Every year, more people apply to get the most popular U.S. work visa, the H1B. Being aware of such high demand, the U.S. Congress has set a visa limit of 85,000 visas each year.
The H1B applicants qualify for only 20,000, bringing even more competition in their acquisition. You mostly know the basics of getting an H1B visa if you’re reading this. You would want to know more about its processing activities upon receipt notice and receipt number.
This article covers all the H1B visa processing periods, the start date, and some likely obstacles you may encounter during processing.
What is the H1B Premium Processing Time?
The H-1B regular processing time refers to the duration visa applicants wait after submitting their required documents and petitions. If your visa is selected and processed, you will be eligible for an H-1B visa interview.
What are the Forms of H-1B Processing in the California Service Center?
As earlier mentioned, the U.S. authorities fully understand the high demand for the visa; hence, they established a long process for its application. They not only take long periods but must follow certain unique steps.
Essentially, there are three types of regular processing for visa applications, using the California service center as an example and they include:
- Normal H1B visa processing
- Premium H1B visa processing
- Expedited H1B visa processing
The USCIS assigns a particular period for processing H-1B visa petitions. This usually begins at the start of April and continues till the last week of October. By October, the fiscal year for USCIS starts and spans till September of the next year. After the petitions are processed and the case status is approved, foreign employees may resume work in October.
Usually, there is always a grace period (an extension) open for certain individuals who cannot meet up with this window. Applicants have to do everything within this extension to finalize their status.
Failure to meet up with this extension may not be good for you. When you seek legal services from an expert, you will understand what this extension period is, what needs to be done, and the appropriate department to do it.
How Long Does H-1B Approval Service Request Take?
Overall, the H-1B processing duration is typically about six months. This is exactly the period you will have to wait between the filling and your work start date. You will have a different waiting time if you’re not counted against the cap.
With a cap-exempt processing period, you can fill out a petition that is not under the H-1B cap. This gives you the potential opportunity for a shorter processing time. Not being subject to the H-1B cap means you will not also be subject to the long process and have to wait until October to start working.
To be sure, ask your immigration lawyer about cap-exempt petitions and how these cases vary from the usual application processes. You may also want to find out the current processing times, the mailing time for every approved status, and if there is any other thing to be done by the employer.
Why Is H-1B Processing Taking So Long?
Every step in the H-1B process has its processing duration which spans until approval is given. This can differ depending on many external factors. Such factors can include; the LCA processing period, the business of your USCIS service center, the cap window, and Requests for Evidence before approval.
These can all lead to dissimilarities in the H-1B processing time, which can prolong your H-1B processing before approval is eventually given. The most significant of this is the request for evidence.
Sometimes, the USCIS can have an issue with petitions during the H-1B process. Rather than straight-up denying your petition, you can be given a Request for Evidence (RFE). When your employer gets an RFE, there is a given duration in which you must respond or your petition will be denied.
Things that can cause an RFE to include:
- An insufficient job application
- A lack of qualification evidence
- A lack of proof that your sponsor oversees your daily tasks, salary, and employment status.
The more you understand your application, the more you will determine your processing time accurately. Hence the significance of an immigration lawyer to assist you every step of the way.
Check Case Processing Times
The USCIS publishes case processing times for particular forms and places to let individuals know how long it would take to process benefit requests. They also let people know when to file a service request for a case within normal processing periods.
To check case processing times, visit the USCIS website, where case processing periods are updated monthly with the latest available data. You will be given information that will help you read and accurately interpret the schedule on the website.
Current USCIS Processing Times of H-1B Visa Petitions for 2021
The normal H-1B visa processing duration is one month to 6 months. This also depends on the service center. For context, the California Service Center processes H-1B visas in an average of three and a half months.
At the same time, other centers may have processing times as long as twelve months. However, optimally your processing time should never exceed six months.
