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First-time H1B visa stamping COS: Canada or Mexico? Home Country ?

With the ever changing H1B visa petition rules, 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.

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

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: 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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784 Comments

  1. It seems the consulate in Bahamas isn’t accepting change of status applications anymore. Anyone has more information on this? Is this a recent change? That only leaves Canada as an option.

    http://photos.state.gov/libraries/bahamas/231771/PDFs/TCNs.pdf

    Reply
  2. Hi Saurabh,
    I looked most of the post not able to find anything which perfectly matching my situation. I came to USA on L2 in June 2010, i got my job as a internal employee in one of the big US based company in Feb 2011, they filled my H1 and it got approved (start from Oct 2011). My employer did not asked any professional experience while applying H1 B visa although when i submitted my profile i have indicated 5 year of experience in my resume as job posting require 5 year of experience.
    I am going to India in December and planning to do H1 stamping, when i started filling DS 160 form , there is category to fill all the previous employment history , as i have not provided any document to my employer , i am confused what need to be filled in that category. i have 2 year valid experience in India. i have done Master in computer management in year 2006. Basically I need your guidance on below question:-
    1. do you know if employer need to submit resume while filling H1 as that is the only document where i indicate 5 year of experience.
    2. as i am qualifying for H1 B as i have degree (12th+3+2) year of education do i have to mandatory fill previous work experience?.
    3. in case i have filled wrong experience and my H1 visa get rejected is it possible hat can enter in L2 visa as still my spouse is in valid L1 visa and my L2 and EAD are valid.
    4. should i fill real experience which is 2 year in form DS-160?
    I am really confused and tensed after thinking about all those permutation and combination and thinking to cancel my India trip please advise me asap, as i don’t have much time to decide.
    thanks for all your help in advance.

    Reply
  3. hi i have questions,
    my company participates in BEP(Business Executive Program) and it is available only in india, i am planning to go to Ottawa canada, what is the best place to attend is it canada or India..
    i booked appointmentlast year and i was not able to make it to appointment to the same consulate, i am booking once again to same consualte, is this something consulate would not like….?
    please advise.

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    I have a few questions about H1b visa. I’m educated through University in China, I have EU residency in Finland. I’m currently O3 status til 2014, no stamping.

    A company is willing to hire me and sponsor me a part time H1b visa, . Is there a suggested number of working hours per a week?
    And wage for the title “translator/business liaison”.

    what’s the prevailing wage for part time? I have a bout 6 years working experience. Does it mean the claiming annual part time salary has to be higher than any level of the full time prevailing wages published online? or the hourly wage shall be higher than any levels of the full time prevailing hourly rate? the company is low budget.

    Would O3 status remain valid if H1b did not approve?

    If my H1b approved, is it the only better way I go back to Finland to stamp the visa if I travel outside the USA?

    I now have only the status, can I travel to Mexico with my status to enter the country and come back in the US later?

    Thank you very much for helping me. I really appreciate it.
    Steve

    Reply
  5. Hi, we leave in Lexington Kentucky, and we just recive thar our H1B visa was extend it for 3 years more, since november of 2011.
    We have a wedding on March 2012 in Dominican Republic.
    Do we need to go throught US Embassy in Argentina to stamp the new extention or is not necesary? we already did the first stamp on Argentina U.S Embassy with our H1B.
    What do you advise with this? Can we go to dominican republic US embassy to stamp the new extention or we need for sure to go to US Embassy in Argentina first and then go to dominican republic?
    Or is another way to dont have anny problem returning to US after the wedding?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • If your current visa stamp has expired by the time you travel and want to return to US, then you will have to go for H-1 visa stamping. Check w/ the US consulate in DR about their policies on TCN (third country national). You will be a TCN as you will be attending visa interview in a country other than your home country (Argentina). If the current H-1 visa has not expired, then you can return back on the same visa stamp w/o going for H-1 stamping.

      Reply
  6. Hello,

    I originally came to the US on a M-1 student VISA in September 2010. Since my arrival I haven’t left the US.

    I found a sponsor company and they applied for a H1B visa.
    On August 31, 2011 my “Petition for a nonimmigrant worker” got approved and my status was changes from M-1 to H1B. I recieved the I-797A. I have been working in the US ever since.

    In December 2011 I’m planning to go back to my home country (Switzerland) and get my visa stamping done.
    I’m a little confused about which documents I have to bring to the VISA interview. Do I have to file any more petitions, like the I-824, Application for Action on an Approved Application?
    Also will I be exempt from the VISA quota cap since I already have a change of status to H1B? Or will I not be able to get a VISA if the visa quota is met by the time I get to Switzerland?

    You’re advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • For H-1 stamping, one needs to carry:
      – 797, I-129, LCA
      – recent payslips, W2 and bank statement
      – employment letter from employer (if possible also the letter they sent to USCIS when filing for your H-1)
      – resume, experience letters
      – degrees, marksheets
      – information about employer and manager
      – details on your job duties etc

      Once you have an approved H-1, you don’t need to worry about quota anymore. Having a petition number is a proof that you have made through the quota.

      Reply
  7. i have h1b done in my home country, and after waiting for 2 months, finally it get approved. my question is, how long can i stay in my home country, as i was planning to review and take certifications here?. i already notified my employer and they approved.
    thanks

    Reply
    • There is no upper limit on how long you can stay in your home country. However, if you stay long, then the onus is on you to show that employment is still valid. This is done by carrying a more recent employment letter from the employer while traveling to US. Ensure that once you reach US, you get paid continuously on H-1 (no benching).

      Reply
  8. Hi there,

    Thanks for answering my previous queries.I have a complex issue here.I have applied for H1B on Aug 8th and still waiting for the response.I am currently in the UK and my student visa would expire by end of January.If I get my visa decision before my visa expiration,I can get it stamped in the UK,else I have to go to my home country-India to do so. Further,I am skeptical about premium processing as my attorney feels that those workers on premium processing are strict and we would be taking a chance.

    Further,I also have a B2(tourist) US visa that is valid for 10 years.Could you please tell me what is is the best option to do if I get the decision after my UK visa expires? Can I also go to the US and start working without stamping and then enter the country after stamping later or is there any option if I can get it stamped other than India since the visa would get delayed or chances of rejections are high.

    Your help is much appreciated !!

    Reply
    • The preferred way is that once your H-1 petition gets approved, go for stamping in your home country (India). Carry all the required documents and once approved travel to US and work on H-1.

