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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. Hi Saurabh,

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

    Thank you,
    Swarna

    Reply
  2. Hi Saurabh,
    First I would like to thank you for your effort in sharing knowledge and opinions on immigration. Here is my case.
    I am in US since Oct 2007 on L1B Visa till Dec 2012. I got H1B approved with COS in Dec2012 and started working to the H1 employer ( consulting company ). I have another implementation partner between my employer and client. I am planning to go to India for my marriage this year.

    1) I got my first pay slip from H1 employer in Jan2012 as he pays me once a month and December pay was given in Jan2012, but I got my payslip from L1 employer for Dec2011. Will that be any issue when I go for stamping. I am planning to goto stamping sometime in June / july. Also I have got W2 for 2011 only from L1 employer as H1 employer didnt pay me in Dec2011.
    2) Please suggest if it is advisable to go to Visa stamping in India or Canada for my case. Even though I didnt have education in US my past 5 years work experience is in US.

    Really appreciate your help!!

    Thanks,
    Swami

    Reply
    • 1. When exactly your COS went into effect? When did you resign from L-1 employer? Was the L-1 employer’s salary for the work done until COS went into effect or for days after that?
      2. As this will be your first H-1 stamping, its recommended to go to home country i.e. India. However, as you are working in an EVC model there is a strong possibility of 221g being issued and may get rejected.

      Reply
      • 1) My COS went into effect on 12/02/2011 my COS is approved and we received email with approval from USCIS. May last working day for L1 employer is 12/9/2011. However the salary from L1 employer is for full month of Dec2011.
        2) oh.. . I have the client letter and letter from my implementation partner who is between my employer and client.
        On the other note is it recommended to shift to an employer or consulting company without any other layers in between? If so, is there any minimum requirement to be with the current H1 employer as I heard that we should be with the H1 employer for atleast 3 months before moving to another employer to avoid issues during visa stamping?

        Thanks,
        Swami

        Reply
        • 1. Did you return that salary to L-1 employer, because you really didn’t work for them after 9th? As for H-1 employer, if questioned, you can explain that salary is issued w/ one month delay and your Jan paycheck is basically for the Dec work. Carry some document from the employer to show this.
          2. You may be asked about the employer-employee relationship and how your employer manages your day to day activities at the client site w/ a vendor in b/w. You can search for this online to get more information

          Yes, its’ better to be working in an EC model (employer-client). There is no such requirement of staying for 3 months. You will be asked for submit 3 months of payslips. As you were on L-1 prior to H-1, you can submit them together for Nov, Dec and Jan. However, in your case you got Dec salary from L-1 employer, so it may be prudent to wait for few more months so that your last 3 payslips are only from H-1 employer and not from L-1 employer.

          Does that clarify?

          Reply
  3. Hi Saurabh,

    I have a question.I got Married in Nov,2011 and my husband left to US
    in Dec,2011 on H1.I am planning to apply for H4 Visa in March,2012.

    So i have few queries on it..
    1) Should i add my husband’s name in my passport before my Interview(H4 Stamping).
    2) Will i have any issues with stamping as he left earlier to me.(I have a valid reason
    stating i am working with XYZ Company and took time to get revealed from it.)
    3)What documents should i carry with me.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Vishali

    Reply
    • Hello Vishali,
      Was visiting this site and saw your question, for H4 visa, you don’t have worry about anything except few, is your husband came to usa on client side job or in house job? if client side then he needs to be working at the time of you approaching for visa, you need to have his last 3 paystubs, since he came to usa in nov 2011, so you should have w2 for 2011, marriage proof, like pictures of your marriage, no need to worry about he is leaving early, usually they don’t ask you questions, important thing is proof of your husbands employment, salary slips, w2, marriage proof, thats it…

      Best of luck….
      Ahmed

      Reply
    • 1. Not required, but good to have. Basically the onus is on you to show that you are married, and it can be shown through different documents – marriage certificate, passport, wedding card/album etc
      2. That will not be an issue. You might be asked the question, but it will not adversely impact the outcome
      3. Same documents that husband used for his stamping. In addition his recent paystubs, W2, employment letter and documents from (#1). At times H-4 interviewees are asked for documents one normally expects during H-1 visa interview. So in addition to your documents, carry his documents as well as if he is going for visa stamping.

      Reply
  4. I need clarification for scheduling Visa Appointment date for me and wife my wife at US consulate Delhi. There were two option for scheduling an appointment.

    1> A resident of India/Bhutan
    2> An Indian citizen resident in the US

    I had taken interview date with second option and have an appointment date with it, for my wife it defaults in to same option.
    I am in US for last 2 years on F1 and my H1B is effective now and I am going to India for stamping. She has been in India always

    Is this right option that I selected , I cannot cancel my appointment now, else I cannot take appointment for next 3 months.

    Please let me know what to do if I needed to select first option.

    Thanks a lot in advance,
    Amol

    Reply
    • I think it should be ok. You are the primary applicant and your interview will determine the outcome of the stamping. So the option should be based on your residency and not hers. That’s my opinion, but you can check w/ your attorney as well.

      Reply
        • You can also check w/ VFS folks by calling them. However, they are not always the subject matter experts and at times goof up w/ their advice.

          Reply
          • I called them they told me to cancel and select first option and since its not possible asked me to go for NO show and then take appointment again. I checked with couple of my friends, all of them selected option 2 and had no problems, but these VFS people are so contrary to it.

          • Like I said, they are not the best experts. If your friends were able to get it stamped using option 2, then it may work in your case as well.

  5. Hi Saurabh,
    Thanks for your help.
    Please answer my query.I have H1 visa and currently in US.I will be applying for extn from US.I wish to know after my extension if I go to India and get my visa stamped and then come to US and apply for a transfer to another employer , will I still need to go for stamping , if I go to India after the transfer.
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • You don’t need to for H-1 stamping as long as your current visa stamp is valid. This holds true even after changing employers.

      Reply
  6. Just wanted to share some information:
    Me and my wife both got our H1B visa stamped on 01/24/2012 at Ottawa , Canada.
    Both of us are under direct employment and have masters from US.
    My wife is a first time H1B and recently had a COS from H4 to H1B
    I have had my H1B for more than six years and currenlty under extended status having filed and approved my I-140.

    Appointment was at : 8:30
    Reached the consulate at 8:00
    Was asked to show our employment letter , DS 160 and the I-797 approval notice.
    Then were given a token to wait for our turn, After about 15 minutes wait – we were called for finger printing at a second window after which was called for the interview.

    Consular: How long have you been working ?
    Ans: 8 years
    Consular: What do you do ?
    Ans: Software Engineer for ABC company
    Question to my wife : Are you a general practioner or a specialist ( since she is a dentist ? )
    Answer: General
    Consular : Have you filed for your green card process
    Answer : Yes and waiting for the priority date.
    Consular: Your visa has been approved and follow the instructions in the paper to retrieve the passport when done.

    The baseline being – just be confident and speak the truth.

