First time H1B visa stamping Canad Mexico Bahamas

Change of Status or first time H1B visa stamping Canada or Mexico? H4 to H1B, F1 to H1B etc ? Go to Home Country for visa Stamping?

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 767 Comments

Note
This article was written in 2010 and some info may NOT be accurate. Please check the respective websites of US consulates for current information.

With the Latest New H1B visa petition rules of 2011 quota, getting H1B approval notice from USCIS is one hurdle and then getting H1B visa stamping is another big hurdle. This article explains few scenarios and helps you throw some information about visa stamping in Canada, Mexico, Bahamas or your Home country. This article assumes you are in US on a visa and did a change of status to H1B visa and worked in US or plan to work in US after re-entering US.

Info on Change of Status(COS) from F1 to H1B , H4 to H1B, L1 to H1B, etc.

If you are in US on F1 visa, L1 Visa, H4 visa or any other visa and apply for H1B visa through a H1B visa sponsoring employer and get H1B approval notice and if you start working or you intend to start working after you leave US and re-enter US, you will need to get your H1B visa stamping done. The sentence seems confusing; bottom-line if you leave USA without any H1B visa stamping and re-enter US on H1B status then you need to have H1B visa stamped to work in US.  You can keep working in US  and do a Change of status without getting visa stamping done as long as you do not leave the country and try to re-enter.  If you are in US you have few options either get visa stamping in a neighboring country like Canada or Bahamas.

Why Cannot you go for First time H1B visa stamping to Mexico ?

You cannot go to Mexico for first time H1B visa stamping or any kind of Change of Status. You can only go to Mexico for renewals only. People used to be able to get change of visa stamped before( I got my first H1B in Mexico too), but NOT now.     The Mexican Immigration website of Tijuana and Matamoros clearly says that Third Country nationals(TCNs) cannot apply for change of status visa stamping.

Here is exactly what it says in immigration website of Tijuana

“ Who Can Apply in Mexico

  • TCN Applicants residing in the United States, seeking to renew their visa in any category except B1/2 (tourist/business) or H-2 (temporary or seasonal workers). A spouse or dependent children may apply with the principal visa holder if the principal meets the criteria above.  A renewal is a case where an applicant for the same type of visa is made and does not include persons who seek to change from one visa category to another or who are seeking any other type of “change of status” even if that change has been authorized by the Department of Homeland Security.”

Please read “Who can Apply in Mexico” Section in the immigration websites below.

Can you go to First time H1B visa stamping in Canada ?

This is a very confusing question for everyone, can we go to Canada then for first time H1B visa stamping. The reality is, there is no rule or any condition written anywhere just like on US Mexico Consulate website on US Canadian Consulate general website. The consulate general website mentions that H1B visa holder required documents and puts in a clause at the end : “Consular officers in Canada may refuse to issue a visa to H-1B applicants if their education and /or work experience is solely or predominantly from a country other than the U.S. or Canada”

What they are trying to say is it can create issues if you have full education or experience in your Home country. This is a typical case for L1 to H1B conversion or H4 to H1B visa conversion people. It is a caution to someone who did not study in US or work in US to avoid if you can.

Please read the below

Can you go to First time H1B Visa stamping in Bahamas ?

Yes you can. There is no rules as of now like Mexico.  I know few of my friends who went to Bahamas for Visa stamping last year. One went for F1 to H1B visa and other for L1 to H1B visa. They had to get Bahamas visa to go there too.  You should call the Bahamas Embassy under the new rules they mention on their site before you book an appointment.  You can read the details below

Summary: Where to go Canada, Mexico, Bahamas or Home Country for first time H1B visa stamping or Change of status?

As you cannot go to Mexico, it is out of picture. Next option is for Canada, see it is risky in Canada if you do not have US education or experience in US as they clearly mention on consulate site of Canada. Personally, Bahamas seems promising as I have not heard any issues. Bahamas is something to consider. You will have to defend your visa interview though with full documentation and any questions though.  What my understanding after reading many blogs and other info in many forums is : it is recommended to go to Home country for change of status or First time H1B visa stamping. The reason is, it is much easy to verify your education certificates, work related certificates etc if you have from your home country.

Important: These are all my personal thoughts based on readings on blogs, Forums and US Consulate website. You need to contact the US consulate for up to date information or to find any changes in rules.

Image Credit :http://www.flickr.com/photos/naystin/392302587/

   

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Comments ( 767 )

  1. Jen

    Hi Saurabh!

    I’m currently on F1 status. I started attending school last January 2012. My employer filed for an H1-B application. My case is that I am planning to go back to the Philippines on June for my parents’ wedding. I was advised that my change of status (COS) that comes with the H1-B application would be cancelled. Mt question is can I file for another COS once I returned to the US on July as I would like to avoid consular processing due to feedbacks by others that they can get you denied. Thank you very much in advance!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Jen,
      There are few options:
      1. Get COS approved prior to leaving US. You can apply w/ PP for speedier response. You can then return on F-1 and still be on H-1 from Oct 1.
      2. Get H-1 visa filed in your home country and then return around Oct on H-1
      3. If COS is not approved, then return on F-1 and file COS to H-1

  2. Ravi

    Hi Saurabh,
    Iam an IT professional currently working in india..One of desi USA based company is applying H1B for me..once i get succeed in getting H1B…do i need to attend first time H1B visa interview in India only or can i go to UK and attend the visa interview (Iam holding UK ILR or residen permit visa..so can fly any time)..while filing H1B do we need to mention the location where i want to attend the Visa interview?? As iam currently submiting my payslips and other documents of indian company where iam working,and previous work exp letters of UK where i used to work earlier..
    Will the US consulate in UK raise any questions like currently you are working for indian based company.. not for the company in UK ?how shall we cross check the Doc’s of indian company you provided (Just guessing some qustions)
    Please let me know, what iam thinking is right or wrong..and suggest me how to go with this.

    Thanks in advance,
    Ravi.

    The reason why i want to fly to UK and attend the interview is .the chances of visa rejections are more than in UK..

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ravi,
      Usually it is recommended that one goes to home country for first H-1 stamping. You will have to check w/ US consulate in UK if you can go there or not. Different consulates have different policies on such issues.