      The option you are suggesting (skipping stamping) is usually possible when the person is already in US on a valid visa status (say L-1, F-1 or H-4 etc). As you are not in US at the moment, you don’t have the option. You may be enticed to use your B-2 for travel and then apply COS (change of status) from B-2 to H-1 (which would allow you to skip H-1 visa stamping), but that’s a risky bet. If USCIS determines that you used B-2 visa just a pretext to enter US and skip H-1 stamping, then can deny COS.

      Let me know if you have additional questions.

      Reply
  9. Hi

    I came to USA on F1 cand complited my M.S. Now I am on H1 and working as Employee-Vender-Vender-Client model.I am thinking to visit india and have to go for my first time visa stamping. Do you think this is a good time to go for visa stampling at Mumbai? Also Can I go to Canada for first time visa stamping?

    Thanks,
    Tejas

    Reply
    • India is a difficult place for visa stamping especially if you are working in an EVC or EVVC model. Canada is comparatively easy. However, as this is your first H-1 stamping you still carry the risk of being refused interview request or being issued 221g in which case you will be stuck outside US until that gets resolved. Talk to an attorney about your specific case (including employer profile, client/project documents etc) to know how tough stamping in India would be.

      Reply
  10. hi,
    I completed 3 years on H1b in Sep 2011 and have approved H1b Petition now until Oct 2014. My first h1B visa stamping was done in India.

    For getting stamped now, Can I go to Canada ?

    Reply
    • Yes, you can try to get it stamped from Canada. However always have back-up plan in mind in case your visa is denied or interview request is refused or 221g is issued.

      Reply
  11. Hi Saurabh,
    I got my initial H1B in Oct 2009. I went to India in November 2009 and got my H1B stamp. Its valid until September 2012. After that in 2010 i change my status to F1. Now again i got my H1B approved in Oct 2011. So, in this case if i leave US do i need to get H1B stamp? And if i need to get H1B stamp which will be safer Bahamas, Canada or India? Because i am planing to visit india in Feb 2012. before that i want to go for H1B visa stamping to Bahamas or Canada if its safer than going to india.

    Please give me your advice.

    Thank You,
    Anand

    Reply
  12. Hi,
    I am currently on L1 & my husband is working on L2. My visa expired in Jan 2011 but both our I-94 are valid till 01 Jan 12. My assignment ends in Nov & I need to leave US by mid of Nov 2011. My husband’s employer is filing premium H1 for him next week & result is expected by end of Nov 2011.

    After I leave US, is it OK for him to stay back in US until he receives an
    approval/rejection from USCIS & can he still continue to work while his H1 is in process (His EAD expires on 01 Jan 12) ?

    Appreciate your help.

    Thanks
    Prasanna

    Reply
    • A dependent is supposed to stay in US only as long as the primary beneficiary is in US. One cannot “park” dependent in US and be out of US for a long time. However, there is no clear guideline on what stipulates as long time. It might be ok if the gap b/w your departure and his H-1 approval is 1-2 weeks. But anything more than that, and you need to be extra careful. Also talk to H-1 employer’s attorney to know what time period can be considered as safe enough.

      Reply
  13. Hi Saurabh,
    Thanks in Advance
    I came to US on F1 visa. After my graduation in Dec 2008, I got my H1B approved in Oct 2009. I am working as contractor. In 2009, I did not have a project. So my employer did not generate my pay roll. So I don’t have my W-2 for 2009 year. I have W-2 for 2010. Next month, DEC I am going to India for 1st time H1B visa stamping. I am worry about my 2009 year W-2. If Visa office ask about 2009 W-2, what should I reply ? Please give me good suggestions.

    Reply
  14. hello,
    my h1 got aprooved a month ago and now i planing to go to ca for the stamping.the question is if it is rejected can i come back to u.s with the f1- visa/opt that valid till feb 2012??
    if is reject .can i reapply if so how soon?
    if rejected is their any grace period to return to u.s just to collect my stuff and pckup everything??

    Reply
  15. Hi, i got my initial H1B in Oct 2009. I went to India in November 2009 and got my H1B stamp. Its valid until September 2012. After that in 2010 i change my status to F1. Now again i got my H1B approved in Oct 2011. So, in this case if i leave US do i need to get H1B stamp? And if i need to get H1B stamp which will be safer Bahamas, Canada or India? Because i am planing to visit india in Feb 2012. before that i want to go for H1B visa stamping to Bahamas or Canada if its safer than going to india.

    Please give me your advice.

    Thanks,
    Andy

    Reply
  16. Great post guys with a lot of useful information!

    I am a little confused with the “First time H-1B Stamping”. I am currently in the US on my 2nd H-1B. My first H-1B was with a different company and I had done a stamping in my home country at the time. Now, I have a new H-1B with a different company and I need to go for my visa stamping again. Since this is a new H-1B with a new company, would this be considered as a “First time H-1B stamping” or renewal. I am planning to get my stamping done in Tijuana, Mexico.

    On a separate note, the H-1B stamp in my passport is expired. I have my valid approval notice(I-797) for my new H-1B. Do I need a Mexico visa to cross the border into mexico or does the valid I-797 count as a valid US visa (Mexico consulate states that the following individuals do not need a mexico visa to go to mexico: “With a valid US visa, green card or permanent resident card.”)

    I greatly appreciate any input! Thank you!

    Reply
    • 797 doesn’t count as valid visa. You need to have an unexpired visa stamp in your passport in order to avail that.

      Your’s will not be considered as first time stamping, and it is comparatively safer to go to CA or MX as compared to others who haven’t got any H-1 visa stamped in their passport.

      But remember to have back-up plan in mind, in case your visa gets denied or 221g is issued.

      Reply
  17. Hi,

    I’m on an H-1b visa that expires next year august 2012. I did get a visa stamp when I went to my home country Nigeria in Dec 2009 but the stamp was for just 2 years so it expired in Dec 2011.

    Do you know if the embassies in Mexico, Canada or Bahamas will be able to renew my visa stamp till the visa expiry date of august 2012 if I apply for a renewal now? I’m not even sure if this can be done in my country or what the procedure is.

    Also my education and work experience is all from the US.

    Thanks so much for your response.