    The passport pick up is from DHL / Loomis Express – the CSC website to check did not get updated at all about my passport status – so I went to the DHL office and had them check for my passport – I got it the next day at 5:00 pm

    Usually I would advice to get to the DHL office around 4:30 – 5:00 because it is the time the US consulate delivers the passport

    I met another lady who was waiting for pickup since the computer system was down when she had her interview. She got the passport in her 5th day of the interview.
    We also came across few candidates who were issued 221g form and waiting for feedback from the consulate. These were under EVC model.

    I hope this information helps – Overall a nice experience for us and also Ottawa would be the place if you are thinking Canada because it is small and would have less wait time for appointments

    Reply
  7. Hi,

    My name is rohan and I was currently on my F1 Visa( OPT Extension 17months). Currently I was in India for vacation and will be returning to USA in Feb. I will be starting my H1B visa processing once I was in USA. I had few queries related to stamping.

    1) Which one is suggestable to get H1B approved. Through Premium petition or regular processing?
    2)I came to know that we can go to Canada or Bahamas for H1B stamping first time. How are the chances going to Canada. Can anyone suggest me. I was not able to decide whether to choose with India (home country) or Canada.
    3)My parents are looking matches in the meantime. Currently I was in India. And I was planning to get married once my H1 B is approved . Is it a best way to come to India for stamping and also get married at that time. I am feared if my H1 B visa got rejected and If i get stuck over there.
    or
    Is it better to get married when I was in F1. Go to US and get H1 approved and then come for stamping. If thats the case how can I get my wife to USA. Is it on F4 visa or is it better to get her once my H1b got approved so that she can come on H4 dependent visa.

    Mostly I will go now to US now without getting engaged or get marriage done but I was confused and dont know what is the best way to get these things done….

    Reply
    • 1. Irrespective of whether it’s filed w/ PP or not, you cannot start to work on H-1 until Oct 2012. When is your OPT expiring?
      2. It varies from case to case. If you are not working for a consulting company, then you can go to CA or Bahamas. Check the latest information on their websites about TCNs (third country nationals)
      3. If you can go to CA or Bahamas, then you can go there for your H-1 visa stamping. Then travel to India for marriage, and have your wife go for H-4 visa stamping there.

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,

        I was employed through consultancy and on top of my consulting firm there were two more layers. If it the case will be a good idea to go to canada for my H1b stamping first time or do you suggest to go india (hometown) for stamping.
        What are the current success rates of H1 b stamping (India or Canada).

        Few of my friends got married in their OPT (extension) and they flew to US back. They will be applying for H1B stamping and once it is approved they will bring their wives.

        I couldnt do it as I didnt find a perfect match for me. I am worried if when I go back to US and get my H1b approved and come back to US for stamping and get stuck in India. If I come back to US I will get married also next time.

        Can you shower some thoughts and give me some suggestions for my problems.

        Reply
        • So you are working EVVC model. There is a strong chance that 221g would be issued as is the case w/ most EVVC visa stampings these days. Try to move to a more direct employment, and then go for visa stamping.

          Reply
  8. I am an Indian citizen, currently working in USA and have a valid but unstamped H1-B visa. I am planning to visit France for 7 days in April, can I apply for a French tourist visa in USA without the US visa stamp? I have a valid I-94 as well.
    My final destination for the trip is my home country.

    -Prashanth

    Reply
    • You will have to check French consulate website about their visa requirements. In general US visa stamp is not mandatory, but you will have to check for France specifically.

      Reply
  9. Hi,
    My H1B petition has been approved. But the zip code of my client has been mentioned wrong in I129. LCA has the right information. What should I do here. Should I get my I129 corrected or Can I go for stamping?

    Appreciate your help in this

    Reply
  10. Hi, Saurabh

    Can you help to check my question?

    My question is I change my status from F1 to H1B last year. I did not leave US till now. I already have Canada Visa. Can I go to Canada for pleasure and come back within 30 days? Or at least I need to get the first H1B Visa Stamp?

    Thanks a lot

    Reply
  11. Hi
    My husband has his cos from L1 to H1 (through an employer) on 30/Nov/ 2011,but he lost his project n got another one on 10/jan/ 2012.His project is ending on 6/April /2012 and immediately after that we are planning to go to our home country India due to some personal emergency. My questions-
    1.Will there be any problem in stamping as we just have 3 months pay stubs(i.e from 10th/ jan /2012 to 6th/ april/ 2012)?Do we need w2 compulsarily?
    2.Will there be a problem in stamping as his H1 visa was approved on 30/nov/2011 and he started working on 10th/jan/2012…however he was working with his previous employer (who sponserd his L1) till 10th/jan/2012 n he can notify that period as the notice period to the previous employer…will that be good?
    3.Will there be any problem in stamping because he is working for a different client (however employer is the same) and we have changed the client’s name in LCA ?
    4.Also somebody told us to get an end client letter from our current client for the stamping which is not possible for us…
    What can we best do to get our stamping done? Kindly help us regarding the same …
    Thanks

    Reply
    • 1. Legally, you should have got paid in Dec as well. But 3 months payslips should be fine. W2 is required for 2011 – both from L-1 employer and H-1 employer. As you didn’t get paid in Dec 2011, you will not have W2 for H-1 employer, which may be an issue during stamping.
      2. Yes, it can be an issue. It would depend upon the VO if he wants to see the paychecks right from the approval date, or is fine w/ 3 most recent ones.
      3. It should be fine as long as he is working for the same client that is mentioned in the LCA. If LCA or I-129 has different client information, then it can be an issue. Consulate is issuing 221g when this information mismatches.
      4. Unfortunately it is also an important document that one should have when going for stamping

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for your prompt and valuable response. It is always helpful to
        connect with you for any doubts.

        I have a couple more questions.
        Now, my husband has received a full-time employment offer from a
        company which is a very prestigious company in the US. The Company
        is willing to transfer the H1B visa as well. However, when he went
        through the document checklist for H1B transfer, it is mentioned that
        the last 3 months pay slips are required for the transfer.

        We want to know if these pay slips are required from current employer(H1B ) or
        could we show the pay slips from previous employment (L1B) as well. If
        these pay slips are required from our current employer only, then do we need
        to wait for 3 months to get the pay slips before we could transfer the
        H1B to another company?Our current employer pays every 2 weeks so would we
        need 6 pay slips to apply for a transfer of H1B to the new company?

        I shall wait for your kind reply.

        Thanks,
        Neha

        Reply
        • It is recommended to submit payslips for the 3 most recent months. If the person worked for L-1 and H-1 employers during those months, then these can be submitted in conjunction. So if he worked for 1 month on L-1 and 2 months on H-1, then he would need 1 month L-1 payslips and 2 months H-1 payslips.

          From your posts it looks like you don’t have payslips for Dec 01-Jan 09 period. This may cause an issue as your most recent payslips are missing.

          You mentioned that the new employer is a pretty big company. So they must be having a good attorney on roll. You can check w/ them how to best handle this situation. If you have even 2 months of payslips, then that could work.

