When to apply for H1B visa stamping and Enter US before 10 days

H1B Approved – When to apply for Visa Stamping ? When can you enter USA?

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 502 Comments

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 US and start working ?  What do I need to be aware of for entering US on H1B ?”.

I have seen many people ask this question and the reality is, people on internet just give their own version of answers.  Personally, I think it is hard to believe for me those statements by someone unless I see the references or I know them that they are professional. Anyways, I did some research on this and here are the answers with references.

How early can you apply for H1B visa stamping after petition approval ?

As per USTravelDocs Agency Working Visa FAQ, which provides online  visa appointment bookings in India for US embassies, they say you should apply at least 2 to 3 months before. Read below and see screenshot as well. When Can I apply for H1B Visa Stamping after Approval

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 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 US on H1B visa after Visa stamping ?

Luckily, there are not many variations of answers here and no need to debate. You can enter 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 US on or after September 20th on H1B visa.  You can read the above VFS Agency FAQ, also below…

Check out all the work visa related Visa FAQs on USTravelDocs.com Website

“You may not enter the United States more than 10 days prior to the petition validity date.”

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 ?

Image Credit : http://www.hotfrog.in/Uploads/PressReleases/Saudi-Residence-Visa-Stamping-Quick-Safe-Bangalore-agent-Trawellday-Tours-13287_image.jpg

   

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Comments ( 502 )

  1. Dinesh

    Hi Saurabh
    I am L1B visa expiry in Mar 13th 2014 working in US for xyz company but my I-94 is valid till Jan 2016.When I applied for extension my employer will not process until 7 month prior to I-94 expiry.In this case I have personal travel to India in the month Jun 2014.

    I have applied for H1b new 2014 and hope the results comes in July 2014 and once if i can go to india and go for stamping for h1b new and can enter US in july 2014 itself ??? and start working from oct 2014? from July to sep on the l1b visa

  2. Shy

    Hi Saurabh,
    At the first, thank you for all your efforts and time for all of us.

    I hold a valid B1 and will be travelling in March to US for training, my next potential employer wants to file my H1, here are my queries.

    1) My employer wants me to stay in US till I get my H1 approval but since I’m travelling on B1, I want to come back to india in April (after filling the H1 petition) as my intent on B1 is to come bacl (ethical)
    2) will my return to India will hamper my petition and how soon should I return back to US.
    3) since my H1 petition will have I194 and my return in April will will make it void, what will happen to apprval (assuming I get H1 approval)

    thanks much in advance – Shy

  3. Shivaraj

    I came to US on mid of Nov 2013 with new H1b (stamping valid for another 2 years), I didn’t started working on any project (as my employer didn’t marketed my resume well), Since I didn’t started working, my employer didn’t processed my payroll and when I asked about paystub, they are telling fake reasons and they said that they will process my payroll only after I start working. Its almost 2 months now and I don’t have any paystubs.
    1) Can I complain this to DOL? What will happen to my H1b, if my employer came to know about this (or) if they revoke?
    2) Is it acceptable, if my employer process all my pending paystubs after 3 months? (say if they process my dec 2013 payroll only in March 2014)
    3) A new employer agreed to process new h1b visa (cap exempt) through consular processing (not like normal h1 transfer). I believe new visa will be approved only end of feb 2014. They told I can work with them only after visa is approved. can I continue staying in US till end of FEB 2014? Do I need to continue with current employer in order to stay legally in US till new visa is approved?
    4) If say I quit current employer once new employer submit my petition to USCIS, can I stay legally in US for 1 more month, or I should leave US immediately? Please advice..

    fyi.. I don’t have any paystubs, so I believe I am already in out of status, but my employer is still searching project for me without processing my payroll. How long can I be like this? 🙁

  4. Radhika

    I am trying to get H1 filed next year (with premium processing most probably). And I want to travel to India to attend my sister’s marriage sometime after July.

    Given the scenario, am I not allowed to get back to the US before Oct 1? Do I have to get my H1 visa stamped before I travel back?

    Thanks
    Radhika

  5. Lalitha

    Hi,

    I am looking to get a H1 filed this year and currently on F2 status. And I want to go to India sometime before July.

    1. Can I travel during the COS to H1?
    2. Do I need to get H1 stamped before I can enter US?

    I am in a lot of confusion.

    Please help.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Lalitha,
      1. COS will be abandoned once you leave US. Your H-1 petition will continue to be processed and may still get approved.
      2. Yes, you will have to get H-1 visa stamped.

      Here is another option – have H-1 filed w/ COS and PP, so that it gets adjudicated quickly. Hopefully you will receive the decision before July. Then you can leave US, and return on F-2 prior to Oct 1. Your previously approved COS is not abandoned in this case (as you left after COS approval and returned before Oct 1) and can start working on H-1 from Oct 1.

  6. RS

    RS,

    Dear Saurabh,

    I am EAC1313951***.Last month my Visa got approved.Now my question is, my recent US company is not showing transparency so will it be possible if I apply for some other company before stamping or I can apply after stamping..

    Is H1b transferrable before going to USA??

    How can I get to know that my spouse and my child’s visa also has been approved? Not in any documents send by them it has been mentioned?

    Waiting for your earliest response.

  7. Ravi Shukla

    Hi Saurabh,

    Thanks for this post.
    I got my H1b Approved in Dec 2013. The 797 had a date of validity from Oct 2013 to Mar 2015. Since the original intent was to have me enter in the US on Oct 2012 and my lawyers did not pay any attention to this date, I went to the consulate without requesting any change in petition on Apr 2013.
    The visa was stamped successfully and I was able to enter in US on May 2013.

    I want to know what are the repercussions of this for me as I am now filing a change of employer and their lawyers have uncovered this issue. Would I be considered out of status from May 2013 and if so, why did the Consulate grant me a visa and how did I manage to enter in at Port of Entry?

