Important Notice for H-1B Visa Holders

New step involved (PIMS) which could result in delays – please plan accordingly if you are renewing or obtaining an H-1B visa

Requirement for Petition Approval to be in PIMS

According to an unofficial copy of an 11/13/2007 DOS cable obtained by AILA but not yet posted to the public, before issuing an H, L, O, P, or Q visa consular posts must now first verify the approval of the underlying petition though the CCD in a new report called “PIMS” (Petition Information Management Service), even if the visa applicant has a paper Form I-797 approval notice. Consulates are therefore no longer accepting I-797 as primary evidence of approval for H, L, O, P, Q visas. Approval must be in PIMS database before visa can be granted. If not in PIMS, DOS must confirm with CIS

Under this system, a paper Form I-797 approval notice can be used to schedule an appointment, but may not be sufficient proof for granting the H, L, O, P, or Q visa, if the consulate does not also find the petition approval information in the CCD PIMS report.

The cable instructs posts that cannot find petition approval information in the CCD, to e-mail the Kentucky Consular Center’s (KCC) Fraud Protection Unit (FPU), which will “research approval of the petition and, if able to confirm its approval, make the details available through the CCD within two working days.”