Have you received the receipt notice for petitions selected in the H-1B lottery? If you did, now begins the waiting time for your H-1B approval.
Till date, there is no confirmed time for receiving the approval notice corresponding to the petitions selected in the H-1B lottery. This period usually varies based on the category in which your petition is filed. However, in the previous fiscal year, few applicants have received approval notices from the last week of May. This means one may expect H-1B approvals from the last week of May during this year too.
Here is an analysis derived from the experiences of previous years, which can clear your confusions about the approval time.
The approval time for your petitions selected in the H-1B lottery varies mainly with the type of processing chosen.
Premium Processing for the H-1B Visa is a service provided by the Department of Homeland Security (USCIS) that offers 15-day processing time of the petition.
This 15 calendar day period will begin once the USCIS receives the premium processing petition.
If your petition is in premium processing and you aren’t issued an RFE (Request For Evidence), you will most probably receive an approval notice mail by the first week of June.
If your petition is in premium processing and you are issued an RFE, you should submit the RFE response to the USCIS at the earliest. Once USCIS receives the response it takes an additional 15 calendar days to process your petition and give the approval.
If your petition is in regular processing and an RFE is not issued, you can expect an approval notice before October. USCIS may issue approval notices at least for the Masters cap petitions, if not for all. This is because USCIS tries to complete the processing of master cap petitions before October, as the cap-gap extension ends on 30th September for STEM OPT candidates.
If you are issued an RFE under regular processing, you are responsible for submitting the RFE response to the USCIS. As the approval time of your petition depends on how quickly you respond to the RFE, it is advisable to respond at the earliest.
You may receive an approval notice for your petition about 60 days from the day USCIS receives the RFE response. So there is a possibility that the approval time period can last till November or December in some cases.
As USCIS is not following any order in processing the petitions, no one can determine the exact time taken for approvals. However, all the above mentioned time periods are based on previous years’ experiences, which may sometimes vary.
We know this is a very nervous period for you and we hope that you will get through it successfully. Let us know when you have received the approval notice of your petition.