In order to be able to qualify for an H-1B non-immigrant U.S work visa, you must be a professional and possess extraordinary abilities due to your advanced training and education. After you obtain the H-1B visa you can work in the U.S for a maximum of six years.
People that like to be employed in the U.S for a specific period of time, H-1B visa is their most popular choice. Higher salary and gaining international experience are the two main factors for working in the U.S.
The individuals who want to get an H-1B visa must know that the process for application starts with the employer. The first step for the U.S employer is to petition the U.S government to get permission to hire a foreign worker. To follow all the necessary requirements for obtaining the visa, we compiled them for you on the H-1B visa article.
The opportunity to apply for an American Green Card is one of the many benefits of the H-1B visa. To find more details about the Green Card, please visit H-1B to Green Card article.
However, there are few steps before you can qualify to apply for H-1B visa. After you and your employer have obtained the Form I-707 or Labor Certification and the USCIS petition of the Form I-129 has been approved, you will be able to apply for the visa. After all these necessary steps, you must attend an interview in the U.S Embassy where you applied, where you will find out if your visa application is approved or not.
If the application is successful and you are granted an H-1B visa, the next step is to apply for the H-1B visa stamping. In this article, we will dig deeper into this procedure.
What is the H-1B Visa Stamping?
The last step before you can go to the U.S is the H-1B visa stamping. When you enter the U.S, you must undergo security clearance from U.S Immigration. The officers will do the following:
Check Your Documents
It is important to know that the U.S immigration will decide if you are allowed to enter the U.S. Having a visa will not guarantee that you will be allowed to enter the U.S. This is why all the procedures are followed by the U.S immigration when you enter the country, and they will extensively check all your documents in order to see whether or not you fulfilled all the necessary requirements.
Ask You Questions
The main interest of the officers will be to know why you are in the U.S and what will you be doing there. They will ask you questions about your stay in the U.S and you must answer as best you can. They will conduct a more extensive interview or the worst case scenario they will send you back home if they suspect that you are not giving the right answers or you are hiding something.
Check Your Belongings
Extensive control of your luggage is a must. All your belongings will be scanned by the officers, in order to ensure you have not brought anything that is forbidden by U.S rules or any illegal substances or objects. It is best for you to know all the rules about what you are forbidden to carry with you on your travel to the country. If the officers suspect something in your belongings, they will conduct a more extensive inspection and go through them.
After all these steps are completed successfully, the Immigration officers will grant you the ability to enter the U.S without any problem. Form I-94 will be provided to you with dates of entry as well as the expiration of your visa. However, firstly the officials will check if you have a U.S stamp in your passport.
The visa stamp in your passport will guarantee that you have gone and completed all application procedures successfully and that the U.S Embassy in your country has decided that you fulfill the requirements to enter the U.S. In the case of H-1B, it means that the U.S Embassy, the Department of Labor as well as USCIS have unanimously decided to allow you to work there.
If you don’t have a U.S stamp in your passport, the U.S Immigration officers would not even go through security checks as you will be entering the country illegally. You will be rerouted home immediately.
When to Apply for H-1B Visa Stamping?
You must be aware that there are timing rules as to when you can apply for the stamp. You will be at risk of not getting a stamp if you decide not to follow the timing rules and apply earlier or later. For those who hired an attorney to go through the application for H-1B visa, they should know best when to complete these procedures. So, for H-1B Visa stamping questions you can ask your attorney of the U.S Embassy where you are applying.
You will be given a document which states your beginning employment date by a U.S employer once you are hired. This date will help you when you should apply for the H-1B visa stamping. The general rules are that you should apply 90 days before you have to begin working in the U.S.
So, if your employment starting date is on August 1st, you can apply for the visa at the beginning of May. It is advised to apply as soon as you are eligible, and do not postpone the procedure since processing times vary from country to country and the U.S Embassy might not get you the stamp on time.
H-1B Visa Stamping Documents
You must fulfill these criteria in order to qualify for H-1B visa stamping:
- Possess valid passport – Your passport must be valid for 6 more months after your H-1B visa expires. Be advised that you should apply for a new passport if it expires earlier than your visa before you apply for H-1B visa
- Successful medical examination – As in any visa, it is necessary for you to undergo a medical examination that will be signed by a licensed doctor covering all the check-ups that are required by the U.S Embassy. This will prove that you are healthy and in good condition to work.
You must submit a complete set of documents before you can get your visa stamp:
- One photograph taken within the last six months
- The USCIS approval through Form I-797
- The original visa petition through Form I-129
- A completed DS-156 Form which must be signed by the applicant
- A completed DS-157 Form
- Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor
- Letter from your U.S employer with details about your job position, salary, and job description
- Company information of your US employer with photographs, address, prospectus, brochures, and annual report
- Your resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
- Your current address in your home country
- Bank statements for the last three months
- Receipts that you have paid all applicable fees
- Your Social Security Number (if you already have one)
- Letters from previous employers to prove your work experience
- Diplomas and certificates of your academic qualifications
Be aware that U.S Embassies around the world might require more documents besides these. It is best if you contact them and ask them if you need to provide them with more documents and also consult with your attorney.
When Can I Enter the U.S With an H-1B Visa Stamp?
Only after you completed all the necessary steps and submitted all the required documentation, the U.S Embassy could decide to give you the H-1B visa stamp. If you get the stamp through, you might ask yourself when you can enter the U.S with that stamp.
You will be allowed to enter the country after you obtained the H-1B visa only 10 days before you start working. This is supported by rule in the U.S. You can find your date when you start working on your Form I-797 which proves that your USICS petition was approved.
So, after getting your stamp, you can start the procedure of booking your flight to the U.S but must be within the 10 days’ timeframe. Be aware that the U.S immigration will not allow you to enter the country if you ignore the 10-day rule. So if your date is set on August 1st, you cannot enter the U.S if you go before July 22nd.
H-1B Visa Re-Stamping
After your H-1B is expired and you applied for a new one and it is approved, you would have to get your passport re-stamped. This procedure cannot be done within the U.S. This means that when you stay in the U.S, whether you are getting the H-1B for the first time or you are getting it renewed, you cannot complete the stamping procedure in the U.S Consulate within the U.S.
Re-stamping your H-1B visa is completed the same as before, except that the consulate might ask for some additional documents, which they determine. You must exit the U.S and enter another country, which is advised to be your home country in order to get your H-1B visa re-stamping.
H-1B Visa Stamping Rejection
Your H-1B visa stamping might be rejected by the U.S Embassy. This can occur under different reasons, such as missing documents or the request for additional documents.
You will not be allowed to enter the U.S if your visa stamp is rejected. So, it is best for you to not purchase your travel tickets before you get the stamp since you will be stopped at the port of entry and the U.S immigration officers will reroute you to your home country.
The only thing that can be done is reapplying for the visa stamping process again to get an appointment. You should make sure that you have all the documents and requirements fulfilled from the previous rejection if you want the process to be completed successfully. Consulting with your attorney will be a wise decision in order to get help with your documents.