This article will provide you with detailed insight about:
Before reading about the H-1B case status, you may also familiarize yourself about the H-1B petition process.
An H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa category that allows a candidate to work in the United States. If you are planning to work in the U.S., you need to apply for an H1B visa at the USCIS. The visa petitions are always accepted annually by April 1st. After the applications are received on the government website, a few lucky applicants are selected randomly through a process known as the H1B visa lottery.
Read in detail about the H-1B visa lottery.
Regardless of whether you are selected or not selected, you will receive a reply from the USCIS, the government organization that heads the country's immigration and naturalization system. This reply is known as the H1B visa case status.
Why Is It Important To Maintain Your H1B Status?
If you want to legally hold a job and live in the US, you must maintain your H1b status. Every year, the USCIS issues only eighty-five thousand visas. Among these applications, about twenty thousand visas are issued to employees with master's or advanced degrees from a recognized U.S. college or university. This visa limit is called the H1B cap.
The H1B has a three-year validity period and can be renewed for a further one or three years. H-1B visa holders who wish to extend their stay in the country after six years must apply for a Green Card or employment-based Permanent Residence. Those employed by the Department of Defense may receive H-1B status for a maximum of ten years. H-1Bs can be restamped at any American Consulate or Embassy after receiving approval from the USCIS.
The H1B visa is a Golden Ticket that allows foreign non-immigrants to:
H1B Petition Status vs. H1B Case: What is the Difference?
The terms H1B Petition and H1B Case are used interchangeably and both have the same meaning. When applicants are selected in the H1B Lottery, they handover the complete application package to the USCIS. Submitting the H1B application is otherwise known as "Filing the H1B Petition".
Upon processing the H1B petition, the USCIS assigns the case number for the same. Applicants can use this case number to track the application status. The "H1B petition" is known as the "H1B Case" once the USCIS assigns ` the H1B receipt number. Therefore, both terms are interchangeable and have the same meaning.
When you apply for an H1B visa in the United States, the US government will provide you with an online tool. You can use this tool to check the H1B petition status. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will also give you an H1B receipt or case number. This is also known as the tracking number. Each tracking number will be unique and will be a 13-character identifier. You can always find these tracking numbers on the notices of action USCIS sends you. The receipt number will always start with three letters- like WAC, SRC, IOE, MSC, NBC, LIN, or EAC. These 3 letters stand for the name of the service center dealing with your H1B visa application. Following these 3 alphabets will be a unique 10-digit number.
Sign Up for an Account for Easy Access
You can easily check your H1B case status online by signing up for an account. It is not mandatory, but it can make things easier for you. You can simply sign in and check your USCIS case status and history. Also, you will get instant notifications on your phone and email from your account. However, if you are not interested in signing up for an account and checking the status online, you can skip it. All you need to do is to save the receipt number. You can go to https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do and check the status of your application using the tracking number.
Also Read : H1B Dependent Visa- A Detailed Insight
The waiting period between the H1B visa selection and USCIS case approval can make you anxious. To help you deal with it, we have curated a list of the most common case statuses and their meanings. So, the next time you check H1B case status, you will know what it means!
If your case gets approved, the USCIS will mail you a formal approval notice. The USCIS will simultaneously send the information to your attorney or employer too. The notice is usually mailed within a few weeks.
While applying for the H1B visa, you need to submit a few forms too. The USCIS will formally notify you along with a receipt notice once they receive the forms from you. It will further help you get an idea about your application's processing period.
Received Case and Emailed Receipt Notice
If you receive this visa status, it implies that your petition was chosen from the H1B lottery for premium processing, and the case has also been filed. Your employer or attorney will also be notified about the same through email.
Request for Additional Evidence(RFE)
An additional evidence request will be made by the official who is evaluating your application if they need extra information to arrive at a decision. The request will be directed to your attorney or employer, and it requires a response before a particular date. This date will be listed on the RFE. The USCIS will pause the processing of the request until they receive a response from the attorney or employer.
Also Read: An In-depth Guide to RFE H1B
The H1B Visa Status Tracking System
US Visa Applicants can use the USCIS e-Request Portal for the following services and case inquiries, namely:
You can use the e-Request Portal to make individual e-requests for the above-mentioned inquiries. While using the portal for H1B tracking, applicants must mention basic details such as:
You will receive a reply via email from the USCIS for all inquiries.
