As soon as you get H1B approval, most of you are curious to know: “when can I apply for visa stamping and when can I enter US” . I have seen many people ask this question and the reality is, people on internet just give their own version of answers. Personally, I think it is hard to believe for me those statements by someone unless I see the references or I know them that they are professional. Anyways, I did some research on this and here are the answers with references.
How early can you apply for H1B visa stamping after petition approval ?
[Updated 6/13/2011 – Thanks to Saurabh for reporting the changes ! ]
As per VFS Agency Working Visa FAQ, which provides online visa appointment bookings in India for US embassies, they say you should apply at least 2 to 3 months before.
Q.8 My H1B Employment Petition (USCIS Form I-797) shows an employment start date. How early can I apply for an H1B visa at the Consulate?
Ans You can apply for an H1B visa up to 90 days in advance beginning of employment status as noted on the form I-797, Notice of Action, however your entry to the US is restricted to 10 days prior to the start date as noted in the Form I-797 unless you are already working on an H1B visa and have applied for a revalidation.
Summary: When to apply for H1B visa stamping after approval ?
[Updated 6/13/2011] VFS is the primary service provider for bo oking appointments and one should follow their recommendation. As per their recommendation, you can apply for H1B visa stamping only 90 days prior to your H1B employment start date. So, if your start date is October 1st for H1B visa status, you can apply for visa stamping anytime after July 1st . To avoid last minute delays, start your visa stamping process in early July.
Also, as the information has changed recently, Please call the US Consulate or visa service provider like VFS ask them for clarification and confirmation… because, rules keep changing and it may vary slightly depending on state and country.
When can you enter US on H1B visa after Visa stamping ?
Luckily, there are not many variations of answers here and no need to debate. You can enter US only 10 days before the start date on your I-797 petition. i.e., say if your start date is October 1st, you can only enter US on or after September 20th on H1B visa. You can read the above VFS Agency FAQ, also below…
Check at US Embassy from Chennai H1B rights
You may not enter the United States more than 10 days prior to the petition validity date.
Hopefully you are clear now as the answers are from US Govt websites.
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