    I noticed that this date was wrongly mentioned in my I-129 as well. Only the LCA carried the correct dates from Oct 2012.

    Please help as I am quite nervous now. Also, how could I have been even stamped if the intention was for May 2013 since I appeared way before that point

  8. SM

    Saurabh – Awaiting for your response eagerly. Below is my query

    I am currently in US and got approved for H1B in September,2013 through lottery. I am currently working. Previously i was on F1 visa. I am not in a hurry to leave the country. I don’t think until April,2014 i have any reason to go to India. However i needed to know if there is any timeline within which i need to get H1B visa stamped in my passport?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      SM,
      There is no timeline for this. You can continue to stay inside US and work on H-1 as long as you have the valid 797 and I-94. Just get the visa stamped whenever you travel outside of US.

      1. SM

        Saurabh
        Thank you for your response!! Appreciate it!!

        I have a valid 797. But I think I-94 gets expired right ? Because its issued when you leave the country and when you enter U.S at the port of entry the I-94 gets expired. So i was unsure of the validity of I-94 in your response. Could you please advise.

  9. SM

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently in US and got approved for H1B in September,2013 through lottery. I am currently working. Previously i was on F1 visa. I am not in a hurry to leave the country. I don’t think until April,2014 i have any reason to go to India. However i needed to know if there is any timeline within which i need to get H1B visa stamped in my passport?

  10. Rajashekar

    Hi Saurabh,

    I got approval for my H1B petition on July 12th 2013, and till now i didn’t hear any update from my employer/legal team. I heard from them like, they will take up my petition for stamping only before my travel gets confirmed from my client.

    Please help me with below clarifications:-
    1. Would this H1B petition has any specific time frame(Max) to get the stamping done? or we can do it any time after the approval(like until next year)?
    2. How does they give H1B visa validity?
    is it based on the stamping date that we appear or based on the petition approval date (for me its – July 12th)?

    Your response will be very much helpful.
    Thanks in advance!!

    Regards,
    Rajashekar

  11. Kaushal

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently working on CPT from a college in US. I will be applying for H1B through my employer for FY2015 in April 2014. Once my H1B Visa petition is approved. Suppose got it before June 30,2014 and start from Oct1,2014.Can I go to stamping in India in july 2014 while I am on CPT and come back after Sep20th?
    Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Bomma,
      If you are a Kenyan resident at the moment, then the generic answer is Yes you can appear in Kenya. However, you should still call the US consulate in Kenya and ask about their policies on TCNs (third country nationals).

  12. Friend

    Hi Saurabh,

    I got a I797B aprroval soft copy from my lawyer & there was no consulate name .. Is it typo in the form which require me to check with USCIS or Is it common & I can book a my appointment at any of my preferred consulate in india.

    Thanks in advance ,

  13. bhaskara

    Hi Saurabh,
    I got offer from an US based company and they applied H1B petition for me. My petition was approved last week. Meanwhile my current company in India is sending me to US on a B1 visa (which i am already having) for a training for a couple of weeks in october.
    I have a couple of questions.
    1. Will I have any problem in the Port of Entry when I travel on B1 as my H1B is approved?
    2. If I travel in B1 now will that have any impact on my H1B petition during interview?

    Please suggest.

    Thanks

    1. H4toH1

      Bhaskara,
      Dont take a chance , turn down the offer of going for the training.. you can atleast save some money of your company or give another fellow colleague an opportunity for the training. Thats what gentlemen do .

      1. bhaskara

        H4toH1,
        That’s what i tried initially, to avoid attending the training. But for various reasons i have to attend the training. Also it is always not that easy to do as you say. That’s why i have made this query.

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      bhaskara,
      1. H-1 approval will not impact your B-1 PoE.
      2. No, it won’t. How long are you planning to stay in US on B-1? If it is more than 2-3 months, then consulate may ask for clarification on the trip when appearing for H-1 stamping. So you should be very careful about the duration and tasks during B-1 visit.

  14. Narendranath

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have 3 questions –

    1) If i have an approved H1B but no VISA as of now, can I shift companies and still keep the status of my approval alive?

    2) If i have an approved H1B but the stamping process to obtain the VISA is about to take a month, Can i travel to the client location on my valid B1 while I wait for the VISA?

    3) If i got my H1B approved a year back for client A but today i have to travel for client B will i face a problem getting the VISA ?

    HELP!!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Narendranath,
      1. Your old employer can withdraw the H-1 petition if you leave them. The new employer will have to file a cap-exmept petition for you, and you can then appear for stamping
      2. Do not travel on B-1 until you have valid reasons to use that visa
      3. Get new LCA for B’s location, followed by H-1 amendment. Then appear for stamping

  15. sundeep

    hi saurabh,

    i came to usa on f1 visa did masters and after got h1b in spe 2010-till sep 30 2013 but i still havent went for stamping recently i got my h1b extension approved from oct2013. I want to go for stamping for the exntension period in august. since i dont have stamping but i797 till sep30 2013 can i return back or i need to go for stamping in September only ?

    Thanks,
    Sundeep.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sundeep,
      You can appear for stamping in Aug or Sep and carry both approved petitions. They should issue you a visa stamp based on extended approval date. However, the officer can also err and mention the visa stamp start date as Oct 1 (considering only your new petition and not the old one). In that case, you cannot return to US. Check w/ your attorney on how to handle this.

  16. saravana

    my petetion date is Aug 1st 2013. Now i got Visa stamped but mentioned not valid to enter US before July 20th. My tickets are booked for 18th.
    Will i face prb in port of entry if i reach before July 20th?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      saravana,
      It is better to change your travel plans and enter US after July 20th. Not sure why you booked the tickets for 18th, when your petition start date was Aug 1, 2013. The earliest one can enter is 10 days prior to H-1 petition start date.

