H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits a company to hire workers in specialty occupations. This visa category requires that the beneficiary (the foreign worker) have a bachelor’s degree.
In order to get an H-1B visa, your US employer will first have to file an H-1B petition with USCIS, meaning that USCIS always have to approve the H-1B petition first before you can get an H-1B visa at a Consulate. After this petition is approved, you will then be able to apply for an H-1B visa at a Consulate.
Here are some tips for the H-1B visa interview:
Be confident & be able to explain your role for the U.S. Company:
The officer can ask you to explain what will be your role for the U.S. company and to describe your day to day job duties. Here, it’s important to review the H-1B petition that was submitted to USCIS and go over the job description that was submitted to make sure that you are familiar with your job duties.
Be able to explain your education and background:
Because one of the H-1B requirements is that you have at least a Bachelor’s degree, the officer can ask you where and what did you study, what courses you took, and whether you have any previous experience in the industry you will be working in.
Be familiar with the Table of Contents and with the H-1B Petition:
Even though the petition was already approved by USCIS, the Consular Officer may want to see some supporting evidence so you should print the H1b petition that was submitted to USCIS. You should familiarize yourself with the Table of Contents so you are quickly able to find documents in the petition in case the officer wants to see specific evidence.
Answer Questions Briefly:
Many applicants ramble on when asked a question by an examiner and provide detailed explanations to simple questions. If a question is a yes/no question, just answer yes or no and if the examiner wants more detail they will ask for it. Often applicants speak and speak and reveal information that may ultimately lead to a denial of their application.
Answer Questions Honestly:
It is imperative that a visa applicant answers all questions honestly. If you do not remember something, just say that you do not remember. If a visa is denied because of lack of documentation, you can always apply again in the future. If a visa is denied because an officer thinks you lied, you will have a tough time getting a visa in the future.
Listen to the Question:
While many are nervous, you should focus on the question and provide an answer to the question being asked. If you go off on a tangent or do not answer the specific question, the officer may think you have something to hide and are avoiding the question.
Know Your DS-160 Application:
You should review your DS-160 application before the interview and pay particular attention to any questions on the application where they asked you a “yes” or “no” question or to “explain”. For example, (Has anyone ever filed a Immigrant Visa (Green Card) on your behalf? If yes, explain.) If you answered any of these questions “yes” these areas may be a focus of the interview. Often examiners will ask some of the same questions that are on your DS-160 application and your answers during the interview should be consistent.
Dress the part and be courteous:
You should wear business attire to your interview as a first impression cannot be taken back. Also, under no circumstances should you argue or be disrespectful to the officer. At time they will do everything in their power to provoke you but you should always be respectful. (even if they are not). They have an enormous amount of power and they are the person that will make the decision. Keep in mind that their decision CANNOT be appealed.
The examiner is asking questions to see if you meet the criteria and if you used a lawyer you likely have a good submission. Relax and do not stress about this interview. Often the is very fast and the officer only asks a few questions. That being said, the interview can be longer if the examiner has doubts about the application.
Some questions the Consular Officer may ask you:
- Where do you currently work? What is your role for the current company?
- What will be your position in the U.S.?
- What will be your salary in the U.S.?
- Will you work full time/part time?
- Where is the U.S. company based/where will you work from?
- Who will be your supervisor?
- Explain what will be your job duties in the U.S. company?
- What does the U.S. company do?
- Are you already working for the U.S. company?
- Did you ever had an H-1B/any other visa? If so, what type of visa?
- Where and what did you study?
- What is your major in?
- Please list some courses you took that will help you to perform the job in the U.S.
As mentioned above, the officer can also ask you some questions from the DS 160 forms (for example, if you spend significant amount of time in the past in the U.S., the officer may ask what you were doing in the U.S./what visa you were on).
What should you bring to the interview?
Please note that this is only a general list of documents and each Consulate may have its own specific instructions as to what you should bring:
- Photo (5x5cm)
- DS160 confirmation page
- Proof of the visa fee payment
- Visa interview appointment confirmation and instructions
- If your spouse/child is applying for an H-4 visa, they will need to bring the original marriage/birth certificate
- The I-797 H-1B Approval notice
- The H-1B petition
- If you are already working in the US on an H1B status, you should bring 2-3 most recent paystubs as evidence of maintaining your status
Please see our blog post on whether you can work part-time on an H-1B visa here.
Please see some common Questions and Answers about H-B visa here.
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