H1B VISA (Working Visa) Requirements and Documents for USA (United States of America) Embassy or Consulate

United State of America offers a non-immigrant visa, called H1B visa, to people from other countries to be employed legally by US employers. Those foreign individuals are supposed to posses certain speciality skills to be eligible for H1B visa. Employers file H1B petition to USCIS for the approval by filling form I-129. Once the petition is approved, foreign workers receive H1B approval document which is of type I-129. H1B visa approval starts at October 1st of each year, so foreign workers can only start working for their employer after this date.

The foreign workers on H1B are only eligible to work for a certain period of time before they are supposed to return to their home country. The eligible working period on H1B is of 6 years. Initial H1B visa approval is for 3 years only, which can be renewed for another 3 years.

H1B visa is considered of dual intention that means foreign workers with an approved H1B petition may have immigrant intentions and may file for permanent residency during his/her H1B stint. If permanent  residency application has been filed, then the foreign worker can request additional extensions of H1B to legally stay and work in USA. These extensions are generally given for each year subsequently.

Foreign workers with approved H1B petition, who want to travel outside USA, require a valid H1B visa stamped on their passports before returning to USA. Foreign workers can apply for H1B visa stamping either in their home country or in other country they are travelling to. These individuals need to go through the same application procedure like any other visa, and need to book an appointment for visa interview in USA embassy or consulate in the other country they are travelling to.  During the visa interview appointment, these individuals are supposed to carry certain documents and a list of those documents is specified below.

Mandatory documents:

  • I797A (type I129) H1B approval document (original and photocopy).
  • Current passport (original and photocopy).
  • All previous old passports (original and photocopy).
  • DS 160 confirmation printout (2 photocopies).
  • Original HDFC bank visa fee receipt with two bar code stickers (2 photocopies).
  • Confirmation letter of interview appointment (2 photocopies).
  • Photos.

Supporting documents which are MUST to carry:

  • Photocopies of Labour Condition Application  (LCA) which can be provided by the employer.
  • Complete H1B petition which can be provided by the employer.
  • Employment letter or job offer letter (original and 2 photocopies)
  • Salary payslips (photocopies of atleast 6 months of payslips), only if you have already been working on H1B in USA and have been getting salary.
  • Bank account statements (photocopies of atleast 6 months), only if you have been staying in USA already, have bank account in USA.
  • W2 forms (USA tax document) for all previous years (originals and photocopies), only if you have been staying in USA already and have been paying taxes either on H1B or some other visa status.
  • Photocopies of federal income tax returns for all previous years, only if you have been staying in USA already and have been paying taxes either on H1B or some other visa status.
  • Photocopies of state income tax returns for all previous years, only if you have been staying in USA already and have been paying taxes either on H1B or some other visa status.
  • Original and photocopies of all professional degrees obtained in USA or in some other country.

Supporting documents which are important to carry:

  • I94 (original and photocopies).
  • DS 160 filled application (photocopies).
  • Itinerary printout (2 photocopies).

Supporting documents which you can carry if you have been staying in USA already (not important but just in case):

  • Social security number card (photocopies).
  • If you have worked on OPT (optional practical training) before, photocopies of all previous Post OPT and Pre OPT work authorization cards (one photocopy each atleast).
  • If you have studied in USA before, your latest/last I20 (photocopies).
  • State driver’s license of the state you stay in USA (photocopies).

Supporting documents which you can carry related to your home country (not important but just in case):

  • Your home country driving license (original and photocopies).
  • Your home country bank statements or fixed deposit documents (photocopies).

Miscellaneous documents (not important really):

  • A document named Class-H-L-O.pdf which describes document list (1 copy). This document is obtained once you book the appointment with USA consulate or USA embassy (photocopies).

Individuals working on H1B are eligible to apply for H4 visa for their dependants. Information related to H4 visa is available at following links:

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3 Responses to H1B VISA (Working Visa) Requirements and Documents for USA (United States of America) Embassy or Consulate

  1. Dave says:

    Hi Lucky

    My situation is as explained below.Please let me know how to proceed

    I have my OPT till November end, Have to apply H1B in this year only. I have my marriage scheduled in May 2012 and my employer wants me to apply for H1 since the quota is being filled up fast.
    1. Say i apply for H1 now and go to India, will i be able to come back on F1 status back or i need to go to stamping? Since my H1 would be active from Oct 2012?

  2. Ramu says:

    Hi Lucky,

    I have I-797 approved in 2007 in India for which the expiration date is 10/30/2010 but I did not attend the visa interview. So, I have never had H1B visa.
    But I entered US in 2012 on F2 visa.
    My question is: Can I use this expired I797 now for cap exempt and apply for change of status from F2 to H1B. ? Any help with this question is greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,
    Ramu

    • Lucky says:

      Hi Ramu,

      Sorry for late response. In my opinion, yes you can use your old H1B approval for filing new H1 petition with cap exempt. Hope it helps.

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