Critical H1B extension visa interview questions asked in 2010 at Visa Stamping?

In US Visa Stamping Experiences by Guest AuthorUpdated : 65 Comments

It has been a while since I wrote, have been very busy with lot of things…Anyways, I will try to get back to my normal routine from today. One of my friends recently went for H1B visa stamping in India. He explained me the kind of questions they are asking especially H1B holders and what they are looking. This article will shed light on couple of those and do analysis on why Visa officer is keen on these kind of questions. This post assumes that you have H1B visa and you are going for extension visa stamping.

I am sure all of you are aware of the latest H1B visa rules of 2011, Also, if you have not, please check this article on “ H1B visa petition filing guidelines for 2011 quota and H1B extensions”. Coming back to our point, recently there has been lot of fuss about H1B visa holders being sent back at Newark Port of entry in January 2010 and with all these multitude of events occurring, people are scared about anything related to H1B visa. One of the major things is going to H1B visa extension stamping. You can avoid visa stamping to a certain degree, but if your situation forces, you have to go to visa stamping and face the visa interview with Visa officer. Here are few questions and I will explain them in detail. Why they are important and logic being them and How to be prepared them.

Normal questions :H1B visa interview

  • Where do you work ? What  client ?
  • How long have you been working with the company ?
  • What is your Salary ?
  • What does your company do ? What is your role ?
  • Can I have a look at your recent pay stubs ?

Few other similar questions, there is no big deal, anyone can answer the questions

Critical questions for H1B visa consultants 2010 :

  • Where is your LCA ( Labor Condition Application) for current project?
  • Can I look at your LCAs for the previous projects?
  • Your salary is $10,000 in February. why is it only $5,000 dollars in October ?
  • How much did your client bill ? How much did you get ?

If you look above, the Normal questions are very easy and they are nothing new. It is just an interaction with Visa officer and you answer the questions. There are no tricks in there. When you say salary, you must say what is your H1B visa petition. You may get bonus, you can say that it is bonus for… Most of us carry all the documentation, so we are fine if they just ask the first set of questions.

Critical H1B visa interview questions 2010 :

Let’s look at each one of the questions individually,

Where is your LCA for current project?

LCA should be filed in the project location before you start working at a project. So, the Visa officer is asking for the latest LCA. It is very critical for carrying the current LCA. Small/ Medium Desi consulting companies used to do it late or skip the LCA filing, now you have to be careful. An instance just happened that the H1B visa holder did carry all the previous LCAs, but did not carry the present project LCA. So, there was a problem.

Can I look at your LCAs for the previous projects?

This one is also very important. The visa officer may ask, “ how may projects did you change in last year or two” . You say, “three”. Then they ask for the copies of the LCAs. You must carry copies of the previous copies of LCA. Your employer must have these, it is very important. Carry every LCA you have.

Your salary is $10,000 in February. why is it only $5,000 dollars in October ?

Well, this is the hard thing for H1B consultants who have been on bench and trying to find a job. There might be various terms between employer and employee. But, according to law, H1B visa holder should be paid as promised in the H1B petition irrespective of being on bench. The point is, if your pay stubs show some big fluctuations like from $10,000 to $5,000 drop , then Visa officer understands, there is some snake oil here and tries to pound on that. Be prepared to deal with kind of questions. I do not have a good answer.  At least, this info is ideal for planning for future.

How much did your client bill ? How much did you get ?

This question is exactly similar to above one, the Visa office is trying to trick you here and ask questions about client, vendor and other layers, etc. Also, trying to see what are you doing with the deals.  The point is, as most of us are under pressure at Visa stamping, people may sometimes take side steps and reveal something that is not intended to be revealed. Be careful. Ideally, as an employee, your job is just work on H1b Visa and everything related to billing is taken care by the company that sponsors you H1B visa.

Healthcare, Social security deductions :

Also, the visa officers are looking closely at the pay stubs to see if you are paying all your taxes correctly. They look at your W2. They are very keen on looking at your deductions of Healthcare, Social security and others. Be careful and discuss with your employer about these before you go to stamping.

These are some tricky questions asked. There might be similar ones, but the above ones are definitely worth thinking through and be prepared for them.

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Comments ( 65 )

  1. Sunil.nighot

    Hiiii….could any 1 please help me regarding H1b visa interview preparation…Iam going to face first time interview for H1 B visa. actually i had previously 4 years of experience. Now i had change the company….Just join 15-20 days before…Now my current company based on my previous experience, going to send me in USA for client training…..
    so i had few questions, so pls any 1 knows answers them..
    If Visa officer asked, how long have u been working with current company (as i had join 20 days before).
    Also if they asked what training client will be providing u and can’t is’it possible to give training via video conference etc…why need to go USA….!

    Please guys reply me…..