    Reply
    • Usually, the consulates in these countries are open to people coming for subsequent stampings. However, it would a better idea to call the consulate and ask them about their policies on TCN (third country national). You should also let them that you are from Nigeria, as they might have different policies for people from different countries. If that doesn’t work out, then you can always get it stamped from your home country. Remember, that stamping is not required as long as you are within US. You can continue to stay and work in US even if your visa stamp gets expired (provided 797 and I-94 are still valid).

      Reply
  18. Hello,

    I am in an academic H1B which ends Septmeber 2012. I have a masters degree from US. I am planning to go to India in Dec2011. Can you please advice me on the chances of getting Visa stamped successfully from Hyderabad? Incase of 221G, What could be the maximum wait time?

    Thankyou so much!

    Reply
    • As long as you have all the necessary documents, you should be fine. Additionally, you are not working in consulting (EC or EVC model), so it should be comparatively safer. In case 221g is issued, there is no upper limit on how much time it would take to process; maybe weeks maybe months.

      Reply
  19. Me and my husband changed status to H4 and H1 from J2 and J1 visa respectively. We are planning to visit Sydney in December. We will require stamping to re-enter US. My question is can we do stamping in Sydney, Australia or does it involve risk? Should we only consider going to India for first stamping?

    Reply
    • It is always recommended to go to home country for first H-1 stamping. You can call the consulate in Sydney and ask them about their regulations/guidelines on TCN (third country nationals). Also, be aware that in case the consulate refuses to accept your interview appointment, or issues 221g then you will have to go to home country for visa stamping or are stuck in Sydney while your 221g is processing. Have back-up plans in mind.

      Reply
  20. Hi

    If i go Bahamas or Canada for my H1VISA stamping for first time, will that be fine instead of goin to home country?
    And if i get approved in Bahamas or Canada and then travel to my home country do i need to get it stamped again from INDIA?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • There is always certain amount of risk when one goes to CA or Bahamas for the 1st stamping. If the VO doesn’t accept your visa request, or denies the visa, then you will have to go back to the home country. If they issue 221g, then you are stuck in that country. Once you have your visa stamped in one of these countries, and then travel to India, then you don’t need to get your H-1 re-stamped. It is good until it’s expiration date.

      Reply
  21. Hi there,

    I came here 6 years ago with a visa B1 and I overstay after my visa expired, if now a company want to hire me under a H-1B is possible? if so do I have to come back to my home country or can I stay in USA during the process? thanks

    Reply
    • When filing, the company will have two options:
      1. File w/ COS. USCIS will ask for current I-94 and as you overstayed for several years, it would be denied.
      2. File w/o COS. You will have to for H-1 stamping in order to start working on H-1. When you go for stamping, your past history would be looked into and officer would be know about your overstay.

      FYI – As you overstayed for several years, you may be barred from entering US for 10 years.

      Reply
  22. Hi Saurabh,
    If the flexibility of taking a visa interview in any of the 5 consulates been waived off? Being a resident of South India I tried opting for Delhi but I see no such option. I am being forced to take my appointment in Chennai only …

    Do please let me know the latest on this Saurabh.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Looks like that. I was doing a dry run some days ago, and it didn’t allow me to select consulate of my choice (restricted it based on my region). They might have enforced this to spread out the load.

      Reply
  23. Hi Saurabh,
    My petition for H1 has been filed by an employer A this year,I wish to know if an employer B can file a new petition for H1 for me the same year.
    Thanks a lot !

    Reply
    • Yes, they can. If A’s petition has already been approved then B can file a cap-exempt petition (aka H-1 transfer). If not, B’s petition will also be subject to regular quota counts.

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for your quick reply.Is it true that B can do a H1 transfer only if I work for a couple of months for A, as at the time of H1 transfer the consulate asks for the pay stubs from A.
        Please let me know if I have to work for few months at A to do a H1 transfer to B.
        Thanks!

        Reply
        • Payslips from A is only required if you have been in US on H-1 to work for A. If you have never travelled to A, then no payslips are required from A.

          Payslips indicate that a person maintained status while s/he was in US on H-1. So it is very important to have payslips even if one has been in US for a month. And they are not required if one has never been to US.

          Does that clarify?

          Reply
  24. Hi,

    Good post. I am on my 4th year of H1B and have not traveled out of US until now, which means I have to get the H1B stamped for the first time when I travel in January next year. I am an Indian Citizen with education and experience in US. I work for a US company full time and have not been out of status ever. Do you know if the Canada and Bahama options still open for first time H1B stamping in 2011/2012 or has the rules changed this year? Do you know any success stories of first time H1B stamping in Bahamas this year? Thanks!

    Reply
    • You can go to those consulates as well. However, one always carries certain amount of risk when attending interviews at these consulates as TCN (third country national) – the officer can decide not to entertain your interview request, or issue 221g in which case you will be stuck in that country. If you do decide to attend interview at these consulates, then have back-up plan in mind, which you can put in motion if things don’t go the way you expected.

      Reply
  25. Hi Saurabh,
    I have H4.I am thinking of applying for H1 from India and go to USA on H4 with the approved H1 petition(if I get one).I wish to know how are the chances of getting h4 to H1 change of status with the approved petition.Does it need client letter for COS even with a approved petition?
    Also will I be asked about having a approved H1 petition while on H4 at the port of entry and sent back ?
    Appreciate your response.
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    • If you will be working for a consulting company, then client letter is still a must when applying for COS.

      I doubt you will be questioned about your H-1, but if they do then you can let them know you don’t want to work now and want to spend time on H-4.

      Good luck!

      Reply
  26. Hi Guys!

    I work for a big car company as a Mechanical Enginner. My employer filled H1B and it was approved today. My employer has a direct contract with the client I work for but my employer got my H1B approved from their immigrant partner which itself is a staffing company. My LCA says petiotner as that staffing company. So my employer now is that staffing company and they do not have any direct contract with the client. So I guess that my case is a EVC model type with employer being staffing comapny which is the immigration partner of my vendor who has a direct contract with the client ( car company) where I work at.

    What do you think guys are the chances that I will get my apssport stamped if I travel overseas?
    Any help would be really appreciated.

    Reply
    • EVC model is always tricky. At this point, unless it is really important to travel outside of US, it’s better to stay and continue to work in US.

      Reply
      • Thanks for you quick response Saurabh.
        What do you think are the chances that if I go I will be issued a 221g or my case going under AP, provided that I have all the necessary documents that clearly explain how I report to my employer and how does in turn he controls my work. My employer submitted a SOW (issued by end client) to USCIS that clearly mentions the contract between the vendor and end client and it also mentions that I will always be an employee of my employer. So basically it has both my employers and vendors name on it.

