When you apply for an H-1B visa in the United States, the government provides an online tool you can use to check the status of your case. You can also contact your attorney or check your petition’s status by phone – but for most people, using the online tool is much easier (and faster).
How to Check Your H-1B Visa Status Online
To check your H-1B visa status online, you’ll need your receipt number. Your receipt number is a unique, 13-character identifier that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services gives each person who applies for a visa. You’ll find your receipt number on notices of action you receive from USCIS. Usually, the receipt number begins with three letters (such as EAC, WAC, LIN, SRC, NBC, MSC or IOE). After the letters, you’ll find a 10-digit number.
When you have your receipt number for your visa petition, visit https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do.
Should You Set Up a USCIS Account?
You can sign up for an account on USCIS’s website before you check your case status. For many people, signing up for an account makes things easier; you can sign in and access your case status and history at any time. In fact, if you have other cases, applications or petitions, you can check them all from one central location – and you can view your entire case history. When you have an account, you can get case updates sent to your email and your phone, too.
Checking Your H-1B Visa Status Online Without an Account
You don’t need an account to check your H-1B visa status online. All you need is your receipt number. Simply enter your receipt number in the box provided. (See below.)
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What if Your Petition’s Review is Delayed?
While USCIS’ review and determination of your petition may take months, you can monitor your H1B Visa status online, or even check in by phone. There can be delays and an immigration lawyer can help by reviewing the H1B Visa status and possibly get a delayed application progressing again.
The USCIS operates several processing centers. In Texas, the USCIS Service Center happens to be located in the Dallas area. The time until final determination varies among the offices. You can check on the typical waiting time of your particular USCIS service center by visiting the USCIS Processing Time website. The site shows in real-time how long the processing of each classification of visa petitions is taking.
What Are The H1B Visa Status Levels?
When you check your H-1B visa status online, you will see one of several possible H1B visa status conditions. These are:
- Case Was Received and Receipt Notice Emailed. This status means that the petition with this case number was chosen from the lottery for premium processing and the case has been filed – and that the attorney or employer has received a confirmation through email.
- Case Was Received. The USCIS only emails receipt notices for premium processing applications, so you’ll only see this status with premium processing. If your H-1B visa petition was filed with regular processing, you’ll receive a receipt notice through the mail.
- Request for Additional Evidence Mailed. If you see this notice, it means that the official evaluating your case needs more information to make a decision. The actual request is called a Request for Additional Evidence, or RFE. That request goes to the employer or the attorney on the case, and the request requires a response before a certain date (the date is listed on the RFE). USCIS will not continue processing the case until it receives a response from the employer or the attorney.
- Response to USCIS’ Request for Additional Evidence Received. You’ll only see this status if USCIS mailed a request for additional evidence and your employer or attorney has responded. The status simply means that someone answered the request – not necessarily that it was completely fulfilled. It means that the employer or attorney filed additional documentation or supporting materials, but that doesn’t mean that USCIS has all the information it needs to make a decision on your case; the agency might still need more information.
- Case Was Approved, and Decision Was Emailed. You’ll only see this status if your case was filed under premium processing. Remember, USCIS only emails notifications for those cases; otherwise, it sends correspondence through the regular mail. If you see this status, it means that your case was approved.
- Case Was Approved. If your application was filed under regular processing, this status means your case was approved and that USCIS has mailed a notice to your employer or attorney.
- Decision Notice Mailed. This often indicates that USCIS has denied a petition. In these cases, USCIS provides reasons for denial – and often includes options (such as an appeal) you may be able to use to get your petition moving forward again.
- Error: Application Receipt Number Invalid. If you enter your receipt number incorrectly, you’ll get this error. You should check your receipt number and try again.
- Name Was Updated. This status means that USCIS updated the name on your case. It could be a simple clerical error, but it’s best to check with your attorney if you haven’t asked USCIS to change your name.
- Fees Will be Refunded. If you see this status, it means that the employer or your attorney has filed extra fees that USCIS doesn’t require – and that the fees are being returned to the person who paid them. It doesn’t impact your case, so don’t worry!
About Work Visas in the United States
Visas issued for entry to work in the United States are divided into several categories. One group is the H-1B category that permits college graduate-level, non-immigrants to work for up to six years in the United States in specialized positions. These jobs require technical expertise in fields like information technology, accounting, engineering, mathematics, medicine, and more. In many situations, U.S. companies are unable to find a sufficient number of U.S. citizen candidates and must look elsewhere for individuals with these capabilities.
The H-1B Visa Cap
According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the limit for H-1B Visas granted annually stands at 85,000 per year with 20,000 of those allocated for Masters or higher level degree recipients. Petitions for an H-1B visa, Form I-129 (Petition for a Non-Immigrant Worker) that are subject to the 2018FY cap will be accepted as of April 3, 2018.
Once the petition is initially reviewed and accepted at the USCIS office, the agency sends a Form I-797, Notice of Action, permitting the case to proceed. The notice assigns a 13-digit Receipt Number to use as your reference in the future.
Alternatively, if the petition has been completed incorrectly or another problem exists, you may receive notice that your request has been rejected. Petitioners can reapply, making sure they have followed instructions precisely, so the case may proceed through the review process.
If you are an employer in need of workers with specific education and specialized skills, you may be asking: “Should I find an immigration attorney near me to improve my chances of getting an H-1B Visa?” The answer is a definite “yes.” Advice and assistance from a professional immigration attorney near me can improve the acceptability of the petition and monitor the progress.
About Davis & Associates:
Davis & Associates is the immigration law firm of choice in Houston & North Texas including Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Frisco, McKinney and surrounding areas. Their attorneys provide expert legal counsel for all aspects of immigration law, including deportation defense, writs of habeas corpus and mandamus, family-sponsored immigration, employment-sponsored immigration, investment immigration, employer compliance, temporary visas for work and college, permanent residence, naturalization, consular visa processing, waivers, and appeals. Attorney Garry L. Davis is Board Certified in Immigration and Nationality Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.
Dallas Contact Info:
Address: 17750 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75252
Houston Contact Info: Address: 6220 Westpark Dr, Suite 110, Houston, TX 77057
Phone: (832) 742-0066