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H1B Visa: Step-by-Step Guide

The H1B visa is commonly known as work visa to USA. H1 visa is an employment based visa that can be granted for an eligible and qualified temporary worker. For such a visa, an employer must offer a job and apply for your H1B visa petition with the US Immigration Department. This approved petition( approved form I797) is a work permit which allows you to obtain a visa stamp and work in the U.S. for that employer.

H1B Eligibility : H1B visa is issued for a specialty occupation, requires theoretical and practical application of a body of specialized knowledge and requires the visa holder to have at least a Bachelors degree or its equivalent. Check : H1B eligibility and H1 petition process for more information.

H1B visa stamping: Once you have an approved H1B petition , you can setup a H1 visa interview with nearest applicable US consulate or embassy.
Upon successful visa interview, you get the h1 visa stamp on your passport.

Following is the H1B visa stamping process for applying for H1B visa from India. This stamping process assumes that you already have H1B petition approved and ready for Visa interview and visa stamping. If you are looking for general information about H1B visa or h1 visa petition you should look the H1B visa section.

Visa Interview
Step 1.
Photograph
Step 2.
Application
Step 3.
Visa Fee
Step 4.
Appointment
Step 5.
Fingerprinting
Step 6.
Interview


Step 1. Get a digital photograph of each applicant

A digital photograph is required for while applying for a H1B visa. The photograph must meet certain criteria. A good photographer or studio can get this picture if you mention photograph needed for H1B visa purpose.

The digital photograph must meet the following requirements:

  • The digital photograph must be a square.
  • Minimum dimensions must be 600 pixels by 600 pixels.
  • Maximum dimensions must be 1200 pixels by 1200 pixels.
  • Image must be in color (24 bits per pixel).
  • Image must be in the JPEG format (.jpg or .jpeg file extension).
  • File size of the image must be less than or equal to 240 kilobytes.

See the complete photograph requirements for H1B visa.

Please Note: Some embassies or consulates no longer require you to upload a digital photograph while filling out the DS-160 form. In such cases, the photograph will taken at the OFC (offsite facilitation center) or ASC (Application Service Center) along with the fingerprint at Visa Application Center.


Step 2. Complete H1B Visa application form DS160

H1B visa application (form DS160) must be completed online, over the internet. You can complete the application at Dept of State website.

After successfully completing the application, you will receive a confirmation with a 10-digit barcode. Take a printout of this page. This will be needed for setting up your visa interview appointment.

See details on how to fill H1B visa application form DS160.

Step 3. Pay the H1B visa application fee

The fee can be paid either electronically as a bank transfer or in cash at designated CitiBank or Axis bank branches throughout the India. In order to ensure the proper amount is paid and activated in a timely manner, first create a profile at US visa Service website and choose the Schedule Appointment option. On the payment confirmation screen you will be presented with payment options and further details of how to initiate payment. The fee is good for a year from the date of payment. You must take an appointment within a year for your visa interview.

Learn about how to pay H1 visa fee.

Step 4. Take appointment for visa interview

After you pay the fees, you will have to schedule 2 appointments as part of the visitor visa process. The two-part appointment process consists of an appointment with one of the five Offsite Facilitation Center (OFC) to give Biometrics information that includes fingerprinting and photograph , and second an appointment with the Consulate or Embassy for a personal visa interview.

Take online visa appointment at offical website for US visa appointment.(www.ustraveldocs.com/in).

See complete details of taking an appointment for H1B visa interview.

Step 5. US Visa Fingerprinting at Visa Application Center (VAC)

After taking appointment with the consulate or embassy for personal interview, schedule the fingerprinting appointment at least a day or two before the interview at the consulate. Earlier, the fingerprints were taken during the personal interview. But under the new rules you are required to give the Biometrics information at the VAC appointment. This measure has been introduced to reduce congestion at the US consular facilities and to speed up the applicant processing. Schedule the visa interview appointment at the Consulate or Embassy prior to the VAC appointment.

See complete details for H1B Visa Fingerprinting Process.

Step 6. Go for visa interview at designated US consulate

On the day and time of your appointment for interview, go to the consulate where your interview is scheduled. Carry all mandatory and supporting documents and originals.

Carry the following to your interview:

  • Your passport (and your old passports if any)
  • Your photograph
  • The DS-160 visa application confirmation page stamped at the VAC
  • The visa application fee receipts (applicable for application in US consulate in India)
  • Visa appointment letter.
  • Petition-based visa applicants (H, L, F, J, M, R visas) should also bring petition-related documents.
  • Supporting documents, based on what kind of visa you are applying for.

See complete details of the H1B visa interview process.

           Next page: 1. Get a Digital Photograph

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