Visa Stamping FAQ


Q: I am a returning H1-B/H4 visa applicant, how do I apply for a revalidation?
A: H1/H4 revalidation has ended in the U.S. since July 2004. Drop box facility has also ended at the consulates since July 2004. You must make an appointment as usual for H1/H4 stamping.

Q: What happens if the Consular Officer denies my H1B application?
A: After a personal interview, the Officer may require additional information. In that case, the Officer will refuse your application under a law, known as INA Section 221(g) - which means "pending for administrative processing." You can return to the same Embassy / Consulate where you were interviewed, on any working day with the required documents. If the Officer determines that the applicant cannot fulfill the duties, outlined in the Form I-129, then he or she refuses the application, again under INA Section 221(g). But, this time, the Officer writes a letter to the DHS recommending that Form I-129 be revoked. Along with the letter, all related documents are sent to the DHS Service Center, where the Petition was originally filed. At this point, the embassy/consulate no longer handles the case. All further inquiries must be directed by mail to the appropriate DHS Service Center. The Centers and their mailing addresses are listed on the Form I-797.

Q: I got an H1B visa in 2009. However, I could not go to the USA because my sponsoring employer did not call me. I am applying for an H1B visa again as I have found a new employer. Will my current visa stamping have any impact because I did not utilize the previous visa?
A: No, there should be no impact on your current visa stamping chances just because you didn't utilize your prior H1B visa. However, the consular officer may ask you a question about why you didn't use the previous visa.

Q: I currently have a B1 visa (business visa) stamped and it is valid through May 2010. If I get my H1B visa stamped, will my B1 visa be void?
A: When you go for H1B visa stamping, your B1 visa may be cancelled without any prejudice stamp, depending upon the consular officer.

Q: I attended a visa interview yesterday. However, the consular officer didn't return my I-797 petition/degree certificate/ marriage certificate. How do I get them back?
A: The consular officer generally returns all documents to the applicant at the end of the visa interview. If you have a doubt, you should ask the office at the same time. Also, you may want to remind the officer, at the end of the interview, that you are missing those documents and would like them returned.

However, if the documents are still left behind, they would normally be mailed to the the applicant at the address mentioned in the application form. If not, you can visit the information counter of the Embassy / Consulate where you were interviewed.

Q: My passport was issued from Ahmedabad. However, I currently live and work in Bangalore. Where do I apply for a visa?
A: At the U.S. consulate in Chennai.

Q: My H1b petition was approved a long time back, but I didn't go for visa stamping. Is my H1b still valid?
A: H1b is valid as long as the I797 is valid and the job offer exists. An H1b can be revoked by the employer and the person cannot enter on that petition (I797) unless a new employer has transferred the H1 and a new I797 is issued.

Q: Can I get my visa renewed, revalidated or re-stamped?
A: Renewal: Visa renewals apply to applicants who reapply for H, I, L, O or P visas outside of the U.S.

Revalidation: Revalidations are not available outside the U.S. and relate only to visas for diplomats and officials.

Re-stamping: The U.S. visa is not currently a stamp and so a passport cannot be "re-stamped". Instead, a visa foil made of paper is stuck inside your passport.

Q: I have a valid petition but my visa stamp has expired. I am currently out of the U.S. and I need to return to the U.S. to continue my work. What should I do?
A: You must apply for a new visa (get a visa stamp in the passport) to re-enter the U.S.

Q: While I was in the U.S., I changed my status from F-1 to H-1B. Do I need a visa to return to the U.S.?
A: Yes. You must apply for a new visa for the new non-immigrant status. You must bring the Form I-797 (Notice of Action) that shows your change of status.

Q: How much in advance of the employment start date (as shown on the I-797 notice) can I apply for the H1 visa at the consulate?
A: You can apply at any time up to 90 days in advance of the employment start date, as shown on the I-797 notice.

However, you can only enter the U.S. 10 days in advance of the employment start date, unless you are already working on an H1B visa and have applied for restamping.

Q: At the time of interview, will I get any stamps on my petition?
A: No.