  17. Kai

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a question regarding to travel abroad when H1B is approved. My h1b will effect on Oct 1 2013. My h1b request is change of status. I’m under F1 cap-gap and I want to know if I leave U.S. before Oct 1, will my h1b change of status not be automatically activated on Oct 1? Is it safer to leave U.S. after Oct 1? Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kai,
      If you are on cap-gap, then note that you cannot return to US on F-1. So you have to return on H-1 visa only. If you leave prior to Oct 1, then you can return only after Sep 20th on stamped H-1 visa. When you return on H-1 visa, COS becomes irrelevant as you will get I-94 for H-1 only. Does that clarify?

      1. Kai

        Hi Saurabh,

        Does it meant h-1 visa is based on the h-1 status and I can only apply a h-1 visa after Sep 20th because my h-1 status starts Oct 1? I just don’t understand the difference between leaving BEFORE Oct 1 and AFTER Oct 1.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Kai,
          The H-1 start date is Oct 1. The earliest date to enter US on H-1 visa is 10 days prior to H-1 start date. You can go for stamping now, but you cannot enter US on H-1 visa until Sep 20th. Even if you enter after Sep 20th, you cannot start to work on H-1 until Oct 1.

  18. Waiting

    Hi

    Anyone receive any update on their application recently? Mine is WAC13142***** and its in Initial review.

    Any reply will be appreciated.

    Thx

  19. need help

    Hi Saurabh,
    I got my H1B extension approved till 2016…i am going to india for stamping in the month of august, please let me know whether there will be any rejection during Visa interview?? i work for TCS and please let me know the current trend on Extension stamping…means there are any rejection during face-face interview??

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      need help,
      There is always a possibility of rejection/221g during stamping. So you should always have a contingency plan in case things don’t turn out the way you planned.

      However, you are working for TCS, which is a big employer. So chances of things going wrong are low (but not zero). Ask your immigration team about recent interview experiences and see what is being asked from TCS’ employees.

  20. NK

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am working for company A on L1B visa valid till Nov’2013 and company B has applied H1 visa for me and my petition is already approved. Can I go to India for H1 stamping before Sept 20th and come back before sept 20th 2013 on my L1 visa ?

    Any help would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      NK,
      You can appear for H-1 stamping prior to Oct 1 (after July 1). There is a possibility that they will cancel your L-1 visa when approving H-1 visa.

      If your H-1 was approved w/ COS, then you can travel to India now, return on L-1 visa (not go for H-1 stamping) prior to Sep 20 and still be on H-1 from Oct 1 based on approved COS. You can confirm this w/ your attorney as well.

  21. OPT H1 Approved Travel

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a question below. Please give me your valuable answer.

    I am currently on OPT STEM valid till Feb/2014. I have my H1B approved in April-2013 and received my H1b documents with new i-94 attached below to that. Now I wanted to go to India in the next month (Aug) and would like to come back in Sep first week. I know I can go and come back on my OPT visa before September, but my question is as I have my H1B approved on my old i-94 and which they will take at POE and issue a new one when return. As my old i-94 was attached to my H1B approval and they will issue a new i-94 copy. So what happen to i-94 when I come back to USA in September? If they issue a new number, does it carry my H1b approved info along with the new one? Is it safe to go and come back without any problem? I am currently working as a fulltime employee for a reputed client. Please let me know.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      OPT H1 Approved Travel,
      Your H-1 I-94 has been approved w/ an effective date of Oct 1. When you return on F-1/OPT, you will be issued another I-94 w/ a different number which will go into effect from that date only. Later, when Oct 1 arrives, the H-1 I-94 will kick-in (Last Action Rule) and your status will change to H-1.

      You can confirm this w/ your H-1 attorney as well.

      1. pradeep

        Hi Saurabh,

        I am in a similar situation. Here are my details
        Current Status :OPT Ext[Until: Oct 20th 2013].
        My F1 visa stamp expired on June 14th 2013.
        I have my H1 approved which starts on Oct 1st .

        I am planning to attend H1b interview in canada around Aug 25th and directly go to India.I will then return to the US on or after Sept 20th .

        Now,

        1.A friend of mine said that at the interview, I will need to provide h1 paystubs . Will my opt paystubs work in this case?

        2. After I come back to the US on Sept 22nd , can I continue to work at my current work place using my OPT until Oct 1st ?

        I would appreciate any help in this regard.Please let me know if you need more details .

        Thanks,
        Pradeep

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Pradeep,
          1. Yes. You need to show that you are in valid status. In your case it is OPT status which means you need to submit OPT payslips.
          2. No. You will be entering on H-1 visa and not F-1 visa. This means your status will be H-1 and you cannot work until Oct 1.

          1. pradeep

            Thanks Saurabh,

            I appreciate the quick reply.

            A follow up for question 2. Because I cannot work if I return before Oct 1st , I was wondering if I can delay my return to the US until Oct 1st and work remotely from India.

            Please let me know.

            Thanks,
            Pradeep.

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            Pradeep,
            Yes, you can enter on or after Oct 1 to start working on H-1 immediately.

  22. Ironman

    H1 Approved…confused on Visa stamping…..

    Hi,
    I am on my OPT (STEM) recently got H1b approved and will start on Oct 1st, Is there any chance to go to VISA stamping before Oct 1st or I have to wait and go after oct 1st.

    Please advise.
    Thanks.

    1. Ironman

      I Have seen above that, we can go for stamping 90 days prior to start date and come US before 10 days…..this theory works for the people in INDIA who are on H1.

      I am not sure about OPT (F1)- H1 people in US who are currently working trying to get stamped before oct 1st and come back to US before October.

      Appreciate your response.

      Thanks.

      1. Ironman

        Hi Saurabh,

        Yes my H1 is approved. And I would like to go visa stamping in August (if possible) and would like to come back to US first week of September.