        Thanks for you help and time.

        Reply
        • The officer usually has only limited time to interview the candidate and go through the documents. In EVC model, they need more time to go through the documents and do the checks and that is why they issue 221g. Once 221g is issued, there is no set SLA and it can take weeks or months for them to process it.

          Check w/ your employer if there are other employees in the company that went for stamping and see how their experiences went. If you have all the documents, there is still a chance that 221g would be issued, but it may eventually get approved if your documents are in order. So it would be good to have back-up plan in mind and work out w/ employer/client if they would be ok w/ any possible delay and how you can work during that period.

          Reply
  27. Hello,

    I thank you for all the valuable information that you have put on the different visas.
    It has been very helpful for me in my decision making. I came to US few months back on L1B visa and now I got a job in a very good reputed IT company and they have agreed to do my H1B with change of status. I wanted to know if there is a possibility that my H1 may get approved but not the COS? In that case where my COS is not approved can I still continue to work for the present company legally? Also the premium processing time is 15 calenders days or working days. The reason for the question was to know how much time I have to resign and give notice to the current employer.

    Thanks once again for your help.

    -Ben

    Reply
    • It is possible that H-1 gets approved but not COS. This can happen if you leave US while the petition is still pending, or if USCIS determines that you didn’t maintain legal status while present in US. In case COS is not approved, you can continue to work for L-1 employer. Once COS is approved, you need to work for H-1 employer from the date mentioned in the approval notice. There is no grace period. However, some people continue to work for L-1 employer for a week or two to serve the notice period. But remember, this may (or may not) be an issue in future if USCIS questions about this period.

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for your reply. My H1 petition along with COS was filed last Wednesday and I am hoping the know the result by this month end. I am sorry if my question is answered elsewhere and I am unaware of it. I am planning to resign and give 15 days notice to the current employer and join the new employer after that. Now during the 15 days notice period can my current employer do anything which will hinder my joining the new employer or can they do anything that will me to go out of status (L1B). My COS effective date is such that I can give 15 days notice period.

        Thanks a lot for your help.
        -Ben

        Reply
        • Let me answer this through an example. Your H-1 gets approved w/ start date of 1st Dec, and you resign from L-1 employer on 15th Nov giving him 15 day notice. If your L-1 employer fires you based on your resignation, then you will not be able to maintain that L-1 status for those 15 days. However, it may not be a big deal. A person can enter US on H-1 at most 10 days prior to H-1 start date. So that means you can be legally present in US 20th Nov onwards based on your H-1 starting on 1st Dec. That leaves you with only 5 day window where things can go wrong, and it is such a small period that USCIS may overlook in future or it’s something you try to reason w/ USCIS if questioned (but still it would be USCIS discretion whether they agree to your response or not). If you are fired from your L-1 job, then do consult a lawyer as well.

          Does that clarify?

          Reply
          • Saurabh,

            Thanks for explaining clearly with the example. I think I am clear. If I am able to manage the 5 days and I should be good. I think my current employer will not fire me so soon as per the project requirement they need me for the 2 weeks at least.

            -Ben

          • Hi Saurabh,
            Needed your input. Today I checked on the USCIS website and it shows that the I129 application is approved. My attorney also sent me mail saying it is approved. Now my application was petition w/ COS. When it says approved, does it mean that COS is also done. In the mail from USCIS it had a I-94 number. I wanted to resign from my current company hence I want to make sure that COS is done. Also, do you have any advice while resigning from my current company? I came from India on L1 6 months back and now I am resigning. Thanks for all your help.

            Thanks,
            Ben

          • You should look at the 797 copy to see if the COS was approved or not. If the 797 has an I-94 attached to the bottom of it, then your COS was approved and your status would be H-1 from the mentioned date. Else, your COS wasn’t approved.

            If the email has I-94 number, then it is a good enough indication that COS was approved. Does it have a date mentioned as well for the I-94?

          • Hi Saurabh,

            Thanks for the reply. There is an effective date as 11/15 and the I-94 number is also there. Today I talked with my US manager about my decision to resign and he was very upset. He informed the India VP and the India VP called me and scared me that he will take legal action against me. He said he will do a court case against me as I am India employee I cannot resign in US and also I cannot give 15 days notice. As per India policy I have to give 3 months notice and I cannot do it as my H1 status is valid after 15 days so the max I can give 15 days notice. I tried to explain him peacefully and gently but he was very angry with me. He was not ready to listen to me and was telling me that I am going to destroy my career by taking this step. Can you please suggest me what I should do? He is going to talk with the corporate legal team and they will file a case against me. Is there any one else who has gone through this situation if you can put your comments it will be help. I am sharing all the details so that it may be helpful to others who are going through same situation or may go through in the near future.

            Your answer is much appreciated.

            Thanks,
            Ben

          • Lot of employees file L-1 to H-1, so I don’t think it is something out of ordinary. A lot of times these are scare tactics. You should consult a labor lawyer to ensure you are legally ok. This would take care of all legal issues in US; the company may still proceed to file suit against you in India. So you should check there as well.

            Good luck!

  28. Hi All,

    I hold H1b visa in US and i have never traveled outside of US since i got my h1b visa approved. I am planning to visit Bahamas and looks like i would have to get it stamped from there.

    I am planning to schedule an appointment .Any idea approx how many days does it take to receive your stamped passport if you are in Bahamas? Is it instant ?

    Thanks for you help!

    Reply
    • Hi Harman ,

      i am planning to go to Bahamas as well for my first H1B stamping ,can you tell me if you had your stamping done yet ,and are from India as well .

      Reply
  29. I am on COS H3 visa – valid until 2013. I have started 1 full semester and currently is on my 2nd semester. I’m on a Teacher’s training in one of the school in New York.
    I would like to travel abroad and want to try to go to Canada for my first stamp. Please advice….

    PS: what do I need to get from my school as a back up?

    Reply
  30. Hi,

    I am going to India in December to get married. I am not an Indian citizen or Indian passport holder. I am currently on H1B and will be going to India for visa stamp as well. This will be my first time for visa stamp, I have been on H1b for 5 years and F1 prior to that, completing my bachelors in US , and never leaving the US, all visa changes have been made thru COS.