  3. Hardeep

    Saurabh,

    I have taken your help in the past as well. I am currently on OPT STEM extension and my employer has filed for a premium H1B application. I am yet to receive I-797 (RFE requested). I am supposed to travel to leave US twice this year and have separate questions in both situations. I would appreciate if you can help.
    1) I am supposed to leave US in June. I assume my RFE will be resolved by then and I would have received my I-797. I am OK with this travel right? My OPT expires in Oct and H1B Change of status also happens in Oct.
    2) I am supposed to leave the country on Sept 27th. I plan to go to India and get my H1B stamped and then return by Oct 10th. How far in advance can I take an appointment with embassy for H1B stamping? I have received RFE both times (EAD and H1B) even though I have a consulting job with a reputed pharmaceutical consulting company in the US. Is it realistic to think I will get my visa stamped and have safe returns by Oct 10th?

    Thanks again in advance! You are doing a great job here.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Hardeep,
      1. If H-1 gets approved you should be fine. You can return on F-1/OPT and then be on H-1 from Oct 1.
      2. You can take appointment date based upon when they start showing up on VFS site. Historically they have published the dates 2-3 weeks in advance, but this can change. Nothing can be said w/ surety if it will go smoothly and your trip will not get extended.

  4. Sree

    Hi Saurab,
    Appreciating your efforts in addressing all the aspirants questions from long time, you are God !

    I have a question for you, I am holding Masters from IIT, worked in IBM for an year in USA on H1B ( came from India, stamping done in India) and then moved on to a full time job with a 200 years old US based company on their payrolls. ( ofcourse after H1B transfer).
    as my present VISA stamping is expiring in 2 months, I want to go for stamping as I may need to visit India.
    Shall I visit Canada or Mexico along with Family ( H1B, H4s ) for stamping as its taking too much time in India.

    Appreciate your help !
    Sree

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sree,
      As this is not your first H-1 stamping, you can go to CA/MX for your new stamping. However, things can still turn sour, so have contingency plans in place.

  5. Gangadhar

    hi saurabh, iam on cap exempt h1b visa and expires on june 30 2012. before that i was on j1 visa for 3 yrs.(so 6 yrs in us so far) mean while i filed h1b visa with a company ( uner cap quota). i uderstand my job starts on october 1,2012.
    can i stay in usa after june 30,2012 by applying to b1/b2 visa so that i avoid out of status. from july 1,2012 to sept 30,2012.

    thank you

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Gangadhar,
      IMO, you can start working for cap-subject employer as soon as the petition gets approved even if it starting on Oct 1. This is b/c your current status is H-1 and you can avail H-1 portability to work for them. Check w/ an attorney if this is the right understanding.

  6. Kumar

    Hi Saurabh,

    I did transfer from L1 to H1 this year. My H1 Visa is not stamped in my passport. I have planned to go to India end of this year to get it stamped. Question – Can my wife (status changed from L2 to H4) go for Visa stamping in India without me? Or should I also be present at the time of Visa Stamping? – Please advice.

    Regards,
    Kumar

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kumar,
      She can go for visa stamping even w/o you. However, I saw one recent case where 221g was issued b/c the H-1 holder didn’t have the visa stamped. I think that was an outlier scenario as there is no requirement to have H-1 visa stamped prior to H-4 visa stamping. You can check w/ your attorney as well.

  7. DGVR

    Hello,

    Your website is very informative. Thanks a lot for your inputs.

    My wife is currently on CPT from highly accredited community college in CA and is working fulltime with an indian consulting company. She has her H4 to F1 change of status and visa stamping done without any issues. She has a stamped F1 visa and is working full time on CPT.

    Her employer is ready to sponsor her H1B visa this year but we are worried since we have travel plans to India later this year.

    Her H1 will be active from Oct 1-2012. Does she have better chances of getting through stamping if she goes to Canada first before going to India? She has done her MBA from India, but has done 1 year of F1 full time student education in USA.

    If she goes to Canada, is it as risky as going to India for stamping? Or will Canadian consulate only check if she has had a qualifying US education before getting a job in USA?

    Please advise.

    Thanks,
    DGVR

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      DGVR,
      Going to CA is not recommended if the person has not done Masters in US and it’s their first H-1 stamping. You can still opt to go to CA, but have contingency plans in place in case the visa is refused or 221g is issued.

      1. Bhavin Patel

        Hello Saurabh, First of all you are doing good job man.
        Also, I have this question regarding my h1b. I have MS from India but 5 years of exp in US. this is not my first H1b since I did first in india when I came to US. I want to know whether I Can go to Canada for this 2nd time stamping ? I heard that people with US MS can go only.
        Please advice. Appreciate your help.

        Thank You
        BP.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Bhavin Patel,
          As this is not your 1st H-1 stamping, it may be ok to go to CA. However, always have contingency plans in case your interview request is refused or 221g is issued.

          1. Bhavin Patel

            Thank You Saurabh, Really appreciate your help. Also, I am having hard time finding good site where I can get entire process of how to get date and fees and all steps etc.

            If you have such information, it would be really nice and easy for me.

            Once again, Thank you
            Bhavin

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            Bhavin,
            There are lot of articles on this site to guide you through. This article can be a good starting point.

  8. Jen

    Hi,

    I was a F1 student/visa. I graduated Jan 2011 and found a job in USA. My H1B status was approved last year, but I haven’t done the H1B visa stamping and I am still having my student visa stamped on my passport. I am planning to go back to my home country for visa stamping in Sept. What documents do I need for the interview? Will that be a problem that I didn’t go for visa stamped or interview when I received my H1B approval notice?

    The only concern was back then, when i was a F1, I had never filed taxes since I didn’t earn any income, will this be an issue to my interview?
    What documents do I need ask for my employer to prepare for my interview?

    Thanks,
    Jen

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Jen,
      You need to carry your own documents (payslips, W2 for 2011 as H-1 was approved last year, degrees, marksheets), H-1 related documents (copy of LCA, I-129, 797, employment verification letter), and job related documents (profile, job requirements, letter to USCIS etc). Depending upon your employer and kind of job you are doing, you may have to carry more documents related to employer (like wage reports, tax returns, client letter, SOW etc).

      It is ok to not file taxes when you were not earning anything, but you should have received W-2 for 2011 and should carry the same.

      1. Jen

        Hi Saurabh,

        1. Own documents: what is marksheets?
        2. H-1 related documents: can you please tell me more about employment verification letter?
        3. Job related documents: can the company catalog be the profile of the company?
        I am a graphic designer in the company, I design packaging, catalog, website, photo-touching etc….My boss owned the brand, so it’s his own company.
        4. Employer’s documents: I will have to ask for my boss’ wage report and tax returns? will a employer usually willing to show this to a employee? How many tax returns do i need to bring?
        5. I heard about the 1040NR. What is 1040NR? I had never filed 1040NR as a F1 before, will that be a problem?