        Thanks.

          1. OPT H1 Approved

            Hi Saurabh,

            I have a question below. Please give me your valuable answer.

            I am currently on OPT STEM valid till Feb/2014. I have my H1B approved in April-2013 and received my H1b documents with new i-94 attached below to that. Now I wanted to go to India in the next month (Aug) and would like to come back in Sep first week. I know I can go and come back on my OPT visa before September, but my question is as I have my H1B approved on my old i-94 and which they will take at POE and issue a new one when return. As my old i-94 was attached to my H1B approval and they will issue a new i-94 copy. So what happen to i-94 when I come back to USA in September? If they issue a new number, does it carry my H1b approved info along with the new one? Please let me know.

  23. AA

    hi ,

    I got my H1B visa petition approved. The USCIS site says the petition is approved as on 6th June 2013.
    However the petition is not reached the lawyer or the employer as yet.
    Is there anything to wory about.
    Iam sorry to be naive.. I am all nerves 😐

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      AA,
      It may take up to 30 days for the hard copy to reach them. After that, they need to follow-up w/ USCIS.

  24. Sean

    With regard to the 90 days, if my effective date on i797 is 10/1, can I start booking a July appointment in June? Or I cannot even start the booking until 7/1? Say if I want to make an appointment on July 10th, can I start booking it online in June? Thx.

    1. Facts4life

      Sean
      I have scheduled July appointment date long back in April.
      You can schedule date anytime based on the availability of dates at the consulate.
      Earliest appointment date of July 1st for a start date of 10/1

  25. Through Lottery

    Hello Guys and Gals,

    I want to know one thing that If I can take appointment in July and if I get through the process and if my Visa is approved, What would be the validity of my Visa?

    July 2013 – June 2016
    or
    Oct 2013 – Sep 2016

    I want to know this just because I have a huge notice period to serve in my current organization. At the same time, I don’t want to waste my 2-3 months from total validity of 36 months Visa.

    Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Through Lottery,
      If it gets approved prior to Oct 1, then validity start date will be Oct 1. If it gets approved after Oct 1, then it will be the actual date of approval.

      1. Pooja

        Hi Saurabh

        My H1 approval has come. Can i go to Canada for stamping ? what documents i need to carry ? This is my first H1 . I have to do stamping after 1st ocotber only or before that i can do it ?

        Pooja

    2. Rajesh

      Even Im in same state. I got H1B approval and my attorney sent the documents to me.

      Now when early can I go for stamping? And what would be the validity of the Visa?

        1. Arjun

          Hi,

          the link of VFS Agency Working Visa FAQ is not working.

          Do you have a link to an official page saying we need to go for stamping 3 months before oct 1 and not before that ?

          Thanks.

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            Arjun,
            You can read it here.

            “Posts are authorized to accept H visa petitions and issue visas to qualified
            applicants up to 90 days in advance of applicants’ beginning of employment
            status. Post must inform applicants verbally and in writing that they can only
            use the visa to apply for admission to the United States starting ten days prior
            to the beginning of the approved status period. In addition, such visas must be
            annotated, “Not valid until (ten days prior to the petition validity date.)””

  26. KD

    Hi,

    My employer has applier my H1B visa petion on April1 , 2013 . Applied as a PP , employer gor a receipt number . I just what to know what is the process to get a confirmation for approval. and when i need to go for stamping after approval.

    Generally how much time take to get confirmation for Approval in PP.

  27. brijesh

    Hello Saurabh,

    I just visited India and came back on 4th March. At airport I got one Issue.
    My H1 visa is valid till Sep 2015 but my passport is expiring Dec 2013 so the officer gave me I94 which is valid till my passport expiration date and said you can renew it once you renew your passport.
    I tried to search on how to get new I94 with correct date but could’t figure any positive.
    If you can please guide me on my case, any possible options would be great.
    Thanks Saurabh.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Brijesh,
      First get the passport renewed. Then go to local CBP office or submit an application to USCIS and they will issue extended I-94.

    2. ASV

      Brijesh,
      I went through a similar situation a couple of years back.
      My attorney advised us that once the passport is renewed the easiest way to get a renewed I-94 is to travel out and back to the US to receive a new I-94 at the port of entry.
      As per him, the procedure for making an applications and requesting for a renewed I-94 when in the US is a little lengthy and the case goes through scrutinization.
      But I request you to confirm this at your end.
      Hope this helps.

  28. sundeep

    Hi i have a question.
    I am on h1b and my h1b is expiring on sep 2013, am applying for extension as it will get approved I came to usa on f1 visa and after f1 visa i never went for the stampingfor my first h1b .

    my questtion is

    I want to go for the stamping for the Extension Period which i will get . i want to know How many number of days do i can return to usa with that stamping. my new h1b will start oct-2013-oct2016. i want to go to canada for stamping When earliest i can go for the stamping and return to usa with the oct-2013-oct201 stamping which will be my first stamping.

    if i can go n number of days before do i need to show stamping and the present old i797 and come to usa can you please help me decide. as depending on that all my plans are there thansk you.
    sundeep

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sundeep,
      Do not leave US while your extension is in progress. Once your petition has been approved, you can go to the consulate for stamping and carry both petitions. They should approve the visa stamp based on the extended petition expiration date. However, if you go for stamping after Sep 2013, then only the newer petition needs to be submitted for stamping (as the old one has expired). Still you should carry the old petition as reference just in case the officer wants to look at it.

  29. Dimps

    Hi Saurabh,

    I came here in US in may 2008 on L2, got my EAD and started working for a company. Switched couple of jobs since then. Finally, my current employer filed a H1 which got approved in October’12, and it is valid till may 2014.

    My husband’s employer has agreed to apply a L1 visa, so that he gets 2 more years. He will be traveling to Canada for stamping.

