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When can you Apply for H1B Visa Stamping after Petition Approval?

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 the official 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. 

– USTravelDocs.com FAQs
When can I apply for H1B Visa Stamping after Petition Approval
When can I apply for H1B Visa Stamping after Petition Approval

When to apply for H1B visa stamping after USCIS approval?

USTravelDocs website is the official and primary source for any information on booking appointments, and one should follow their recommendation. Per their recommendation, you can apply for an H1B visa stamping only 90 days before 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 ten 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 ten days prior to the petition validity date.”

 See the below screenshot and you can read the Visa FAQs on USTravelDocs.com Website

When can I enter US on H1B Visa after Stamping
When can I enter the US on H1B Visa after Stamping

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?

   

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521 Comments

    • James,
      There is no set cooling period. You can appear for visa interview once you have taken care of the original rejection reasons.

      Reply
  1. Hi ,
    I have a 2012 H1B petition. But i changed my company before it is stamped. Now If I can go into the same old company after one year is the petition is still valid to go for stamping as i have not served the company in the middle for 1 year.

    What is the duration of the time limit to go for stamping after getting the petition.. I received the petition on 2012 June from my old company.

    Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,

        I got the 2012 petition on June.. But i didn’t go for stamping.

        I quit that company and joined in other company.

        IF i join in the old company which i got petition after one year is petition still valid and can i go for stamping….

        Is that valid..

        Thanks in Advance,
        Regards,
        Vamsi.P

        Reply
        • If i can go to the old company where I get the petition is my petition is valid for going to stamping as i have not served my company for almost 1 year in the middle…

          Reply
        • Vamsi,
          If the old employer is willing to hire you, then you can go back to them and use that petition for visa stamping as long as that petition is still valid and has not expired. Otherwise, they will have to file petition for you and then go for visa stamping.

          Reply
          • Thanks Saurabh,

            And one more last question… I got my Petition papers on July 2011… Employer told to go for stamping after Oct 2011…Is the petition for 2012 or 2011.. how to find my petition expiry date and all… I have all the petition docs with me.

            Thanks in Advance,
            Regards,
            Vamsi.P

          • Vamsi,
            It would most likely be for FY-12. You can look at the expiration dates on the 797 document your employer would have sent you. It would have the receipt date (which will tell which quota it belonged to) and start/end dates.

  2. Hi Saurabh,
    I am in USA with valid H1B Visa stamped with employer X which is going to expire in June 2013. I changed my employer from X to Y last year october and got new H1B approval I-797 for employer Y. I want to go to Mexico for a short trip of 4 days. Do i need to get my passport stamped with new visa for employer Y or will previous unexpired visa work.
    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Tarun,
      As long as the previous visa stamp is valid, you don’t need to go for another H-1 visa stamping. You can use that visa stamp and Y’s 797 to enter US again.

      Reply
      • hi saurabh,
        thanks for your prompt reply.
        I have two hypothetical questions:
        1. If my visa and i-797 from employer X shows approval till july 2014 and I leave my work or tenure is over by june 2013 and i dont get a new job, can i still stay in USA legally?
        2. If I intend to stay in USA for long time, and i might use all of my 6 years of H1b quota, how can i get the extension for my H1 B visa?

        Reply
        • Tarun,
          1. You can continue to stay as long as you are legally employed on H-1 and are getting paid. Once you stop getting paid, you should leave US or move to another employer.
          2. Same of different employer can continue to file extensions for you until you reach the 6 year term. There after 7th year extensions can be filed if you have PERM or I-140 pending for 365 days, or I-140 approved but dates are not current.

          Reply
  3. Hi,

    I am currently on OPT-STEM which expires on June 15, 2012. My employer will file for Premium processing H1B on April 1st 2012 – considering it will be approved:

    Q1. What can be my earliest H1B start Date? Can I get an H1b start-date of June 16th?
    Q2. If no, and it can only start on October 1, 2012 then do I need to discontinue my current job from June 15 to October 1? how can I work in Cap-Gap?
    Q3. Can I change my employer in Cap-Gap?

    Please reply … I appreciate your time and answers.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Hi,

    I am currently on OPT-STEM which expires on June 15, 2012. My employer will file for Premium processing H1B on April 1st 2012 – considering it will be approved:

    Q1. What can be my earliest H1B start Date? Can I get an H1b start-date of June 16th?
    Q2. If no, and it can only start on October 1, 2012 then do I need to discontinue my current job from June 15 to October 1? how can I work in Cap-Gap?
    Q3. Can I change my employer in Cap-Gap?

