The H-1B non-immigrant visa is a common type of visa used by many immigrants. Its popularity is growing every year and it is now one of the most sought-after work permits by foreign workers in the country.
The H1B visa is designed to allow US employers to hire graduate-level workers outside the country. American businesses can then use these employees to gain access to an exclusive talent pool. Ideally, you should have a law firm that has gone through the immigration process before and has the proper expertise to ensure that your application will be accepted.
H-1B Process Overview
As with any visa, the United States requires each applicant to attend an interview. This interview will ask general questions that relate to specifics about the visa you have applied for. Of course, this interview process is nerve-wracking and time-consuming.
In the coming sections, we will go over the H-1B process and delve more into interview specifics.
H-1B Change of Status vs Consular Processing
These two processes have one large difference. For starters, consular processing must be done by those living overseas, whereas a change of status is able to be applied for while within the U.S. However, these two terms when dealing with H-1B visas may look a bit different.
If you are applying for this type of visa by consular processing, or while living overseas, you will need to enter the U.S. with the H-1B visa stamp. On the other hand, if you are applying for this type of visa via a change of status, you will do so while in the country.
These terms are commonly used when applying for green cards. Consular processing and change, or adjustment of status, usually refer to green cards.
H-1B Stamping Process
For those that are going through the consular processing route, once your H-1B visa petition has been approved, you must get it stamped. In order to do so, meeting with a USCIS officer one on one, to undergo a visa interview, is required.
This process requires you to follow a few simple steps. These steps include:
- Complete a DS-160 nonimmigrant visa application form. You must fill out this information entirely and correctly, pay the required fees, and then submit your total application.
- From there, you will schedule your visa interview with a consular officer or at the U.S. embassy. In conjunction with your visa interview, you’ll need to undergo a biometrics exam. This exam requires you to get your fingerprints taken.
- When you attend the interview, you must bring all the necessary documents. And, you will undergo your interview, which will take a certain amount of time.
H-1B Transfer Before Stamping
Let’s say, during your visa application you switch employers or petitioners. This is allowed to do, however, doing so at the right time is crucial. Changing your sponsor after stamping will require you to start this whole visa process over.
On the other hand, if you decide to switch sponsors and change jobs before the stamping process, your visa can be at risk. Especially if you had to go through the selection lottery. In this case, your new employer will need to re-enter you into the lottery and leave your visa approval up to change.
We recommended that you wait until your visa gets approved and stamped. This way, you will have obtained your visa, and will only need to start the process over again with your new employer.
The H-1B Visa Interview Experience
As with any visa interview, this can be highly intimidating. However, we are here to tell you that it’s not as bad as it seems. For starters, your interview will need to be scheduled at the consulate closest to where you are located.
This interview will be scheduled for a day and time that suits you, and all you must do is show up. However, you must bring the required documents to show your case during your interview. Some of the documents you should bring will be listed in more detail below.
Documents Required for the H-1B Interview
When attending this interview, there are mandatory documents that you need to bring with you. These documents include:
- Your valid passport that doesn’t expire within the visa validity period
- Your printed confirmation of Form DS-160’s completion
- The original letter you received when first scheduling your interview
- Your copy of both approved petitions, which include I-129 and I-797
- The visa receipt that you have paid
- Passport size photographs
If you wish to be further prepared, there are additional documents that you can bring to your interview. You can include your degrees or certificates, any pay stubs from your previous employer, a CV, a letter from the sponsoring employer, and even your original I-129 petition.
Before the H1B Visa Interview
Preparing for your H-1B interview is always a time-consuming process. However, it’s one that will pay off. Some of the things we suggest doing before your interview include the following:
- Check the website of the consulate to ensure that all documents you need are completed, and your fees have been paid and approved.
- Gather all the documents that are required for the interview. The documents that you need to prepare have been listed in the section above. Ensuring you have these documents in order for your interview, is the most important part of interview preparation.
- Sometimes, individuals will study the questions that will be asked within the interview. This way, you are able to have a clear and correct answer to what your officer will ask.