        When I filed my H1-B, my boss wrote a letter to USCIS, the letter included a paragraph about “The Petitioner” (which wrote a little bit about his company), then the next paragraph is about “The position offered” (which stated that he plans to employ a graphic designer and the job duties of the position) and the next is “The Beneficiary” (which stated he offered a position for me, and wrote a bit of my art background) and the last is “Term of employment” (which stated the conclusion that he is going to hire me)

        A. so, the letter included everything…can I just bring this letter if the interviewer ask for “employment verification letter/ letter to USCIS/ job requirement?)
        B. But the original of this letter was sent out to USCIS last year, can i just reprint and asked him to sign again?
        C. or does he need to write another letter to USCIS?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Jen,
          1. Mark sheet or transcripts you would have received from your school for graduation etc
          2. It’s a letter from employer stating that you are employed w/ them, along w/ employment start date, salary, position and basic job duties.
          3. These documents may and may not be required depending upon employer size. For big employers, these documents are not required. For small employers it is. Check w/ your attorney if they are good to have or not.
          4. This is also tied to (3). Again, check w/ your attorney. Yes, not many employers are ready to share the information w/ you. Still have the conversation w/ the employer if they will be willing to provide these documents in case consulate officer asks for them at the time of interview.
          5. It is 1040 Non-resident, which is used by F-1 student when they are working on CPT/OPT etc. As you didn’t work, I don’t think it is required.

          A. You should carry that letter, and also a more recent letter (as mentioned in 2).
          B. Copy of above letter and the one mentioned in (2). The first one is addressed to USCIS and should carry same date as original H-1 filing. The other one is directed to consulate officer and is of a recent date.
          C. Refer to (B)

          1. Jen

            Hi Saurabh,

            Thank you for your clarification.

            Q2: When I was employed, a controller from the company just gave me a call. I don’t think I have any letter from my employer. Should I just ask my boss to write a new one?

            Q5: I applied for OPT after I graduated and received my EAC (valid from 02.23.11 to 02.20.12) and I started to work at this company in March 2011 as an OPT. Company started to filed my H1B in July. I continued working as OPT until OCT and the status changed to H1B. In that said, I didn’t file the 1040 and recently just received my tax return for 2011. I only have the W2 of 2011.

            Best Regards,
            Jen

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            Jen,
            2. Yes, ask your manager/HR to write a more recent letter stating what I mentioned in (2) above.
            5. It should be fine as you have W2 for 2011. Carry this W2 along w/ recent payslips to show that you have been maintaining legal status in US. It will also be nice to carry OPT payslips to show that you maintained status during OPT (i.e. not stayed unemployed for more than 90 days).

          3. Jen

            Hi Saurabh,

            #5. (not stated unemployed for more than 90 days) My EAC was valid from 02.23.11. but I started to work on March 07 2011.

            #6. My boss own his company (manufacture outdoor products) and having his own brand, what do you think the consulate officer might come up with the interview questions?
            This is consider working on internal projects right? (example: company’s catalog, ads, website, product packaging, manuals, labels……etc) and he has vendors/suppliers to distribute products in China and shipped to his warehouse in USA and sell to his customers (Walmart, HomeDepot, Amazon…etc)

            #7. What other interview questions I have to keep in mind in case the officer ask?

            Thanks,
            Jen

          4. administrator
            Saurabh

            Jen,
            6. They can ask about the specific products, how the market response and how you will contribute to it.
            7. Your role, salary, designation etc

            Check w/ attorney if there are other employees who went for visa stamping recently. If yes, you can learn from their experiences as well.

  9. Hiren

    Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you doing well.. I have a question regarding the F1-OPT and H-1 B visa.. I am on OPT extension status and it will be expired in december 2013. My employer already applied for my H1-b visa and i also got approval from USCI. Now for some important reasons, i have to go to india in next 10 days for 3 weeks only.. Could you please help me to understand what status i will be holding during my journey? do you think i need to get a stamp to enter in US in may? Your response will be greatly appreciated…

    Thanks
    Hiren

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Hiren,
      Your H-1 will not become active until Oct 1 (assuming it has been approved w/ COS). So your current status is still F-1/OPT. You can return back on valid F-1 visa and other OPT related documents. You should also get your OPT card endorsed for travel and your employment letter for OPT.

  10. Hemant

    DEar Saurabh,

    While going through your highly informative website I came to understand the plight of H4 wives. As a counterpart to this I have some queries.

    1. I would like your opinion about the what it is like to be an L2 who can get EAD. Are these people in a better mental condition than the corresponding ones with H4?

    2. Suppose someone has a B.Com. degree from a very reputed Indian college and MBA from a reasonabley well Indian institution with couple of years bank job experience in management cader. What would be the chances of such person getting a reasonable job to keep herself busy using L2-EAD status? I understand there would be locational factors in US itself. Let us assume the location is Silicon valley.

    3. Would doing professions exams like CFA levels 1,2,3 improve chances of employment in the US?

    Regards,

    Hemant

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Hemant,
      1. If the spouse is a working person, then it’s definitely much better (for that dependent) to be on L-2 than on H-4.
      2. There are lot of job opportunities in the Silicon Valley these days, and I don’t think it will be a big problem. However, lot of job openings get filled-up w/ referrals. So it’s better to be have a good network of friends and colleagues.
      3. I don’t know

  11. vini

    hi,
    I have masters degree and my opt is going to end this nov 2012 , i already started my paper work for h1b. i have 2 issues.
    I am planing to go india in (mid 0ct-nov 2012) which is best place for stamping canada or india.
    If i go to canada then which month is best for stamping before nov .
    thanks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vini,
      As you have done Masters in US, you can go to CA as well. However, you should still have contingency plans in case things don’t turn out as planned.

      You can travel to CA in Oct, and maybe continue your journey to India from there.

  12. Manik

    Hi Saurbh,

    I have been reading your comments and suggestion which are indeed insightful for everyone with these complicated visa issues. Well I have a question as well unfortunately.

    I am on OPT ending 31st July, 2012. My company has filled for H1-B premium processing and I hope I will get the approval soon.