  2. Dheeraj

    Hi Saurabh, my employer(MNC IT Company) had filed petition for my H1B Visa (2011 cap) and its been approved by USCIS this year august 2012. Now any time in next month i will be appearing for Visa Interview in Chennai Consulate. My question is, though at this moment my assignment belongs to the same client to which my employer provide complete service, but when i applied H1B visa(in 2011), i have given office address location as Nebraska(one among many client’s location) and this assignment would be in Georgia(again a client location) . Will this difference in office address/location can cause any issue during my interview??

    And, I have two years of work experience in IT Industry (in India) and have a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics & Communication. So being as an employee, will this qualification suffice VO to approve my visa???

    I am confident but still little bit of nervous, since this would be the first time i will be appearing for any VISA Interview. However i have read few blogs on redbus2us, related to the kind of questions/experience in consulate!!! But still any suggestions/tips for me??

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Dheeraj,
      In this case, the employer needs to file new LCA followed by H-1 amendment for the new location. Petitions are accepted for a particular LCA, which are location specific. So if location changed from Nebraska to Georgia, above needs to be done. What is your attorney suggesting?

  3. Satya

    Hi,
    I recently joined in new company they applied for transfer. My Previous visa is valid until end of this month (Aug 31). New company applied the transfer in regular process(July 2) and they said, if we don’t get any response by Aug 10, we can shift that to premium. USCIS website is showing the status as “Inital review” as of today. What is my status if I didn’t receive any response from USCIS before Aug 31st? shifting the application from regular to premium is allowed?

    Thanks,
    Satya.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Satya,
      Who are you working for now? Old employer or the new one? Also, the visa expiration date doesn’t matter if you are already inside US. What matters is 797 and I-94 expiration date. You cannot work for old employer beyond their 797 expiration date unless they have filed for an extension. You can work for new employer based on timely filed H-1 transfer petition (which seems to be your case).

  4. Shaz

    Hi,
    My company applied for H1b visa and I got it stamped in 2009 but after getting the visa stamped, I went to other country on good project and my US visa expired in Oct 2011. Now I want to go US. Is it possible to renew my I797 with some other company in US?

    Thanks and Regards
    Shaz

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Shaz,
      Same or different employer can file cap-exempt petition for you using the previously approved petition. Once approved, you can go for visa stamping and then travel to US to work on H-1.

  5. vamsi vennela

    ‘However, your hands are kind of tied as your employer and attorney hold the key cards.’

    When you say about the statement.. what does it really mean to me? Does this mean, as my H1B employer holds the petition, I will not be able to get my VISA stamp?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      vamsi vennela,
      Yes, you should not go for stamping w/o employer’s approval. Do not keep them outside the loop in case you decide to go for stamping as they may have to provide you additional documents in case of 221g.

      Beside, the employer/attorney have made up their mind that your H-1 will not activate on Oct 1 and so will not allow you to work on H-1 from that date until they are convinced.

      That is why I said your options are limited if your employer/attorney are co-operating w/ H-1 stamping and H-1 COS effective from Oct 1.

  6. Riku

    Hi Saurabh – I received an RFE (employer-employee relatioship) for my H1B petition. To provide the client letter/SOW/MSA, the client had to be changed. We are in the process of procuring the new LCA. The RFE response will have the new LCA, client letter, SOW, MSA, pay stubs, hike letters etc. In this case, do we also need an H1B amendment?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Riku,
      Not yet as the petition is not approved. Amendment needs to be filed only when the petition has been approved. So you should be fine w/ the new set of documents. Also ask employer to attach a new letter addressed to USCIS explaining the need for new LCA etc.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Riku,
          I am not really sure. If you have all the documents for the new client, then it should have better chances of approval. However, I don’t know if USCIS will deny it b/c initial information is different from what you will be submitting now. What does your attorney say on this?

  7. vamsi vennela

    Hi Saurabh,
    I have a situation – where I need your advise
    1) Currently I work for Company A on L1B status here in the USA, which is valid until Jun 9th 2012.
    2) Company B, applied for an H1B with COS in premium processing, which is now approved by USCIS. Validity starts from Oct 1st 2012 and ends on Jul 18th 2015.
    3) Now, if Company A files for my L1B extension for the period of Jun 10th 2012 to Sep 30th 2012, and if the L1B extension (filed by company A) gets approved, will this anyway affect my approved H1B with COS petition (filed by company B), which is effective from Oct 1st 2012?

    Please let me know or advise. Thanks a lot in advance!

      1. vamsi vennela

        My I-94 is expiring on June 9th 2012. I am currently on Blanket VISA, but the extension will be done as L1 Individual.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          vamsi vennela,
          I am surprised that they approved H-1 w/ COS even though your L-1 I-94 is expiring in June 9th. If the L-1 extension is filed now and gets approved, then you status from Oct 1 will be L-1 individual as that petition would have got approved after H-1 COS.