    I wanted to know, should I go with him and get my H1 stamped or wait/defer the stamping as much as I can? I have been scared by the stories my friends have shared about visa rejection.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Dimps,
      It is not required for you to go for stamping w/ him. You guys are no longer linked to each other (from immigration perspective) and can go for stamping independently. I assume your H-1 was approved w/ COS and you are now working on H-1.

      1. Dimps

        Thanks for your response Saurabh. Yes, my H1 is a change of status and I have received an extended I94 along with my I797. As you said, there is no direct dependency b/ our cases. But from your experience, what are the chances of getting an “approved h1” being rejected during the stamping?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Dimps,
          It varies from case to case. Most of the issues are w/ consulting companies. Big reputed employers fare better.

          Are there other employees in the firm who went for H-1 stamping recently? Their experiences will be more relevant and helpful to your husband’s case.

  30. Karan Raj

    Hello Saurabh,
    My petition is approved and I am all set for initiating my visa stamping. However I do not intend to travel before April 2013. At the same time I want to continue the flow of the processes. My question is, lets say my Visa gets stamped on 01st February 2013, is there a restriction to travel within a stipulated time, like you should enter US within a month after the stamping is done else the stamping becomes void? I have been to few Europeon countries and many of them do have such rules.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Karan Raj,
      You can delay your travel to US even after getting the visa stamped. However, always carry recent up-t0-date documents when travelling to US.

  31. vishal vyas

    Hi Saurav,
    Need some guidance from you on the following.Please advice
    1. I have an H1b Visa but I have not yet travelled with it.If I switch company now, would that Visa be transferrable.

    2. The outer blue cover of my passport has pealed off a little bit,but the inner lamination is intact,would it be considered a damage case or can I still travel with that old passport only.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      vishal vyas,
      1. The new employer will have to file cap-exempt petition for you. Once approved, you can travel to US using the new petition and existing visa stamp. If the new employer wants, you may have to go for another visa stamping.
      2. I don’t know if they will consider it as damaged or not. When in doubt it’s better to err on the side of caution and get id renewed.

  32. vamsi

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a valid H1 Petition till 2014 sep.I got H1 through Company X. Since Company X has not send me for stamping i got stuck.

    Now other company Y from US told they can transfer my H1B petition and then send for stamping.

    1) If H1B is transfer is it valid for 3 years as same old one or I will get new 3 years say till 2015 instead of previous expiry date of 2014.

    2) They said H1 Transfer with premium processing takes 15 days, Now I awaiting for more then 20 days no response from them.( I have submitted Education Evaluation certificate too so they don’t have any paper work to do).

    3) Since I have Transferred H1B is there any chances for my Visa rejection (Is there any way that VO will know that I have transferred my H1)

    4) When I got old H1B I am not married but Now I am Married before H1b Transfer started, I have given the details of my Marraige, Is that will effect the H1B Transfer (Like rejection e.t.c)

    Thanks in Advance,
    Regards,
    Vamsi.P

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vamsi,
      1. Yes, the new employer can ask for another 3 year term from today’s date.
      2. It will take 15 calendar days from the date it is filed w/ USCIS. If the employer is doing the delay in collecting documents, then that is not included in that 15 day window
      3. They will know that this petition is cap-exempt. Stamping can run into usual issues related to your profile, employment, employer etc. It will not be impacted by the fact that H-1 was transferred.
      4. It will not impact the outcome

      1. ABC

        Thanks Saurabh,

        My employer filed petition on Aug 17 and it got approved on Aug 21st for 2.8 years.

        I have few more doubts..

        I have B1 and travelled twice to US but below 60 days each,I am having Denmark WP and not utilized due to some reasons .. is it going to be an issue while Interview as I have not Utilized my WP properly before…

  33. Sourav

    Hi,

    I got my H1 extension after RFE and now when i am planning to go back to US and i’ll be travelling for a new client and new location. I’ve got LCA for the new location and before going for Stamping, i want to clear out few of my doubts/confusions —
    1) I don’t have a new client invite letter, is it ok to carry MSA?
    2) Can i go for stamping with the old client itself as i’ve all the required docs and a valid LCA as well? I’ve also procured LCA for new location too as i’ll be travelling to that location only after getting TM document from my employer.
    3) Any other thing that i need to get done?

    Please respond to my above queries. Highly appreciable!

    Regards,
    Sourav

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sourav,
      1. It might be ok, but client letter is better
      2. I would suggest going w/ new client information. If consulate asks for additional information, you will not be able to provide them as that client is no longer applicable.
      3. Check w/ attorney if H-1 amendment needs to be filed for the new client. I have seen uptick in number of cases where 221g is issued if H-1 amendment is not filed after changing the client.

  34. Kira

    Hi Saurabh,

    Please answer my two queries.

    1) I’m working with company A (in India) and applied for H1-b for this year (got the receipt number). Now I’m joining new company B. Can Comp. B do transfer(new H1-b) with the receipt number only? The petition has not been approved and not sure of RFE will come or not with Comp. A.

    2) I already had H1-B and worked for company in US for 2 years and 10 months, then I came back to India. If any company transfer my old H1-B(it’s still valid as filed in 2007 so less than 6 years). If I work in USA for remaining 3 years. Can I work for a company who is ready to file new H1-b(Fresh for 6 years) later in US?

    Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kira,
      1. For the transfer, A’s petition needs to be approved.
      2. If you already have an approved H-1 petition, then B can use that old H-1 petition to file for H-1 transfer now. However, your H-1 term would be 6 years minus time already spent in US on H-1. If you have stayed outside US for more than 1 year and if A’s petition was subject to FY-13 cap and if you use A’s approved petition for H-1 transfer, then you get 6 new years on H-1.

      Does that clarify?

      1. Kira

        Thanks Saurabh!!