          Reply
  12. Hi Saurabh,

    I am on OPT and it is Valid till November 2012. My Employer is going to file my H1B in April with premium processing. If my H1B is applied without change of status and I go to Canada for stamping and visa gets denied, then can I still re-enter USA as my F1, EAD and I94 are still valid.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  13. My question is I change my status from F1 to H1B last year. I did not leave US till now. I already have Canada Visa. Can I go to Canada for pleasure and come back within 30 days? Or at least I need to get the first H1B Visa Stamp?

    Thanks a lot

    Reply
  14. Hello,

    My husband was able to transfer his h4 visa to h1 while in the US. He worked for a year and decided to have a vacation in our native country, while he was there he applied for visa stamping. The visa stamping was not approved but he still has the h4 stamped on the passport. He will be returning to the US soon, using the h4. Another
    Company plans to sponsor his h1. Question, is it really necessary for him to start working on oct? Or he can start anytime as long as the h1 is approved? Thanks!

    Reply
    • If the old petition is still valid, then the 2nd employer can file a cap-exempt petition for him (aka H-1 transfer). In this case he doesn’t need to wait for Oct to start to work. Remember, COS needs to be filed and approved along w/ H-1 petition in this case.

      Reply
  15. Hello Saurabh

    I have read all comments and suggestion .. Thanks for all time .

    few questions regarding H1 stamping …

    My H1 starts from march 15 2012 can i leave usa before start date to India for stamping ?
    OR
    Can i go to canada immediately after march 15 for stamping? what if visa stamping is rejected ?
    AND
    Now i am on my first term OPT status which is valid till nov 2012 .Though i cannot re-enter since i lost my passport ,i-94 (with valid visa).

    Any suggestions highly appreciated !!!!

    Thanks
    Seema

    Reply
    • Was your H-1 approved w/ COS or w/o COS? Have you already asked for duplicate passport and I-94 when the originals were lost?

      Assuming you have got the new passport and duplicate I-94, and your H-1 was approved w/o COS, you can go for visa stamping at most 90 days prior to H-1 start date. However, you cannot re-enter US on H-1 until 10 days prior to H-1 start date. Generally, it is recommended that one goes to home country for 1st H-1 stamping, but as you have done Masters in US, CA is also an available option. But ensure that you have contingency plans in case your visa stamping gets delayed or refused.

      If your H-1 was approved w/ COS, then you will automatically be on H-1 from Mar 15, and can start working on H-1 from that date. Stamping can be delayed until your next visit outside US.

      Reply
      • My question is I change my status from F1 to H1B last year. I did not leave US till now. I already have Canada Visa. Can I go to Canada for pleasure and come back within 30 days? Or at least I need to get the first H1B Visa Stamp?

        Thanks a lot

        Reply
  16. hi saurabh,

    i am travelling to US – minneapolis by this month end on h4 visa. i am an mba in hr with 4 years work exp in india in hr. please let me know the options of converting my h4 to h1.

    please suggest best course which i can pursue there in order to get my visa sponsored.

    thanks in advance.

    regards,
    megha

    Reply
    • As you will be joining your husband and would like to stay and work near your husband’s location, it is better to first find out what kind of industries are present in that area and what the required skill set is for the same. You can then gauge what’s missing in your profile and work towards appropriate training and courses. You also remember to pick something that you would want to do, else you will end up w/ a job that you don’t like but have to do to pay the bills.

      As for employers, here are some of the places you can find them:
      – your network or friends, colleagues etc
      – job sites like dice, monster etc
      – H-1 sponsor list on sites like FlcDataCenter

      Let me know if you have any other questions

      Reply
  17. Hi,
    I am on H4.I have applied for H1 and the petition is approved.However the COS is still pending from H4 to H1 .I wish to know can I apply for SSN with approved petition and should the pay roll start as soon as I get my SSN?
    Thanks a lot for your help.

    Reply
  18. Hi Saurabh,

    I’m currently on F-1/ Opt which expires on Nov,2012. I’m planning to apply for H-1 in May under premium processing. Is it a good idea to travel to Canada for H-1 stamping after my H-1 gets approved and before my Opt expires so even in case of 221g I can come back to USA as student or can you suggest me any other better options

    Reply
    • Yes, that is a doable solution. However, in order to do this, your H-1 needs to be filed and approved w/o COS. Else your OPT status would cease to exist from COS approval date and you cannot return to US on OPT.

      Reply
  19. Hi,
    I got my Master’s in Molecular Biology from USA – got job in a Non-Profit organization ( in Research) moved to OPT under STEM for 29months and got H1B approval from my employer. Can i go to Bahamas for my first time H1B stamping?
    It would be really appreciated, if you can help me.
    -Thanks

    Reply
    • Check the Bahamas consulate website about their policy on TCN (third country national). I recently read somewhere that they have stopped accepting TCNs.

      In general, as you have done Masters in US, you can go to a neighboring country for your 1st visa stamping. However, based on your profile (molecular biology + research) you may be issued 221g for background check. So it will be a good idea to have contingency plans in case you decide to go a country other than your home country.

      Reply
  20. Hi Saurabh,
    My h1b applied in 2009 that time I got RFE for work details ,location,lease paper from employer etc. they provided all documents including work location is in house and resolved my rfe. now from jan 2010 I am working from client location. they have new lca based on client location but i 129 has my employer location.
    I wants to go stamping.
    Can I tell embassy I am remotely working for client from my employer location ?

    Reply
    • Usually it’s not a good idea to lie to the officer. If the officer finds out that you are lying (they can call the client for verification), then your stamping would be rejected and you may be blacklisted from entering US. I have read about cases where they make a person sign all his responses and then do a background verification of those responses.

      In addition, if you are working remotely for the client, consulate officer can ask why you are needed in US then. You can work remotely from your home country as well. Right?

      Reply
  21. Hi,
    I am currently working for company A on H1 which is expiring in Feb.I wish to know can i apply for extension of H1 through company A and at the same time apply for a transfer to another company B.And if both are approved , can I work for either of them , or the one which got approved later.I am not sure,which one to join and my visa is expiring.
    Thank you

    Reply
  22. Hi,

    I had L1B visa earlier with one of the MNC ABC. I got the H1B visa approved with employer XYZ on 12/27/2011. i have two questions. Question 1) Can i work with L1B visa in MNC ABC for 2 more weeks and get the pay slip for January 2012 though i have valid H1B visa with employer XYZ? Question 2) Now can i transfer my H1B visa from employer XYZ to employer ZZZ though i have any valid pay slips with employer XYZ?

    Thanks, CP

    Reply
    • 1. If the H-1 was approved w/ COS, then you need to work for H-1 employer from the COS approval date. You need to stop working for L-1 employer from that date onwards.
      2. You need payslips from ABC for the period until COS approval date, and payslips from XYZ for period after COS approval date in order to transfer your H-1 to another employer.

      Reply
  23. I am an employee of VA based consulting firm for past 6 years, currently on 8th year of H1B. I was working at client locations in/around VA area for most part. Since Aug 2011, I am in NJ helping a client.