    Reply
    • Pulkit,
      1. Oct 1, 2012
      2. You can continue to work on cap-gap as long as H-1 is filed w/ COS and the requested start date is Oct 1, 2012. Also, you need to be maintaining valid legal status at the time of H-1 filing
      3. Yes, you can. But you will have to join the H-1 employer from Oct 1 unless you get approved petition from another employer, or at least go for H-1 transfer.

      Reply
      • Thank-you so much Saurabh,

        Response 3 — That’s what I am trying to understand that my H1B would not start before October 1, can another Employer transfer it to themselves even before H1B starts (during my Cap-gap)? Or it could be transferred only once the employment has started on October 1?

        Please try answering this query as well. I appreciate your time and help.

        Reply
        • Pulikt,
          There are two options:
          1. Assuming quota is still open, another employer can file a new petition for you while you are in cap-gap w/ start date of Oct 1. Later, you can decide which employer to join.
          2. Assuming quota is closed, another employer can file cap-exempt petition for you while you are in cap-gap w/ start date of Oct 1. The previous petition would have already been approved, and in the new petition you will be requesting start date of Oct 1. So I don’t think it would be denied on that basis.

          Reply
  5. Dear Sir, My H1 visa renewal is approved.Now I want come to Mumbai to stamp my passport. Hence pl let me know, 1) How long will it take to obtain the visa in US consulate Mumbai . 2)How long will it take to get an visa appointment 3) what are the typical questions the VO will ask.
    I appreciate your early reply.

    Best Regards

    Vijay

    Reply
    • Vijay Desai,
      1. If everything goes well, then passport is received back within a week else it may take weeks or months.
      2. You can go to VFS site to look at earliest appointment dates
      3. Depends upon your profile, employer and H-1 job. You can to the archive section to search for articles related to stamping checklist.

      Reply
  6. Hi Saurabh,

    I have my visa status changed from L2 to H1 in JAN 2012. Can I start PERM under EB2 from my employer right away or need to wait for few more months?
    Thanks,
    Roomie

    Reply
    • Roomie,
      It can be started anytime your employer is ready to file it. You will have to check w/ them when they plan to start the process.

      Reply
  7. Hi Saurabh,
    I have my H1 interview on 27th feb 2012 in chennai. When should i submit the documents?
    Will i be able to submit the documents in Bangalore VFS office for chennai interview.

    Reply
  8. Hi,

    My H1B petition got approved from one of the consultant in US in Jan-2011. Now I am just waiting for a project however my consultant has not able to find it till now. Could you please tell me for how long my petition will be valid and what happens in case of rejection in Stamping?

    Thanks!!!!
    Raj

    Reply
  9. Hi ,

    Thanks for your reply. Also, can you please advise how much time does it normally ( on an average) take for obtaining a Petition Approval for H1B. For example, if the application is filed on 1st of April 2012. within how many months from April can we expect the petition to be approved.

    Thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Ram.

    Reply
  10. Hi,

    My visa got filed in the embassy on Nov15th,2011.I have not yet received my petition approval.Can you please tell me how many days will it take to get the petition approval

    Regards,
    Raji

    Reply
  11. Hi,

    I am currently on a L1-A and I am with company A. And I want to shift to a different company B on a H1B. I donot have a H1B and I am planning to apply for one. . Can you please advise what would be the process ? I understand that the quota will open 1st of April 2012. As soon as my petition is approved, can I start working with company B ? or Should I wait till 1st of Oct 2012 ? .

    Thanks,
    Ram.

    Reply
    • You cannot start to work on H-1 until Oct 1, 2012 even if your H-1 gets approved before that date. In addition, you can start working on H-1 only if your H-1 is approved w/ COS (change of status). If not, you will have to get H-1 visa stamped from a consulate and then enter on that visa stamp before commencing your work on H-1.

      Reply
      • Hi ,

        Thanks for your reply. Also, can you please advise how much time does it normally ( on an average) take for Petition Approval for H1B. For example, if the application is filed on 1st of April 2012. within how many months from April can we expect the petition to be approved.

        Thanks in advance.

        Regards,
        Ram.

        Reply
        • It would depend upon the processing center and the work load. It can take anywhere from 2 months to 6 months. If filed w/ PP, it will be adjudicated within 15 calendar days. In case RFE is issued, then it can take longer.

