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US work visa FAQs answered

August 06, 2009 11:00 IST

Are you applying for a US work visa but unclear about the procedures involved?

Can an H1B visa be transferred to another employer?

Will previous rejections affect your current visa application?

To answer these and other related queries, US Consular Officers hosted a chat on July 24, 2009. For those of you who missed that chat, here's the unedited transcript:


Vice Consul E says, Welcome everybody. We are now ready to take your questions.


rdg asked, my visa was rejected 3 times in 2004 (F1,bridgeport university) can I get H1B work visa?

Vice Consul E answers, Previous visa refusals do not make you ineligible for the H-1B visa. Your eligibility for the H-1B is dependent on your qualifications for this particular class of visa.


as asked, will my visa being rejected once hv an effect on future applications?

Vice Consul K answers, The vast majority of cases are rejected under section 214(B) of the Immigration and Nationality act. This is not a permanent ineligibility -- each application is treated as its own case. A minority of cases are cause for permanent ineligibility. You will know if you are subject to a permanent ineligibility, as the visa officer will inform you of it at the time of the refusal. These refusals are rare and are most often due to applicant fraud.


Rajat asked, I am a exporter & i need to visit USA for my business. How can I apply for same

Vice Consul E answers, It sounds like you need to apply for a visitors visa, assuming your intent is to visit the US and not work there long term. Go to http://www.vfs-usa.co.in and follow the instructions on the website.


Manish asked, Can the H1B Visa be transferred in India to different employer?

Vice Consul K answers, No. If you have an H1B visa to work for one company, you cannot enter the United States to work for another. H1Bs are tied to your employer; if you are changing employers outside of the United States, you need a new H1B visa.


Sunil asked, sir.my brother is working in us with H1B. Wife is on dependent visa. He's planning to have a child. Will the child is US citizen . I mean can my brother stay there with his childs green card.

Vice Consul K answers, If the child is born in the United States, the child will be a U.S. citizen. If the child is born in India, it will need an H4 visa to enter the United States.


Satyabrata asked, How easy it is to get H1 visas?

Vice Consul E answers, It's not a question of "easy" or "hard". It's a question of being qualified. If you have an approved H-1B petition, qualifying education, and the job you were petitioned to work in exists, then you will likely qualify for the visa.


ashok asked, all visa r accepted?

Vice Consul E answers, There are no pre-set guidelines on whether visas are approved or refused. Every case is different and is adjudicated in accordance with U.S. immigration law.


nom asked, hi, wat is the wy tpo apply for h1b?

Vice Consul K answers, The first step to applying for an H1B is to have a valid petitioner in the U.S. hire you. When a petitioner hires you, you will be provided with an I-797 from the petitioner, via the Department of Homeland Security. You can then schedule a visa appointment -- for information on how to do that, go to www.vfs-usa.co.in.


ABC asked, what is the amt and time approx. for applying US work permit visa and how do we apply, any consultant who can guide with full process or guidelines

Vice Consul E answers, First of all, I'd be EXTREMELY cautious about using visa consultants - many otherwise legitimate applicants find that unscrupulous visa consultants take advantage of them. A good rule would be to be very suspicious if you are paying money (or putting down a security deposit) to get a job offer. As far as the time required, the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. handles H-1B petitions; once you have an approved the petition, the wait time for an H-1B visa interview is minimal. Once you have an approved petition, to schedule your appointment go to http://www.vfs-usa.co.in/.


Manish asked, I have a valid H1B from my current employer and I have worked in the US on this H1B for 3 months before coming back to India due to personal reasons. Its been over 1 year that I have retured back and my employer now wants me to go back to US on the same Visa. Will I face any issues while entering US on the same H1B visa?

Vice Consul K answers, Hi Manish, and thanks for the relatively easy question. Take a look at your visa in your passport. If it is not expired and you have the original I-797, you should have no problems entering the U.S.


