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Approval and Notification

When the H-1B petition is approved, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will mail a Form I-797, Notice of Approval to International Services. If the H-1B employee is outside of the United States, USCIS will send notification of the approval to the U.S. consulate where the employee intends to apply for the H-1 visa. IS will mail original approval notice to the H-1B employee, and he/she will then present the I-797 to the U.S. consulate in order to obtain a visa.

If the H-1B candidate is already in the United States and is changing from another nonimmigrant status (F-1, J-1, etc.), the approval notice will include an attached Form I-94, which will serve as evidence of H-1B classification, but will not automatically grant the employee an H-1B visa. If the employee leaves the United States after obtaining H-1B status, in order to be readmitted to the U.S., he/she must apply for and obtain an H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. consulate.

When expedited processing is utilized, the Premium Processing Unit at the USCIS California Service Center will send an e-mail notification to IS after the petition has been approved. IS will normally receive the hard copy of the H-1B approval notice within 5-7 working days after the email notification.

Note: The H-1B employee will not be allowed to begin employment until the hard copy of the H-1B approval notice has been received and the employee’s Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification has been completed or updated.