    Green card status:
    My labor and 140 got approved in 2007-2008 while I was working in VA. Recently, my GC date become current and I applied for AOS/EAD/AP on NOV/15/2011. I got my Biometrics done on DEC/27/2011 in NJ.

    H1B events:
    1. 2010 > Working in VA. H1B extension was approved. Visa stamped and valid till Feb 2013.
    2. Feb to Jul 2011 -> Working in Maryland. Applied for H1B Amendment (Receipt Notice: May/2011) (USCIS Status: Decision).
    3. Aug 2011 till date -> Working in NJ. Applied for H1B amendment Notice date 21/NOV/2011 (USCIS Status: initial review).

    Few days ago, I received denial notice for h1b amendment for item 2 (Maryland).

    ===
    The STATUS per USCIS online is as follow >>
    On December 22, 2011, we mailed you a denial decision notice for this case I129 PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER. The notice explains why the denial decision was made and the options that may be available to you. If you have not received this notice within 15 days of December 22, 2011, please call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance. During this step the formal decision (approved/denied) is written and the decision notice is mailed and/or emailed to the applicant/petitioner. You can use our current processing time to gauge when you can expect to receive a final decision.
    ===

    Questions:
    1. How would denial notice impact my current H1B status till feb 2013?
    2. How would the denial notice impact my green card process?
    3. What actions can I take to address any risks?

    Thanks a lot appreciate all your help and advice.

    Reply
    • I am not expert but here is my opinion. You are currently working in NJ and the amendment for the same is pending. So it should not be impacted by the denial of H-1 amendment for Maryland. In case NJ’s amendment gets denied then you have an issue. You have maintained valid legal status as you had valid I-94 and work authorization all along (even while it was pending). So it should not impact your GC process as well.

      But do check w/ an attorney who can provide you more accurate feedback.

      Reply
  24. Hi , this is Ani here, and I work as a full time employee in NJ. I’m planning to travel to India in March. My employer was suggesting me to go to Ottawa and get my stamping done. This is my first H1B stamping and change of status from F1 to H1B.
    So is it a wise move to go ahead with Ottawa or better go to Inda? please let me know. Appreciate your help.
    Thank You
    Ani

    Reply
    • As you have done Masters in US, going to CA for 1st stamping is not that bad as well. However, home country should always be the 1st preference for 1st visa stamping, but lot of people who have done Masters in US go to CA/MX for their stamping.

      Do keep a back-up plan in mind which you can rely on in case your visa is refused or 221g is issued.

      Reply
      • Saurabh

        Thank You so much. I was also on the idea of going to India. The other reason is, my Company apart from having their own Projects, and also its own web based product which is in the market, they have a consulting business too. They have people working for different companies as consultants, and my company is not the primary vendor.
        SO I was just thinking if the Company name would be an issue at the stamping? Mine is full time job and I’m a direct employee.

        And my LCA says I’m a Engineer, other but my role more suits the Project coordinator/business analyst role. so will that be an issue also? i can always say that this is my role, will that be an issue?

        Reply
        • It may or may not be an issue depending upon what’s company’s image. Having consulting business is not bad, but if the employer hasn’t adhered to H-1 laws, then that would be an issue. If the VO asks about your specific role, then you can mention that you are not working as a consultant, but as a direct employee for their product.

          Talk to your attorney on how different the duties are for the two roles. If they are not too different, then it’s ok. If they are drastically different (more than 50%), then that could be an issue.

          Reply
  25. I have booked my h1-b visa appointment on Jan 5 2012. But I have lost my application Id of DS160 form to print my confirmation letter. I have filled another form and got a printout of a confirmation letter but with a different code. Does it create any problem if I attend the interview with a different barcode?
    Or do I need to cancel and reschedule another appointment with the new application I’d of DS 160 form?

    Reply
  26. hi.
    I came to US on H4 visa and I got my Change of status from H4 to F1 recently. Now my husband is going to change his employer and his H1B visa will get transferred to the new employer. Our I-94 is valid for another 5 months. I have the following question:
    1. In case of H1b Transfer for my husband, what happens to spouse’s F1 visa?
    2. In case my Husband’s H1b is transferred and I94 gets extended, what happens to spouse’s I94?
    3. Do I need to also submit my f1 papers to my husband’s new employer?

    Pls suggest. It’s very urgent.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • 1. No impact
      2. No impact. You have your won I-94 now that came along F-1 COS
      3, No need

      Once you move to F-1, you and your husband’s statuses are not coupled now and change in one doesn’t impact the other.

      Reply
  27. Hi Saurabh,

    I have done my master’s from Stevens Insti, Hoboken , nj and my I m working through consulting company and haven’t got my H1b stamped yet. When I applied h1 first time they only gave me for 1 year and it is going to expire in March, 2012 and I have new h1 approved though my consulting company and it is good till dec, 2013. Now I had plans to go to India for my brothers wedding and my client company gave me notice of project ending and it is ended on 12/30/2011.

    Do you suggest that I can still go to India ( my ticket is for 2nd jan 2012) and go for h1 stamping without having client project in hand although my project just ended.

    Thanks for your help. I really would like to go to India and because of project end I m confused and on top of that I work through consulting company so I know how tough it is to get the visa stamped.

    Reply
    • Based on the information you have provided, I would suggest against going to India. Interview applicants through consulting companies often end up receiving 221g, and as you don’t have any current active project, you have a high probability of getting 221g. So in my opinion, you should avoid the visit until you have an active project.

      Reply
  28. Hi,

    My H-1B application was approved and I intend to go back to India to get my visa changed. However, since the approval, my work address has changed – same employer, just a different office building. Does this require re-filing of the LCA/H-1B aaplication or would it be sufficient to carry a letter from the employer stating that the address changed with relevant dates and signatures?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Has you work location changed? Probably that would require a new LCA and H-1 amendment. These days consulate has become really strict about the LCA and amendments.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your response.
        The office has moved, but it is still in the same city and within the same zip code. I am seeing conflicting information online regarding this. Some say that since it is within commutable distance of the old location, only an LCA amendment is necessary.

        Reply
        • Post Approval Changes – Q1 makes it sounds like only an LCA amendment is required?

          http://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/faqsanswers.cfm

          Reply
        • Until recently only LCA change was required. However off late USCIS and consulate have maintained the stance that H-1 needs to be amended whenever there is a material change and any modification in underlying LCA constitutes a material change. There have been interview experiences where 221g was issued b/c H-1 wasn’t amended even though LCA was.

          Talk to your lawyer on what their opinion is and have a back-up plan in place in case consulate asks for H-1 amendment.

          Reply
  29. Hi,

    I have applied for L1B to H1B transfer and got it approved as well. My wife is still staying in US with L2 visa only. I would like to know how may days more she can stay in US with L2 visa even though i have L1B invalid. Can i still work with L1B visa in an ABC company until i get the job with H1B?

