2023's Stamping Process Changes for H-1B Holders

Getting the notice from USCIS that your H-1B visa petition was approved is exciting! All that hard work and stress has paid off, and you’re almost on your way to your new career in the United States. But there’s one more important hurdle to get through before you’re officially a US nonimmigrant working and living in the country: the visa stamping process. What does this process involve, and how have the changes in 2023 affected it? Read on to find out!

What is the Stamping Process?

Once USCIS completes the paperwork portion of your petition and clears your application, you’re almost ready to pack for your new life. But first, you must receive the government stamp on your passport, and this part can take a while before it happens.

First, you’ll receive a letter with an interview time scheduled for your nearest US Embassy or Consulate. You’ll have forms to complete, photos to submit, and documents to bring to the interview with you. Understanding what’s expected from you in this process can reduce delays and increase your chance of a successful stamping.

There are a few changes in 2023, so let’s walk through the process to help you plan for your stamping session.

Step-By-Step Stamping Processes

Once you are notified that your H-1B petition has been approved, you’ll need to go online and request an interview using Form DS-160. You’ll receive a barcode that confirms you submitted your request. Print and save this confirmation.

Next, submit the application payment. Once that’s completed, you’ll have the opportunity to choose your interview appointments. The first one is with the Offsite Facilitation Center, and the second is with the embassy or consulate. A biometrics appointment is also required and must be completed at least one day, but no more than three days, before your interview.

At the H-1B interview, you must have your documentation on hand and easily accessible. Be sure to bring the following:

●     Current and all expired passports

●     Your color passport/biometrics photo (square, 600 pixels x 600 pixels - 1200 pixels x 1200 pixels, no more than 240 kb in size when submitting the photo online)

●     Your visa application receipt

●     The appointment letter

●     All petition-related documents and supplementary documentation

●     Form I-797

●     All LCA forms

●     Your employment verification letter

●     Previous three months of payslips for your H-1B job, if applicable

●     Previous three months of bank statements

●     Your resume or CV

●     The company description of your current job

●     A letter from your current employer

●     Documentation of any projects you’ve completed recently

●     All educational documents, including your diploma, certificate, degree, and official transcripts

●     The original I-20 forms if your degree was from the US

You’ll also need evidence of your identity, including your driver’s license, social security card (if applicable), previous tax returns, and any utility bills or rental agreements.

Family Documents

Changes in 2023 for spouses and dependent children mean more scrutiny for these applicants. Should your family intend to apply for H-4 visas, they must bring all documentation, including:

●     The principal applicant’s original Form I-797 Notice of Action

●     The principal applicant’s Form I-129 and I-797

●     The principal applicant’s valid visa

●     Marriage certificates (originals) and evidence that shows the marriage was legitimate, such as a wedding photo album

●     Original birth certificates for all applicants

The wait time for first-time applicants varies depending on the country and how backed up the embassies and consulates are at the time of your interview request. Some embassies have critical staff shortages. Talk to your immigration attorney to ensure you have all your documentation in order and that you’re scheduling your appointment early enough to ensure a timely stamping.

What’s Next?

H-1B immigration experts like those of us at Visa2US can help you know what to expect and prepare for your stamping appointment. Our knowledge of the process and what the officials at the embassies and consulates require keeps you from costly delays.

Contact us at Visa2US before you take the next step in your H-1B journey. Wherever you’re at, our experts can make the rest of the process easier and ensure your outcome is the best possible situation.

Let us assist you as you complete complicated forms and prepare for the vital stamping interview. This is a crucial part of your next career move, and we are ready to prepare you to overcome the necessary challenges to obtain your H-1B visa.

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