Petition Approval Outside the US
You’ve done the time-consuming part and made it through the lottery or cap-exempt review. Your petition has been approved, and if all goes well in your interview, you’ll be starting your new job soon.
When you’re not inside the US already, your next step is to travel to the nearest US consulate or embassy. There, you’ll meet with an immigration officer for your interview and receive the visa stamp necessary to get into the US on an H-1B work visa.
Since this is a vital step in your visa process, it’s advisable to speak with your immigration attorney about your unique circumstances. If any potential red flags may come up during the interview, your attorney can guide you on how to handle them.
The Stamping Process
Once your petition is approved, you must schedule an interview with a consular officer if you're required to have consular processing. First, complete the DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form online, pay the fee, and print out your confirmation page. Save this sheet; you’ll need it later.
Schedule your consular interview for at least two days before you’d like to attend. In the meantime, you’ll need to get your documentation together and attend a biometrics screening for fingerprinting and other identity verification.
When you attend the interview at your appointed time, bring the required documents and the letter showing your interview date and time.
H-1B Transfer Interview
You’ll travel to the embassy or consulate assigned to you for consulate processing when you schedule your interview. Typically, this is the one closest to the city of your foreign residence. Before you go, put all your documents in order and ensure nothing is missing or misplaced.
When you arrive, you will wait for your number to be called. Some consulates do not allow cell phones and will ask you to leave yours in the car or provide a locker for storing your personal effects.
You’re likely nervous, and that’s okay. But try to relax enough to be able to interact professionally when you talk to the officer. If there’s nothing to hide, you should be able to answer the questions openly and honestly. Speak clearly and limit your responses to an accurate and concise answer to the question.
Prepare ahead by understanding the position you’re accepting, from wages and benefits to job duties and location. Keep in mind that the point of the consular interview isn’t to judge you; rather, it’s to ensure the job offer you’ve received is legitimate.
The immigration interviewer is tasked with detecting those who are trying to enter the US through fraudulent means. The more you can show you know the employer and position, the easier the interview becomes.
H-1B Interview Documents
As a general rule of thumb, bring every document you have compiled regarding your job offer and the visa petition application. It’s okay to have too much documentation. The problem is when you’re missing something that they ask you for during your interview. Your stamp won’t necessarily get denied, but it will be delayed as you have to leave and reschedule after you collect the documents they requested.
A good idea is to schedule an appointment with your immigration attorney before your interview. Bring all the documents you’ve compiled in one file, and let your lawyer review them. There may be supplementary items that they’ll suggest you bring.
You’ll definitely need to include:
● Your passport (ensuring the expiration is not before the end of your visa validation period)
● Confirmation of your DS-160 online application form
● The letter that confirms your interview (make a copy of this as well)
● A copy of your I-129 petition and I-797 notice of approval
● A receipt that shows all visa fees have been paid
● A passport-sized photo of you (you may receive this during your biometrics screening)
Bring as much evidence as possible that proves your identity, experience, education, and the legitimacy of the job offer.
Questions to Prepare For
The immigration officer will ask you a variety of questions designed to ensure you are who you claim to be and the job is a valid offer from a legitimate employer. Knowing what your answer will be helps you get through this process with less stress.
Here are some of the most frequently asked queries from the consular interview for an H-1B visa stamping:
● Are you married, and if so, for how long? (Have the evidence, such as your marriage certificate.)
● Do you have children? Do they live with you?
● Have you ever visited the US?
● Have you ever held another visa in the US? (Have the evidence of which one and the dates.)
● What do you plan to do after your H-1B validity period is over?
● Have you ever attended school in the US?
● What kind of job offer did you receive?
● What business is your sponsoring employer involved in?
● What are the duties and tasks in your potential position?
● Why are you the right person for this job?
● What are your salary and benefits going to be?
● How did you meet your sponsoring employer?
● How did you get offered the position?
● How do you know the company or entity is legitimate?
● What is your education?
● What was your thesis if you pursued a degree beyond a bachelor’s?
● Will you continue your education while you are in the US?
● What is your experience in this field?
● Why do you wish to work in the US?
● Have you ever lived anywhere outside of your home country?
● How do you plan to support yourself and your family, if applicable, before you get paid?
● Do you have any family currently in the US?
● When do you plan to return home?
If there are any questions here that might not be strictly black and white, talk to your immigration attorney before your interview.
Looking and sounding professional falls in your lap, but your immigration attorney can guide you in these areas. Immigration law is complex and should always be navigated with the help of an expert, especially before your interview.
That’s where the professionals at Visa2US can help you. Retaining expert help increases your chance of doing and saying the right things and avoiding costly delays.
At Visa2US, we’ll assess your case, guide you along your next steps, and help you prepare for your interview. With our experts on your side, your chance of visa stamping approval skyrockets.