    Also please let me know the process of applying the transfer of L2 visa to H4 visa?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Did you receive I94 card with your H1 approval notice? If yes, then you are in H1 from the day of approval. You should have got your wife’s visa to H4, she can’t be in L2 and work in EAD (if he does).

      If you don’t have I94 then you still remain in L1 and you need to go out of US for stamping if you want to use the H1B.

      Determine whether your is H1B is consular processing or change of status. If COS then you can’t work for old employer and your wife cant br in L2. There is no process of converting L2 to H4, simply need to move out of US and get it stamped.

      Reply
  30. I and my wife went to India in October, 2011 and went for visa stamping. I have got visa stamping for H1B and my wife H4, both the visas a valid till Oct, 2013. I came to India in Nov, 2011 but my wife is still there and would like to come back to the US in Jan, 2012. In Dec, 2011 her transfer from H4 to H1 has been approved.

    I don’t want her to attend H1B interview in India because our green card priority date has been current and we need to apply for AOS in Jan, 2012.

    My question is, can my wife come to the US on H4 visa or she has to attend H1B stamping in India and come to the US on H1B only.

    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
    • Yes, she can enter US on stamped H-4 visa. Once in US, she can file COS from H-4 to H-1 and once that is approved she can start working on H-1.

      Reply
  31. Hi Saurabh,

    You seem very enthusiastic and knowledgeable, would greatly appreciate if I can get a few answers.

    I came to the US for my Masters, did not finish but had a COS approved to H1b based on my under-grad and experience. This was over a year ago. I will be visiting India shortly and wanted to see what I needed to do for getting my H1b stamped. Would this be a whole new process? Would there be any issues since I did not complete my Masters?

    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
    • You need to fill-in the DS-160 form, and schedule an appointment. Then attend the interview and once successfully stamped, you can return to US on that stamped visa. The process has been documented on this blog, and you can also check the same on VFS India website.

      Even if one has an approved petition, visa stamping is a whole new battle and should not be taken lightly. Carry all the documents required for stamping (they are mentioned on this blog). Success chances depend upon your profile, employer’s credentials and H-1 job. You may be asked about why you left Masters in b/w, but I don’t think it will cause rejection b/c if that would have been a concern, then they shouldn’t have approved the COS in the first place.

      Reply
      • Hi saurabh,
        I have booked my h1-b visa appointment on Jan 5 2012. But I have lost my application Id of DS160 form to print my confirmation letter. I have filled another form and got a printout of a confirmation letter but with a different code. Does it create any problem if I attend the interview with a different barcode?
        Or do I need to cancel and reschedule another appointment with the new application I’d of DS 160 form?

        Reply
        • I am not sure if you will be able to see my response before your interview or not. I have seen few recent cases where people were allowed to take interview w/ different barcode. So you can also try your luck.

          Reply
  32. Hi,
    I am currently working on my F1 (PhD) opt for a reputed company based in US. I graduated in 2010 and got my H1b approved, my company also extended using STEM extension. I want to get my first H1-b stamping (F1 t0 h1b). Can I get my stamping from CA or should I got to India for my stamping.
    If I do have to go India, any statistics if stamping is delayed or rejected in Chennai consulate.
    Are there any advantages of going to Canada.

    KC

    KC

    Reply
    • As you have done Masters in US, it may still be ok to go to CA. However, there is always an associated risk that you interview request will be refused or 221g would be issued, in which case you will have to go to home country for stamping.

      If you are working as a direct employee, then chances of rejection are low. However, if you are working for a consulting company in EC or EVC model, then there are chances of 221g.

      Reply
      • Thanks Saurabh,

        I am working for a US based direct employer, a public traded company. Are there any information on issuing 221(g) or H1B stamping running into problems at Chennai ? Based on you other comments it looks stamping is based on employer profile, my qualification, etc.

        Thanks again for your comments.

        Reply
        • If you are working for a direct employer that’s publicly traded, then chances of running into 221g issues is lower. However, never treat yourself as completely safe until you get the stamped passport.

          Reply
  33. Hi Saurabh,

    My wife was on H4, she got her H1B approved in August 2011 With start date as 4th Oct 2011(start date of petition). In H1B petition the empolyer had stated that she would work from offsite location and the role/responsibility stated were for inhouse project. Salary offered in H1B petition was a little above minimum wage

    When she actually started her job 0n 4th Oct 2011 she got assigned to project at a client location other than the one mentioned in LCA/H1B. The salary paid was also the minimum wage(a new contract with the updated slary was issued) i-e a little less than the salary mentioned in her H1B.

    Now my wife is travelling to India and as I understand on her way back she would need the H1B visa stamped on her passport. My wife’s employer is now planing to file LCA with the new location. So my question is..

    1. Should she fill up the DS-160 with the job location same as that original LCA produce the orignal LCA or use the new actual client address in DS-160 and produce the proof of the new LCA(approval pending).
    2. My wife is being paid 150$ less salary(per month) than what was mentioned in LCA/H1B. Actual salary is at minimum wage limit. Will this be a problem for the stamping?
    3. Her H1B petition specifies offsite work location and her role is kind of a inhouse project. Now she is working at client site as consultant. Will this be a problem for her stamping?

    Thanks in advance for your reply.

    With best regards,
    Anis

    Reply
    • 1. She should fill in the information which is most current and correct. So that would be client location and the new LCA
      2. Legally she should be paid whatever is mentioned in the LCA. If she is getting paid, then she is not only getting exploited but she is also not maintaining valid status.
      3. Yes, it can. A new LCA and H-1 amendment should have been filed if she is doing duties different than what the original LCA and petition was filed for.

      IMO, if you can postpone the trip to India, do that. First talk to a good immigration lawyer. Your employer seems to be not caring about the status and is so paying you less, and so I don’t know how trustworthy their lawyer would be. There is a strong possibility that consulate would issue 221g asking for more clarification and documentation. Besides they have been asking for new LCA and amendment if work site or client changes. You can check for more experiences on this blog’s comments.

      Reply
  34. Hi Saurabh,

    I really appreciate all the advice you are giving on this forum, thanks so much for helping all of us out! If you can, can you lend any advice on the below situation?

    My girlfriend is on an OPT/F-1 status, and the OPT is expiring on January 30th 2012. Her current employer applied for an H1-B visa with a requested start date of February 1st, 2012, and was received by USCIS on October 7th, 2011, and there has been no update on the application as yet.

    We are considering to go to Canada (my home) for the holidays, but are unsure of what will happen if the visa application is adjudicated while we are out of the country. Her immigration lawyer said “If the USCIS Officer reviews your petition while you are out of the country for Christmas and does indeed approve it for consular notification instead of a change of status, it is not the end of the world. You should still be allowed back in the USA on F-1 status through January 29, 2012, as long as you have documents proving that you are still working pursuant to your OPT.” I was concerned that if her visa is approved or denied while in Canada, she will not be able to re-enter on OPT status without losing her new H1B status, is that a risk we are taking? Would she have to apply for Change of Status and H1B visa stamping in Canada?

