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H-1B Visa Petition Work Flow

Below is a high level description of H-1B work-flow, demonstrating how USCIS processes H-1B petitions:

  • Prospective employer obtains a certified Form ETA-9035 from the U.S. Department of Labor;
  • Prospective employer files USCIS Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, along with supplemental forms;
  • Prospective employer mails application package including supporting documents to USCIS, generally one of three Service Centers (Vermont, Nebraska or California);
  • USCIS may reject incomplete or improperly filed petitions;
  • If a petition is accepted, USCIS stamps it with the date of arrival and creates a case for future activities associated with this petition;
  • USCIS enters the beneficiary's biographical data (including name, birth-date, country of birth, etc.), as well as occupational and industry categories, into a case tracking system: Computer-Linked Application Information Management System (known as CLAIMS);
  • CLAIMS generates a unique receipt number (case number);
  • USCIS separates petitions into cap-subject and cap-exempt groups. For example, if you're already in H-1B status and are simply applying for an extension, your petition is not subject to the annual cap. Initial petitions in certain categories are also exempt from the cap;
  • A petition is then assigned to an adjudicator;
  • The adjudicator makes a decision to approve or deny the petition, or to request more information.
  • After completion, the case is either forwarded to USCIS records center in Harrisonburg, Virginia, for storage, or to Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky, if the beneficial is overseas and requires further consular processing.