          1. vamsi vennela

            Will my status be L1 Individual after OCT 1st, even if the L1 extension will be filed only for the period of Jun 10th 2012 to Sep 30th 2012..?

            Can you please clarify a bit on this?

            Thanks,
            Vamsi

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            vamsi vennela,
            If your employer requests L-1 only for that duration, then USCIS will approve L-1 only until that date (unless USCIS makes an error w/ the dates), and you can be on H-1 from Oct 1. You can discuss the same w/ your attorney as well.

          3. vamsi vennela

            Thanks Saurabh..!
            I have consulted Murthy law firm on this subject and their reply matches with you mentioned as a reply to my post here.

            But my current company’s (L1b extension petitioner) attorney, states that – no matter what period we request the L1B extension for, if its approved by USCIS, the H1 with COS approved petition (filed by Company B) will get VOID or useless per USCIS ‘Last action rule’. Attorney also mentioned that I can’t even get the H VISA stamp in India, if I will have to travel back to USA with H status.

            Is this correct?

          4. administrator
            Saurabh

            vamsi vennela,
            Your attorney is pretty wrong. You can travel to India, get H-1 visa stamp and then return on H-1 visa even if L-1 extension has been filed and approved. However, your hands are kind of tied as your employer and attorney hold the key cards.

  8. Daniel

    I have to go apply for a H1B visa in 2 months. However, I haven’t been back to my home country in about 7 years. I did my bachelors degree here in the US, graduated, and got a job that filed for H1B for me. Will there be a problem establishing intent to return to my country if I haven’t been back since I came here? I already got approval for H1B from USCIS. I intend to go do the Visa interview in Canada.
    Please advise.

  9. susan

    Hi,
    I got the H1B visa stamped by 2009, but i could get the project only by 2011 april. So i stepped into Us only by 2011 april. what I wanted to know is, i can extend the H1B visa only for 3 more years ( as H1B is for 6 years only, already 3 years would be completed, from the stamping date) or I can extend the visa for 4 years until i reach the 6 years staying in US.
    Thanks
    Susan

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Susan,
      Only the time spent in US is counted towards the 6 year limit. Time spent out of US is not counted towards the limit.

  10. Harini

    Hi,

    I have had my Visa extended multiple times, and I have my final extension (my sixth year) approved till June. I understand I must book a Visa interview if I were to travel to India and return in February. I am travelling to India after several years and did not make trips during my previous extension periods. Will this create any challenges in the Interview ? I can carry my previous 797s, pay stubs, LCAs and Client Letters with me.

    Also, I was told the number of rejections have increased in the recent past, and many people don’t seem to understand why. Is there knowledge of Why this is happening? Can we avoid/at least minimize uncertainties if we make sure we have all the documents I mentioned above? Please let me know if we should carry anything else.

    Thank you!
    Harini

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      There are multiple reasons for administrative processing:
      1. Name check – happens especially when you have a common Muslim name or if your name matches to someone on their alert list
      2. TAL – happens when you are working in an industry/technology that’s on TAL (technology alert list)
      3. Consulting – happens when you are working for a consulting company in EC, EVC or beyond model
      4. PIMS – happens when your petition is not immediately retrievable from Kentucky center database

      Depending upon what your work profile is, you may or may not be issued 221g. In addition, a lot of it depends upon the VO’s discretion. For two identical cases, one VO can issue 221g, while other can approve the stamping.

      1. Harini

        Thank you Saurabh,

        In a VC Model, if I present a letter from the Client stating their acceptance of my Company having full say on my employment and work terms, would that provide necessary proof/confirmation to the VO?

        Harini

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Is this w/ regard to employer-employee relationship? If yes, the VO would want to know exactly how your employer controls your day to day work. A letter from client will help, but they would know the details as well.

          1. Harini

            “A letter from client will help, but they would know the details as well.”

            I am not sure what this means – what proof must I take with me to show that my employer has full control of my work?

            Thanks!
            Harini

          2. Harini

            And, yes, I work for a consultant and my end Client has signed a letter stating them being aware of who my employer is, and who has control over my work.

          3. administrator
            Saurabh

            Harini,
            Sorry, missed a word in b/w. I meant “A letter from client will help, but they would like to know the details as well.” Even after having the letter the VO can question you about the arrangement. For e.g. who do you report to at the client site, how often you meet w/ your employer, who decides your weekly tasks, how does client pass on the duties to you etc.

          4. Harini

            Thank you!

            So besides the necessary documentation (Letters, pay stubs, timesheets etc.. ) it is important to explain your client/employer relationships clearly. Is that right?

            Harini

          5. administrator
            Saurabh

            Harini,
            Yes. At times, VOs question the candidate about the employment structure and various relationships in detail. Later, they will print the same on a paper and ask you to read and sign it, and then do a background check to make sure what you said is true.