    Can you tell me if its possible to go as a TCN to India for h1b visa stamping? I can’t find any useful info on issue. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks! zulu

    Reply
  31. Hello!

    I am in an academic H1B which ends June 2012. I am in the process of sending in papers for the next 3 years of my H1B which will start June 2012 and end June 2015. I plan to travel out of US for the first time since I changed from F1 to H1B in March 2012. If I receive my second H1b permit by then will my passport be stamped with the H1b until 2015 or will the stamping be only for my current H1b term ending June 2012?

    Thanks much!

    Reply
    • You should show the new extended petition when going for stamping. The officer would then give you a visa stamp until 2015.

      Reply
  32. Hi ,

    I am applied H1B to different employer while i am working on L1 with abc company .
    Now in between i moved to India because of my L1 expiry and applied new L1 from the same abc company and got the new L1.
    After i got my L1 and H1B aslo got approved while i am India , but however i traveled back to US with my New L1 .
    So now if want to work on H1B , do i need to go back to India to get stamped or i can start working using H1b with out stamping?

    Reply
    • You have 2 options:
      -H-1 employer files COS from L-1 to H-1. Once the COS gets approved, your status would be H-1 and you can start working on H-1.
      – You travel outside of US, get H-1 stamped and enter on that visa stamp to work on H-1.

      Reply
  33. Hello,

    I am going to stamping in Dec 1st week 2011.Am a full time employee. My question is i dont have all the W-2 forms for last 4 years. I have only 2 w-2 froms out of 4 years. I have 2010 w-2. I dont have 2009 w-2 which is old employee. Do u think does it effect any thing to my stamping. Other than that i have all the documents.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • If you don’t have W-2, you can try carrying tax return form for that year. That would contain W-2 information on how much salary and taxes were paid in that year.

      Reply
  34. Hello,

    I am currently on an F-1 visa pursuing my second Masters Degree in the US. I have a prospective employer who is willing to file a COS petition from F-1 to H-1B.

    After my COS petition is filed from F-1 to H-1B and is pending, Can I get a Cap-Gap extension from my school and no longer enroll for courses for the upcoming semester, until I receive a decision on my pending H-1B application is made ?

    Please note that, I have already used my OPT after completing my first masters degree. Hence, I can no longer get OPT again for the same level of study and so I have no other option but to convert to H-1B before graduating with my second masters degree.

    Please advice.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • You are eligible for cap-gap only if you are on OPT. If you are currently enrolled in school on F-1, then you are not eligible for cap-gap. While your H-1 is pending, you need to continue to maintain your F-1 status i.e. study fulltime. Once your H-1 gets approved w/ COS, it’s your decision whether to continue studying or not (your primary responsibility would then to be maintain fulltime work status as per the LCA).

      Reply
      • Hello,

        Thans for your reply. But, I need a further clarification on this

        As per the USCIS link below:
        http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.5af9bb95919f35e66f614176543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=1d175ffaae4b7210VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=6abe6d26d17df110VgnVCM1000004718190aRCRD

        Q3. Which petitions and beneficiaries qualify for a cap-gap extension?
        A3. H-1B petitions that are timely filed, on behalf of an eligible F-1 student, that request a change of status to H-1B on October 1 qualify for a cap-gap extension.

        Note: Although the first business day of October 2011 is Monday, October 3, eligible F-1 students must make sure to request Saturday, October 1, as their start date in order to qualify for cap-gap extension.

        Timely filed means that the H-1B petition (indicating change of status rather than consular processing) was filed during the H-1B acceptance period which begins April 1, while the student’s authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect (including any period of time during the academic course of study, any authorized periods of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT), and the 60-day departure preparation period, commonly known as the “grace period”).

        Once a timely filing has been made, requesting a change of status to H-1B on October 1, the automatic cap-gap extension will begin and will continue until the H-1B petition adjudication process has been completed. If the student’s H-1B petition is selected and approved, the student’s extension will continue through September 30 unless the petition is denied, withdrawn, or revoked. If the student’s H-1B petition is not selected, the student will have the standard 60-day grace period from the date of the rejection notice or their program end date, whichever is later, to prepare for and depart the United States.

        Students are strongly encouraged to stay in close communication with their petitioning employer during the cap-gap extension period for status updates on the H-1B petition processing.

        ——————
        From above,

        “It says timely – filed petitions (including any period of time during the academic course of study”…..

        Does this mean, If a COS petition is filed from F-1 to H-1B during the academic course of study, F-1 status for that student is automatically extended until a decision on that petition is made ? In that case, Would I still considered to be maintaining status even if I choose to not enroll for classes during the time when my H-1b application is pending ?

        Reply
        • I was incorrect when I stated one needs to be in OPT to be eligible for cap-gap. One is eligible for cap-gap even when currently pursuing studies.

          Answer to Q1 in the link is “This is referred to as filling the “cap-gap,” meaning the regulations provide a way of filling the “gap” between the end of F-1 status and the beginning of H-1B status that might otherwise occur if F-1 status is not extended for qualifying students.” So cap-gap period starts at the end of F-1 status which may occur due to completion of studies or OPT period. But I don’t think it means you can leave studies and then wait for H-1 to start. If your school allows you to skip a quarter/semester, you can avail that to maintain F-1 status and not attend classes.

          You can check w/ an immigration lawyer for more details.

          Reply
          • Hello Saurabh,

            Thanks for your quick response and all the help that you are providing to us.

            I talked to the DSO at my school, and she said they would allow me to take a leave of absence for the upcoming quarter. I also asked her, If I could remain in the U.S during my leave of absence or Do I have to leave the country. She said I could take a leave of absence and still remain in the US.

            So, I would like to take a leave of absence for the upcoming quarter and have my H-1B application filed during that time.

            Now, as per the Cap-Gap rule I pointed to you from my post above,

            Q3. Which petitions and beneficiaries qualify for a cap-gap extension?

            H-1B petitions that are timely filed, on behalf of an eligible F-1 student, that request a change of status to H-1B on October 1 qualify for a cap-gap extension.

            Timely filed means that the H-1B petition (indicating change of status rather than consular processing) was filed during the H-1B acceptance period which begins April 1, [ “while the student’s authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) admission was still in effect (including any period of time during the academic course of study”]……..

            I am little confused about the wording inside the [ ] that I highlighted above. I hope you could provide some additional guidance on this.

