If you would like to work in the US on H1B Visa, you need to apply for H1B Visa Petition with USCIS using Form I-129. As part of the process, USCIS sends a Receipt Notice with details indicating that they received the H1B Visa petition. One can check the USCIS Case Status on their website using the receipt number from the H1B receipt notice. If the H1B petition is approved, then USCIS sends the H1B approval notice. The H1B approval notice is issued as an I-797A Notice of Action document. In this article, we will look at the details on the same, and samples of the same.
H1B Visa petition can be filed in two ways, either in Consular Processing or Change of Status. Depending on how the petition was filed, you would get the H1B approval notice with or without I-94 attached to it. We will look at each of these samples and the meaning below.
Do not be confused with I-797C, that is a different form that is more of a notification.
Sample H1B Visa Approval Notice I-797A – Consular Processing
Below is the sample of the H1B visa approval notice for an H1B petition that was filed as Consular Processing. Usually, employers file H1B under consular processing when the applicant is outside of the US. The main difference is the approval notice when filed under consular processing does not have I-94 attached to it.
There are two pages that are part of the approval notice, we will look at the meaning of the fields in the next section.
Meaning of various fields on H1B Visa Approval Notice
- Receipt Number: This is the H1B Visa petition receipt number related to the filing. It is the same receipt number that is on the H1B Visa receipt notice. This is the same number that is used to track the status of the H1B petition.
- Case Type: This indicates the type of application and the form that the H1B Approval notice is tied to. For H1B Visa, it would be “I-129 – PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER”
- Received Date: This is the date when USCIS actually received the H1B petition package from the employer at the USCIS facility
- Notice Date: This is the date when the H1B Approval Notice was generated by USCIS system
- Priority Date: This will be usually blank for the H1B approval notice.
- Petitioner: This is the name of the H1B Sponsoring Company. It will be the employer’s name filing the H1B petition on behalf of the applicant.
- Beneficiary: This field would have the name of the H1B applicant for whom the H1B approval notice is related.
- Page: For the H1B approval notice you would have two pages, based on the page you are on, it would say 1 of 2 for the first page of the approval notice and 2 of 2 for the second page.
- Name and Mailing Address: You would see the name and mailing address of the company or attorney in a box under these details.
- Notice Type: It will say “Approval Notice” which indicates the type of the notice.
- Class: It will say “H1B”, as the approval notice is for an H1B visa.
- Valid From and To: The valid from and to dates indicates the starting and ending dates of the H1B petition approval. Usually, it is up to 3 years or less. The duration of approval is usually reflected on the H1B Visa LCA filed for the H1B petition.
- Consulate: This is the US Consulate Name that the employer indicated when filing the H1B petition. It is the location where the applicant is ideally meant to attend the visa interview. USCIS notifies the given consulate regarding the approval as well.
There will be some text under the above fields that talks about the approval conditions and when someone can enter the US to start working. It also indicates that the employer can retain the upper portion of the approval notice and then give the lower portion of the notice to the applicant. There will be a small text printed “Please tear off portion below and forward it to the alien worker”. The employer would ideally tear the approval notice at this location and then send the below portion of page 1 and page 2 to the applicant.
Page 1 below the “tear-off note” would again have some fields repeated such as Receipt #, Case Type, Notice Date, Petitioner, and Petition validity dates. In addition, it would have below information
- Number of Workers: Indicates the validity of the petition for how many workers. For H1B Approval notice, it would say 1
- Name: Name of the H1B applicant
- DOB: Date of Birth of the H1B applicant
- COB: Country of Birth of the H1B applicant
- Consulate / POE: The US Consulate Location Name or Port of Entry Name. If it was filed under consular processing, you would see the US Consulate city name.
- OCC: This represents the Occupational Code that was used in LCA. It could look something like 030 or 090, etc. Each of these three digits represents the Occupational groups represented by them. Example 030 would be for occupations under “Computer Related Occupations under Systems Analysis & Programming”. Check out more OCC Codes on USCIS website, they are also called DOT Codes.
After this, on Page 2 same details listed above are repeated, and some additional information indicates that they would verify details for giving visa approval, etc. At the end of page 2, you would see text that says “INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK” repeated a few times until the end of the page.
Sample H1B Visa Approval Notice I-797A – Change of Status(COS)
If the H1B petition was filed as Change of Status(COS) and the COS was approved, the H1B approval notice would have I-94 attached to the approval notice as well. It looks in below screenshot. All the fields on the top portion of the approval notice are same as described above.
In addition to the fields, the I-94 attached has details of validity. Let’s look those fields meaning.
I-94 Slips attached to HB Approval notice: There will be two parts attached to the below of approval notice. The one on the left-hand side is for personal records. The one on the right is the official I-94 Card, you need to hand it over at the Exit airport when you leave the country.
- I-94 Card (right-hand side portion): You will have the I-94 Number on the top of it, then you will see the Receipt Number of your case, and then details of the applicant with Family name and First Name, Date of Birth, and Country of Citizenship. This is your official I-94 card that indicates your valid lawful status in the US.
- I-94 Details Slip (left-hand side portion): This is not your I-94, but rather details of the I-94 that can be for your personal records. It also has the same details but shows additional fields like Class of the Visa type that says H1B and Petitioner name, etc.
Sample H1B Visa Approval Notice ( Old Version)
In the past, the H1B Visa Approval notice used to be only one page and was slightly different. The text on it looks slightly different. Below is a sample copy of the same from previous years for your understanding.