    If we did try to re-enter on OPT status, I was especially concerned regarding the “Last Action Rule” of the I-94 status which I believe I read on your site here. I found another link describing more details, which makes me believe that this should not be a concern for the expiration date of her H1B visa? http://www.murthy.com/news/n_cosapp.html

    Please let me know if by traveling out of US we are taking risks to her H1B application.

    Thanks in advance.

    Ryan

    Reply
    • If you leave US while your H-1 is pending, then your COS (change of status) will be abandoned. What this means is that even when your H-1 gets approved, it will be approved w/ consular processing and your status would remain F-1/OPT.

      You have following options:
      1. Upgrade your petition now to premium processing. This way USCIS would adjudicate it within 15 calendar days giving you an opportunity to go for stamping while you are in Canada (you can go for stamping only if your petition has been approved).
      2. Return to US on F-1 visa. You will be issued an I-94 based on your OPT and grace period (i.e. 60 days). Once your H-1 gets approved, you can leave US and go for H-1 stamping to CA or file for COS to H-1 (this can happen only if your I-94 is still valid). However, this also dependent on your petition getting approved quickly giving you ample time to file for COS or go for stamping.

      In either case, you should seriously consider upgrading to PP to get a quicker result.

      Reply
      • Thanks very much Saurabh. Is the COS automatic for any regularly filed I-129 petition if you did not leave the country? And that means if the COS was valid, you do not need to leave the country for H1B stamping until you actually leave the country?

        But if the COS is forfeited then you are required to apply for COS at a consulate outside of the US before the H1B is valid, or before you can continue working after OPT status expires?

        And to be sure, the Last Action Rule has no relevance here right?

        Thanks again!!

        Ryan

        Reply
        • It is not automatic. Check w/ the employer if they filed it w/ COS or w/ consular processing (they have to set that on the I-129 form).

          Yes, it is correct that you don’t need to leave the country for stamping if COS gets approved. In case COS is abandoned, then one needs to either go for H-1 visa stamping at a consulate, or file for COS from F-1 to H-1 before OPT expires.

          Last Action Rule would have come into picture if her H-1 would have got approved before she left US and then entered US on F-1 again. In this case, last action would have been F-1 and her status would have been F-1. However, if COS gets abandoned, then this doesn’t come into picture.

          Let me know if you have any other questions.

          Reply
  35. Hi Suarabh,

    Only couple of weeks back I got my L1B to H1B transfer and joined a new company. My wife was on L2 dependent and now she is on H4 dependent. Couple of things
    1) My wife is planning to travel to India in April 2012
    2) I am planning to get my parents in US for a visit some time in 2012

    Since my h-1b Visa is not stamped, I am not sure how can I plan these things. Let alone my stamping. Please advice.

    Thanks
    Bob

    Reply
    • Your wife can go for her H-4 stamping by carrying all the required documents. Your H-1 visa stamp is not a pre-requisite for her stamping. However, treat the complexity of her stamping just like yours and send all the documents that you would have carried for your own stamping.

      Your parents can apply for B-1/2 visa stamp and then travel to US. Again, your H-1 visa stamp is not a pre-requisite for their stamping.

      Reply
  36. Hi Saurabh,

    Can you help me with the below situation.

    I was in L1-B from Oct 2006 to Oct 2011. My wife was working on L2 (EAD). Then my employer filed H1 for me and her employer filed H1 for her. Now we both are on H1 valid till Oct 2012. My question is

    For my wife will the 5 years she spent on L2 be calculated towards her H1B Maxout?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  37. I got my visa status changed from H4 to F1 and am currently studying in US. I will be traveling to India and will be applying for F1 stamping. My question:
    1) When I look at the appointment questionnaire, I get a question: Are you applying for the same class of visa which is currently valid or has expired within the past 12 months?
    I already have approved USCIS I797A stating that my status has been converted from H4 to F1. So should my answer be yes in this case?
    2) Since, I am applying for F1 stamping, I assume that I should be checking an option “A resident of India/Bhutan” for looking at the dates available. Please let me know about it.

    Reply
    • 1. You need to select No to that question as you will be applying in a different visa category as compared to your previous visa (read H-4)
      2. You need to select the option “A resident of India/Bhutan”

      Reply
  38. L1 to H1 with CP. Checking the feasibility of changing employer –
    I’m in L1, recently I received my H1B approved under Consular Processing (for Nonimmigrant visas). My L1 is valid until Jul 2012 and H1B until Nov 2012.

    My questions are –
    1. If I get a new job from a different employer, can the new employer use my current approved H1B petition and apply for transfer or may be L1 to H1 with COS (cap excempt) or any other option? Or my H1B has to be stamped in my passport to be eligible for employer change?

    2. Going to Canada for my H1B stamping a good option? I’ve 4 years work exp. in the US, I’m in the same location and same client. I’ve my client letter, pay stubs, W2 forms everything clean. I’ve never done any studies here in US/Canada and I’m from India.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Reply
      • Thanks Saurabh… If my new employer files for l1 to H1 COS and on the day of approval itself my L1 status will be gone right? I can’t work with previous employer even though they have sponsored the first time H1 visa?

        Can the new employer apply for ltoh conversion for any post date?

        Reply
        • Yes, you will be on H-1 status from the approval date and need to work for H-1 employer and not L-1 employer. Your employer can request a start date of at most 6 months in future. In this way, even if your H-1 gets approved today, COS will not kick-in until 6 months from now.

          In your post you mentioned “I can’t work with previous employer even though they have sponsored the first time H1 visa?” … You mean L-1 visa, right?

          Reply
  39. Hi

    I am L1 B currently on payrolls of an Indian IT company and filed H1 in 2009 from a US based vendor, I got H1 approved . The H1 was filed under consular processing and in past 2 years I never got a chance to go to that H1. So I have a valid H1 approval (till 9/30/2012)

    My wife is on L2 and working with another company.
    Question is 1) If i get a job with another company, how can I make the switch using my approved H1 petition, do I need to go out of US and get H1 stamped
    Or Can my new employer file an amendment to H1-B petition so that I can make a switch to H1 from L1 without going out of US

    2)What impact of my move to H1 would happen on L2 of my wife? Would it cease to exist as soon as I get my H1 approval , or can she continue to work on L2 (even though my H1 gets approved) and then later when she goes to India i can have her H1 stamped (she also has a valid H1 petition on consular processing)

    Any response would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
    • 1. The new employer needs to file cap-exempt H-1 along w/ COS. They need to submit old petition as proof that you have already been counted in the quota.
      2. She also needs to move to H-4 when you move to H-1. Her L-2 will cease to exist once you move to H-1. She should not stay in US on L-2 once you move to H-1.

      Reply
      • Thanks Saurabh.
        A quick question, so if new employer files cap exempt H1 with COS, then I wont need to move out of US , can the cap exempt H1 be filed under premium processing and by old petition you mean I797 only?
        is this called as filing amendment to existing approved H1 or that is something else?

        Reply
        • Yes, once COS is approved you can immediately start working on H-1 from the COS approval date. No need to immediately go for H-1 stamping.

