What’s After H1B 2015 Lottery ? FAQs – Receipt Numbers, Processing Times?

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 5206 Comments

Updated : April 21, 2015- Modified content on additional petitions than 85,000 quota – wait-listing for denials 

As you know, USCIS conducted a lottery on the 172,500 H1B Visa petitions filed for FY 2015 quota and did a press release indicating that the 85,000 petitions selected will be notified with receipt numbers and those not selected will be rejected and returned. I have seen many of our readers asking questions on variety of topics like below.

  • What are the Next Steps after H1B Lottery by USCIS ?
  • Who will get the case number ?  Do I get an email ? Will I get a hard copy ?
  • Who will get the rejected application ? Employer or Employee ?
  • Did anyone receive H1B receipt Numbers for Premium processing ?
  • When will I receive the H1B Case number?
  • How many Master’s degree petitions were received  ? What were my odds in lottery ?
  • Does USCIS select more petitions than 85,000 as backup for denials ?
  • How do I know, if my employer really filed my case ?
  • Can I know the details of my case from USCIS ? What are my choices ?
  • Can I upgrade my case to Premium processing without receipt number ?
  • I have not slept in couple of days, when will I receive my receipt number?

This article addresses all of these FAQs.

What are the Next Steps after H1B Lottery by USCIS ?  

  • USCIS notifies selected Premium Processing  applicants about their receipt numbers
  • USCIS then notifies all selected non-premium/regular  processing  candidates about their receipt numbers through postal mail
  • USCIS completes all premium processing applications adjudication by May 12 (15 calendar days from Apr 28)
  • USCIS continues to process non-premium processing cases once their premium processing applications load is down
  • USCIS starts sending out rejection letters to non-selected candidates

Some of these steps may happen in parallel, while some may happen sequential. Also, the timelines are based upon historical data and it is not possible to predict actual dates for this year.  For general info, you may also read  USCIS Processing time for Regular vs Premium

Who will get the case number ? Employee or Employer ?   Do I get an email ? Will I get a hard copy ?

Usually  the employer/ immigration attorney, who filed the H1B petition would receive the receipt number.  The employee will NOT get any email or hard copy of the receipt number from USCIS.  For selected premium processing petitions, an email with receipt number will be sent to the attorney and then followed by a hard copy in mail. For selected regular processing petitions, a hard copy of the receipt notice with receipt number is sent via standard mail.  Either case, nothing will be sent to the employee, it will always be sent to the employer/ immigration attorney.  Read about What USCIS H1B Case number means

Who will get the rejected application, not selected in lottery ? Employer or Employee ?

The employer/immigration attorney will get the rejected application that was not picked in the random computer generation process/lottery.  It should include the fee you sent as well, unless it was a duplicate filing by the employer for the same employee.

Did anyone receive H1B receipt Numbers for Premium processing ?

Yes, some of our readers have indicated that they received Premium processing case receipt numbers on Friday, April 11th, 2014.  Check the sample USCIS H1B 2015 email receipt.  There is no guarantee that everyone, who filed under premium processing, should receive the case numbers right away this week or in the next week. They may start to receive the case numbers anytime from now, nothing to panic that someone got it and you did not.

USCIS said April 28th  is when they will start the premium processing, How come some are receiving the case numbers and emails  ?

Here is the exact USCIS statement  “While the Form I-797 receipt notice indicates the date USCIS received the premium processing fee, the 15-day processing period set by 8 CFR 103.7(e)(2) will begin no  later than April 28, 2014. “.  If you read carefully, it says ‘NO LATER THAN April 28th “, which means that they will start the 15 day clock for premium processing by April 28th, does not mean they will start on April 28th.  So, technically USCIS can start the processing and send out receipt numbers for Premium processing any time before that as well. In fact, they have already since Friday April 11th.

When will I receive the H1B visa 2015 Case number, if I am selected ?  Regular vs Premium ?  

The premium processing cases selected, ideally should get receipt numbers by April 28th and a decision (approval or RFE) by May 12th ( April 28th + 15 calendar days)  as they are bound by 15 calendar day time limit.  For regular processing, ideally, you would receive the receipt numbers a little later. Last year, we have seen receipt numbers sent until late June. This year, we can expect it to be around the same or maybe a little late like early July, as the USCIS load has increased slightly ( Denying and returning more petitions )

How many Master’s degree petitions were received  ? What were my odds in lottery ?

Unfortunately, USCIS has not officially released any petition numbers received for the master’s degree quota. They have not release it last year too. If someone says a number, it is pure speculation. To calculate your odds in lottery, just use the 172,500. It may not be accurate, but gives you some baseline to know your worst case probability.

Does USCIS select more petitions than 85,000 as backup for denials ?

