Below is what you will need to do to apply for an H1B visa stamp on your passport at a U.S. Consulate outside US.

Visit the website of the U.S. Consulate at which you intend to go for your visa appointment. The website will provide instructions on how to schedule an appointment, where to pay the fees, processing times and any additional processing requirements. You can locate the official website of U.S. Consulates around the world at the following link: http://www.usembassy.gov/

Before taking an appointment, please make sure that the consulate entertains the request for first time H1B stamping request either from an F1 or any other status.

Documents to carry for your visa appointment:

  • Original H-1B (I-797) approval notice
  • Copy of the current H-1B Petition. This contains copies of your prior I-797 Approval Notices as well. This also contains your Labor Condition Application (LCA) that has details about the salary offered and work locations that you would be performing your work from. The visa officer may ask for this.
  • Passport – preferably valid at least through the expiration of the visa being requested. Your passport must have two (2) blank pages, Form DS-160 completed and submitted online with a digital photo attached, and a printout of your appointment confirmation page.
  • Evidence of payment of your visa fees. Typically, applicants pay their visa fees into a bank account prior to their appointment but this varies from one consulate to the next. The payment instructions provided on the website should be followed.
  • Current letter of employment confirmation from your employer confirming dates of employment, job title, work location, and current salary.  If any of these details differ significantly from the information that was provided in your H-1B Petition, please let us know.
  • Copies of your 3-4 most recent pay stubs.
  • Supporting letter to the consulate from Egen – Please contact Vandana 20 days before your travel date. This is needed in the original.
  • Up to date, detailed resume, or CV.
  • W2s and Tax returns (From the time you came to the US)
  • Bank statements (last 6 months)
  • Basic Current Project Documentation
  • If your I-140 is approved, then carry original approval notice.

* If your spouse/children will be applying with you, you will also need to carry the following documents:

  • Passport for each person, valid at least through the expiration of the visa being requested.  Each passport must have at least two (2) blank pages.
  • Form DS-160 completed and submitted online with a digital photo attached for each person.
  • Evidence of payment of the visa fees for each person's application.
  • Add everyone's name while taking visa appointment.
  • Marriage certificate for the spouse.
  • Birth certificates for children.
  • H4 approval Notice.

For Individuals Placed at Off-Site work location (end client location):
If you are employed at a third-party client site, the U.S. Consulate may want to see additional documents. The H-1B Petition filed on your behalf will likely include the following: a signed offer letter and client letter from the third-party client site. If not, please contact us.  Please be very clear that the employer is Egen, but the work location is the end client location. It should not be necessary to obtain a new client letter to prove that you are still working at this client site; however, you should bring your access badge to the client site with you to show that you are still working at the same location from the time the petition was filed.

Administrative Processing
In some cases, your visa application may be delayed for administrative processing.  This may happen for several reasons.  There is no set time period for administrative processing to be completed.  In many cases it takes only an additional 2-3 weeks; however, it has been known to take several months in a few cases. It always depends on the caseload that the consulate has and the information they have asked for.

Should you apply in your home country or in anywhere outside the USA at US consulate?
Regarding applying in your home country or somewhere else, like Canada, please keep the following things in mind:

  • You will need to obtain a Canadian Visitor Visa in order to enter Canada (unless you already have one). This process can take 30 days or more.
  • While you are in Canada and your case falls under "Administrative Processing," your H1B visa issuance could be delayed by three (3) weeks or longer. Please keep in mind that while waiting, you would have stayed in that country and take care of your expenses while staying there.

For these reasons, you may want to consider doing your visa application while you are in your home country. 

Interview Waiver Program in India:
If you have previously applied for your visa at one of the U.S. Consulates in India, you may not need to attend an interview when you reapply for your visa. For more information on the requirements for this program, please visit http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/in-niv-visarenew.asp
.

Transit Visas:
Before you book your flight, check the visa requirements for any countries that you will transit through.  Some of them require you to obtain a Transit Visa if you do not have a valid U.S. visa stamp in your passport.  The requirements vary by country, so be sure to check the official website of the Consulate or Embassy of each of the countries that you will transit through.

Upon Re-admission:
Upon re-admission to the U.S., you (and any family members traveling with you) will have your passports annotated to indicate:

  • Date of entry
  • Place of entry
  • The H1B/ H4 classification and
  • The expiration of this temporary status, which should be the same length as indicated on the H1B approval notice.