          Reply
  12. I am from Mexico and currently have a H1B that will expired in 2013. It has been a while since I have left the country because I’ve had an F1 or an H1B. I got my visa stamped while on a F1 but since I had no need to leave the country that one expired and I never went to get a new one stamped. My question is do I have to leave the country to get it stamped and if so can I go to Canada or do I have to do it in Mexico?
    If I have to go to Mexico is Ciudad Juarez the only one I can do it at?

    Reply
  13. HI,

    I got my H1b Visa Stamped recently.
    My current employer name is also stamped in the visa.

    If i switch my job within 1 month , will there be any problem?
    Will i need to go for stamping again in US once i switch job there.

    Reply
  14. Hi,

    My h1b visa got stamped recently. It is for approx 3 years. I have a question with respect to change of employer.

    If i switch my job in US within 1-2 months, is there any impact?
    Currently copnaies name is also stamped in H1B visa…will i need to go for stamping again even if i am in US.

    Reply
    • It will not adversely impact if you change employer within 1-2 months. Make sure you keep getting paid regularly. No new stamping is required as long your current visa stamp is valid and has not expired.

      Reply
      • Thanks Saurabh..
        I heared that once you come to india after changing the employer then you will have to go for stamping again….
        Is it possible that i can get this stamping done in US itself after employer is changed…and what are the chances of rejections in this case?

        Reply
        • AFAIK you don’t need to go for stamping again as long as your current visa stamp has not expired. I myself have traveled to US when my visa was stamped through one employer and petition belonged to another.

          Reply
  15. I was working on OPT, I got my H1 approved in 2009 , but before I could enter in H1 status in Oct 2009 I laid off in September 2009. now I am in F1 status. I have a job offer now, Can I revoke my that approved H1, and can work right away? or have to file new petition in April 2012?

    Reply
    • An employer can file cap-exempt H-1 petition for you, and you can start working on H-1 from the approval date (assuming it is filed and approved w/ COS). You are not bound w/ April 2012 or Oct 2012 dates. It can be filed anytime during the year.

      Reply
  16. Hi

    I am in US on L1 visa which is valid till 2013. If my emp files H1 for me by this year april. When can I start working on H1. I heard I do not need to go for stamping as long as I am in US.

    Reply
    • It will start from Oct 2012, or actual approval date, whichever is later. You don’t need to go for stamping as long as your petition is approved w/ COS.

      Reply
  17. Hi,

    My employer will be filing my H1 in April 2012…I wanted to know how long maximum can I stay in USA without going to India and not getting my H1 stamped. Is there any deadline for stamping once the H1 is approved.

    Reply
    • If your H-1 gets approved w/ COS, then you can continue to stay and work in US as long as your petition remains valid. Stamping is not required, unless you leave US. So if you decide not to leave US, no stamping will be required.

      Reply
  18. Hi Saurabh,

    I missed let year cap. I do not what to take any chance to miss this year for 2012. When can we expect that this cap is filled in 2012 quota.

    Regards
    abc

    Reply
    • I think it will be filled at the same pace as this year. Filings start in April, and if you want to be really sure to make through the quota, then the employer can file it in April-May.

      Reply
  19. Hello,
    My current H1 in Passport expires on Jan 31, 2012 and I have valid I-797 till May 24, 2012 and now I have applied for extension which will be valid till May 24, 2015. I am going for vacation and now have to take appt. for visa stamping in Hyd and filled DS-160 with the old I-797 receipt number. Now, I have couple of questions, Please some one help me.
    1. Do I need to fill another DS before my appt. with new I-797 or will the old one is fine enough?
    2. If I use my new petetion for stamping the start date on the Visa will be from May 24, 2012 – 2015, so Can I still travel with that visa in PP as I will have a valid petettion showing my H1 exp on May 24, 2012 (old petetion)?
    Please Clarify me so that I can be tension free.

    Thanks,
    Ramakanth.

    Reply
    • 1. Fill the form w/ the new 797 information
      2. You can show both petitions to the VO and request him to issue visa from current date until end date of new petition.

      As your passport is expiring, you should apply for a new passport before going for visa stamping.

      Reply
  20. Hi,
    My fiancee is in USA. He is a H1b holder. I am in India and have applied to a few schools in USA. Since i had admits i took the F1 visa interview twice and have been denied the visa twice.
    My concern is that after two denials for the student visa can i still go for a H4 after getting married?? Will it in any way affect my fiancee’s H1b status??
    What are the pros and cons?? Should there be any time gap after which i can go ahead with my H4 visa interview??

    Regards.