    However, I am expecting an offer from another firm(which I want to join).
    If I accept their offer and join now, i.e. before OCT 1st when the status changes, would the new employer have to file for another H1-B or can they transfer the current H1-B(expected to be approved within a few days)?

    Appreciate any help.

    Thanks
    Manik

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Manik,
      A new employer always need to file a petition for you. However, this petition will be cap-exempt as you would already have an approved petition from old employer (this is loosely referred as H-1 transfer). In reality, H-1 is never transferred. You will end up w/ two petitions and you can decide to work for either employer.

  13. Sreenivas

    Hi Sauarabh,
    I am currently on L1B Blanket, my vusa expires in Nov 2012, I 94 valid till Jan 2014.
    My company is planning to apply for L1 A ( will convert from L1B to L1 A and apply for extension) in Sept this year. I have over 15 years of experience and my position qualifies for L1 A.
    1) I would like to know what will happen if the L1 A request is rejected.
    Can I be able to continue on my L1B Blanket and stay till my I 94 expires in 2014?

    2) As I read more L1 petitions are getting rejected offlate for extension, what would be my chances when I try L1B -> L1A.

    Thanks in advance.
    Regards,
    Sreeni

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sreenivas,
      1. Continue working on L-1B
      2. It will depend upon whether you qualify for L-1A or not. In terms of rejection rate, L-1 blanket > L-1B individual > L-1A

  14. Laks

    Hi,
    I moved from L1 to H1 as of Apr 2011 and working in H1 as of today. As I planned to go India for vacation and also first time H1 stamping, I requested my employer for all the supporting documents. Now i came to know that, he forgot or missed to file my COS from L1 to H1. My questions:
    1. is it illegal that iam working from Apr 2011 till date on H1 ? I got my payslips and W2 as of H1 employer.
    2. What can i do now ? Can I do some amendment ?
    3. Can I apply COS now with premium processing using the H1 payslips ?
    4. As Iam in L1 status, Can i go india and come back in L1 and file for COS ?

    Please respond me as its urgent

    – Laks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Laks,
      1. Yes it is illegal as your status is still L-1 and not H-1
      2. You need to talk to an attorney ASAP to know how it impacts your current and future prospects, and how to correct it
      3. No. COS can be filed when you were maintaining prior status (L-1 in your case), which you didn’t
      4. This can work and will put you in L-1 status. However, you can enter on L-1 only if L-1 employer is willing to call you back to US on L-1. You cannot enter on L-1 visa if you are no longer employed w/ L-1 employer and they don’t want to hire you back.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rukesh,
      If your H-1 is being filed on basis of your Bachelors degree, then yes you can go for CA for stamping. However, you should have contingency plans in case your visa is refused/rejected.

  15. Anil

    Hi everyone.
    I have question, Actually my OPT denied and I joined in other school and am planning to take CPT in new school and I have job and its direct client and they are willing to file h1 for me..so can I take cpt and file h1? and do I need any paystubs in filing 1st time h1? or only client letter? is there any chance of getting RFE? or shall I apply after running 2 pay checks, so that I can have recent pay stubs….The way am filing H1 is correct or any issues in doing so? Please guide me. Thank in advance.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Anil,
      so can I take cpt and file h1?
      >> Yes, H-1 can be filed even when you are on CPT

      and do I need any paystubs in filing 1st time h1? or only client letter?
      >> You need to show proof that you have been maintaing status. As you are on F-1, this requires your previous F-1 status and new F-1 status (CPT proof not required). Client letter is required if your employer is a small-medium size consulting company

      is there any chance of getting RFE? or shall I apply after running 2 pay checks, so that I can have recent pay stubs
      >> CPT paychecks will not help much. RFE can always be issued for reasons related to you, your employer or offered position

  16. Vishal

    Hi Saurabh,

    My H1B petiton got approved on Feb 21’2012 in India(visa not stamped).I came here on L2 with my spouse.
    We have so many clients here in US and some of my mangers are calling me for requirements but my visa not stamped yet.
    1.Can i go to Canada or MX for stamping (petition filed in india)?
    2.How can i use my H1B petition without going back to india?
    3.I have L2 and applied EAD also , can i work with my company as contractor based on L2(EAD) through some consultancy as dnot have H1B visa stamped?

    Please help.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vishal,
      1. Not recommended if you have not done Masters in US
      2. You can talk to your employer if they can file COS from L-2 to H-1 for you. Once approved, you can start working on H-1 w/o needing to get H-1 visa stamped
      3. Yes, you can work on EAD

  17. Sailaja

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am holding H1 Visa and planning to come to US in mid of May. My husaband has H4 and want to apply for H1 after reaching to to US. My question is

    1) Can we apply for H1 in May itself or do we need to wait for some time ?.
    How will be the chances if we apply immediately ?

    Thanks In Advance .
    Sailaja

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sailaja,
      I would suggest waiting for at least 30 days and then applying for H-1 visa. As the H-1 will be applied w/ COS from H-4 to H-1, it is better to wait so that you can address any USCIS’s concerns related to his intent of entering US on H-4 and then moving to H-1 immediately.

  18. kumar

    Saurabh,

    I came to US in 2004 on F1 since then I did not travel anywhere and I am on H1B status now.
    Need to get H1B visa stamped. I thought of going to Canada Vancouver for Stamping but no dates available. Could you please let me know what would be the best place to go for stamping?
    I live in florida not sure which would be good to go (Mexico, Canada, Bahamas).

    To all,

    Please give me the contact details who went for stamping in Bahamas which will be very helpful for me.

    Thanks,
    Kumar

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kumar,
      As you have done Masters in US, you can go to CA, MX or BS. However, there is always a chance that visa/interview will be refused. So always have contingency plans. Other option is to get it stamped from your home country.

      Why the necessity to get it stamped?

      1. kumar

        Saurabh,
        Thanks for ur reply.. Heard that in home country stamping is a bit painful it seems.
        Do you know any one who went to Bahamas recently? If so can you connect me with the person? That would be a great help.

  19. MB

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am L1B since Oct 2010 with Company A and now Company B is applying for H1B…my question is – can I travel to Canada for H1B visa stamping in Jul-Aug and if it is declined there, can I come back to US in Jul-Aug on L1B again as H1B will start from Oct 1st.