In addition, an I-94 record will be created for each individual admitted to the U.S. The record can be accessed by visiting: www.cbp.gov/I94. At your earliest convenience, please print and keep it for your records.

If you already have a valid H-1B visa stamp, you may continue to use the current H1B visa to enter the U.S. from travel abroad but should also present the original approval notice so that the I-94 record created for you is valid for the duration of the new H1B petition.

We would suggest you to have a look at this link for a comprehensive list: http://www.immihelp.com/visas/h1b/h4-visa-documents.html

We hope you find the above information useful. If you still need further assistance and/or clarifications in this regard, please feel free to reach Vandana at (Email: vandana@egeni.com | Ph: 630-906-7980). We will do our best to assist you.

Note: Please keep in mind that the questions asked may vary from person to person. These questions provide a general idea. Please make sure to go through the H1B petition so that you know the relationship between Egen, vendor, and end client.

For your Egen supervisor, please look at your H1B petition copy. Most of you have either Raghu Potini OR Trevor Benson as your Egen supervisor and you report to them. Raghu Potini is Egen’s CEO and Trevor Benson is Egen’s Executive Director. Egen controls your employment. They provide you with employment related benefits like salary, health insurance, etc.

Make sure to look at the LCA in the H1B petition, which states your job title, salary, employment location, etc. Salary can be increased at any point of time, so please tell the latest salary. The LCA may have the old salary.

Basic things to keep in mind regarding H1B: The H1B employment authorization is valid only for the position and/ or work location(s) described in the H1B petition. The H1B petition is dependent on location, job title, job duties, and salary. Any changes in the above four factors will need an H1b amendment.

Keep your answers simple, short and precise. Do not give any information that they have not asked. The visa officer is looking at your body language to judge if there is any fraud that you might be involved with. Please stay calm and relaxed. 

What kind of business does Egen do?
Egen does IT Technology work in-house and onsite at client locations throughout USA. We have an in-house development center where our employees work on our internal projects. There are about 10+teams working at our Naperville office location on different software projects. We have partnership with leading IT technology departments of Fortune 500 companies. Apart from our in-house employees, we also deploy our employees to different client sites to help with their technological needs.

How long have you been working with Egen?
Please start date mentioned on your paystub.

What is the location of your employment / work?

For Individuals Placed at in-house location: The location is Egen’s in-house development center at 40 Shuman Blvd, Naperville, IL-60563.

For Individuals Placed at client location: The employer is Egen, but the work location is end client’s address.

Who is your client? Do you have letter from end client?

For individuals placed at client location: Please show the letter which you got during the initial filling of the petition OR one which you received when responding to the RFE. It should not be necessary to obtain a new client letter to prove that you are still working at this client site.

For individuals placed in-house: Since you are working on internal project from your employer's office there is no end client in your case; you do have a project assignment letter.

You are working for Egen at Egen’s office location on in-house project. Keep in mind that irrespective of which project you work on while working from Egen's office at the end of the day, you work for Egen and not any specific client of Egen. You solely work for Egen and are working at Egen’s Naperville development center on specific project that you are assigned to.  Please think of your work in terms of a project, rather than a client/customer for whom the work is being done. Working on in-house project and working at end client site are completely different when it comes to H1B. Please be very clear about it while mentioning at the interview if the officer specifically asks about work related questions.

What is your salary?

Please mention your current salary. If you got a raise after your H1B was filed, it should NOT be an issue. It can be always be higher than what was filed at the time of filing H1B petition.

Did you have any issues getting your salary as promised by the employer?

The USCIS officers are trying to check if there is/was any financial fraud going on. If you have never had any issues getting your promised salary on time then your answer should state the same.

What is your highest education qualification? What school did you attend in US while doing your masters? Did you work on OPT?

Please mention according to your situation. If you have studied here on F1 visa and worked on OPT, the USCIS officer may just be trying to confirm that you always maintained a valid status.

What work you do? (Job Title and Job Duties)
Please use the job title/job duties (as mentioned on your H1B petition/LCA) while answering this question. You should read and be thoroughly familiar with the job duties in the H1B petition. Please remain consistent with what was mentioned in your H1B petition.

Do you have an approved I-140?
If you have it, they may want to see a copy of it.

FAQ- Regarding USCIS site visit for H1B employees

Sometimes, USCIS conducts random site visit based on the H1B petition that we have filed for you in the past. Your petition is randomly chosen to be audited and a USCIS officer shows up at your job site. He/ she will show the USCIS badge and will ask to speak with you in private. The conversation lasts about 20-25 minutes. The USCIS officers are usually well versed with your case, they are just trying to check the information we have provided on the petition is correct. Hence it is very important that you know what is in your H1B petition. You need to understand the basic nature of H1B. They will also talk with your work supervisor/manger and cross check about your job duties and your role in the project.

