HomeResourcesWhat you need to do after your...
February 19th 2020

What you need to do after your H-1B visa is approved

Applying for an H-1B visa can take a significant amount of time, from obtaining a specialty occupation to having your petition selected in the H-1B lottery. Now that you’ve been approved by the USCIS, what are your next steps?

Applying for an H-1B visa can take a significant amount of time, from obtaining a specialty occupation to having your petition selected in the H-1B lottery. 

If you’re one of the lucky ones whose H1-B visa has been approved by the USCIS, read this guide for the key next steps that you should take.

Step one: confirm your status change 

To check the status of your case, visit the USCIS website and enter your receipt number. Because your H-1B petition was approved, you should receive a message that states your case approval, including your receipt number and the date that your Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) was approved.

The message should also state that USCIS will mail your approval notice to the petitioner (your employer) or an immigration attorney if your employer used an attorney to file your case. Your employer or their attorney will send you a hard copy of the approval notice.

If your H-1B application was filed for a Change of Status, an updated I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) will be attached to the approval notice.

Step two: schedule an H1B visa stamping interview

Once you have your H1-B approval, you will need to schedule an appointment for an H-1B visa interview with your local U.S. embassy or consulate through that office’s web page. After a successful visa interview, you will receive a stamp in your passport to formally finalize the process.

Applying for visa stamping is allowed up to 90 days before the start date of your petition. For example, if your H-1B visa is cap-subject and selected during the lottery, the start date will be October 1 (or the first day of the USCIS fiscal year). This means you can schedule your visa stamping interview on or after July 1. 

After you’ve scheduled an appointment for your visa stamping, USCIS will issue you an appointment letter. Retain this letter, as you will need to bring it with you to your interview.

Step three: obtain a photograph

After scheduling your visa stamping interview appointment, you must obtain a photograph of yourself for your H-1B visa. This photograph must comply with the following requirements:

  • It must be in color

  • It must be square

  • It must be a minimum of 600 pixels by 600 pixels and a maximum of 1,200 pixels by 1,200 pixels

  • It should be saved as a JPEG, no larger than 240 kilobytes.

Step four: complete Form DS-160

Next, gather the information necessary for completing Form DS-160 (Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application). This application can only be submitted electronically to the U.S. Department of State.

For your DS-160 application, you will need the following information:

  • Your travel itinerary, including your flight information (if you’ve already made these arrangements)

  • Travel details from the past five years, including travel to the United States and other countries

  • The date(s) you most recently traveled to the U.S. (if applicable)

  • The address of the location where you intend on staying in the United States

  • Your contact person’s information, including name, phone number, email address and physical address. Typically, the contact person would be your U.S. employer

  • The names and contact information of any relatives you may have in the United States

  • Information pertaining to your family, including your mother’s and father’s full names and dates of birth

  • Current U.S. work-related information, including the following:

  • Name and address of your current employer

  • Your monthly salary (you can find this information on the certified Labor Condition Application (LCA))

  • Description of your job duties

  • Past work-related details, including the following:

  • Names, addresses and phone numbers of previous employers, your previous job titles, employment start date and end date, the name of your previous supervisor and his or her job title and job duties

  • Past education-related information, including the following:

  • Name and address of your high school and the date you graduated

  • Name and address of the academic institution where you received your bachelor’s degree and the date the degree was awarded

  • Name and address of the academic institution where you received your master’s degree (and any additional degrees) and the date the degree(s) were awarded

You will also need (1) your current, valid passport (2) any previous visas that you were issued and (3) Form I-1797 (Notice of Action).

When completing Form DS-160, take your time and make sure that you have answered all questions accurately and truthfully. Providing false information could result in a rejection, in which case you may not receive your H-1B visa stamp. 

Did you know?

You can use your foreign credit history to apply for a U.S. credit card

Credit history used to stop at the border—until now. Your existing foreign credit history could help you get credit in the United States.

Step five: schedule an appointment with an Offsite Facilitation Center

Schedule an appointment with an Offsite Facilitation Center to have your biometrics taken. As per the Visa Application Center (VAC), you will need to have your fingerprints taken before your H-1B visa stamping interview.

Step six: attend your H-1B stamping interview

Finally, attend your visa stamping interview. Make sure that you bring all necessary documents with you to your interview, including:

  • Current and expired passports

  • Your H-1B photograph

  • A copy of you VAC-stamped DS-160 confirmation page

  • A copy of your DS-160 receipt

  • A copy of your visa stamping appointment letter

  • Documents related to your H-1B petition

  • Any necessary supplementary documentation that may be necessary

What to expect during the visa stamping interview

During your visa stamping appointment (also known as “consular processing”), you will have an interview with a consular officer.

You must present all necessary documentation to the consular officer, as well as answer several questions. These questions will pertain to your education and experience, your intentions and your sponsor employer.

While the questions consular officers ask vary and are determined on a case-by-case basis, examples of some of the questions include:

  • What is the highest degree that you have completed?

  • Where did you receive your degree?

  • What is your previous experience in the specialty occupation?

  • Why do you want to work in the United States?

  • Have you lived in any other country, besides your home country?

  • Do any of your family members currently live in the U.S.?

  • Do you intend on returning to your home country when your H-1B visa status expires?

The takeaway

The road to the U.S. through an H-1B visa can be a long and arduous one, but following these steps after your approval will help you smoothly complete the process.

After you finish your H1-B visa process, it’s important to start thinking through other logistics, such as how you will find your first apartment and choose a U.S bank

In the U.S., accessing these essential services like credit cards, apartment rentals, and even internet plans requires that you have a good U.S. credit score. Fortunately, you can use Nova Credit to use your foreign credit history from certain countries to apply for a variety of products and services from our partners. 

This means that you can apply for great credit cards, phone plans, and more from using your hard-earned credit history from back home—rather than needing to start from scratch. If you are approved for these products and manage them responsibly, you will start to quickly build a U.S. credit history.

Use your foreign credit history to start your U.S credit history

New to the U.S.? Check if you can use your country's credit history in the U.S. to apply for credit cards and start your U.S credit history using Nova Credit.

More from Nova Credit:

H-1B visa holders in the United States: An overview

H-1B visa stamping: H-1B visa interview documents and more

How does the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order affect the H-1B visa?

How to check H-1B visa processing times

All about H-1B Labor Condition Applications

The H-1B extension checklist: What you should bring for H-1B renewals 

How to find out if you've been selected in the 2020 H-1B lottery

How to Find H-1B Sponsors in 2020

H-1B to Green Card process: Everything you need to know about changing your status

The ultimate guide to the H-1B visa 

H-4 EAD: How to obtain work authorization when your spouse has an H-1B Visa

How to check the status of your H-1B visa application

H-1B Approved

Announcing the Cash Flow Underwriting Summit: a first-of-its-kind executive summit dedicated to exploring and advancing the practice of cash flow underwriting in consumer lending.