    Thanks a lot!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      MB,
      Yes, if L-1 visa is still valid then you can return on L-1 visa stamp. If H-1 gets approved, you can still return on L-1 (assuming it is not canceled) and then be on H-1 from Oct 1 on the basis of H-1 COS.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          MB,
          Not immediately. In case of stamping rejection, they will send the petition back to USCIS for reconsideration and they can decide to reinstate or revoke. This can take few to several months.

          1. MB

            Sorry, one more question:

            Would you suggest me to go to Canada for first time H1B visa stamping as I am in US on L1 for last 2 years, total experience of 10years (India, UK and USA) and my H1B COS has now applied by one of the US top tier company

            Thanks!

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            MB,
            Usually if one hasn’t done education in US, it is recommended that person goes to home country for 1st H-1 visa stamping. If you go to CA, there is a possibility that they will refuse the interview or issue 221g for additional processing.

  20. maria

    HI SAURABH:

    I have been reading your comments they R very helpful… My scenario is
    – Currently on project, on STEM- OPT (OPT ends 1- May-2012) my employer will apply for H1-b on first of April 2012.
    – My student visa expired this Jan
    MY question now is:
    – Can I travel to Canada/ Bahamas for H1-b visa stamping as my student visa expired.
    – I am planning to visit India in late Aug this year, so can I travel once my H1-b is approved.
    – Since, my H1-b starts in OCT, how early before the start date shld I approach for visa interview in INDIA

    LOoking fwd 2 ur suggestions.. thanks!!!!!

  21. kazu

    HI SAURABH:

    I have been reading your comments they R very helpful… My scenario is
    – Currently on project, on STEM- OPT (OPT ends 1- May-2012) my employer will apply for H1-b on first of April 2012.
    – My student visa expired this Jan
    MY question now is:
    – Can I travel to Canada/ Bahamas for H1-b visa stamping as my student visa expired.
    – I am planning to visit India in late Aug this year, so can I travel once my H1-b is approved.
    – Since, my H1-b starts in OCT, how early before the start date shld I approach for visa interview in INDIA

    LOoking fwd 2 ur suggestions.. thanks!!!!!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kazu,
      1. As you completed your Masters from US, it would be ok to go to CA for stamping. However, always have contingency plans as things can still go wrong.
      2. If you leave US after your OPT has expired, you cannot return to US on F-1 anymore (you will be on cap-gap b/w May and Oct). You can still travel, but you cannot return on F-1/OPT. after OPT has expired.
      3. You can go for H-1 visa interview as early as 3 months prior to H-1 start date. You can enter US on H-1 as early as 10 days prior to H-1 start date.

  22. Rajan

    Hi,

    I have my Masters degree from US and foru years of work experience in US. I applied for H-1B visa in 2010 and got approved till Oct 2011. I then applied for an extension and my H-1B validity is till Oct 2014. I havent got a stamping yet. Can I go to Canada for stamping now?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rajan,
      As you completed your Masters from US, it would be ok to go to CA for stamping. However, always have contingency plans as things can still go wrong.

  23. Gary Holman

    Currently Canadian on a first H1B for the past 8 months at employeer in the USA when employment ended. Can I use my H1B for another employeer, cross the border into Canada to enter with the new documentation from this potential employeer?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Gary Holman,
      Another employer can file cap-exempt petition for you on the basis of this already approved petition. As your employment has already ended and it may take sometime for new employer to file the petition for you, it may be better to leave US now and then return back once the petition has been approved. If you have an employer already lined up for the H-1 and are ready to file it now, then you can file it while continuing to stay in US.

  24. Ram

    Hi Saurabh,
    I really appreciate you for helping many people by your answers.
    Here is my scenario. I am on OPT now. My opt expires by mid June 2012 (My F1 Visa is until mid NOV 2012) . Now, I am planning to apply for H1 COS premium processing this april 2012. If I am not wrong, once my H1 is approved, the start date will be October 1st. I wish to attend my sisters marriage in India this August, 2012. I will be in cap gap period from mid June to October 1st. My question is Can I go to Canada or India for H1 Visa stamping before October 1st? If I can attend and visa is approved, then when will I be able to enter United States? I would be grateful to you if you can advice my scenario. Thank you.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ram,
      As you have done Masters in US, you can go to CA/MX for stamping. You can go for stamping as early as 3 months prior to H-1 start date. If approved, you can return to US on H-1 on or after Sep 20th (10 days prior to H-1 start date).

      1. KK

        Hi Saurabh,

        I too have similar query. My OPT ends August. My company is filing for H1 premium now. Between now and H1 approval, I assume its risky to go out of US.
        1) Once my H1 is approved say by May. If I go out anytime between May and July (3 months prior to H1 start date), can I re-enter and continue working on F1 OPT?
        2) If I go out after July
        a) is it must that I get H1 stamping? Can I just enter in August with my F1 OPT without getting H1 stamp?
        b) if I got H1 stamp, I cannot enter any day prior Sept 20th with F1 OPT

        3)On diff note from travel- to keep working in sept i.e, between my OPT end date and H1 start date, should i have to apply for any OPT extension saying that H1 is applied/approved?

        Please do mind my ignorance.

        KK

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          KK,
          1. You can travel out of US once your H-1 is approved w/ COS, and then return prior to OPT expiration date and continue working on OPT on cap-gap until Oct 1. This assumes your F-1 visa stamp is still valid and not expired.
          2. If you leave after your OPT has expired, then you cannot return back on F-1/OPT. You will have to get H-1 visa stamped and return on H-1 around Oct 1. You can enter as early as Sep 20th.
          3. You can apply for OPT extension, but it may not be approved as your H-1 has been approved.

      2. Ram

        Thanks Saurabh !! I have a follow up question. As I said my OPT expires by mid June and I will be in Cap gap period between Mid June – October 1, Will I be able to visit india in this cap gap period and return back to US on F1 visa. I have my F1 VISA until mid November.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Ram,
          If you leave US during cap-gap period, then you cannot return to US on F-1 visa even if your F-1 visa stamp is still valid. You will have to get H-1 visa stamped and then return on H-1 visa.

  25. Ash

    Hi ,

    I am currently go transferred from F1- H1B.My company is planning a site visit to a plant in Mexico.I do not have H1B stamped.If I get Mexican Visa,will my H1B be stamped while returning from Mexico.Its very imp tour for me and my company.
    Thanks for your time and response

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ash,
      You will have to go for H-1 visa stamping when in Mexico. Then you can return back on that visa to continue working on H-1.

  26. Bo

    Hi,

    My company will apply for h-1b with COS for me, which means i won’t have to go back to my home country for stamping. But if i want to go back for some time after graduation and before my start date, can i do that?

