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Suggested Documents Needed To Apply For An H-1B Visa At A U.S. Consulate

Visas are issued only by U.S. consulates and embassies outside the United States.  (If a foreign national has been granted a change of status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within the United States, that change of status does not result in automatic issuance of a new visa.)  To apply for an H-1B nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate abroad, the foreign national must present certain documents.  Listed below are the documents that U.S. consular officers often require.  Please remember that U.S. consuls may ask for virtually any document that the consul believes is relevant.  An applicant for an H-1B visa MUST visit the website of the U.S. consulate where the application will be filed.  Every U.S. consulate has its own procedures, and some U.S. consulates have special requirements that must be followed.  Links to all U.S. embassies and consulates can be found at http://usembassy.state.gov/.  All consulates require that appointments be scheduled in advance. Information about scheduling is available at the specific U.S. consulate’s website.  Information on how long it will take to receive an appointment can be found at: http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/.  Finally, visa issuance is never guaranteed—even if the following documents are presented. 

Principal Applicant (H-1B)

Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS 160) which must be completed on-line. The DS-160 is available only on-line at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

One passport-type color photograph, but check the website of the U.S. consulate because some U.S. consulates require more than one photo

Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond expiration of H-1B petition (as reflected on I-797 approval notice) or beyond date of visa application

Photocopy of the complete (upper and lower) I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS confirming H-1B petition approval

Complete photocopy of the underlying H-1B petition and supporting documents as filed with USCIS, including a copy of the approved Labor Condition Application

Original diplomas and transcripts (any document not in English or the language of the country where the application is being made must be translated)

$190 (U.S.) visa application fee (Canadians are exempt)

Letter from employer confirming employment described in H-1B petition and specifically stating the rate of compensation (must be at least equal to rate listed in the petition)

Several very recent earnings statements or other similar evidence to prove the employer is paying at least the wage rate stated in the petition

Documentation showing legal immigration status in the U.S. (e.g., I-94 copy for most recent U.S. stay, I-20s (for "F-1" students), DS-2019 (for "J-1" exchange visitors), Employment Authorization Cards, all I-797 Notices from other H-1B employers)

Reciprocity fee sometimes required (depending on country of nationality), see U.S. government website - http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html

$6 (U.S.) land border crossing document fee for Form I-94 issued upon entry into the United States at the Canada-U.S. or Mexico-U.S. border

Dependent Applicant (H-4)

Completed Nonimmigrant Visa Application (Form DS 160) which must be completed on-line. The DS-160 is available only on-line at https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/

One passport-type color photograph, but check the website of the U.S. consulate because some U.S. consulates require more than one photo

Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond expiration of H-1B petition (as reflected on I-797 approval notice) or beyond date of visa application

Photocopy of the principal applicant's complete (upper and lower) I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS confirming H-1B petition approval

Original documents demonstrating relationship (e.g., original marriage certificate or original birth certificate for children); any document not in English or the language of the country where the application is being made must be translated into English

$190 (U.S.) visa application fee (Canadians are exempt)

Letter from H-1B principal's employer confirming the H-1B principal's employment and specifically stating rate of compensation at least equal to the rate in the H-1B petition, plus recent earnings statements or paystubs

Copy of principal applicant's H-1B I-94 record (printed from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/) if the principal is present in the U.S. at the time dependent applies for an H-4 visa

Documentation showing legal immigration status in the U.S. (e.g., I-94 copy for most recent U.S. stay, I-20 IDs (for "F-1" students or “F-2” dependents), DS-2019s (for "J-1" or “J-2” exchange visitors), any I-797 Notices)

Reciprocity fee sometimes required (depending on country of nationality), see U.S. government website - http://travel.state.gov/content/visas/english/fees/reciprocity-by-country.html

$6 (U.S.) land border crossing document fee for Form I-94 issued upon entry into the United States at the Canada-U.S. or Mexico-U.S. border

 

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