The answer for most of the questions that may be asked during the site visit are on your H1B petition. As an H1B employee, your job title is the tile on your LCA/H1B petition. Your job location is also mentioned in the LCA. If you work at the client site, there are two locations listed in the LCA. One is your client site and the other is 40 Shuman Blvd, Naperville (Egen head office). You report to either Raghu B. Potini, Egen CEO, or Trevor Benson, Executive Director, depending on what is written in your petition. Egen has control over your work schedule, your promotion/demotion, your salary increments, your performance review, etc. You report your work weekly to Raghu Potini/Trevor Benson via the weekly report that you submit via the Google form/BambooHR.

You must carefully review the information previously provided to the USCIS in the H1B petition. We send you a copy of H1B petition along with your approval notice. The answers which you provide the USCIS official MUST be consistent with the information provided in the H1B petition.

Question generally asked during a random USCIS site visit to H1B employees:

1. What is your job title?

Answer- Please refer to the job title in your H1B petition/LCA.

2. What is your salary?

Answer- Please mention the current salary. Your H1B petition may have the old salary.

3. What is your start date with Egen?

Answer- You can check with Yesh if you don’t know it.

4. Who do you report to?

Answer- Please refer to the H1B petition. You either report to Raghu B. Potini (Egen CEO) OR Trevor Benson (Executive Director).

5. Who reviews your work?

Answer- Please refer to the H1B petition which mentions that your work/performance is reviewed by Raghu B. Potini (Egen CEO) OR Trevor Benson (Executive Director).

6. What are your roles and responsibilities at work? USCIS officer will ask in details of work including all the tools and technologies that you use in your day to day work, the full work flow, what product are you trying to build, the life cycle of the product, the team with which you work, how do you interact with your team, who leads your team, the size of your team, your role in the team, how many teams are working on the product, etc.

Answer- Please refer to the job duties mentioned in the H1B petition. Be consistent with what we have already provided in the H1B petition.

7. What are your normal work hours?

Answer- Normally, it is 8 hours.

8. Do you work overtime?

Answer- Please note that most of our employees normally work regular 8 hours, but if there is some critical deadline, they may choose to work overtime. They get paid for extra hours.

9. What benefits does your employer offer?

Answer- Egen offers health insurance.

10. Does Egen give you salary when you are in-between projects?

Answer- As you know, Egen continues to give salary even when the employee is in-between projects.

11. What process did Egen follow during your recruitment? How were you recruited?

Answer- As you know, we advertise our jobs on various recruiting websites including Dice, Zip Recruiter, Monster, etc.  After submission of resume and the initial phone call with recruiter, there are two levels of coding interviews: one oral interview and one coding interview.

12. Can you take vacation, what is Egen’s vacation policy, do you get time off on the national holidays like Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc.?

Answer- Everyone gets all the national holidays off. Most of the time, personal time off is mutually decided based on the convenience of the employee and the project status.

13. Details of your educational background, including the names of school, year of graduation for bachelors and Masters Degree.

14. Details of your employment history including all the past jobs that you have held.

15. Did you pay Egen any money for H1B?

16. Did Egen make you start working without a valid work status?

Answer- No.

17. Did Egen make you start working on a new project without making sure you were on valid work status?

Answer- No.

Change of Address: Whenever there is a change in residential address, the H1B beneficiary must inform USCIS of the address change using Form AR-11. The form and instructions can be found online at https://www.uscis.gov/ar-11

USCIS Guidelines on H1B Amendment: H1b petition is specific to your current job title, job location, and job duties. Anytime there is a change in any of the above, please contact us, as we may need to file an H1B amendment. Please look at the link below for detailed guidelines from USCIS regarding the H1B amendment.

https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-draft-guidance-when-file-amended-h-1b-petition-after-simeio-solutions-decision

CBP Releases Guidance on Search of Electronic Devices
Posted January 31, 2018

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued an updated directive on border searches of electronic devices belonging to individuals entering or exiting the United States. The directive provides guidance on operating procedures for CBP agents searching travelers’ electronic devices. The directive states that the searches are conducted as a part of CBP’s immigration responsibilities, among other things. The searches are part of a long-established practice, but the directive provides some insight as to the related process and procedures. Read more.