Top 5 Documents to Bring to an H-1B Visa Interview

1277878_check_list.jpgNow that USCIS has begun to review and approve the H-1B applications it received during this past April, many U.S. companies who sponsored these applicants, as well as the foreign workers themselves, are calling our office to speak to one of our knowledgeable immigration attorneys about the H-1B visa interview process.

Once USCIS approves the H-1B petition, the agency forwards a copy of the approved petition to the U.S. embassy in the foreign worker's home country. If the worker is not already in the U.S. and has been approved for a "change of stauts", then the worker must schedule an interview at the U.S. Embassy abroad in order to receive the H-1B visa.

Although specific logistical details about interviews at U.S. Embassies (such as dates and times of operation, etc.) vary from country to country, in general the process for receiving the H-1B visa is standard. To better assist our clients, we have provided a list of the top 5 documents workers should bring with them to the embassy when they attend their H-1B visa interview:

Document #1 - Complete Copy of the H-1B Petition

Yes, the embassy should already have a copy of the petition because USCIS forwards it to them after USCIS issues the approval notice. However, it is always a good idea to bring your own copy with you because you should be familiar with the materials that were included in the petition (such as your job title, salary, worksite location, etc.) The interviewing officer will likely ask you questions about the petition, and if you have your own copy (and have previously familiarized yourself with it) you should be able to answer the questions easily.

Document #2 - Letter from Your U.S. Employer

Occasionally there is a very long time-gap between USCIS approving the H-1B petition and the embassy scheduling the H-1B interview. Because of this gap, sometimes the interviewing officer wants to make sure the terms and conditions of the H-1B petition are still valid. To do so, you should bring a letter from the U.S. employer that states the information provided in the H-1B petition is still true and accurate.

Document #3 - Copies of Your Education and Employment Certificates

To qualify for the H-1B visa, the worker must possess either a U.S. bachelor's degree or its foreign equivalent, or work experience that is equivalent to a bachelor's degree (along with other requirements). Interviewing officers almost always ask to see copies of these credentials (which should also be in the H-1B petition) so it is useful to have them handy when going to your interview.

Document #4 - Paystubs (if you are currently employed with the H-1B sponsor)

If you are obtaining your H-1B visa after you started working with the sponsoring employer, then the interviewing officer may want to verify your ongoing employment. Bringing paystubs (and the letter from the employer explained in #2 above) to the embassy to give to the officer should satisfy the officer in this regard.

Document #5 - Your Passport

The officer will create the H-1B visa and place it into your passport - so don't forget it!

If you or your employee have any questions about obtaining the H-1B visa, contact our office today at 650-293-0270 to speak to a skilled member of our legal team about your concerns. We look forward to working with you!

Additional Blog Posts

USCIS Announces Provisional I-601 Waiver, Silicon Valley Immigration Lawyer Blog, January 16, 2013
New Obama Directive to Aid Parents in Deportation Proceedings, Silicon Valley Immigration Lawyer Blog, August 30, 2013

H-1B Visas / by Michelle Gee