    Reply
    • F-1 and H-4 have different requirements – the former is a strong non-immigrant visa while the latter is a dual intent visa. Rejection of the former will not impact the processing of the latter as long as rejection wasn’t due to falsified information/documents. Do you know the rejection reasons for your F-1 visa? If they were rejected because you were found to be a potential immigrant, then that wouldn’t be an issue during H-4 visa stamping. Just remain truthful. It will also not impact your fiance’s H-1 status, and there is no minimum time gap required b/w F-1 and H-4 visa interviews. BTW, you can go for H-4 interview only after you have got married.

      Reply
  21. Hi,
    I have a question on H!B re-stamping. My spouse got his H1B extension Approved, So
    1. For how long he can stay in US without re-stamping on passport ?
    2. Is it possible that his stamping can be rejected even if extension is approved ?

    Reply
    • 1. As long as the petition is valid. Stamping is a requirement only when leaves US and wants to return to US on H-1.
      2. Yes, that is possible.

      Reply
  22. Hi Saurabh, thanks for this wonderful service.

    I have a question.

    I work as a recruiter in my brothers company (2 employees) since 4 years with regular pay and W2. The company has been getting steady revenues and has just got a big contract for the next year.

    Now I have entered the 6th year of my Visa. I came to USA representing a different company. How hard is it to get the Visa Re-Stamping from Canada in my case.

    Kindly let me know.
    Appreciate your help.

    Thanks
    Prabhat

    Reply
    • It is ok to go to Canada when it is not your first H-1 stamping. Carry all the necessary documents.

      However, always have the back-up plan in mind that you could put in motion in case you are issued 221g or your visa is rejected and you are asked to go to your home country.

      Reply
  23. Hi Saurabh,

    I’m on OPT at present. My employer has filed my H1B petition under premium processing. The online status of the petition is at “Decision” and it says that the petition is “Approved”. The decision was made on 10th Nov 2011, but still I haven’t received any H1B related documents from USCIS. Also, my OPT expires on 8th December,2012. So, is there any threat to my status if I don’t receive documents from USCIS before my OPT expiration date?

    Thanks,
    Sagar.

    Reply
    • The documents will be send to the employer/attorney. Check w/ them if they have received the documents. If not, they should follow-up w/ USCIS. Typically it takes 1-2 weeks for them to receive the documents from USCIS.

      Reply
      • Thank you for the reply Saurabh. But will there be any problem in case if they don’t receive the documents before OPT expiration date? Because my OPT is almost at the verge of expiration.

        Reply
        • As long as the online status shows approved, you should be fine (even if it takes few weeks to get the physical approval notice). However, the employer should update your legal status in their system to H-1, so that appropriate taxes are deducted from the payroll.

          Reply
    • hi Saurabh,

      my H1B petition got approved on 5th dec 2011. I am not willing to travel for a year or so. Can you please suggest if I can get the visa stamped after more than a year or I have to start afresh?

      Reply
      • If your petition is still valid 1 year from now, then you can delay the stamping for 1 year. You will have to carry recent documentation whenever you go for visa stamping (including offer letter, client/project details etc). You may also be asked why you have delayed the interview for 1 year and you can answer truthfully (personal reasons, US economic condition etc).

        The other thing you can do is to go for stamping now, but do not travel until 1 year from now. This may be a better scenario if you have all the required documents w/ you at the moment.

        Reply
  24. I am on H4 visa, I have applied for H1B with COS and got it approved, I plan to go to India soon, Then for re entry I need H1 visa stamping, For some reason if my visa is denied
    1.Can I enter in H4 since my spouse would still have a H1b visa approved and valid and I have my H4 valid.
    2. File for COS again and start to work in H1B since as I already have my H1b petition approed.

    Reply
  25. Hi Saurabh,
    In this year around July, there was a news regarding H4 spouses of H1 in Immigration-law.com that EAD would be given to H4 spouses from Mar 2012. Is that news reliable?
    Regards
    Ramya

    Reply
  26. hi
    My employer has applied for H1B extension (premium processing)and I expect it to be approved next seven days. The petition start date is April 22, 2012. Can I apply for H1B stamping now and not wait till January 22nd 2012 since I am not changing employer? By the way, Canada embassy has slightly different written there: “H1 Bs may apply only 90 days prior to the petition start date and may use their visas to enter the U.S. only 10 days prior to the petition start date unless they are renewing their visa with the same employer.”

    Please let me know, not sure whether the exception related to same employer is for entry (10days) or application (90 days)

    Reply
    • You said extension which means you already have an approved petition w/ you right now (which I assume is valid until April 21, 2012 when the new petition would kick in). When is your current visa stamp expiring?