  11. Samra

    I have visa stamping interview next week, my LCA is with ‘A’ state but i have moved to different client and in different state ‘B’ a year ago. My employer applied LCA for State ‘B’ last week. My payrolls are running in state ‘B’ since i started working for this new client.

    Will it be a problem?,

    i would appreciate your help!

    Thanks,
    Sam

  12. Narendran

    My H1B petition has been approved with work location mentioned as A and now I wish to go for another work location B, for the same employer. What kind of documents would be needed for visa stamping in this case(hoping one is new LCA) and any other implications in it ?

  13. priya

    I was with company A from August 2008 to August 2011.I switched to company B in September 2011 and will be going to Chennai for stamping in November 2011. My W2 with my old company for 2009 is less than the LCA salary(about $3,000 less).
    Will this affect my stamping with my new company? If questions asked will i be held responsible?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      It may if the officer asks for W2 for 2009 and compares it w/ the LCA. If s/he doesn’t ask for the W-2 then you should be fine.

      Yes, if questions are raised then you will be considered responsible (along w/ the employer).

      1. priya

        which LCA will he/she compare it to, the LCA from my previous employer right? So will he ask me to provide the previous LCA as well?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          He may already have that LCA information in his system. I doubt he would do the comparison, but there is always slight chance. So it’s better to be prepared.

  14. Harshita Rana

    Hi

    My current H1B visa stamping on passport expired last year. I have my H1B extension in hand with new form I-797. I plan to travel to Canada next month. Can I get my H1-b Extension stamping in Canada? What are the requirements of getting the visa stamped in Canada?

    Thanks
    Harshita

  15. Muhammad Rahman

    Hi,
    I have done my visa interview on 4th Aug-2011
    My visa officer told me they need to do some administrative processing.
    After that they will call me and i have to come back again with all of my documents. In the interview date they haven’t looked at any of my documents except the H1b approval notice.
    I was wondering whether there is a chance of second interview. Once the Adiminstrative processing is done, will i be called for another interview? or it’s more likely they will staright -away call to notify if the visa is approved or not?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      They might ask you to drop documents for further processing. If he didn’t look at any documents during the interview, I see very little chance of visa getting approved immediately. They would definitely want to look at documents first.

      Is your employer a consulting company or a big US firm?

  16. Arun Raj

    I am currently in US and have applied for my visa extension. And once I get the visa extended I am planning to travel to India for my marriage.

    Please let me know if I need to have an appointment with the Consulate (Chennai, India) for the re-stamping.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      If your H-1 visa stamp in passport has expired, then you would need to schedule a visa appointment. Otherwise you can enter US on existing unexpired visa stamp.

  17. Muhammad Tawhidur Rahman

    Hi,
    I have approved H1b.
    I am now working in Ghana and my home country is in ASIA.
    Can i proceed with visa interview through the USA emabssy in Ghana and get visa stamped on my passport? Please note that i am holding work permit of Ghana.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      You need to call up the US consulate in Ghana and ask them if you can appear as TCN (Third Country National). Each consulate has different rules for TCNs.

  18. Vasanth

    Hello,

    My employer processed H1B Visa through premium processing . The Visa got approved but for a year only. I have to travel in March end ( my first step to US). To get the visa extension , whether I have to come back to India . please advise .

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Extensions can be filed from within US. You don’t need to travel out of US for that. However, whenever you leave US, you need a valid unexpired visa stamp in your passport to re-enter.

  19. MUHAMMAD RAHMAN

    Hi,
    My H1B Petition has been approved and i have already received the approval notice I-797.
    However, in the USICS website, status of my case is still showing RFE(Request for evidence).
    Should i face for visa interview in such case? or should i wait untill the USICS online status gets updated? Is there any chance of visa refusal for this?

  20. Anand

    Hi,

    My consultant who will issue my H1B Visa told me that i will be working for his company on company s’ payroll for 1 year & then i can work for other company like from contract 2 hire. Initially when H1B Visa is stamped 1st time, validity is 3 yrs or it will be 1 yr ???

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Typically they give it for 3 years or the time period that your H1B approval has. It totally depends on the time duration mentioned in H1B approval notice . It will not be given more than 3 years though.

  21. Srinivas

    Hi Dudes

    I am kumar i want to know one thing that one of my friends came to US in 2008 and due to recession he couldn’t find a project till today, so his Visa is going to be expired by 2010. And he wants to stay in US and want to extedn his VISA. So what is the process to extend his VISA. Where as he is not having any paystubs, LCA’s and etc. What do you guys say?

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      He needs pay stubs for filing H1B extension or transfer of H1B too…I would recommend him to talk to a good attorney about his options to extend his stay.

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