    Thanks a lot.
    Bo

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Bo,
      If you leave US prior to H-1 approval, then your COS will be considered abandoned. Your status would not change to H-1 unless you get H-1 visa stamped in home country. If you leave after H-1 COS approval date, then also you need to get H-1 visa stamped in order to return on H-1.

      1. Bo

        Saurabh,

        Thanks so much for the reply, just a silly followup…

        Suppose I do go back to my country before my start date, what would be the process for my to get back and start working? Will the embassy have my info when I go there to have a visa stamping? since I guess i won’t have my h-1b visa with me at that time… i hope i did not confuse you with my question…

        Thanks so much.

        Bo

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Bo,
          You need to make sure that your H-1 gets approved prior to leaving country. You can then return back on F-1 (assuming your F-1/OPT is still valid) and then be on H-1 from Oct 1. You don’t need to go for H-1 visa stamping.

          If you want to return to US after Oct 1 or leave US while H-1 was still under process, then you will have to go for H-1 visa stamping in your home country.

          1. Bo

            Hi Saurabh,

            Again thanks so much for the reply. Now the company has just notified me that my H1b application (with COS starting Oct. 1) has been approved. I play to do my dissertation defense sometime in the summer or early Sept., and before that I actually want to go back to China for a vacation, unfortunately my F1 visa has already expired…

            For my situation, some of my friends told me that once I leave US, I will lose my F1 status because I am now a H1 candidate… but obviously I need to be able to come back on F1 and do my defense before start working, so they said I should not go back to China… Do you also feel the same? Then that would be very unfornate… since I really want to go home for a while… Wish I had planned all these earlier…

            Thank you.

            Bo

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            Bo,
            You will have to go for F-1 visa stamping as your current visa stamp has expired. As you have an approved, H-1 this can be risky. So if possible avoid the travel while on F-1. What you can do is travel in Sep, then go for H-1 visa stamping and return on H-1 visa to work on it from Oct 1.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Baba,
      Regular documents required for H-1 (you can see the list in the checklist article reachable from the archive section). In addition, the person needs to show proof that legal H-4 status is being maintained, for which one needs to submit copy of spouse’s 797, payslips, I-94 copies (self and spouse) and W-2 (if applicable).

  27. Srilu

    Hi,
    I am currently in us on H1b and my visa will get expired in 2 years.I am thinking to change the job here and do the H1 B transfer .Could you please tell me do i need to go for stamping again if i go to my home country.
    Appriciate your help.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Srilu.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Srilu,
      No stamping is required as long as previous visa stamp is valid and has not expired. After that, visa stamping is required when traveling out of US and planning to return to US on H-1.

      1. Srilu

        Hi saurabh,
        Thanks for quick response.So i no need to go for restamping if my previous visa stamp is valid even my future employer is different than what is printed in Visa .Please confirm.

        Thanks & Regards,
        Srilu

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Srilu,
          That is correct. No stamping required even after employer change as long as the visa stamp is valid. Make sure to carry employment documents related to new employer when trying to enter US again on H-1.

  28. Kiran

    Hello,
    I came to US on L2 VISA. After getting EAD over L2 I worked here on L2 status for Six months and meanwhile got my H1B through my new employer. what are the possibilities of first VISA stamping on H1B status? As per the article, I assume that I can go to Bahamas but my question is – Is it possible to do anywhere else except home country and Bahamas both as I am likely to visit Europe? Can it be done in Europe?
    Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kiran,
      As this is your first H-1 stamping, I would suggest going to home country for visa stamping. If you go to any other country, there is a possibility that they would refuse to issue visa as you didn’t get your degree in US. There is also possibility that 221g would be issued, which means you will be stuck in a country other than your home country and US. So have contingency plans when going to another country.

  29. Arun

    Hi

    I am currently in H4 and have planning to apply for H1 in this year
    Based on my passport expiry, my I94(for H4) was given till feb 2013
    I have no plans to go outside US.
    Now,once I get my H1 petition and do a COS from H4 to H1,
    1. Do i need to get my I94 extended again?
    2. If yes should I do this as soon as COS is applied or can do it later after I get my passport date extended.
    3.Or IsI94 not tied to Visa and I need not worry, and I can stay as long as the new H1 Petition end date though my I94 expires on Feb 2013

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Arun,
      1. When they approve the COS, they would issue a new I-94 and your stay will be governed by that I-94. It may be issued until your passport expiration date. Later, you will have to get it extended after getting your passport renewed.
      2. It can be done only after the passport has been renewed.
      3. You can stay only until I-94 expiration date and not until petition expiration date.

  30. Akhil

    Hi I have question…

    My OPT denied and now am opening Motion to reopen and also filing H1B on April…my question is If I get my H1B approved and whats my status till October 1st?
    what if they ask for COS to get stamp in India…I there a chance getting stamp for H1B in India?
    And am in status when my motion to reopen decision is pending? If yes, is there any chance that h1b approved with I94? and how do I maintain status till October 1st?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Akhil,
      What’s your current visa status? When are you graduating? If graduated when are your 60 day grace period expiring? You cannot stay in US unless you have a valid F-1 status which can be either enrolled in school or 60 day grace period (as your OPT has been denied). Filing MTR doesn’t grant one legal status to stay in US.

      1. akhil

        Hi…Actually am done with my college on dec 22 2011…and applied my opt on oct 2011 and got dinial on march 6 th 2012…and did not get certificate yet from university..my graduation day is on june 30th 2012.. and in mostly 1 week will file MTR..they gave me 33 days time to open MTR from march 6th 2012. so can I apply H1 in april..as MTR decision pending..i can legally stay here…

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Akhil,
          I would suggest doing that. You need to be in valid status at the time of H-1 filing, and filing MTR doesn’t give one legal status. Talk to an attorney before going this route.

  31. HA

    Hi,
    I came to US on F1 in Aug 2005.
    Opt from Feb 2007 .
    Lost my passport and got new passport and new I-94 in April 2007 (this new passport has no visa stamp. I have photocopy of old passport and police report.
    In April 2007 applied for H1B
    Oct 2007 – Oct 2008 — Employer 1
    Oct 2008 – Jan 2011 — Employer 2
    Jan 2011 – present — Employer 3
    All these years I haven’t done my stamping.