        My first doubt got cleared.
        For second one, the rule is I need to be out of USA for 1 year atleast. If I want to get fresh H1 for 6 years after using 6 years of H1-B previously…correct?

        Please clarify.

        Thanks again for your time.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Kira,
          The clock is reset when:
          1. The person stays outside of US for more than 1 year (doesn’t matter before or after completing 6 years in US on H-1)
          2. The person goes through H-1 cap again after completing #1.

  35. H1B guy

    Hi Sourabh,
    Please help me in this case.I have one question regarding my H1B petition.I have filed my H1B petition in previous project then I moved out of the project and joined another US project under same employer but now when I approached for LCA change my internal visa team suggesting that LCA change is not possible as of now and in most case eg 90% cases USCIS puts the petition into RFE then we might have to withdraw our petition because reason given is that the earlier client might not share non-shareable document as I am no more associated with that project. But as far I know that my petition is under Cap now so is it possible to file new petition for amendment under Cap exempt or wait till its reviewed or when it comes under RFE then is it possible.Please suggest what are the options available now for me and how much time its takes for approval of petitions.My petitions was filed on 7th,May2012 but still under review. Thanks ! ! in advance

    H1B Guy

  36. Pankaj

    Hi Saurabh,

    My company files H1b amendment under premium processing and at USCIS site, it shows my amendment approved on 6th July. When i ask my company to initiate VISA stamping, they said that they can’t do it untill they recieve hard ( I-797 ) of approval notice which i need to carry. As per USCIS site, they have sent email notice and i dont understand why i should wait till hard copy of notice than what’s email notice?

    Please help me to understand is it really the case? i am very much confused….

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Pankaj,
      You need hard copy of 797 when going for visa interview. VO needs to see that at the time of interview. And so I agree w/ employer’s decision to wait for the hard copy.

      1. Pankaj

        Thanks saurabh for reply that what’s the email notice here?
        Also, what is the use of PP if hard copy of notice taking this much of time….its more than 20 days since my amendment got approved….any way to check if notice lost in transit or not….

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Pankaj,
          The hard copy takes the usual time unless employer submits a self-addressed letter w/ expedited shipping. If it doesn’t arrive within 30 days, ask your attorney/employer to contact USCIS and follow-up.

  37. rupak

    I am in L1 visa is with big company and my last day is in I94,l1B petition is 1st Sep 2012. I have received approved h1b petition as 797B from 1st OCT 2012- 29Sep2015 from same company but its consulate process. I am in USA now. Please let me know how I can continue working in USA without going to India for stamping. I am have serious health issue hence prefer not to go now. Looking for advice.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rupak,
      Looks like your H-1 was approved w/ consular processing. So you will have to leave US at the end of L-1 I-94, go for H-1 stamping and then return to US. Your L-1 employer can file for L-1 extension if they want you to continue working in US on L-1.

  38. KamalG

    Hi Saurabh-
    My H1b Petition valid till Aug 31 2012 and i never go for stamping. i got the project from my current employer but my relocation management team saying “Considering the fact that your petition is expiring on August 31, 2012, we will not be able to accommodate a LCA transfer, visa stamping and an extension within this period.. Kindly proceed to get your visa extended at offshore through the “H-1B Cap-Exempt route”.
    how much time will it take and what about LCA ?my understading is i need to get new LCA for H1B cap exempt ryt ?
    Thanks
    Kamal G

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kamal G,
      I don’t know why your relocation team said that. Cap-exempt route means a new LCA followed by H-1 extension and stamping. It’s the same thing. It can take 1-2 months (premium processing) to up to 6-7 months (normal processing).

  39. chetan

    Hi,

    I have received H1B approval notice on June 26th. I have to go for stamping at Mumbai, india.

    Meanwhile, my employer is planning to change work location within same city. What should I do in this case? Should I get stamp before the work location is changed or Should i wait for new work location?

    On I129 and I797, the address is of old location.

    Thanks,
    Chetan

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Chetan,
      As it is within the same city, I don’t think new LCA is required. So you can go w/ the existing documents. However, if the attorney says a new LCA is required, then go for H-1 amendment and new LCA before going for stamping.

      1. H1B guy

        Hi Sourabh,
        I am waiting for your answer since long.Please help me in this case.I have one question regarding my H1B petition.I have filed my H1B petition in previous project then I moved out of the project and joined another US project under same employer but now when I approached for LCA change my internal visa team suggesting that LCA change is not possible as of now and in most case eg 90% cases USCIS puts the petition into RFE then we might have to withdraw our petition because reason given is that the earlier client might not share non-shareable document as I am no more associated with that project. But as far I know that my petition is under Cap now so is it possible to file new petition for amendment under Cap exempt or wait till its reviewed or when it comes under RFE then is it possible.Please suggest what are the options available now for me and how much time its takes for approval of petitions.My petitions was filed on 7th,May2012 but still under review. Days are getting close.Thanks !

        H1B Guy

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          H1B guy,
          Your petition is still under process. There are 2 things that can happen:
          1. USCIS approves the petition. After this, your employer can file new LCA and H-1 amendment and then you can go for stamping. Do not go for stamping w/o this as you may be asked for project documents during stamping and need to present the new updated location/client documents.
          2. USCIS issues RFE during the petition processing. At this point, your employer will have to get the new LCA and make changes in I-129 and submit them as part of RFE response. As you have moved out of previous project, they need to provide the updated documents during RFE submission.

          Does that clarify?

  40. vamsi

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have B1 Visa and H1B petition(Not stamped but petition is valid till 2014 OCT). My Employer is not ready to send for stamping. Out side consultancy contacted me and said we will take you US on B1 and if i get the job there then Convert my H1 Petition there and send stamping to Canada. Is it legal? and if what is the possible stay in US if my Visa stamping is reject .. Can i stay still my H1B validity. please answer.