[Updated on April 21st, 2014 ]  USCIS did not release any official information for FY 2015 saying that they selected or wait-listed more petitions than 85,000 as backup to account for denials. Previously, in 2008 USCIS mentioned in their press release that they have  “wait-listed” some petitions to replace the denials, withdrawal petitions, etc.  But, for this FY 2015 quota, we don’t know.  If USCIS were to follow the same process like in 2008, they would have some “wait-listed petitions” put aside in FY 2015 as well. We just have to wait and see or hear from our users. No official information from USCIS on this.  

How do I know, if my employer really filed my case ?

Well, you have to trust your employer and get the information from him that your petition is filed. Usually, employers are upfront and keep you posted about this and send you the emails/hard copy scans from USCIS. You need to find this from your employer.

Can I know the details of my case from USCIS ? What are my choices ?

Well, this is a roundabout way. USCIS has Freedom of Information act , which can be used to get information regarding you file/case. This could take few months( 6 months ) as there are many requests.  But, there is no guarantee here as it is at the discretion of USCIS. Technically, the H1B petition filed is the employer property and you may not have full rights until you start to work for them legally on H1B. We have heard that some cases information was not disclosed. Again, it depends. Talk to an attorney for more clarification.

Can I upgrade my case to Premium processing without receipt number?

You need the USCIS H1B receipt number to upgrade your case to premium processing. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do, you need to wait for the case number.

I have not slept properly in couple of days, when will I receive my receipt number?

We understand that it can be very stressful period waiting for the petition receipt number and then for processing of the application.  Many of us have been in similar shoes and can empathize your pain. Unfortunately, there is nothing we all can do as it is not in our hands.  Please try to stay calm, focus your personal time on something that you enjoy or with your spouse/kids/friends. Do share your information with our readers on the blog, so all of our readers help each other. We plan to re-build our H1B Tracker with analytics, please post your case once you get the receipt number.

What are your thoughts ?  Did I miss anything  ?   Stay tune for more articles on H1B Visa 2015



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Comments ( 5,206 )

  1. Rikesh

    My employer did premium application and I just received my H1-B Receipt Number (WAC#). Does this mean my petition got selected in lottery? If yes, when do I expect if my application for H1-B got selected or rejected?

    1. administrator


      Yes, it has made through the lottery. Usually PP petitions are done within 15 calendar days. However, this time it could be done by May end (could be earlier also). Subscribe to your petition updates on USCIS site.

    2. Well Wisher

      Your employer is trying to fool you. The lottery (random selection process) for Fiscal year 2017 has not yet been conducted. How can they provide you with a receipt number without lottery being conducted until and unless your case has been filed in certain cap exempt category.

    3. Well Wisher


      You are right if you are in masters category and in PP then you attorney must have got email with receipt numbers today. For the rest of 65000 applied in PP will start getting emails tomorrow onward and can wait till 7 working days to get email receipt in case of PP.

  2. Tina

    Anyone information from Clearlite Inc regarding H1B petition?
    Not getting any response from Clearlite HR, does anyone filled their petition through clearlite ?

  3. JAGS


    I Got selected in lottery process and the status i received was Additional Evidence . after submitting documents, could you please suggest how long I have to wait for the results ?

  4. Deepak

    I received a mail from HR. That my H1B is been reject. Rejected case: CRNXXXXXXXXXX not selected in random process. Is this valid receipt number. Do we get valid receipt number for rejected cases if rejected in random process?
    How do i verify it was actually applied.

    1. administrator

      Well Deepak, You can ask them to send the copy of the reject notice. It has the petitioner info and the beneficiary details as well. You should see your name there, if they really applied. I do not think, there is a way to verify that online.

  5. Praveen kumar

    My emp says that receipt is picked in lottery but it is pending for enquiry and he is trying to respond them with USCIS ; what can be those scenarios and would he have known this early that it is picked up

    1. administrator

      Praveen, if it was picked, your employer would have received the case number. Does USCIS site status for your case show pending for enquiry ?

  6. Kartik

    I have submitted multiple applications and both my applications got picked up in the lottery.Please confirm what I should do now,will both my applications with be carried forward and sent for approvals or both of them get rejected.

  7. Bomber

    I received my notice receipt on 8th May. Vermont Centre(EAC) for regular processing. What is the next step? Does receiving a receipt means the case was picked in lottery and will be approved?

  8. Pavan Kulkarni

    Hello ,

    Fortunate thing that my petition for H1B -2015 is picked up in lottery . Can anybody explain me what would be the next steps ??

  9. Ram


    My company filled H1b visa for the year 2015.. May i know on which date i will be knowing whether my application is picked in lottery or not..

  10. akash

    My opt is expiring on april 28. My company is filing my h1b on april 1st.
    I think if my h1 is filed prior to the opt expirtation i can work. I read it in uscis page untill the application is recieved, approved, or pending…
    so if they dont send my employer the reciept number of h1b application untill april 28. what should I do then ,, will i have to quit my job then in that case,, please help

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