How how is the chance that premium processing will take LESS than 15 days?

Hey Saurabh,

I (a German citizen who graduated last year) am currenlty working for a larger private sector company in Washington DC under my OPT. The company will file my H1B application on April 1.

I thought I would be allowed to travel outside of the US until my OPT expires (June 24), and then no longer between June 24 and October 1 because I want to continue working in the US during the summer under the cap-gap extension.

But yesterday my lawyer told me that I am not supposed to leave the country in the period between April 1 (when my H1B application is filed) and the time that my Visa has been officially approved either.

Unfortunately, however, I have booked a 1-week holiday leaving the US on Friday April 26, assuming I could not leave during the summer, so I still wanted to take a holiday now. Anyway, I asked this my lawyer as well, but I would be super happy for a 2nd opinion:

My idea is to pay the 1225$ for advanced processing. Do you think there is a FAIR chance that I will have my confirmation by April 26 already if I do so? Has USCIS the tendency to always use the full 15 calendar days to give you an answer under premium processing OR do they also give approval faster than that sometimes, let’s say within just 10 days? Have you heard about such cases?

I guess I am trying to decide here whether I should definitely cancel my holiday that is supposed to leave on Friday, April 26 already, hoping that this way I may still be able to get some money back, or maybe take a risk (I did not spend that much money on the flights) and just hope that I might already get an answer by April 25 with the advanced processing fee… So then I would still be able to leave for my holiday the day after…

Thank you so much for your help, I would really appreciate your insight and opinion on this.


There will be thousands of petitions filed w/ premium processing in April. Some of them will get processed within 1-2 days (USCIS will start PP from April 15) and others may take up to 15 calendar days. If RFE is issued, then it will defnitely run into May or later.

How long can you hold on to that ticket? If you want to take the risk, then wait until 25h and if nothing happens then cancel the ticket. If you can reschedule the trip to a later, that will allow more breathing room.

Also, let your DSO know about your travel plans and get the I-20 endorsed for travel.