As many of you know, USCIS received about 172,500 petitions for H1B 2015 quota and there was random selection by USCIS to select the lucky 85,000 petitions. Those lucky ones, who did not receive any rejected packages or RFEs and have an approved H1B petition might be thinking about things like
- Can I travel to US with the H1B Approval Notice ?
- Can I get appointments for H1B Visa stamping ?
- I am in USA, do I need to get H1B Stamping to work in USA ?
- When should I get H1B Visa stamping ?
- When can I enter USA on H1B visa after Visa Stamping ?
- What are the precise restrictions from US Dept of State for entering USA ?
This article focuses on some of these common questions.
Can I travel to US with the H1B 2015 Approval Notice ?
No, you cannot travel to USA with just the approval notice. You need a valid H1B visa in your passport to enter USA. You need to visit a US Consulate and get a valid H1B Visa stamped in your passport to enter USA. Check USA Visa vs Status.
I am in USA, do I still need to travel out and get H1B Visa stamping ?
If you are already in US and your H1B petition was applied with Change of Status ( COS), then you do not require visa stamping as you are already living there. Your I-797 approval notice would have a new I-94 attached to it with the new expiry date. You are allowed to stay in America until the valid date on the attached I-94. Your status is automatically converted to H1B Visa status starting from October 1st. If you plan to travel out and re-enter USA, then you will need a valid H1B Visa stamp in your passport, until then, there is no need.
When can I get H1B Visa Stamped, if I have an approved H1B 2015 petition ?
If you were part of the H1B 2015 quota, your H1B Approval notice, which is I-797 form, would indicate a start date of October 1st, 2014. As per US Consular Guidance FAQs, you can apply for the visa stamping 90 days before the start date listed on your approval notice. What it means is that, if you back track 90 days from October 1st, it would be July 3rd, 2014. You can only apply for US visa stamping on or after July 3rd, 2014. It is always good to start and plan early so that you do not end up into last minute complications. Talk to your employer and get all the required documents and book an appointment for July 3rd or later, if you intend to start working from October 1st.
How soon can I enter USA after H1B Visa stamping ? When ?
Having a valid H1B visa does not permit to travel to America anytime. You need to wait ! You can only enter USA 10 days before your start date listed on your H1B Approval notice, which is I-797 form. So, you can enter USA on or after September 21st, 2014.
What should you plan to enter USA ?
If you are traveling to America for the first time, it is quite a bit of change for you. Plan everything ahead of time. There are quite a few things that you can do in your home country to make your life easier. It can range from health checkups, list of things to carry, booking ticket, etc. Read this article Things to do in Home Country before leaving to USA on H1B Visa.
Did I miss anything ? Any other questions ?