    Thanks in Advance,
    Regards,
    Vamsi.P

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vamsi,
      My strong suggestion would be not go this route. You will be misusing B-1 visa and USCIS doesn’t take this lightly. Ask the employer to file H-1 petition for you while you are outside of US, then go for stamping and finally travel to US. Consulting companies like to make use of loopholes and in the end applicants like you have to suffer.

    2. Vivek jha

      It depends on what you want?
      1. If you just want to reach USA anyhow and don’t bother to comeback again in 2-3 years then can go ahead with B1 process. But keep in mind if there is any problem with h1b approval u you will have to cont. with b1.
      2. If you want to play too safe folloe saurav sir advise..

  41. Suhi

    Hi
    As per my employer my petition was filed on 11th may(they provided me a tracking number as well)but my question is till date I haven’t received the receipt number. I had asked my employer to file my petition through PP & they did agree, but later when I asked them for the receipt notice they told my petition was filed on normal 🙁

    Now its been more than a month & no receipt number yet. I asked my employer to check with USCIS(since USCIS expects either employer or attorney to get the update) & get an update, but they insist me to wait. Is there a way I can find out if my petition has been really filed? As per my employer my petition was filed in Vermont.

    Its really so frustrating to wait for the receipt number. Will it really take 60 days to get a receipt number on normal processing?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suhi,
      As per USCIS, it can take up to 60 days to receive the receipt number. Also, it is sent to employer/attorney and not you. Your employer/attorney can follow-up w/ USCIS once those 60 days have elapsed.

  42. enam

    HI
    I got H1B and got visa as well. Now company is not keen to have me as no project is availiable. There are some queries
    1.Should i go to US in the situation so that i can look for new job?
    2.I will be out of status as no job for me?
    3. How many days can be stay at USA without JOB.
    4. I have communication with company and they are looking for new job for me as well…

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Enam,
      1. Its the other way around. Yon need to find a new employer/job, then they have to file cap-exempt petition for you and only then you can travel to US
      2. Yes, if you are in US w/o getting the salary from H-1 sponsor, then you will be out of status. Even before that, you cannot enter on H-1 unless the employer is ready to send you to US
      3. Every day counts. After 6 months it could be a 3 year ban, while after 1 year its a 10 year ban. Even before that, staying w/o salary could cause serious issues w/ future transfers, stamping and GC processing

  43. GSS

    My H1B documents reached USCIS on Jun 4, 2012 (according to my employer). The application is filed in premium (according to my employer). When i checked with them yesterday, they said that they have not received the receipt number yet. Is that possible? Or they are cheating me?

    1. sanket

      Hi GSS,
      My H1B was filed under Premium Processing and reached USCIS(Vermont Center) on 5th June I got receipt on 6th June (email form USCIS). I think your attorney should get the receipt by now in email.

      1. GSS

        Thanks sanket!

        The problem is that my employer is a (desi) consulting company. They asked me to wait till Jul 01, 2012 for any update. The excuse they are giving is that the attorney is too busy to send the receipt number/notice.
        I can talk to them but not with the attorney. I don’t even want to start bothering them each day that they will not even pick up my phone.

        1. Jany

          Hi GSS,

          Just call your company and ask them to giv you receipt number.accordg to me you should get receipt number since mine received uscis on 7jun and they had sent receipt on 8jun n it was pp process.center was vermont.my employer has also sent me entire
          receipt in PDF.All the best.

    2. administrator
      Saurabh

      GSS,
      If the petition was really filed w/ PP, then your employer should make sure those $1225 are made full use of. This involves getting the receipt number in email and processing within 15 calendar days. If there is too much money to spend or if the petition was never filed in PP, then they will make excuses.

  44. sam

    my h1 b got approved on june 7th i didnt recieve the approval notice from uscis u know how long it takes ? in my friend’s case his h1 b got approved on may 20th hegot the approval in couple olf days?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sam,
      It can take 2-6 months (or more). Petitions filed together can be processed on different dates. There is a huge backlog at USCIS office. As for your friend, his petition must have been filed w/ premium processing as it got approved in 2 days.

      1. SREE

        Hi, I got my H1B VISA (NEW) STAMP on Oct 20th 2013, When I should I travel to US. At present I am working in BAHAMAS, I submitted my resignation to the present company, but they are not accepting and not allowing me to leave until 15th of January as per the agreement. So can I travel at end of January. Please suggest me. Thank you.

  45. Prabhu

    Hi All,

    I need some advise on my situation.

    I am working in India and my H1B visa has been approved to work with a client in the NJ area. After the visa approval and before the stamping, my employer has asked me to go and work with a different client in the NY area (as my original client project got canceled). So, the client and the location are changing.

    So, I will be going for my H1B visa stamping with a client letter and location different from what is in the petition. Is that OK or is it a sure shot denial case?

    Do I need a new LCA or H1B amendment? My employer is not keen on doing them, and thinks that it should not be risky to go with the existing paper work.

    Please give me some advise.

    Regards,
    Prabu

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Prabu,
      This requires new LCA and H-1 amendment. I have seen several recent cases where 221g was issued b/c of this. If the consulate does issue 221g in your case, then your employer will have no choice but to file for LCA and H-1 amendment.

      1. preeti

        Hi Saurabh,

        How long would the new LCA and H1b amendment take in this case? Once there is a new lca and h1b , do you see any other risks in going for visa stamping?
        Thanks a lot for all the info you have been sharing!

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Preeti,
          LCA will take 1-2 weeks while amendment can take few months. Stamping can always run into issues for multiple reasons. So there is now way to have 100% surety.

  46. Giri Subramanian

    Hello Saurabh,

    I am going to Mexico for stamping. I work in the EC model. My employer is a large firm with over 26ooo employees world wide. I have been with them for 7 years now and with the same client for 5 years. I went to India for stamping in 2010 and had no issues. In the wake of countless 221G recently in all US consulates. I will really appreciate if you could advice me if the documents I am carrying for the visa stamping is sufficient.

