, when there is some activity happening on your case. The H1B Case status “Name Was Updated” can be very confusing and misleading everyone at times. It may be genuine that the name was updated due to a clerical error, but not always the case.
It definitely means that some activity is happening on your case and your case is being worked on by USCIS. There is a perception among users that this status will lead to rejection/ RFE, but it is not necessarily true. So, when you see something like this status, it is best consult your employer/attorney to check further on your case. No need to panic or get confused. It looks like below
Fee will be Refunded Status
One of the others status some of the H1B petitioners see is that ‘Fee will be refunded’. What it means is that the employer/attorney has filed extra fees that is not required and USCIS is refunding the same. It can be for a host of reasons related to the H1B fees. As you can see below USCIS would tell that it will not impact the processing of the case, so do not panic when you see this, work with your employer, it will be fine.
Withdrawal Acknowledgement Notice Was Sent
If your H1B employer plans to withdraw your H1B petition or for some reason you believe that you do not want to work for the company and resigned the job, then your employer would withdraw your H1B petition from USCIS. It is not really automatic process, your employer has to request for it. If your H1B case number indicates the below status “Withdraw Acknowledgement Notice was Sent” for I-129 petition, then it means that your H1B was withdrawn by your employer and USCIS is acknowledging the same with the status.
Case Was Transferred And a New Office Has Jurisdiction
Depending on the load of H1B petitions received and processing times at any service center, they are moved to different locations to expedite processing or balance the overall processing loads. If your H1B case was transferred to different location for some of these reasons, you would see a status like below. It tells the date when the petition was transferred and when you can expect a physical copy of notice indicating the same. It does not really change anything in terms of how it is adjudicated, it is just for processing times balancing, nothing to worry.
Did you notice any other statuses for your Petition ? Any other thoughts to share ?
Check out the next article that articulates the flow of the above statuses After H1B Visa Lottery Case Status Flow