            If I am on a leave of absence for the upcoming quarter, Would I still considered to be in an authorized F-1 duration of status (D/S) ? and thus making me eligible for Cap-Gap extension of my F-1 status until a decision on my H-1B petition is made ?

            Please provide me your advice on this.

            Thanks.

          • Cap-gap starts when one’s F-1 status or OPT status ends. For example, if a person’s OPT status is expiring on 1st Nov, then cap-gap would never occur. If OPT is expiring on 1st May, then cap-gap would be from May to 30 Sep. As you will be taking a quarter off from school, you would still be maintaining legal F-1 status especially if your school allows you to take a break. As your F-1 status has not expired, but is continuing, there is no cap-gap.

            Also, you need to remember cap-gap is valid only until 1st Oct. So once that date passes, there is no cap-gap irrespective of whether you are eligible or not.

  35. Hi, i see there are very good answers here. I have an L1 visa and moving to another company with H1B visa and I was wondering if once the visa is approved i need to get it stamped within a certain amount of time? or can i stay as long as i want in the us and only worry about it when i am leaving the states and want to come back?

    Reply
    • You don’t need to worry about stamping as long as you are in US (this is assuming your H-1 is approved w/ COS). There is no upper limit on how much time you can stay in US w/o getting the visa stamped (obviously you are still bound to the 6 year H+L clock).

      Reply
  36. Hi Saurabh,

    I came to US in 2009 on L1 and had I-94 till Aug 19th 2011. My employer applied for L1 extension in May 2011. Received a RFE with valid a response time till Oct 7th 2011. After that,same employer processed H1B and waiting for approval. Can i go to Mexico/Canada for H1B stamping (if approved)? I am not sure filing was done w or w/o COS.

    Please advise.

    Thanks,
    Ramesh.

    Reply
    • You would need immediate stamping only if H-1 wasn’t approved w/ COS. It is not recommended to go to CA or MX for first H-1 stamping especially if you have not done your Masters in US. There is always an associated risk that your visa will not be granted, in which case you will have to return to home country for visa stamping. So unless it’s really necessary to get visa stamped, avoid that route.

      Reply
  37. Hi Kumar,

    It would be of great help if you could answer few of the following questions:
    I have an h1b approved petition with employer A and currently in USA on h4. Its not possible to go back to my home country for visa stamping as i have a 10months old baby. My employer says either i should go back for stamping or resign. If i resign they are going to cancel my petition.
    Is it possible for another employer B to apply for change of status from h4 to h1?
    What happens if A cancels the petition before B applies for change of status?

    Thanks
    Najma Shaik

    Reply
  38. Hi Saurabh,

    Greetings !! I am in my L2, working and my employer is processing my H1B. I am going to India in March -2012, where i will get my H1B stamped. my question is if my H1B gets rejected during stamping, can i come back to US in my L2. will my L2 be valid or should i apply again or is there any other process involved.

    Reply
    • If your L-2 visa stamp is still valid you can return on L-2. Else, you would have to go for L-2 stamping in order to return on L-2. This is assuming that your spouse is still maintaining the status by working on L-1.

      Reply
  39. Hi Saurabh,
    I am coming to USA on H4.I have already found a company which to ready to do a change of status for me from H4 to H1 and give me a job when I come to USA.I request if you could answer me my query.I wish to know , if I apply immediately as soon as I reach USA ,for a COS from H4 to H1 ,will they consider that mine was preplanned and deny me H1 visa.Should I need to wait for some time before applying for a COS.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • IMO, H-4 is also a dual intent visa as the H-1 visa holder can immigrate after his/her GC is filed. So I don’t think there would be serious questions raised about H-4 to H-1 conversion (B-1 to H-1 is much more serious and invites more scrutiny). However, if you still want to play safe, then it’s better to wait for at least 30 days before your employer files the H-1.

      Reply
  40. Hello,

    I was on an F1 visa and have now gotten my H1-B approved. I need to travel on Business to Europe. Can I get my H1-B stamping done in Europe, or would I face any issues? Has anyone gotten their first time H1 stamping done in a country in Europe?
    Any input would be much appreciated.

    Reply
    • There is always certain amount of risk involved when going for stamping in a country other than the home country. However, as you have done Masters in US and have valid reasons for getting it stamped in EU, I think the risk is lower. But be aware that in case you are stuck in stamping or if the consulate refuses to entertain your interview request, then you will have to go back to your home country for stamping. So always have the back-up plan in mind.

      Reply
  41. HI,

    I came to USA on L1 visa. Now i got a sponsor who is applying for my H1. Once i get my H1 approved can i go back to india and get the stamping done? Is there a possibility that they can reject me at time of stamping? I have done all my education etc in india so is going to canada for stamping a possible option? What all document should i carry for H1 stamping?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • When filing for H-1, employer has the option of filing it w/ or w/o COS (change of status). If filed and approved w/ COS, you will be on H-1 from the start date mentioned in COS approval notice. No stamping is required at that time, and you can immediately start working on H-1. However, you will have to get H-1 stamped in passport next time you leave US and want to return and work on H-1. If COS is not approved, then you would remain on L-1, and will have to get H-1 stamped in passport to start working on H-1.

      There is always possibility of rejection during stamping. If you haven’t done Masters in US, then it’s not recommended to go to Canada for first H-1 stamping. You should carry documents similar to what your employer submitted for the H-1 petition – employer related documents, project/client related documents, your education certificates, resume, 797, I-129 etc.

      Reply
  42. Ok… I am freaked out after reading all the stories here. Here is my situation.
    I came to US in 2007 on a F1 Visa and recently joined a Desi consultancy (around 10 employees) and have been working with a major client from Jan2011. There is a very reputable American vendor in between my employer and the client. My H1 was approved a week ago and after 4 years of exile, am excited to go to India for the first time in December. All the stories about 221g have scandalized me and now I am rethinking my decision of going back right now.

    1. Does going to Canada have better chances of H1 stamping? So that I can get the stamp and then go to India? If I am given a 221g in Canada, will they send me back to India till its cleared or am I stuck in Canada?

    2. Its natural human tendency to post bad experiences promptly. So I understand a lot of people may not post their H1 Visa success stories. But is this really the trend with 221g slips or are people with 221g a ‘Minority’? Does anyone have any insight into a rough statistical analysis of the ration of ‘Approvals Vs 221g Vs Rejections’?

