FAQs for Clients
Below are some commonly asked questions and general responses for employment-based petitions. If you are the beneficiary of a petition filed by one of our corporate clients and you have further questions for us, please contact your employer’s HR department so they connect with us.
Question 1: How long will it take for my H-1B case to be filed?
Answer 1: We generally expect to have the case ready on our end within 10 business days of receiving the LCA details and Beneficiary Information Sheet. We will need to ensure that we have a complete set of supporting documents to the extent possible, so we will work with your employer to get the petition in the best possible shape before filing it. The exact timeframe depends on when your employer provides us all required signatures and checks. We will inform your employer when your case is filed.
Question 2: What is my receipt number?
Answer 2: We will inform your employer on the day that we receive the receipt notice, which should generally be within one week of mailing under premium processing, or two weeks under regular processing. Meanwhile, if you want to know whether the case has reached USCIS, your employer may request the tracking number.
Question 3: When can I expect an update on my case?
Answer 3: For cap-exempt cases filed under Premium Processing, you can expect either an update (either approval or Request for Evidence) within 15 calendar days of USCIS receiving the petition. For regular processing cases, please refer to this page for processing times by Service Center:
Please note that these are approximate time frames and individual case times vary.
Question 4: Can the attorney mail me my original receipt notice? I need it to apply for a driver’s license or other benefit.
Answer 4: We do not mail original receipt notices. As of April 2, 2012, USCIS prints receipt notices on plain white paper; our policy is therefore only to scan the notice to your employer since it will look exactly the same as the original. You can print out this USCIS release for the DMV or other administrative office for their reference: http://www.uscis.gov/forms/form-i-797c-notice-action
Question 5: Why is the online case status blank, still in the acceptance or initiation phase, or showing a strange message?
Answer 5: The information at https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/Dashboard/CaseStatus.do is not 100% accurate. Sometimes USCIS does not enter the case status at all, and other times the case status becomes unavailable, or says something inaccurate. These are system glitches that could mean there is some sort of update on the case. The only official information is correspondence mailed by USCIS to our office or the employer’s office. We will let you know when we receive notification.
Question 6: Can we follow up to find out what is happening with my case?
Answer 6: The beneficiary of an H-1B or I-140 petition cannot follow up directly with USCIS. Only the petitioner (ie your employer) or the attorney’s office is able to contact USCIS about the case. The attorney’s office will follow up through a service request only if the case is outside normal processing times posted at:
Please note that it can take about 15 days to hear back from USCIS following a service request, and they often simply indicate that the case is under processing and they will inform us when there is an update. You may request your employer to upgrade the case to Premium Processing if the case is urgent.
Question 7: Why was my H-1B request only approved for one year?
Answer 7: We always try to request three years of H-1B status where it’s feasible. It is at the discretion of USCIS whether to approve the case for the full period requested. If they are not convinced by the totality of the evidence provided that there is specialty occupation work available for three full years, they might only approve it for one year or even less. This often occurs when there is not a client letter confirming a three-year project.
Question 8: Why was my case approved without an I-94?
Answer 8: We generally file the case requesting approval with an I-94 if you have been maintaining valid status up until the requested start date of the new petition, with no plans to depart the US in between in the case of a change of status. If it was requested with I-94 and received without one, it’s possible that USCIS was not persuaded that you maintained status in between. It is discretionary for USCIS to approve the case with or without an I-94. If your case was approved without an I-94, you can discuss with your employer if there is a possibility to amend it to obtain an I-94, or if you will need to leave the US for visa stamping.
Question 9: What documents do I need for visa stamping?
Answer 9: You need your original I-797 Approval Notice and your original passport, degrees, and transcripts. You should take along copies of your I-129 and LCA for reference. You should also bring a project description for what you are working on, whether it is an in-house project description, or updated vendor/client letters and contracts relating to an off-site project. If you have already been working for your employer, it will help if you take your latest pay stubs and W-2 forms as well for verification. Please review the website of the consulate where you are obtaining stamping for more specific instructions and to book your visa appointment.
Question 10: I received a 221(g) for administrative processing. What does this mean?
Answer 10: When the consulate needs more time or more documentation to approve the visa, or they refuse it on some grounds, they issue a form 221(g). If specific documents are requested, you should contact your employer to coordinate putting together the requested documents and responding to the 221(g). If the form merely indicates that the case is under administrative processing, you just need to wait until the consulate provides a further update. Sometimes the consulate/Department of State just needs more time to review the case or do background checks. You can contact your employer to have us follow up if more than 30 days pass after issuance of the 221(g).