Mehndi asked, What are chaces of getting Tourist Visa for 10 yrs am 68

Vice Consul E answers, Hi Mehndi. To qualify for a tourist visa of any duration, you'll have to show the interviewing officer that you have compelling reasons to return to India - i.e. family ties, employment, property, etc.


saikiran asked, Can I work in US with two employers holding a single H1?

Vice Consul K answers, No. If you hold an H1B you can only work for one employer.


prathap asked, for chemical process engineers is any sponsor for H1B is their in US

Vice Consul K answers, This sounds like a job search question, not a visa question. We cannot recommend specific employers, also known as "sponsors." I would recommend referring to job search resources for the answer to your question.


ABC asked, are you aware of visa consultant in Mumbai who can explain me with full process & can u give me any visa consltant name for getting counselling

Vice Consul E answers, As far as consultants are concerned, we have no recommendations. Just be aware that consulants often don't have your best interests at heart and may steer you incorrectly. They're in the business to make money, not to help you. We're happy to help with any specific questions you may have with the process. Contact http://www.vfs-usa.co.in for info about the actual application process.


Sunil asked, sir, my brother is working in US with H1B visa. And his wife is in US as dependent. my brother is planning to gave a baby there.will the child be US citizen. With green card. Can my brother stay and work with his childs green card.

Vice Consul K answers, Sunil -- I believe I already answered this question. Please hit "refresh" and scroll down.


Aravind asked, My company had applied for my H1B and the petition was approved. Subsequently I gave my interview and they requested for additional documents. After that happened, my company was acquired by a US based company. So what should I do to take this forward??

Vice Consul E answers, Good question, Aravind. You'll need to present the requested documentation from your initial interview, as well as documentation that clearly explains the fact that your petitioner was acquired by a US company.


Vinit asked, I had applied for H1 Visa through consultant in 2008 and my application was picked up in lottery.But due to recession i was not able to do stamping.Can i proceed now for stamping?

Vice Consul K answers, If you have a valid petition, you may schedule your visa interview. Please be aware that the visa officer may ask some additional questions and ask for additional supporting documents proving that you still have qualifying work in the U.S.


soura asked, I have an valid H1B Approval. I went to Embassy for my visa and the VO had placed my case under administrative review. Last month the case has been moved to Department of State. I recently got married and I need to apply H4 visa for my wife. When should I do this - After I get my Visa or now with my approval notice?

Vice Consul E answers, Hi Soura. You'll need an approved H-1B visa (meaning stamped in your passport) before your wife is able to get an H-4 visa.


bobby161978 asked, can money get working visa in US?

Vice Consul K answers, The quick answer is: NO. Do not trust individuals who say that for a fee they can guarantee you a visa. For H1B visas you need to qualify through education, work experience, or a combination, and you need to have an employer with a qualifying position. You should not have to pay any more than the normal H1B visa fees. If you are told you need to pay more, you could be being taken advantage of. Be careful.


Visa asked, Sir, I was in US on H1b visa till Feb 09 and came here for vacation and due to not having work I could not go back to US, now my visa is going to expire in 30 Sept 09, Plz suggest what I need to do for extending my Visa, Thanks

Vice Consul E answers, Hello Visa. Well, you'll need an extended petition in order to get a new visa. Since it seems that you don't have work in the US currently, this may be difficult - you'll need to show that there's a job waiting for you in the US.


ravi asked, My h1b petition was suspended under 221(g) last november 2008. I couldn't produce the required papers till today. When will the petition be sent back to USCIS ? Can I transfer the petition that is suspended under 221(g) to another employer ?

Vice Consul E answers, Your visa application is valid for up to one year from the date of your initial interview. You can certainly apply for a petition with a different employer, but this would be a new case - not a continuation of your case that is currently pending under section 221(g).


MJ asked, Hi.. I have an H1..my wife had gone for H4 recently...but she was given yellow form and told to get my name endorsed on Passport. She went to Passport office there they told she need's to issue a new Passport as they have stopped endorsements. My question is she will get her new Passport with married name and HDFC receipts have maiden name.. so here is the confusion..her VISA was processed with maiden name and now she will have new passport with married name..do we have to take a new HDFC receipt?