    3. If I do go to India, can I take all the ‘Petitioner’ documents with me like employee list, employer tax records for 2 years and so on to help the process? Because the ‘HR’ from my consultancy said they would need to send those docs to the consulate, if 221g states that and I can not take those documents. Is that true?

    BTW< my desi consultant is a legitimate employer and everything is legitimate and no one from my firm has been rejected a H1B visa so far. I dont even know if that helps.

    Can someone please be kind enough in putting me out of my misery and in the process, a lot of others who maybe in a similar situation. I'll be grateful to anyone who responds!

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • 1. As you have done Masters in US, it would be ok to go to CA for 1st stamping. Yes, there is always a chance of visa being refused in which case you will have to return to India. You can immediately fly to India if the visa is refused. However if 221g is issued you would need someone local to track it, send documents/passport as and when required, and receive the passport. So it may turn out to be more convenient to stay in CA only (especially when they can ask for your passport after completing their processing).
      2. Very valid point. Most of the rejections happen in EVC or EV…VC models, but as long as you have all the right documents, you should be fine. 221g may still be issued but there is a stronger chance of final approval. Talk to your attorney to ensure you have all the required documents for your EVC model.
      3. The employer’s concern is valid. I read about a case when the interviewee submitted all the documents to VO and he responded back asking isn’t it strange that your employer just gave you all financially sensitive documents. So it may be ok to submit them if asked by VO. But you should still carry documents related to contracts b/w employer, vendor and client and also how employer exerts control on your activities at the client site.

      Reply
  43. Hi,

    I am currently working on my OPT STEM extension and have filed for H1B visa. Upon approval, I intend to get it stamped fro Bahamas.
    If denied, can I still return to US on my OPT status which lasts till Dec 2012?

    Reply
    • Has your H-1 been filed w/ COS? If yes and assuming your H-1 is approved w/ COS, you will be on H-1 status and not on OPT. Even though you can enter US on F-1 while returning, but what will you do here in US after that? Your OPT would no longer be valid. I would suggest against returning on F-1 if your OPT status is no longer valid because of an approved H-1 COS.

      Also, when COS is approved, you really don’t need to get H-1 stamped and can continue to work on H-1. You can get it stamped when you really need to travel out of country next.

      Reply
      • Thanks a lot Saurabh.
        Needed your input on this one. My H1-B was approved last week!
        For my wife to apply for H4 (dependent visa), is it necessary for me to have my H1-B stamped. My lawyer says yes, although a few folks said that stamping is not mandatory.
        Counting on your reply.
        Thanks again.

        Reply
  44. Hi,
    I am on H4 in US and wishing to apply for H1 by Change of Status(COS).I wish to know since I wont come under quota , can I apply for COS any time during the year?
    2)Also, my COS would be valid as long as I would be in US , once i go out of US and come back , do I need to get H1 stamped.What are the chances of rejection if I go for stamping outside US , if my COS is already approved?

    Reply
    • 1. If you don’t have an already approved H-1 petition or filing through a cap exempt lawyer (like university), you will be counted against the quota and are subject to 1st Oct start date.
      2. Yes, to return back on H-1, you need to get H-1 stamping done. Successful stamping is determined by your employer’s credibility and your job (project/client etc). If COS is approved, that doesn’t guarantee that stamping would also be approved.

      Reply
  45. Hi,

    I was a F1 Student in the US for 4 years. After my degree completion I worked at a Medical School while on OPT, they did my H1 b petition and got approved in May 2011. I want to travel to my home counrty (Jaamaica) but is scared of being denied.

    I work as a Budget Analyst and is considering a new opportunity within the same company. One of my college friends, a jamaica, currently enrolled in a Masters program on F1 was denied recently.

    I would rather go to Canada and if it is denied, try another means of employment there.

    I am currently doing my MBA here in teh US.

    Please advice.

    Reply
    • People who have studied in US can still go to CA/MX for first H-1 stamping. However, there is always an associated risk – the consulate has the right to refuse your interview as your TCN (third country national). Check w/ the CA consulate and then schedule a visa appointment there.

      Reply
  46. Hi,

    I was an F-1 student earlier last year and a consulting company has filed for my H1 last november and got itapproved but recently i got a job from multinational consulting company and they have recently filed for my H1 (transfer or new h1 whichever you think is right ) and got it approved so currently am on h1 and planning to go to india this december but before that do you think its suggestible to go to canada and get my first time stamping done or directly planing it back home should be fine ??.Could you please provide me some direction.

    Reply
    • Stamping from CA is still feasible especially if you have done Masters in US. However, there is always an associated risk that they would issue 221g (which means you will have to spent more time in CA) or deny it (which means you will have to go back to your home country for stamping).

      Are you planning to apply visa through consulting company or the MNC? The former has more chances of running into administrative processing.

      Reply
  47. i am currenty on H1B status and its expired on december 2013.
    i was on F1 visa before and i change my status from f1 to h1b in january 2011.since than i am working with the same petinior and paying taxes regularley.last week i married to a greencard holder here in U.S and i want to go to india for 2 months in this december.and i want to first time stamping for my h1b from india.so is there gona any problem with that….please advise. and i also have valid b1 visa stamp on my passport and its expired on july 2017.

    Reply
    • You will be going for H-1 visa stamping, right? H-1 is a dual intent visa and allows a person to immigrate by filing GC later. So I think you should be fine, but check w/ an attorney as well to see what the best responses should be in case VO questions you on that.

      Reply
      • yes i will be going for H-1 stamping.but my question is istead of going india can i go to canada or either bahamas for my first time stamping.. i am not holding any us or canadian degree.i am also holding a visa stamp on my passport for b1/b2. for 10 years which expired on 2016.and F1 visa stamp for 5 years which is expired on may 2012.both of visa was issued in ottawa,canada.while i m in canada on student visa. so,should i go to bahamas or canada or india? i am living in us since last 4 years.
        what i s the best option for me. and if they denied my application in canada/bahamas should i still able to come to us on my valid i-94 and i-797..
        please advise…………….thanks.

        Reply
        • Rule of thumb says that one should go for 1st stamping to CA or MX only if the person has done Masters in US. As your education is not from US, there is a higher probability that the US consulate in those countries would refuse to issue you the visa, in which case you will have to return to home country for stamping. You cannot return to US just on the basis of I-94 and 797. You also need a visa stamp in the passport to enter US.