    1. I 797
    2. I 129 (The entire set of 171 pages which my company submitted for H1 B extension last year)
    3. Client Letter
    4. Employment Verification Letter
    5. Contract between my parent company and Client
    6. Pay stubs for the last 2 years
    7. W2 for the last 3 years (Not sure if I need to take more than this)
    8. Tax returns for the last 3 years (Same confusion as the tax returns)
    9. Bank Statement for the past 6 months
    10. Marriage certificate (Since I am going with my spouse)
    11. Degree Certificates and Mark sheets (Masters and under-grad)
    12. Copies of my passport
    13. Interview confirmation
    14. ASC appointment confirmation (This is for Mexico)
    15. I140 approval notice.
    16. I539 extension approval notice.
    17. Marriage Album

    Any help will be appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Giri

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Giri,
      That’s a pretty exhaustive list of documents, and I think it should be sufficient. Also carry information on employer-employee relationship as that is one of the major reason for 221g issuance for consulting cases. Discuss w/ your employer/attorney on what your current arrangement is and what to respond about it.

      1. Giri Subramanian

        Thanks Saurabh. I will be carrying all the appraisal/salary revision letters by my employer and also my organizational chart. My Employer Manager sits in the same building as I do, so that should not be an issue as I report to her. I am not sure what else they would be looking for.

  47. Brij

    Hello Saurabh,

    I am on OPT extension right now and my EAD will expire on 17th May, 2013. My employer saying that they will file my H1 in next year. But I am scared that they will apply in April and my EAD and visa will end in very next month and also my H1 will activate on Oct 1st, 2013. So from May 17th to Sep 31st I will nnot have any EAD. Please suggest me what I can do. Is it safe to apply in April 2013 if my visa and EAD expires on 17th May 2013.

    Thanks,
    Brij

    1. Vicky

      Brij,

      Once you employer files for your H1b next year and you receive a receipt you can apply for Cap-Gap Extension which would allow you to continue to remain and work in the US till Sep 30. With the Cap-Gap extension your I20 will contain the following endorsement “The student is authorized to remain in the United States and continue employment with an expired employment authorization document. This is pursuant to 8 CFR214.2(f)(5)(iv) and 8 CFR274a.12(b)(6)(iv)….” which basically allows you to work on an expired EAD as long as you file within your OPT period.

      If something is not clear please revert back.

  48. Kiran

    Hi,
    My employer has filed for my H1B FY 2013 and I should be receiving the I797 very soon. I have my OPT till Nov 4th 2012. When should I go for H1B stamping? Can I wait till December to go get stamped or should I go before my OPT ends or should I go before my H1B starts on Oct1st?
    Please advice.

    Thanks,
    Kiran

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kiran,
      Do you really need to travel outside of US? Stamping is required only if you have to travel outside of US, and want to return on H-1 visa. If you do not have plans to travel internationally then you can continue to stay on F-1/OPT, and then be on H-1 from Oct 1 (based on COS approval).

  49. Leo

    Hi Saurabh,

    My H1b has been approved on Apr 20 and will start on Oct 1st. I already received I-797 and I-94. I’m currently in US on my OPT STEM which will end in Jan 2013. I’m planning to get my visa stamped in Toronto after July. Couple of questions:
    1. I was wondering if I drive to Toronto just for visiting before July, should I carry the new I-94 and all the H1b related documents?
    2.If I go there after July for visa stamping, should I mention it at the border? Will the I-94s be taken away from my passport?

    Thanks,

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Leo,
      1. H-1 documents are not required, as you will be returning on F-1/OPT and not H-1. So you should carry F-1/OPT related documents
      2. Even if H-1 gets stamped you cannot return on H-1 visa until Sep 20th. Why do you want to go for H-1 visa stamping? As your H-1 was approved w/ COS (you received the new I-94), you will be on H-1 status from Oct 1 and do not need to get the visa stamped to start working on H-1.

      1. Leo

        Thanks for you reply, Saurabh. The reason I want to get my passport stamped is because I’ve been planning to go back to my home country on vacation at the end of this year. I thought if I got my passport stamped in Toronto, I won’t need to do it again after I go back. I’m pretty close to Toronto and I go there a lot. I think I have to get the visa stamped anyways after Oct 1st. I was also wondering if I somehow failed to get the visa stamped after Sept 20th, would my OPT status become invalid?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Leo,
          Once your H-1 gets approved w/ COS, your OPT will end on Sep 30th. So in case H-1 stamping runs into issues, you cannot return on F-1/OPT.

          I would suggest going to CA in Oct so that you no longer need your F-1 visa stamp. There is a possibility that they cancel F-1 visa stamp while approving the H-1 visa. In case they do this, you cannot use F-1 to return to US (which is the only visa you can use prior to Sep 20th).

          In any case, make sure to have contingency plans in case your stamping doesn’t turn the way you expected.

          1. drs

            Hi Saurabh,

            I am planning to go for stamping to CA on 20th Sept 2012( I am F1-OPT stem now, H1 got approved). If I get My H1 stamped, will be returning on my new H1 Visa, but if it gets rejected can I come back on my F1-OPT status before Oct 1st(as my H1 starts on Oct 1st)??
            If the H1 get rejected will they VOID my F1 though it is valued till Sept 30th as my H1 starts from Oct 1st 2012??

            Please HELP

            Thanks,
            drs

          2. administrator
            Saurabh

            DRS,
            Usually they won’t cancel the F-1 visa but nothing stops them from doing that. So you need to be careful about it. Why do you want to risk going for stamping? If your H-1 was approved w/ COS, then you will automatically be on H-1 status from Oct 1.

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