      Reply
      • Yes, you are right. I have approved petition till Apr 21, 2012. I did not venture out of country after that petition got approved and have not got that one stamped. My current visa stamp is till Apr 21, 2011.

        Reply
        • As long as your current visa stamp is valid it is not required to get another visa stamped in the passport. You can go for visa stamping once your current visa stamp has expired and you are outside of US next. At that point, your new petition would have already kicked-in and you wouldn’t need to worry about 3 month and 10 day rules.

          Reply
          • Saurabh, As I mentioned my current visa stamp is till Apr 21, 2011. So it has already expired. I need to get new stamping done if I want to come back from anywhere outside US

          • My mistake. I read that as 2012.

            If you want to go for stamping now, you can show both the petitions to the officer and also show both of them at PoE when re-entering US. They should issue you visa and I-94 based on new petition’s validity.

            The 3 month and 10 day rule is more for new employment. This is a continuation of employment (you already have an approved 797, and another one starting just after the 1st one). So you should be fine. You can check w/ a lawyer as well about it.

  27. I’m planning for India trip in December2011.I’m in H4 dependent visa.My husband got the H1-B visa extension approval which is not stamped in his passport yet.Can I go for stamping in India with that approval form or do we both need to stamp together?Since only im going to visit India alone,is it possible to get stamping without my husband?I just have his H1-B visa extension approval.

    Reply
  28. Hi,

    I wanted to know in case of post decision activity, how can you differentiate whether it is approve or refused.
    Please let me know.

    Thanx.

    Reply
    • Generally, the online status mentions whether they approved the petition or not. I don’t remember exactly if it is displayed in Post Decision Activity status or the one prior to that.

      Reply
  29. Hi,

    I currently hold a H1B visa that will expire in Dec, 2011. My current employer has filed for an extension. I, thus intend to go to India in Nov 2011 after having the extension approval and appear for an interview to get my H1B stamped. I have concerns that if I appear for an interview in Nov 2011, then I may just get the stamped visa that will be valid only until Dec 2011. In that case, I will have to appear again for a second visa interview after Dec 2011. Is there a possibility that the US consulate will stamp it for the next 3 years seeing that I have the extension approval if I appear for an interview in Nov itself?

    Reply
    • If you go for stamping after you have received the extension, then you will get a visa stamp valid until the new petition expiration date. If you go for visa stamping while extension is still under process, then you may not get it for a longer duration.

      Reply
  30. Hi everyone,
    I got my H1-b approved but do not exactly know for how long it has been approved. DOes anyone here know for how long will the h1b approved, iam yet to recieve my approval notice from uscis.

    Reply
    • Maximum should be 3yrs, minimum can be your employer projected dates for employment depending on project.(min can be in months)

      Reply
  31. Hi,

    I am Indian citizen. I was in US for almost 2years on H4 visa. I got a job in March’11 and my employer applied for H1 B. My husband planned to take up a masters program and we came out of US for some time and thought of entering on F1 and F2 visa. Meanwhile my H1 got approved but I can not work until Oct 1.
    Now the problem is, what visa should I apply for F2 or H1 as we are leaving in August end.
    If I apply for F2 visa, will my H1 revoke?

    Can anyone help?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • You will have to enter on F-2, as your H-1 wouldn’t have started in Aug end. Your H-1 petition will not be revoked, however while stamping your intent may be questioned (F-2 visa is granted assuming you will return back to India after your spouse completes the studies, but H-1 is dual intent). You should consult your employer/lawyer on how to handle this situation.

      The other thing you can do, is delay your travel. Get H-1 stamped and then enter US on H-1 closer to 1st Oct start date. In this case, your F-2 doesn’t come into picture. But I don’t know if your travel dates are flexible or not.

      Reply
  32. Hi: I am in research and have my H1b petition approved. I am going to India on 7th June for my visa stamping. I had already paid the petition fee of $325 and my employer had paid the anti fraud fee i addition to the visa fee at the HDFC Bank. Do I still need to pay an additional $2000. Am i under covered H1B who are supposed to pay that $2000?
    Please help.
    Thanks
    Sudarshana

    Reply
    • Does your employer has more than 50 employees and more than 50% of those on H1 or L1? If yes, then that fees is applicable to you. However, it should have been paid when filing the petition. Check w/ your employer. I don’t think it needs to be paid twice – one during petition filing and one during visa stamping.

