H-1B Visa Status: How to Check Online
Checking Your H-1B Visa Status Online
If you’ve petitioned the U.S. government for an H-1B visa, you may be able to check your case online – and if you’re unable to do so, your attorney can keep tabs on your case for you. Here’s what you need to
When you apply for an H-1B visa, you can use the U.S. government’s online tool to check the status of your case. You may also ask your attorney about your case’s status, or you can call USCIS and check over the phone – but generally, it’s easier and faster to check online. All you need is your H-1B visa petition’s receipt number. The receipt number as a unique identifier containing 13 characters that USCIS provides you when you apply.
Where to Find Your H-1B Visa Receipt Number
Your 13-character H-1B visa receipt number is located on all notices of action you receive from USCIS related to your petition. In the vast majority of cases, the receipt number will start with one of these letter combinations:
The three-letter combination will be followed by a 10-digit number that’s unique to your case.
Finding Your H-1B Visa Status Online
After you find your receipt number, visit https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do. You can sign up for an account on the USCIS website before you check your status, which will allow you to access your case status and your history at any time. If you have other cases, you can check them there as well, all with the same login information. With an account, you can opt-in to updates through email or by text.
You do not have to set up an account to find your H-1B visa case status, however. You can enter your receipt number in the box provided.
H-1B Visa Status Categories
When you check your H-1B visa case status online, you’ll fall into one of these ten categories:
- Case Was Approved
- Case Was Approved, and Decision Was Emailed
- Case Was Received
- Case Was Received and Receipt Notice Emailed
- Decision Notice Mailed
- Error: Application Receipt Number Invalid
- Fees Will Be Refunded
- Name Was Updated
- Request for Additional Evidence Mailed
- Response to USCIS’s Request for Additional Evidence Received
Here’s a closer look at what each category means. If you see another category, don’t worry – simply call your immigration attorney to find out what it means. Your lawyer will be able to give you further insight.
Related: All about U.S. visas
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H-1B Visa Status Category #1: Case Was Approved
If you filed your application with regular processing, this status tells you that USCIS approved your case. It also means that USCIS mailed a notice saying your case has been approved to your employer or to your attorney.
H-1B Visa Status Category #2: Case Was Approved, and Decision Was Emailed
When you file your case under premium processing, you’re eligible for decisions by email rather than regular mail. Therefore, you’ll only see this status if you used premium processing – but it means that your case has been approved by USCIS.
H-1B Visa Status Category #3: Case Was Received
This status only applies to people who applied for an H-1B visa using premium processing, and all it means is that USCIS has received your petition; this is a receipt. No decision has been made yet. (If you didn’t use premium processing, you’ll receive a receipt in the regular mail.)
H-1B Visa Status Category #4: Case Was Received and Receipt Notice Emailed
Like many other statuses involving email, you’ll only see this notice if you used premium processing. USCIS only emails notifications when the applicant uses premium processing – without it, notifications come by mail. (And this status means you should check your email for your receipt.)
H-1B Visa Status Category #5: Decision Notice Mailed
Often, “Decision Notice Mailed” means that USCIS has denied your petition. However, that’s not always the case. If your petition is denied, watch the mailbox for your notice. Typically, these notices include your options. You may be able to appeal your case, and if you can, that information will be in your mailed notice.
H-1B Visa Status Category #6: Error: Application Receipt Number Invalid
You’ll only see this status message if you enter your receipt number incorrectly. Check your number and enter it again. If you’re sure you’re entering your receipt number correctly, call your attorney and ask him or her to check up on your H-1B visa status for you.
H-1B Visa Status Category #7: Fees Will Be Refunded
This status simply means that your employer or your attorney has paid extra fees that USCIS doesn’t require. It means that those additional fees are being returned to the person or entity that paid them, and it does not affect your case at all.
H-1B Visa Status Category #8: Name Was Updated
When USCIS updates the name on your case, you’ll see this notification when you check your H-1B visa status online. Unless you requested a name-change, you should contact your attorney – there could be a clerical error that will hold up your case.
H-1B Visa Status Category #9: Request for Additional Evidence Mailed
When USCIS needs more evidence for your case, you’ll see this notification in your online case status. Essentially, it means that the official reviewing your case needs more information before he or she can make a decision. USCIS cannot make a decision until it receives the additional requested information (the formal request is called a Request for Additional Evidence, or RFE), and you must provide that information before a certain date. (The date is listed on your RFE.) The RFE will go to your attorney or your employer.
H-1B Visa Status Category #10: Response to USCIS’s Request for Additional Evidence Received
If USCIS has mailed a request for additional evidence to your employer or attorney, you’ll see this status after the person handling your case for you has responded. This notification doesn’t necessarily mean that the person completed or fulfilled the request, though; it means that the person responded. Your employer or attorney may need to file additional documentation or provide supporting materials before USCIS can make a decision on your case.
What if Your H-1B Visa Case is Delayed?
Even if your case is delayed, you can monitor your H-1B visa status online. Remember, it can take several months for USCIS to issue a decision in your case; there may be a backlog of cases that officials must work through before they reach yours.
It’s a good idea to check your H-1B visa status online frequently. That way, if there is something holding up your case (such as a request for additional evidence), you’ll find out right away – and you can talk to your attorney about what you need to do to get it moving again.
Although there are several USCIS processing centers (and one right here in the Dallas area), the time it takes to make a final determination varies by office. You can check the average waiting time for your USCIS service center here.
Do You Need to Talk to an Attorney About Your H-1B Visa Status?
If you’re interested in applying for an H-1B visa, or if you’ve already applied and have questions, we may be able to help you. Call our office to schedule a free consultation with an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who can answer your questions today.