    I want to get my stamping in Canada or Bahamas. In my situation what do you suggest ?. I have pay-stubs and w2’s. Major worrying thing is I don’t have Visa stamp in my new passport.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      HA,
      I think it will be ok. The only visa stamp that is missing is F-1 visa stamp, as you have always been in US since your H-1 commenced. As you filed the police report and USCIS issued new I-94, it should be ok.

  32. Anis

    Hi Saurabh,

    I changed my status from H4 to H1 and started working from last year 4th Oct(H1B effective date). In Dec I travelled to India and applied for H1B stamping at U.S consulate Mumbai and got a 221g(blue) for it. Since then my case is under processing. I don’t want to wait indefinetly for the outcome on my h1b visa stamping and therefore thinking of traveling back to us on my h4. I’ve a valid H4 stamped in my passport can I fly back to U.S on this H4 or do I need a new H4 stamping?

    My husband is currently in U.S on valid H1B.

    With regards,
    Anis

  33. MK

    I done my MS Aerospace from one of the reputed university in USA. I m on OPT now I am planning to join SAP Course in IT consulting companies and they will find job for me and also file my H1-B. My question is what happen in H1-B process If my education and work are not related. Does it make any different in H1-B approval or even while stamping H1-B in INDIA or CANADA?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      MK,
      They can question how you qualify for the offered position. This question can be raised during petition processing and during stamping (both India or Canada).

  34. abhilash thirunahari

    Hello sir,
    I have a strange problem.I am a graduate from University of northern virginia.I applied opt on dec 9th(grad date is 25th dec).Got rfe on feb14th 2012.I am very afraid to send opt rfe because these days opt are being rejected from my University.So i am planning to apply for H1b for april 2012.What are my chances for h1 approval and COS approval.I am legal student till now and visa expire’s on sept 21st 2012.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Abhilash Thirunahari,
      You have stayed in US too long since your graduation date and also you are not yet on OPT. I would suggest talking to a good immigration lawyer.

      I didn’t understand how you are a legal student at the moment, as you have graduated on Dec 25.

      1. abhilash

        I need to send the rfe till may 5th 2012..That was the time given to me by USCIS..But mean while can i shift to H1b?without answering the opt rfe

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          abhilash,
          The employer can file H-1 in April, but for COS to get approved USCIS will have to determine whether you were in valid immigration status at the time of filing or not. Going by the information you have provided, I don’t think they will approve the COS to H-1. You should consult an immigration lawyer.

  35. Milin

    Hi Saurabh,
    I have been on H1 since may 2010 and my employer did not pay me for 2010 and paid me for 2011 and now I am in process of transferring my H1 with another company and they need my W-2. I don’t have the w-2 for 2010 so what should I do to get back in status, if my old employer pays me as per the LCA will i be back in status and or what is the process.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Milin,
      Even if they pay now, it won’t generate a W2 for 2010. You should talk to an attorney on how to get out of this mess, as USCIS can ask for it during H-1 transfer.

  36. Ajay V

    Hi Saurabh

    I got my H1b approved last year in Dec 2011 (transfer from F1 to H1), for a year do i have to reapply for extension as a new H1b candidate or is extension exempted from the regular filing and can be done anytime before it expires. Also am yet to get my visa stamped (assuming i dont need one as long as am in States and F1 has already expired) will that matter if i have to get my Driving License renewed , can it be done with Valid I-797.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ajay V,
      Extension is cap-exempt and can be filed anytime before the petition expiration date. Yes, you can get the DL w/ the 797 and the new attached I-94.

  37. AK

    Hi

    I entered US on H4 visa in July 2010 but I changed my status to H1 from March 2011 onwards. I have been working in US from May 2011 so can I go to Canada for my stamping.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      AK,
      I would advise against going to CA as you have not done Masters in US. If really required, you can go to CA, but make sure you have contingency plans in case your visa is rejected or 221g is issued.

  38. Basu

    Hello,
    I need to go for my 2nd H1 stamping and thinking of going to Canada. My previous visa has expired for about more than a year now and i’m currently in US for about 4 years.
    Do i qualify to go to Canada for stamping or should i mandatorly go to my home country? Please advice your thoughts?

    Thanks for you help in advance.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Basu,
      As this is not your 1st H-1 stamping, you can go to CA. However, have contingency plans in case you visa is rejected or 221g is issued.

      1. Basu

        Saurabh,

        Thanks a lot, i need to visit my sister-in-law in Toronto for some occassion and was looking up if i could also get my stamping done. coz most of the plces i was reading that we may have to go to India for second H1 stamping specially if your previous stamping has been expired for more than 1 year.

        Guess i need to decide and act now. Thanks.

  39. Paul

    Hi,

    Your blog is very informative, Just a quick question!

    I am basically from India, I did my Masters in US and Now I am on H1B, I am planning on going to Canada for my H1B Stamping..My Question is: What happens if I get a query in Canada? Should I stay there in Canada until its cleared or Can I go to India ?

    Thank you for your time
    -Paul

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Paul,
      Lot of times, there is no set processing time for 221g. So if you are issued 221g, you can either decide to withdraw the case and go to India for stamping and wait there, or you can continue to stay and wait in CA; and probably work out w/ employer to work remotely from CA. If they keep your passport, then you cannot leave CA until you withdraw the case.

  40. Venkat

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have been seeing this blog for long time now and your updates are very helpful on F1 to H1 transition.I really appreciate your effort in maintaining this site.
    I came to US in 2007 and not been there till date.Now i am on H1B wanted to go for stamping but not sure where to go..as i have seen lot of people stuck over there with no response….so i asked my employer he said you can go to Mexico is it possible?or canada is better?
    Please advice ..Thank you.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Venkat,
      If you have done your education in US, then you can go to CA or MX for stamping as well. However, kno that there is still a chance that your visa was rejected/refused when going to these countries. So always have contingency plans.

  41. Nelson

    Hi, I have question regarding F1 – H1B COS. My employer wants to sponsor me for H1B visa because I got a full time job. Currently I am on F1 visa with work authorization (like OPT). So when employer apply for me from April this year and if they approve H1B for me, that visa will be valid from October 1st, right? So, Can I start to work as a OPT and than from October on H1B? How this work i really don’t know? And also what if my OPT expired lets say in July…can I continue to work or I should wait for October 1st? And also when they apply for H1B visa how long it will take to get approval?
    Thanks for the response.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Nelson,
      You can work for the employer on OPT only if your OPT has been approved. Once your OPT expires, you can continue to work on H-1 until Oct 1 or H-1 denial date (whichever is earlier). You are eligible for this b/c of cap-gap, the requirements for which are:
      – H-1 filed w/ COS
      – Requested start date for COS is Oct 1
      – You are on valid F-1 and/or OPT at the time of H-1 filing

      Under regular processing, it might take 2-6 months. Under premium processing, they would adjudicate within 15 calendar days. In case of RFE, it can take longer.