      Reply
  33. Hi,
    I am currently on my Stem OPT and my H-1 has been approved. as everyone knows my H1 will come into effect only from Oct-1’st.
    1)Can my wife appear for the H4 visa interview in India 90 days prior to my H1 start date.
    2)Can she attend her H4 visa interview without my H1 stamping?
    Please share your inputs.
    Thank You.

    Reply
    • 1. Yes
      2. Yes

      Ensure she has copy of your 797, information on your employer, your proposed job profile/duties, client information etc.

      Reply
      • Saurabh,

        Thanks for your reply.
        How soon she can enter USA incase if she gets her H4 visa in July,2011. she has to wait till october?

        Reply
        • A person w/ H-1 visa can enter as early as 20th Sep. I would assume same to be true for H-4, but I am not sure. She cannot enter prior to that date on H-4.

          You are on F-1 visa right now, right? Does she have her F-2 visa stamped?

          Reply
          • Saurabh,

            Thanks for the reply.
            Actually her F2 visa got rejected twice and we decided to go for H4 instead of F2. Please let me know your inputs on this one.
            Even though my Stem OPT is being extended till Sep 30’th, Chances of H4 is greater than F2, this is what i came to know after some research. Please correct me if i am wrong.

            Thank You.

          • I don’t know the reasons for F-2 rejection, but H-4 is a safe bet as long as you have client/project information to show during the interview.

  34. Hi,

    I know this original thread was started a while back. Could you confirm whether the following details are still hold true ?

    – you can only enter the USA 10 days prior to the ‘stated date’ stated on I-797 petition?

    also, could I know the following please?

    – what supporting information other than the documents from the Employer do i need to take with me for the interview? Do I need to take supporting documents such as ‘proof of assets and ties to the original country to prove your intention of leaving USA’ just as you have to when you apply for the F1?

    Thank you in advance.

    Kind Regards,

    Madhawa

    Reply
    • Yes, you can enter 10 day prior to start date on 797, but you cannot work during those 10 days.

      There is an article on this site on documentation required for H-1 stamping. You can find the list there.

      H-1 is dual intent visa, so one doesn’t need to show ties w/ home country. H-1 interview focus is primarily on your credentials, employer credentials and proposed job description etc

      Reply
  35. Hi
    Now i am working as a software engineer in(mainframe domain)with level-5 comany.
    having 4+ years of experience.how the opennings is going on in mainframe technology in US(california)?I am planning to apply for h1b visa for next FY2012.
    so when i have to start my scrach work for applying H1b visa for next FY 2012?
    is hyderabad consultants are good to process my h1b visa?
    waiting for valuble reply!!!!

    Thanks&Regards

    Reply
  36. Hi I am in India.I have an Valid H1b Approval and Stamping from Oct 2008 to Sep-2011 . Due to personel reasons i didnt travel to US. Now my present employer is submitting my papers for H1B approval? Is it possible to get the Visa stamped incase if ireceive the approval. Please let me know will there be any issue. Thanks

    Reply
  37. Hi,
    I have H1 b approval which is valid from Sep 2008 to Sep 2011. I have not yet applied for visa because I am waiting for all the documents from my employer. So, if I go for visa stamping now, will they ask me about the delay. If my approval expires this sep 2011, will I have to get a new approval? And what is a start date?

    Reply
    • Yes, they can ask about the delay. You can give them valid reasons like economy was bad, employer didn’t have projects etc. You should carry a recent employment offer letter from your employer and also client/project information.

      If you go for stamping now, there is a high probability that the stamp will be valid until Sep 2011 (petition expiry date). Your employer will have to file for an extension as that expiration date nears. Validity of the extended petition will depend upon how much your employer requests, and how long USCIS thinks your job requires you to be in US.

      Reply
      • I got H1B Approval NoticeI-797B form which is valid from 3rd October 2008 to 21st September 2011.i still did’nt went for Visa stamping.I would like to ask few questions in this regard.
        1.When is the correct time to go for stamping?
        2.As i have applied from a consultancy so do i need to take any new employment offer letter from a new YYY company?
        3.Presently i am working in XXX company?What should i carry from this XXX company?
        4.If visa interviewer asks “If ur visa is been approved long time back then why you are coming now?” I want a perfect answer for this question.
        5.I had applied for F1 visa long back in the year 2007 where it got rejected for some reasons will that affect my H1B visa?
        6.As my H1B approval period of three years is getting complete when should i renew my H1b?Whether i should renew it in US or India?What is this employment stat date?I can’t see this employment start date on my H1B approval I-797B Form?How many years visa will be given? and don’t forget to answer this ” What is the correct time to go for stamping and flew to US?

