Will H1B Premium Processing Fees be Refunded?
H1B lottery season starts officially on April 1 and USCIS is accepting applications which are expected to be over-subscribed within 5 days i.e. by April 5, 2020.
USCIS will refund your premium processing fees if your H1B application is NOT selected in April lottery. Last year in April 2019, H1B premium processing was only available for H1B Change of status application. This year may be same. USCIS has not announced it yet.
Your employer’s attorney will probably also get email about H1B lottery selection earlier than regular applications.
F1 Student Filing H1B Change of Status Gap Cap
If you are filing first time H1B and are currently on F1 status, you are eligible for F1 Cap-Gap to cover your gap between F1 end date to Sep 30 automatically.
Remember, that cap-gap is only available for change of status if your current F1 status is expiring before Oct 1, which is the earliest date when H1B can start working.
Travel while H1B is Pending After Lottery Selection
You can travel while your H1B application is pending approval after it has been selected in Lottery. But, you would need a valid US visa (other than H1B) to re-enter USA.
Some people may have H4 visa or others may have F1 to come back to USA.
Please note that once you travel outside USA while your H1B is pending, USCIS may not approve your H1B with ‘Change of status‘.
Your H1B may just be approved with ‘Consular processing‘ which means that you will have to go out of USA, get H1B visa stamp and then enter USA.
You should understand the difference between Consular Processing and Change of Status.
H1B Transfer Before October 1st
If your H1B is approved before October 1st to start H1B job on Oct 1st, you can file H1B transfer to new employer on Oct 2.
Legally, you can file H1B transfer on Oct 1st as well, but USCIS may issue an RFE asking for previous H1B status which can only be proved if you actually were employed for at-least 1 day.
Your H1B employer from lottery is obligated by USCIS to withdraw your H1B petition once you have stopped working for them.
USCIS does not inform your employer about your H1B transfer.
US Masters Degree – 2 chances of Lottery Selection
The new H1B lottery changes will benefit US masters degree holders as they will get a second chance in the lottery for selection.
You can request a new I-120 from your school and extend your OPT if it is expiring before you even receive an H1B receipt by submitting valid H1B filing proof.
H1B filing Proof before Receipt generation:
- I-129 copy
- Fedex or Mailing service receipt
USA Work in USA - H1B, L Visa