Processing Time for H-1B/E-3 Status
The H-1B E-3 status permits citizens of Australia to work in the United States in professional occupations. This visa sub-division is regulated by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS) and the Department of Labor (DOL).
However, the ISSS doesn’t guarantee processing times because the scheduling activities of the USCIS are highly variable and show differences each month. You can check the H-1B E-3 status processing times on the USCIS website.
Current H-1B Processing Time 2022 (Estimate Approval)
The current H-1B processing time has become much shorter than the standard periods. Usually, it could take up to six months or more to process petitions. Now, the normal processing time in a service center can take less than six months to process. However, this duration varies from center to center, and not all processing centers can keep up with this duration.
In some centers, you may enjoy premium processing on your service request when a receipt notice is entered. You may not enjoy that same premium processing in other centers even when a receipt notice is entered. Immigration services vary from one center to another, and the processing times set by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services for every center depend on how many applications come in.
H-1B Application Premium Processing Fee and Time
Depending on how each stage of your processing takes, the estimated processing time can be up to six months or less for your H-1B application to be completed. To ensure you have enough time to begin employment in October, it would be best to work backward from the H-1B window opening’s stated deadline in April to save on processing times, especially when filing in places like the Nebraska service center, Texas service center, or Vermont service center.
However, with premium processing or administrative processing for a government agency, you can get your application approved within fifteen days if the department is in a hurry to get the H-1B petition approved.
Usually, you can request premium processing for an H-1B case if you are an international student because premium is always placed on international students, especially when they have to meet up with their academic calendar.
Quick processing times come with a $2,500 fee, for which United States Citizenship and Immigration Services guarantees processing within 15 calendar days after reception of the payment and petition. If the petition is not resolved within 15 calendar days, the $2,500 fee is subject to a refund.
However, premium processing is not available for E-3 petitions. As much as you don’t want an attorney who charges excessively, it is best to go for one with several years of experience.
Please note that certain factors can affect processing times after the receipt of the notice by the USCIS. If it is taking longer than it should, you should contact an immigration attorney immediately to help address the delays.
If you are a university student in the US, you may have to provide the resumption date of the university for students and submit the same to USCIS. If you are an employee for a specialty occupation, you will need to fill out an advance form attaching every other document requested in the office or the site.
How Long Does It Take to Get an H1B Visa Petition Approved?
You can get your application within two to six months of submission to the department in charge of that provided you and your employer are in full compliance with the requirements of the department.
This often depends on several factors for an employer and employee that affect each processing stage of your petition. The processing stages, in turn, have their required duration for processing upon the receipt of a petition.
Regardless of how long the process takes from the commencement date, you can be sure (after taking the first step, obtaining the right forms, and receiving of necessary documents have been acknowledged) that it will be completed. If you have reasons why you want to expedite the process, you can visit the approved government websites to explain the same or fill out the requisite form provided on these websites.
However, when doing any of these online, you must ensure the websites and those of the government or approved agency. When you fill out a form on the wrong websites, you are exposing the details provided on such a form to scammers who clone these websites. This is also where hiring an attorney becomes necessary; they will ensure that either as employers or employees, you are dealing with the appropriate body.
Can Herman Legal Group Help You?
We understand how frustrating and exhausting the whole transfer process can be. As such, we recommend that you always work with an immigration attorney at all times. Herman Legal Group has over 26 years of experience in immigration services; we can help you with the application and transfer process. We can ensure every pending application is speedily attended to.
You can contact us today via Google Meet, Skype, WhatsApp, and Zoom. If it is more convenient for you, you can call us at +1-216-696-6170 to schedule an appointment to discuss your pending H-1B status or transfer processing. You can also book online to schedule a direct consultation with Richard Herman.
As long as you get all the needed documents, meet the visa requirements and fill out your petition correctly, you should get your visa status approved within six months by the appropriate department. Aside from external factors like the speed of different processing centers and the delays that may arise from improper documentation; it would help if you got your H-1B visa approved on time.