          Reply
  48. Hi,
    I am currently on h4 and got my h1 approved. I am planning to travel to India a before starting my job in Oct 2011. My husband in on H1 extension and has not yet got his h1 stamping hence I need to go to consulate for stamping too. My question is will it be for h1/h4? And is there any risk involved considering the current market scenarios.
    Any response will be highly appreciated.

    Regards.

    Reply
    • Depends when you plan to return. If you plan to return on or after 20th Sep, then you can go for H-1 stamping and return on H-1 and start working from 1st Oct. If you plan to return earlier than that, then you should go for H-4 stamping. Once in US, you can file COS from H-4 to H-1 to be on H-1 from the COS approval start date.

      Depending upon your employer’s background and proposed job offer, H-1 stamping may or may not be easy.

      Reply
  49. Hi,

    I got my H1b petition approved on August 1, 2011. But, my change of status application got denied because I traveled to India in my OPT during the application process. I will have to do my stamping to get back to work from October 01. 2011. I would prefer to do the stamping in Canada (Toronto) than to do it my home place (Chennai). I’m about to start all the process from today including applying for Canadian visa. Will I have enough time to complete the whole process before Oct, 01? I have my OPT until Sep, 29, 2011.

    In I-797B, it has been said that we will have to file I-824 if we would like to change US consulate. It looks like it will take 3 months for I-824 to get processed. My employer said we don’t need to actually file for I-824. is it true?

    Profile
    B.E. (CSE) in India, worked for 3 years in a reputed software MNC in India. I have a US degree (MBA). At present, working in IT in E-V-C model. Will it be an issue to study MBA and work in IT?

    My UG degree has been evaluated and added in my US degree transcript. But, will I require a evaluation for my experience in India? If so, I think it would take some time. Should I really book a return flight from Canada before getting visa in hand?

    Please help

    Reply
    • By the way, Which is better Ottawa or Toronto? I have a relative in Toronto where I can stay if it takes longer but Ottawa seems to be less crowded. Do we have any success/failure stories in stamping in Canada. Please help

      Reply
    • I am not sure if I-824 needs to be filed or not. You should ask a lawyer about it. As you have Masters in US, it is still ok to go to Canada for stamping. There are few things you need to keep in mind:
      – your degree and work do not directly match. You may have to show why your employer hired you after the course you have completed
      – dates may not be readily available at the consulate of your choice. The dates are shown only after you have paid the visa fees. So you may end up in a situation where you pay the visa fees and then realize that no dates are available prior to your OPT expiration date
      – if 221g is raised, you may not return on H-1

      BTW, you also have 60 days grace period at the end of your OPT before you leave US. You cannot work during that period, but can definitely stay in US. So another option would be to file COS from F-1 to H-1 and continue to stay in US. But if doesn’t get approve before that 60 day grace period, then you have to leave US.

      Reply
      • 1. I did MBA in Finance. I’m working for a reputed bank in credit card domain. How can I show why my employer hired me after MBA? It is because I have necessary IT skills with respective domain knowledge, and management capabilities. Can I get a document from my client manager?

        2. What should I do if dates are not readily available?. I’m planning for one in last week of September. Will I be able to change location to a place where I get earliest appointment?

        3. My employer said that we cannot apply for change of status again as the petition is already approved. is it true?

        4. On what conditions does 221g is raised? I will go with all necessary documents. is it taking months for 221g in Canada too?

        5. Do I need a experience evaluation for my past job at India? Will it delay the process?

        6.Toronto or Ottawa? Which is better?

        Reply
        • 1. Yes, your employer and client can submit a letter saying what they liked about your profile.
          2. I haven’t used the appointment system myself, but what I have read is that one can change the location to see which city has earliest available date and can then select that.
          3. No. COS can still be applied
          4. 221g can be raised for bunch of reasons including security check, PIMS, verification of documents etc. Each officer tries to adjudicate the stamping request within a stipulated time (so that they can cover all appointments for the day in a timely fashion). If they need more time to go through your documents, then they would issue 221g and review them later. Processing time of 221g is definitely faster than that in India.
          5. You don’t need experience evaluation letters from India. If you have them covered in your resume and have experience letters, then that should be sufficient.
          6. Don’t know

          Reply
          • I got an appointment in Toronto, Canada for September 26, 2011. I’m in the process of preparing docs. I lost my original W2 form for 2009 when I worked part-time in my university. I have the W2 form for 2010 though.

            is it ok to carry a notarized copy of W2 form for 2009? Will it be ok if I show my tax Transcript for 2009?

          • I can’t say for sure if it would be ok, but it’s better to carry those instead of not carrying anything. Tax return would have W-2 information and that should suffice the VO’s requirements.

          • I got an Original W2 from the place I worked in 2009. So, no problem with W2. But, I don’t my tax return for 2009. I requested a a copy from IRS which would take at least 60 days. I have the copy of the application form I sent to IRS and the Tax Transcript (which shows the details of my Tax information). Will W2, tax transcript and the request for tax return copy suffice Tax return for 2009? What should I say if the VO ask the Tax Return for 2009?

          • They are more concerned that you got paid than whether you paid taxes or not (that’s IRS’s responsibility). So as long as you W-2 to show that you were paid salary equal or more than that mentioned in the LCA, you should be fine.

  50. Hi,
    Im right now on B2 Visa visiting family. I had started attending interview for a consultant (based out of US) when i was in India but it got materialised after few weeks when I was in US.
    Now there seems to be 2 options:
    1) I can do a B2 to Change of status to H1B and start working here. Everyone especially the consultant is recommending to do this as of todays H1B visa stamping scenario. But I feel when I return to India the chances of my Visa getting rejected is high, because I came in non-wrk permit visa and got it converted to work permit. This is my understanding.
    2) Go back to India and get a fresh stamping. but with todays trend of (getting blue slips) for contractors Im not sure what to do. The client will not wait for so long.
    The client is one of the best in the industry and i feel its a golden oppurtunity. The consultant also is not into fresh stamping.
    Im very confused.
    Kindly guide.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    • 1. Your understanding is right. If H-1 is filed from US w/ COS, USCIS can question your intention of entering US. As the interview process started while you were in India, there are enough pointers against your case.
      2. You cannot start working until 1st Oct. So even if H-1 gets approved, client will have to wait until then. Is your client willing to wait that much? The fastest way I see is you returning to India, employer filing H-1 w/ premium processing, you getting H-1 stamped and entering US on H-1. Still the earliest start date is 1st Oct.

      Reply

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