          The petition can be filed w/ premium processing. This is just like a new H-1 petition w/ the caveat that it is cap-exempt because of your old petition. Your employer still needs to file I-129 etc. This is at times referred as H-1 transfer.

          Reply
  40. Hi,

    Recently I have changed visa from L1 to H1 and also I have changed my wife visa from L2 to H4 visa. We both of us have L1 and L2 stamping and not H1 & H4 stamping in passports.My wife is going India for vacation trip beginning of next year and as I know she has to stamp her visa before returning to USA. I have couple of questions regarding her visa.

    1. Do we need to follow H4 dependent process for her stamping?
    2. Is there any issue for her stamping since I am not going with her for both of us stamping?

    Thanks,
    Nish

    Reply
    • 1. Yes
      2. It should be fine as long as she is carrying all the necessary documents. Treat her stamping as if you are going for stamping and ask her to carry all the documents you would have carried for your H-1 interview (in addition to documents specific for her).

      Reply
      • Thank you so much for your quick reply. I have one more question regarding her stamping. she has original copy of I797 petition. when I submit her ds -160 and other document to embassy for interview at that time do i need to submit her I797 petition or she has to carry with her while interview.

        Reply
          • Saurabh,

            I need clarification for scheduling Visa Appointment date for my wife at US consulate Mumbai. There are two option for scheduling an appointment.

            1> A resident of India/Bhutan
            2> An Indian citizen resident in the US

            earlier I had taken interview date with second option and in that it has come up with state of residence as Maharashtra instead of Gujarat . I thought I have done some mistake so I have cancelled her appointment. now when I tried taking interview date using second option and it does not have option to specify state name.

            I have been in usa from last 5 years and my wife have been usa from last 1.5 years. As I have specified earlier we had L visa and transferred to H visa recently.

            Can you tell me which option should i select for her interview?

            Thanks much,
            Nish

          • When using the 2nd option, state picklist is not displayed. So you may have done something wrong in the 1st try, but your subsequent tries were correct. A US resident can select any consulate for visa stamping, and as such state picklist is not displayed.

  41. Hi,

    I came to US in 2010 on L1B(valid thru 2013) thru an Indian MNC. I recently got my H1 approved from an employer here and working as a consultant. (FYI.. I also held a H1B from 2007-2010. )
    Now I plan to visit India for a month, but there is a lot of speculation about VISA stamping process i.e. the Administrative processing cases where people are held up in India for months.
    So, I just want to know what options I have – can I go to India and come back on my L1B VISA which is valid till 2013? Or
    Is there a different place where my chances of getting VISA stamped are higher ? Please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Raj

    Reply
    • Is this your first H-1 stamping? If so, then you should go to your home country only. Chances of stamping depend a lot on your employer and the job you are doing (including employer-employee relationship). Are you working in EC or EVC models or as a direct employee of a big reputed firm? You can return on L-1 only if you plan to work for L-1 employer after retuning to US (your L-1 employer needs to know about your plans in this case). Also, when you go for H-1 stamping, there is a chance that VO will cancel your L-1 stamp w/o prejudice.

      Reply
      • Saurabh,

        Thank you very much for the prompt reply, you guys are awesome.

        This is not my first H1 stamping, I already had a H1 (with employer ABC, and Indian MNC) stamped back in Aug 2007 which expired in Aug 2010 and then my employer ABC, instead of getting it renewed applied for an L1B (valid from Aug 2010 to 2013 July) as the requirement was urgent (I know that is dumb 🙁 but that was what happened) and so I came in Dec 2010 on L1.

        Now, I got my H1 approved with a new employer XYZ and I started working with them in a Customer-Vendor-Employer-Employee model. I plan to go to India sometime next year so want to make sure I have everything ready before attending the consulate for stamping – could you please brief on what the employee-employer relationship means ? And, also under what cases can the VO put my visa under Administrative Processing?

        Your information would be greatly appreciated.

        Thanks,
        Raj

        Reply
        • I would still suggest going to home country as you work in EVC model, and chances are you will be issued 221g even in CA or MX.

          In an EVC model, you need to pay more attention to following:
          – contracts b/w all entities along w/ start/end dates, hours of work, job duties etc
          – employer-employee relationship. Your employer needs to show how they control your day to day tasks and activities. This is easy to show if employer has placed an on-site manager at the client site to monitor your work or consults w/ client on what needs to your daily/weekly tasks. This is really difficult to show in EVC model as the client knows the vendor and not your employer.

          Reply
  42. First of all i would like to thank you for the wonderful job that your doing by answering questions of individuals.

    Query:-
    I was on L1 with Company A in US, Company B filed H1 COS with I94 and i started working for Company B. I have the following questions:-

    1. In my approval notice the bottom part looks like an I94 with validity for 3 years, my current I94 expires ( One that i had filed while coming to US ) on June 20 2012.
    Can i stay in US till the H1 approval notice I 94 expire date ( Oct 2014) or only untill June 20 2012?

    2. I dont have H1 Visa stamped on my passport – can i get it stamped in US or i have to go to my Home Country to get it stamped ? I have heard that H-1B revalidation is possible in US; can i use that and get Visa stamped ?

    Reply
    • 1. Your stay is now determined by the I-94 that arrived w/ H-1 797.
      2. H-1 can be stamped only from a US consulate outside US. As this will be your first H-1 stamping, it’s better to go to home country. Also, you are already on H-1. So you don’t need to immediately for H-1 stamping. You can delay it until your next trip outside US.

      Reply
  43. Hi,
    I have done a masters degree in chemistry and am graduating this december from a school in U.S. I got a job offer from a american chemical company which has been very newly established and is also willing to sponsor for my H-1 . This is a very small scale company and has a very limited work force of probably 10 members.
    1.)Do you think my H-1 will be approved because the sponsoring company is a small scale company??
    2.)If yes , what would be the right time for me to file for H-1 or I could carry working on OPT because it has just started. I am really confused right now.. please help me with this..

    Thank you in advance.

    Reply
    • 1. USCIS may ask for more information from the small company, but a lot of such companies have successfully got H-1s approved. If it’s there 1st H-1 company, it’s better to hire an attorney
      2. H-1 cannot be filed until Apr 1, 2012. They can do that, and based upon what’s w/ your OPT you can continue working on OPT (or cap-gap) until Oct 1, 2012 (which is the earliest start date).

      Reply
  44. Hi Saurabh,

    Thanks for information, can you please let me know if i can try in any other nation (Canada/Mexcio/Bahama’s) for my change of status. Below are my clear details and my case is really typical.

    I came to US on B1/2 visa in May 2009 by end of 6 month duration changed my status to L1 with same company. After working for 5 months with all pay-stubs i got a full time opportunity from big client changed my status to H1B. Now i have plan to vist India due to some personal emergency.

    Thanks and Regards

    Pradeep Reddy

    Reply
        • If you are working for a consulting company, then it may not be that easy. if you are working for a non-consulting US company, then it should be easier.