The Day of the H1B Visa Interview
On the day of your interview, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, it’s important that you dress professionally. Forget your jeans or sneakers, and choose something professional and mature. And, being polite to the officers who will be in charge of your approach of denial is vital. Making a good first impression is always important, and not forgotten.
It’s important to show up to your visa appointment 30 minutes before the scheduled time, just in case things change on the day of your interview. Along with this, having your documents ready to be shown is recommended.
Sample Interview Questions
There are countless categories of questions that your officer could ask you, so it’s important to prairie accordingly. Below, we will go over some of the common questions that interviewers in the past have been asked.
This section will go over basic information that can further uncover why you have applied for this visa and more about your background. Some of these questions include:
- Have you ever visited the U.S. in the ast?
- Have you ever held another U.S. visa?
- Would your partner and children also wish to move to the country?
- Have you attended a U.S. University?
Your U.S. Sponsoring Employer
In this category of questions, these will have all to do with your employer, and why you have accepted this job position within the country. These questions will range anywhere from the following:
- What kind of business does your sponsor do?
- What are the tasks and duties of the position you have accepted?
- What skills have allowed you to stand out to your employer?
- Who is the CEO of the company you will be working for?
- Do you know how many people your company has sponsored?
- How did you first come into contact with the company you are going to be working for?
Your Educational Background and Experience
Because this visa fully depends on your background and qualifications, questions will be asked about the specifics. These questions can be anything from the kind of degree you have, and if you are currently studying. You may also be asked the following:
- Do you have plans to continue your education in the U.S.?
- What related jobs have you worked at in this industry?
- How long have you worked in this career field?
- When and where did you receive your university degree?
Arguably the most important section of questions you will be asked, have everything to do with your intentions of this visa. These questions will include some of the following:
- Why have you chosen to travel to work in the United States?
- Have you ever lived abroad before due to work?
- What are you planning on doing once your H-1B has expired?
- When do you plan to return to your home country?
How Long Is the H1B Visa Interview?
This interview is a quick one, lasting up to 30 minutes. The amount of time you spend taking the interview will solely depend on your performance and your answers to the questions.
H-1B Interview Tips
As we have said before, it’s important to dress as professionally as you can, to show that this interview is being taken seriously. Forget about open-toed shoes, jeans, or revealing tops. The more professionally you can dress, the better.
And, going over the interview questions you could be asked ahead of time, will put you on the right track when interviewing. Clear and short answers are better for the interviewer, and it will cut the time you are in the interview.
The bottom line is that answering each question with the truth will be the best advice we can give you. Honesty is the most important tip for an H-1B interview. Don’t worry, just be confident in yourself, and take deep breaths before entering the interview room. We are sure you will do great!
What Happens After an H-1B Visa Interview?
Following your interview, your passport will be stamped if you have received approval. When your visa gets approved, the officer will be able to stamp your passport, which allows you to make travel arrangements to the U.S. as soon as possible.
If your interview needs more time to make a decision, they will notify you of this. Sometimes your officer will take a closer look at the documents that were presented and speak with their supervisor more about our interview.
If this occurs, the consideration process will take more than one week. When the decision is finally made, you will be able to have your passport stamped and then mailed back to you.
H1B Visa Interview Waiver
Of course, some U.S.-offered visas can have fee waivers. Or, interview waivers. When applying for an H-1B visa, some applicants can get their interviews waived. Those that have applied for a renewal, or began a new application within 48 months of the expiration of their original visa can be waived from attending another interview.
Additionally, certain students, professors, research scholars, and specialists have also been allowed to waive their interviews. New additions to this interview waiver have been added, so it’s important to keep up to date with the issued information.
Good Luck with Your H-1B Interview!
After reading this article, you should now be better prepared to go and handle any upcoming H-1B visa interview. If you need consulting from a visa expert, then you can contact our team at ImmigrationDirect for more information.
We can give you the support and assistance you need to apply for any type of visa. We understand that U.S. immigration paperwork can be confusing, which is why we are always here to help. By contacting our Immigration Lawyer today, you can utilize our top-notch immigration solution for any queries you have.