  42. Mina

    Hi! I’m on F1 status and will be applying for H1B. Is H1b application the same as a change of status from f1-h1b. And if I do COS, with premium processing, can I leave US on May 1st and come back May 20th as a F1? What are my options?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Mina,
      H-1 application comes w/ 2 options – COS (from any visa status to H-1) and consular processing (or w/o COS).

      Your H-1 would be effective from Oct 1. So if you leave US in b/w, and return on F-1 visa, your COS would become abandoned. You will have to again file COS from F-1 to H-1 in order to start working on H-1 from Oct 1. The other option is to enter US on stamped H-1 visa.

      1. Mina

        Thank you very much!

        Do you think I will have a problem if I apply April 1st, with the regular processing and go out of the US April 30 then come back May 20? Will the immigration allow me to come back as a F1 even if my H1 on the process?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Mina,
          A correction to my previous response. If you do PP and your H-1 gets approved by the time you leave US, then you can still return on F-1 and be on H-1 from Oct 1 (COS start date). You can return on F-1 as long as your F-1 or OPT are valid and you have been maintaining legal status on OPT. So carry employment letter, OPT payslips, I-20 endorsed for travel etc to show at PoE on retuning back.

          Do not leave US while H-1 COS is pending, and do not leave US if you are in cap-gap period (i.e. OPT expired but H-1 pending/approved for Oct 1).

          Does that clarify?

  43. Luma Alresheq

    Hello,
    I am currently an international student in California, USA. i carry a Jordanian passport and have the F1 student visa to study in the states. is this visa eligible for me to enter canada for a one week visit? or do i need to apply for a canadian visitor’s visa?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Luma Alresheq,
      F-1 visa doesn’t substitue for Canadian visa. One is supposed to require Canadian visa in order to visit that country.

  44. Nikhil

    Cos question I am on f1 right
    Now and have a employer applying for my h1 b visa in April but I need to go to India in July for my sisters marriage I was wondering if I get visa approved by july can I renter the states before October when the h1 actually starts .
    Thanks for your help

    Nk

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Nikhil,
      You have two options:
      1. Go for H-1 visa stamping and enter US on or after Sep 20 on H-1 and start working from Oct 1. This is assuming your H-1 gets approved by your stamping date.
      2. Return on F-1 visa, assuming you are still enrolled in your school. Once back in US, you can apply for for COS to H-1 after H-1 has been approved and you are ready to move to H-1.

  45. Valliappan

    Hi Saurabh,
    I hav a Q regarding F1- H1b COS. Rite now am in F1 – OPT (Expires in July 15,2012) and my employer applies for h1b in April 2012 which means i will be in CAP GAP period from July 16 – Sep 30 ( Assuming my H1b petition gets approved in June/July).
    Can you please let me know whether i can travel to India in Sept mid and come back in either Sept end or in Oct 1st week.? (my guess is to get stamped for h1b visa and re enter US in h1b visa)

    I really apppreciate your help.

    Thanks,
    Valliappan

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Valliappan,
      Cap-gap ends once you leave US. So you can travel in Sep, but then like you said you will have to get the visa stamped in India and then return on that visa.

      1. Valliappan

        Thanks Saurabh for such a quick response. I really appreciate. Follow up Q
        – Can we get into US on h1b visa before Oct 1 ?
        – Shd i ask my employer to apply for H1b without COS while filing the petition?
        or its irrelevant (with /with out COS)

        Thanks,
        Valliappan

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Vallippan,
          1. At most 10 days prior to H-1 start date. So if H-1 starts on Oct 1, then you can enter at most on Sep 20th on H-1 visa.
          2. If you want to make use of cap-gap, you should ensure it gets filed w/ COS, even though it would become irrelevant once you leave US in Sep.

  46. Swarna

    Hi Saurabh,

    I wanna keeep my question very clear and simple –
    An early response woudl be appreciated..

    1) I am currently on H4 visa type.
    2)Graduating from US university(MS program) on May 19th.
    3)Have an internship and they are will be sponsoring my H1B visa.
    4) Shall I file H1 after i graduate on May 20th,2012?
    5) Or shall I file it on April 1st,2012?
    6) Which option would you advice me to go for?

    Please let me know ur opinion.
    Thank you,
    Swarna

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Swarna,
      If you want to use your Master Degree as a qualification when filing for H-1, then you should file the H-1 after graduating from the school. Else you can file it even before graduating from school. As you will be done w/ your course by the time H-1 starts (Oct 1, 2012) it shouldn’t matter that much from status perspective.

      1. Swarna

        Thanks Saurabh.

        I have one more clarification – Will I be entitled to process the H1 under Masters quota(20,000 additional) even if i completed my masters under H4 or is it only for the F1 visa holders and I will still come under the general category?

        Thanks for ur prompt response!

  47. Chand

    Hi,

    I applied for L1 to H1 COS in Nov 2011 and its already approved(in Jan 2012). Just I want to know still how many weeks or Months I can work on L1. Because now my situation is like that, I can’t move to H1. Is there any other way that I can stay legally on L1? Can you please help with this ASAP.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Chand,
      You are on H-1 status from the COS approval date, and should be working for H-1 employer from that date. If you want to continue working for L-1 employer, then either COS needs to be filed from H-1 to L-1, or you need to enter US on stamped L-1 visa.

  48. PD

    Hi Saurabh
    I initially came to US on F1 for my Masters Degree. I started working in 2006 and was on H1B status for 2 years with employer 1 from 2007 -2009. I got my 1st H1B stamp in Montreal, Canada. In 2009, I voluntarily quit my job and my husband’s employer applied for my change of status to H4, which was stamped in India. I started working again with employer 2 in 2010, who applied for a COS for me. Can I get this new H1B stamped in Mexico or Canada ? Please advise.

    Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      PD,
      As you have done Masters in US and as this is not your first visa stamping, you can go to MX or CA for visa stamping. However, have some contingency plans as well, which you can put in motion in case you are issued 221g or your visa gets refused.

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