As soon as you get H1B petition approval, most of you are curious to know: “When can I apply for H1B visa stamping ? When Can I enter the US and start working ? What do I need to be aware of for entering the US on H1B ?”.
I have seen many people ask this question and the reality is, people on the internet just give their own version of answers. We have compiled the official answer from US Dept of State / USTravelDocs website for your reference.
How early can you apply for H1B visa stamping after petition approval?
As per USTravelDocs Agency Working Visa FAQs, which provides online visa appointment bookings in India for US visa stampings, the H1B visa applicants can only apply 90 days before the start date of the H1B employment, which is on the approved H1B petition.
Below is the official Question and Answer from their website, including a screenshot.
Q.8 My H1B Employment Petition (USCIS Form I-797) shows an employment start date. How early can I apply for an H1B visa at the Consulate?
Answer: You can apply for an H1B visa up to 90 days in advance beginning of employment status as noted on the form I-797, Notice of Action, however your entry to the US is restricted to 10 days prior to the start date as noted in the Form I-797 unless you are already working on an H1B visa for the same employer.
So, when to apply for H1B visa stamping after approval?
USTravelDocs website is the official source and is the primary source for any information on booking appointments and one should follow their recommendation. As per their recommendation, you can apply for an H1B visa stamping only 90 days prior to your H1B employment start date. So, if your start date is October 1st for H1B visa status, you can apply for visa stamping anytime after July 1st. To avoid last-minute delays, start your visa stamping process in early July.
It is recommended that you always check the official website for correct and current information. You may call up or write to US Consulate or visa service provider customer service and ask them for clarification and confirmation… because rules keep changing and it may vary slightly depending on state and country.
When can you enter the US on an H1B visa after Visa stamping?
You can enter the US only 10 days before the start date on your I-797 petition. i.e., say if your start date is October 1st, you can only enter the US on or after September 20th on an H1B visa. Below is USTravelDocs guidance on the same
“You may not enter the United States more than 10 days prior to the petition validity date.”
See the below screenshot and you can read the Visa FAQs on USTravelDocs.com Website
Hopefully, you are clear now as the answers are from US Govt websites.
How did you handle your Visa Stamping after H1B Approval? Any tips to share with readers?