Vice Consul K answers, Hi MJ. We're sorry for the confusion. If your wife has a visa already stamped in her passport, you should be fine. She may be asked a few simple questions regarding her marriage, but name change issues, especially with regards to marriage and H1/H4 visas, are common. If she does not have a visa stamped, we will do the updating of her name. She does not need to pay an additional fee -- she'll simply have to fill out a new form.


AKV asked, I had applied for an H1B visa for my job as a post doctoral research fellow at a respected university in the US and received approval for the same. However, at the time of my visa interview the officer sent my application for advanced processing. Is there a way to get this done quickly because I was supposed to join on 15th July. Moreover I had paid 1000$ for premium processing at the time of H1B petition.

Vice Consul K answers, AKV, we're very sorry about the delay in your case. Unfortunately, there is no way to speed up processing times. I can say that we have made great strides in improving our processing and the process is much quicker now. Your delay should not be significant. Please be in contact with your employer to inform them of the delay


MJ asked, Hi, She doesnot have a Visa..the officer told she will get a VISA after updating the name..she needs to send the updated passport with the yellow form..In Maharashtra the name endorsement is stopped...So she will get a fresh passport. My question was her new passport will contian married name..HDFC receipt which is with embassy contains her maiden name..so when the embassy will receiver her Passport there will be different name on the receipt and Passport. Is this Fine?

Vice Consul K answers, MJ - as long as she has the yellow form and her original HDFC receipt she will be fine. Have her submit her old and new passport to VFS and we will make sure the correct name gets on the visa. This is a common problem, and you do not need to pay an extra fee to get it solved.


hii asked, My H1B petition was picked up in lottery in 2007 and I attended the visa consultant in Delhi in Jan 2008 and in May 2008 i received letter that visa is rejected due to employer do not have job for you. Can i still this petition to search Job?

Vice Consul E answers, It sounds like your petition was returned to USCIS for possible revocation due to a lack of qualifying employment. You won't be able to use this petition to search for a job in the US. (side note - H-1B petitions are for a specific job in the US, not for a job search)


rahulx asked, hi, I have applied for h1b visa in april 2009. The consultant had arranged for a technical interview with the company, with whom i'm supposed to work over there. I cleared the selection process and followed up with a subseqent application. I asked my consultant about the details of the application like applicatio number etc. Finally, they gave me a receipt number and asked me to check the site for the status. The receipt number was fine but my name wasn't mentioned for the receipt. Is there any way to confirm this? Moreover, i heard that US consulate isn't approving h1b visa stamping, if the duration of work is long term. Is this the case? I also heard that US department is rejecting transfer of h1b visas, as they claim locals are unemployed, is this so?

Vice Consul K answers, Rahul -- I'm actually not clear on what is happening with your hiring process. If you have an approved HDFC receipt, you can go to VFS (www.vfs-usa.co.in) to start the application process. It is absolutely NOT true that the Consulate is not approving H1Bs. I personally did a number of H1B visas today, and have done many in my time in Mumbai. If you have an approved I-797, are qualified for an H1B, and if your petitioner can show that work exists for you in the U.S., your visa will be approved.


MJ asked, Thanks for answering the question...once VFS receivers the passport how long it will take to get it stamped.

Vice Consul K answers, MJ -- give it about a week.


NoOne asked, Hello, first of all thanks for your time! I wanted to confirm one thing that is if I show work experience from a small IT company, where actually I have worked, company provides me employment documents required, but suppose I am not taking salary from that company from last few months because the financial condition of the company was bad and before that I was getting paid in CASH, can this count under work exp. fraud if I show this work experience, because I will not be able to show anything in the bank statements? what do they verify for work experience? Another thing is that if I am working in my father's business, which is real estate and construction, almost all transactions are in cash. What evidence can be shown to justify work experience in this form? and no bank account evidence are possible because business is not a registered company and nither I am taking any fixed salary?