          Reply
          • Thanks , am currently working for one of major companies in USA. I have one last question, does change of visa status for B1/2 to H1b can be issue at consulate ?

          • You may be questioned why you changed status from B-1/2 to H-1 and whether you managed status while in US on B-1/2 and how long did you stay etc. I don’t think it’s an issue, but you can be questioned about it.

  45. Hi,
    My friend has been to Mexico for H1 B stamping and unfortunately she did not have the Mexico permit and hence she is stuck in mexico. what can be done in this case?
    what are the consequences?

    Thank you.
    Padma

    Reply
  46. Hi,

    I am currently on H4 visa. I am pursuing my M.S currently. I will be graduating in May’12.

    I have got an unpaid internship recently – H4’s cant get paid due to the legality issues. SO I will be on an unpaid internship till 30-May-2012.

    My employer is more than willing to process H1B for me.

    I would like to know – does filling start only in April’12 or is there any other way of filing right away?

    What is the process? My employer is going to file my H1B for the first time as it is an all American firm. Do I have to fear about any factor here. How smooth could my H1B filing be?

    Thanks,
    Swarna

    Reply
    • It can only be filed on or after April 1, 2012. They will first need to file and get the LCA certified. Next, they need to file the I-129 w/ COS from H-4 to H-1. Once that is approved, your status would be H-1 and you can start working on H-1 (earliest employment start date is Oct 1, 2012). Chances of success depend upon lot of factors including your profile, employer’s credentials and proposed job.

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for ur response.
        Would it be better to file for the H1 before I graduate on may 17th,2012? Or will be it ok to file on April 1st. Because effective may 17th I will hold my master’s degree.

        Thank u!!

        Reply
        • If you want to make use of MS to show your eligibility for H-1 (especially if you haven’t done CS etc in Bachelors and your MS will be related to your H-1 job), then it’s better to file after completing the Masters.

          However, if you are eligible for the offered H-1 position even w/o the Masters, then it can be filed early.

          Reply
  47. Hi Suarabh,

    I’m currently on L1-B and my wife is on L2-EAD. And my L1-B visa is getting expired on 12/18/2011 (Next month). Our employers applied H1 for both of us and we got it changed to Premium two days back. And both of us have not applied for dependent visa under new H1.

    Now the questions are, if we don’t have the H1 approval for both of us by 12/18/2011, [We are clear that we cannot work till our H1 approved].

    1. Can I still stay in US and wait for H1 decision after 12/18?.
    2. Is my wife also can stay in US and wait for her H1 decision (She is on L2 now) after 12/18?.
    3. What happens if we get RFE for any one of us?.

    We greatly appreciate your help with this, thanks.

    Thanks and Regards,

    Hari Prasad.

    Reply
    • 1. Based on your pending petitions, you can continue to stay in US even after your I-94 has expired. I assume your petition has been filed w/ COS. However, you cannot work in US once your L-1 I-129 expires. One can stay up to 240 days once I-94 expires and COS is pending.
      2. Yes, as her H-1 w/ COS is also pending
      3. RFE needs to be responded. If either H-1 is denied, then that person will have to leave US immediately or file for L-1/2 extension (if I-94 is still valid)

      Remember the following – once your I-94 expires, L-1/2 extension cannot be filed and this may cause trouble if H-1 is denied.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the great help, Saurabh. I have one more query based on your reply.

        1. How we can come to know whether the petition we filed is a Change of Status (COS) or a new petition. On our reciepts (I-797C) there is no mention of Change of Status(COS) anywhere. But when I checked with our office staff, based on the I-94 of earlier visa submission the petition will be considered as a COS or a new Visa petition. Is this correct?.

        We greatly appreciate your help with this.

        Reply
        • Your employer would know whether it was filed w/ COS or not. When filling the I-129 form, the employer needs to be specify whether they want COS or consular processing. You can check w/ them about what they entered in the document.

          Reply
          • Thanks Saurabh!….. you and this site is very helpful in understanding the visa processes and to clear the doubts related to all the type of visa processing.

            Thank you so much!…..

  48. Hello,
    I would be very appreciative for some clarification on the stamping process.
    I majored in political science – went from F1 – OPT – H1B approval here in the US.
    I plan to travel and am very worried about an issue with my H1B stamping.
    How long does it usually take?
    I am also worried because I am a political science major, but I have secured a job as an Executive assistant at a chemotherapy cranial replacement center.
    My role in the business is vital and I can’t be absent for too long.
    I am worried that the embassy in Bahrain will revoke my approval… is this a realistic worry?
    – Aliya

    Reply
    • They may question the relevance of your education to your job (to know how you qualify for the job). To address that carry documents/information on how you qualify for the job. If everything goes fine, then visa can be issued within few days to 1 week. If 221g is issued for administrative processing, then it’s a lengthy wait which can at times stretch into months.

      Reply
  49. Hi Sourabh,
    You have been tremendous help to all of us.

    I have H1 B starting Oct 2011 working at a small company. I am the 1st H1 B ever from the company, I also have M.S in US.

    Do you recommend India or Canada for my situation ? Is Feb/March a good time for stamping ?

    Thanks for your suggestion.

    Reply
    • As you have done Masters in US, you can even go for CA for stamping. Usually they are pretty open to candidates who have done Masters in US (even when going for 1st stamping). However, you should check w/ the US consulate there before making the plans. Also have back-up plan in mind (in case 221g is issued or visa is rejected etc). I don’t think chances of success are dependent on calendar month.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the quick response.

        Do you think a very small company and a 1st time H1 B from a company makes it vulnerable to a query ?

        If I am concerned about a query, is it easier deal with query in India ? What happens if you get a query(221 g) in canada vs India ?

        Thanks your explaining with patience.

        Reply
        • Not necessarily. If the employer is a consulting company, then chances of 221g are higher. Queries issued in India can take longer time to resolve because of the sheer work load. The disadvantage w/ Canada is that in case 221g is issued, then you will have to wait in CA or withdraw your case and go to India for stamping.

          Reply
  50. Hi,
    Thanks for the informative post! I have one question and would be obliged if you can answer that for me…
    I changed employer while being on an H1b visa few months back. I have the old visa on my passport. But would change employer be also considered as “change of status” and I have to go back to india to get my visa stamped with the new employer on it? or can I go to Mexico?
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • No, this is not change of status. Your previous status was H-1 and so is your new status after transfer is complete. Stamping is not required until your current H-1 visa stamp is valid. Once it expires, you can get H-1 visa stamped during your next trip out of US.

      Reply
      • Thanks a lot for the reply. Just one more question..the previous h1b visa although valid on my passport couldn’t it be the case that my previous employer cancelled my H1b after I left making it invalid?

        Reply
          • On the Mexico Tijuana consulate site it says,
            Who Cannot Apply in Mexico:
            “Applicants who obtained their current visa in a country other than that of their legal residence. ”
            I obtained my last visa stamping (when I was working for my previous employer) from Tijuana itself. That however is now expired and I have a new I797. Does that mean I cannot go to Tijuana. Confused 🙁

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