        I want all the answers for all the above queries.Give me answers As much as possible of your Knowledge.Do not Ignore this as these would help any one sailing in the same boat.

        Reply
        • First of all, do NOT demand answers from anyone here. You CAN request them, but no need to demand for them. Anyways, here are your answers:

          1. You can go for stamping anytime you and your employer feel that you have all the documents and there is a real job/project for you.
          2. You need employment letter from your employer and your employer is the company who filed your H-1 irrespective of whether they are consultancy or not.
          3. Nothing from XXX required for stamping. All documentation should be from YYY.
          4. You can give the right answer like your employer didn’t have the project for you, and so delayed the stamping.
          5. Not much unless it was rejected because of false documentation. Do you know the reason for rejection?
          6. Your employer can renew at most 6 months prior to expiry date. However, USCIS can question why they want to renew, if they never utilized your services during the initial term?

          Reply
          • Hi saurabh,
            Thank you somuch n sorry if it seems like the questions are looking like demanding.Forgive me brother.
            I have seen u in orkut also u have helped me alot.Thanks for everything.In 2007 i tried for F1 visa i’ve taken suggestion from you only.
            Thanks for ur Suggestion.I got another Question.
            Coming to the Client Offer Letter.Right Now I am Working for XXX company so this company is having a branch in USA.My ques is
            CAN I TAKE AN OFFER LETTER FROM USA COMPANY AND GO TO THE INTERVIEW FOR H1B STAMPING OR NOT?WILL THAT USA COMPANY WORK OUT IN THIS REGARD OR U WANT ME TO TAKE DIFFERENT COMPANY OFFER LETTER?
            PLS REPLY ME ASAP!

          • For the interview purpose, you need to have documentation from your H-1 employer. If I understand correctly, XXX is your current Indian employer w/ a US branch and is different from your H-1 employer. In that case, documentation is needed from YYY and not XXX.

            There are two other things that can be done:
            1. Have XXX file H-1 for you, and then go for stamping w/ XXX documentation (once that H-1 is approved).
            2. Get a contract done b/w XXX and YYY. In this arrangement, YYY is the employer (and you are their employee), who have a contract w/ XXX and you are providing services to XXX or their clients.

            Does that answer your question?

          • thanks for your answer saurabh
            But the thing is My current employer in US has stopped doing H1B processing as soon as he has done with me because he is afraid of sending the client offer letter as u know the rules are now become very strict.Now i have two options left with me
            1.I have to take the employement offer letter from the same employer where i have applied from.
            2.Post my resume in Dice or Linkedin and wait for a new employer to purchase me.
            Wat do u suggest me saurabh?
            Or shall i apply for F1 visa now.If i apply now will i get the F1 visa.

          • Like I said before, you cannot for stamping w/ documents from your current Indian employer.

            Your only option is to have a new employer file H-1 petition for you. You can either search for this employer on the job sites, or talk to your current Indian employer about it.

            F-1 visa is for full-time studies. If you want to pursue studies instead of employment (at least for next couple of years), then F-1 is the visa for you.

  38. Hi Kumar

    I got my H1B visa stamped in Sept 2010, and is valid untill Sept 2011. However due to some personal reasons, I couldnt travel immediately. I plan to travel in Feb 2011. Can this be an issue at the immegration ? Also I’ll now have to join a different client, than the one whose client letter I had at the time of visa interview.

    Please let me know the documents asked for at the immegration.

    Thanks a lot..

    Reply
    • You should carry latest employment letter from your employer along with client information. This would prove that the employer still has a valid employment for you, and also has a client where you can start working immediately.

      Also, it is ok to have a different client information than what you had at the time of visa interview.

      Reply
  39. Hi Kumar,

    The USCIS site says, my I-129 petition is approved on January 14, 2011. Last year the possibility of rejection is more, how about this year? ( as per your statistics )
    I am thinking positive and going ahead for the stamping.

    Reply
    • Approval statistics don’t matter much as each case is different.

      So if you have all the right and necessary documents your chances of approval are high. If the employer is shady or if USCIS evaluates that they don’t have real projects to place you, then the chances of rejection are high.

      Reply
      • Hi Saurabh,

        thanks for the reply, I heard many people were rejected last year because of u.s economy down trend or recession else something. is it true?

        I could rarely see people sharing their visa-stamping experience. Anyone went for 2011 stamping. please share your experience.