Vice Consul E answers, Hi NoOne - good question. If you actually worked there for the necessary time frame, there are a number of ways to verify the information. You aren't going to be refused simply because you don't have the right back statements. Experience certificates/letters are a good start, of course, but they aren't the only thing you can show. Of course, if you didn't work there, there are a number of ways to verify this as well on our end. In any case, there's a significant educational component in qualifying for an H-1B visa as well.


Abhijit asked, hi, what is the new reduced H1 quota

Vice Consul K answers, The "reduction of H1B quota" story has been popular in India, but legally there has been no reduction in the quota.


sunny asked, i got my H1B visa stamped last year, but did not go to US because of the ongoing recession, now my current employer is planning to send me to US with business or L1 visa, will there be any issues, as already I have H1B ??

Vice Consul E answers, No issues that I can think of for the B1/B2 visa. You can't have an L-1 and H-1B simultaneously - one is an intracompany transfer visa, and the other is to work for a specific US company. They are inherently incompatible, so if you want/need the L-1, we'll have to cancel the H-1B (not a adverse/negative cancellation, of course)


suraj asked, Hello, whats the basic difference between L1,H1,B1 ?

Vice Consul K answers, Complex question, Suraj. An L1 is an intra-company transferee visa. That is, you work for Company X in your home country and are going to work for that same company in the U.S. The major qualification for an L1 is work experience with the petitioning company. An H1B is a visa is a visa for a skilled worker. H1Bs are for individuals who qualify for specialty occupations through education, work experience, or a combination of the two. They must be hired by a company in the U.S. that can show they have legal full time employment. Both of these are visas for individuals who will be receiving a salary, in U.S. dollars, while in the U.S. In contrast, a B1 is for someone traveling to the U.S. for a period of less than 6 months. This can be for business discussions, to see the Grand Canyon, or to visit a relative. You may not work in the U.S. on a B1 visa.


Kingindia asked, I have my petition approved for 2008-2009 , but I havent gone for stamping due to the fear of getting my visa rejected and waiting for the market to improve over there. Is this a good thing I am doing ? or shall I go for stamping now. My employer is a consulting company and do not have any in house projects.Kindly advice ?

Vice Consul E answers, Well - if your company doesn't have qualifying employment for you and they're just bringing you over to the US with the hopes of finding you a client project, that's a bad thing. If they have a client lined up for you with a real job ready for you on arrival, that's ok. Sitting "on the bench" while you aren't being paid is a very bad thing - it's illegal.


Ramlal asked, i have incorporated a business in USA (as LLC) last year and its indian arm has been in operation for the last 14 months. What visa is good for me to go to the US for business development for the next 1 year?


Vice Consul K answers, Hi Ramlal. Since you're going to work for the same company you work for now, and you're looking to stay and work in the U.S. for a year, it sounds like you need an L1 visa. I would consult www.uscis.gov for information on an L1 and its requirements.


chandan asked, my employer is saying about my visa extension from India issue: "To extend the I 94 you have to be in US. Other option is to file for a Consular extension at India which is similar to your first time filing.", So I have a question that what is Consular extension in H1b?

Vice Consul E answers, I'm assuming this is Visa. You'd extend the I-94 in the US if you were in the US working and had the petition extended. Consular processing would involve you coming in for a visa interview with your new/extended petition. Hope this helps.


GEORGE asked,  Hi..I was working in U.S for last 3 years in L1. when I tried for L1 extension it was denied.My company then filed for H1 as there was quota available. Is L1 extension denial affects my H1 application approval..thanks in advance.

Vice Consul E answers, L1 and H1B are different visa categories - so the extension denial won't have any bearing on the H1B case.


sunil_illuru asked, I Went for H1B interview. the VO took hold of my educational certificates and gave me a 221G. are the certs safe ?

Vice Consul K answers, Sunil -- your documents will be returned to you safe and sound once processing is complete.


Vice Consul K says, Thanks for all of your questions, and many apologies to those whose questions we could not answer. For more information about visas, consult our webpage, mumbai.usconsulate.gov, USCIS www.uscis.gov, the Department of State travel.state.gov, or VFS www.vfs-usa.co.in. Thanks.