How To Track H1B Visa Application Status
Employers and employees can use the online platform to track H1B status. Once you submit your petition with the US Immigration Bureau, you can track the your H1B status online.
How to track H1B status? Read our blog, Ways to Check Your H1B Application Status, for a detailed understanding of the H1B status check procedure.
Response to USCIS' Request for Additional Evidence Received
You will be receiving this status only if the USCIS sent you an RFE and your employer/attorney responded on time. This status implies that your employer/attorney has filed the extra supporting materials and documents. But, this status does not imply that the USCIS has received all the required information. They might still need more information to make a decision.
Case was Approved, and Decision was Emailed
This status is only sent if your case was filed under premium processing. If you receive this status, it implies that your case was approved.
Decision Notice Mailed
Remember that not every H1B application will get approved. Usually, the USCIS will issue an RFE, review the evidence and then take the decision. In case the USCIS is not convinced with the supporting documents, they will mark the status as "Decision Notice Mailed." This indicates that your H1B petition is denied. The USCIS will provide reasons for the denial and also offer you options ( like appeal) to move your petition again.
Name Was Updated
If you receive this status, it implies that your name was updated. It may be due to a simple clerical error. But, it is always better to check with your attorney and confirm that you have not raised a request to the USCIS to change your name on the case.
Fees Will be Refunded
This status implies that your employer or attorney had filed extra fees for the case application. Hence, USCIS will be returning the extra money to whoever paid it.
Error: Application Receipt Number Invalid
In case you entered the wrong receipt number, you will receive this error status. You can check the tracking number and try again.
If your H1B application is approved, the USCIS will send an approval notice to your employer. The same approval notice will be forwarded to you as well so that you can produce it at the visa office during the visa interview and stamping process.
If H1B Visa Case Status is Denied
Though the words "denial" and "rejection" mean the same, the meaning will change drastically in the immigration scenario. If your visa application is "rejected," it simply means that there is an error in the fee payment or filing process. You can get it corrected and forward the application again.
But, if your H1B visa application is "denied," it means that either you or your employer is not qualified for an H1B. You or your employer will have to correct the reasons and then file a new I-129. You have to ensure that the previous issue is completely sorted before making a new application.
Usually, an H1B visa is refused or denied if the employer sponsoring your H1B visa does not appear to be established, real, and has the capacity to hire and pay an H1B employee.
If H1B Visa Petition Status is Delayed
Usually, the entire process of reviewing and determining your visa petition status will take months to complete. You can keep monitoring the status online or do the status check using your phone. Your immigration lawyer can help to review the H1B status and get speed up the review process.
1. Can I use the USCIS website to track the H1B Case status?
Yes, it is possible to track the status. To do so, you should also have acquired the H1B Case Number from your employer.
2. What can I do if my employer won't give me my H1B case number? Do I have other options?
Unfortunately, there are no other possibilities to obtain your H1B Case Number because it is your employer's or your attorney's responsibility to share it with you. Unless they share it with you, you don't have much of a chance. However, most employers do not withhold information from H1B applicants.
3. Is it possible to get the H1B receipt number or case number from LCA?
Unfortunately, there are no possibilities of getting the H1B case number from the LCA.
4. If my employer fails to share the H1B receipt number, can I sue them?
Unfortunately, suing your employer for withholding your H1B receipt number is not an option because your H1B Petition is your employer's property since they file it and bear the expenses on your behalf. Hence, filing a lawsuit against them will not provide you with its details.
5. I received the H1B receipt number from my employer, not the receipt notice. How will I find out if the number belongs to me?
To know if the H1B receipt number is yours, you should refer to your H1B receipt notice, which has the applicant's name. USCIS's online status will not reveal details about the applicant.
Now that you are familiar with the terms, you won't have any trouble understanding your H1B visa petition status. Visit TechFetch H1B for every information you need to help you sail through the immigration process.
**Disclaimer: H1B rules and regulations keep changing from time to time. For the latest updates, always refer to the USCIS official website.**