        Reply
        • Over the last year, USCIS has become more stringent about documentation related to employer-employee relationship and client project. In the past it was easier to get H1 stamped even w/o these documents as USCIS and the consulate didn’t make them mandatory.

          However, after last year’s memo on employer-employee relationship, these documents are “required” documents, especially if one is applying through a consulting company.

          So I would agree that number of rejections and 221(g)s issued have increased; however if one has above documents (in addition to usual stuff), then it’s still easy to get the visa and approval.

          Did you talk to your employer about these documents?

          Reply
  40. My petition was approved in Jan 10. Due to personal reasons I could not go for stamping in April. Can I go for stamping now(Jan 11)? Could there be chances of rejections?

    Reply
    • Yes, you can do that. Make sure that the employment offer from H1 employer is still valid, and do carry a latest offer letter and client/project information from the employer. The officer may inquire about the delay, and you should be truthful at that point of time.

      Reply
  41. I have one more question.

    I’m here in US and I apply for H1b from J1. If my H1b visa approved, I will get only the extension papers here in US but I cannot get visa stamped in my passport. What if I visit my home country, and I have no visa stamped in my passport and the time i will go back here in US I will need a stamped to show in the Immigration.
    Can I apply the visa stamp in my home country which is Philippines without being interview, and denied by the consulate?

    Thank you so much…

    Reply
      • Hi Kumar,

        Because I’m on J1 visa right now and my visa will be expired on April 15, 2011.
        My employer will sponsor me to H1b. What is the chance of getting H1b if apply this January?
        And if i get H1b can i go home and comeback without my visa stamped (sticker) in my passport?

        Thnak you so much.

        Reply
        • Your H1 approval chances will depend upon the prospective job, your credentials and your employer credentials.

          To enter US, one needs to have a valid visa. In your case, you need to have valid H1 visa or J1 visa, depending upon whether you want to enter and work on H1 or J1 respectively. Again, stamping may be easy or difficult depending upon your profile, documents etc.

          Reply
  42. i now my decision went to post decision activity.
    can any one give details of this..
    but it is initiated in jun2010.
    i will get visa or not..
    it will show form i-129

    Reply
  43. For various internal reasons application is delayed to apply USCIS.Though i have submitted my docs to employer in April 2010. Kindly advise me how many days will USCIS take to provide the decision once the petetion reaches USCIS. Your kind reply is much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Prathap, the processing time entirely depends on the application and varies by case…you can expect decision anywhere from 2 to 6 months. Get the H1B receipt number from your employer and check on USCIS website.

      Reply
  44. i applied for h1b in april.still im not geting approval documents.when i will get it. the company told me may be this month ending u will get it like that.exactly what the time period to get the approval documents.

    Reply
  45. Hi,

    My H1B visa has been filed by my employer and got an approval to go for Visa stamping.
    I have total 4 yrs of experience.
    2 years back my L1 Blanket was rejected.
    Wil my previous rejection has any impact on getting my current H1B visa.
    Now, I have to go for H1B stamping.
    What questions I can expect from Visa Officer.

    Could anyone please give me the suggestions.

    Thanks,

    Reply
  46. Hi Kumar,

    My H1B visa was applied in first week of April and it got approved in may 27.

    But i am still not able to go for visa stamping since i haven’t received the approval documents. My company followed up and they say that its getting delayed this year.

    Has this happened with a lot of people this year or its only me?

    I am really worried about this.

    Please advise.

    Reply
    • Surya, Honestly, your employer should have got the documents long time ago….There is nothing to worry, if you have the petition approved, it may be just missing in mail or something like that….Double check with your employer and attorney, they should have got the documents….Hopefully your employer is honest to you and not hiding anything…

      Reply
  47. Hi Kumar,

    I have been viewing this site prom the past couple of months and you are really doing very good job in helping the people who have filled for US VISA’s. keep up the good work.

    Here is my query regarding H1 Visa. I have received H1 approval on September 15 and it states that approval is valid from 10/01/2010 till 08/01/2013. So when can I go for stamping in chennai consulate.

    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in Advance.

    Regards,
    Asmath.

    Reply
    • Asmath, As you can read in the above article, you can apply anytime 90 days in advance. So, you can apply now ! If you have any question, call VFS and they should be able to provide you more info.

      Reply
  48. Yes VFS mumbai emailed me the same reply. 90 days in advance u can apply for stamping of H1B visa and fly to US 10 days in advance.Thanks Kumar. I am clear on this one thing now.

    Reply

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