By Roujin Mozaffarimehr
As H-1B Cap approvals start to trickle in, it is important for Petitioners and Beneficiaries to plan for the anticipated 10/1 start date. The following advisory is specifically for H-1B Cap cases that have been prepared for consular processing.
H-1B Approvals for Consular Processing
Once a Beneficiary’s case is approved, the next step is visa stamping at a local consulate in the Beneficiary’s home country.
We strongly advise Beneficiaries to promptly schedule a visa appointment with their local consulate after the receipt of an H-1B approval. This ensures that the Beneficiaries enter as close to the start date indicated on the form I-129 and approval notice.
Waiting to go stamping can trigger a red flag with a consulate officer and result in the issuance of a 221(g) referral for administrative processing. The consular officer may determine in such cases that additional information is required before the issuance of a visa. The longer a Beneficiary waits to go for stamping, the more a consular officer calls into question whether work was actually available on the requested start date indicated on form I-129. Administrative processing referrals can take upwards of two months to be resolved, further delaying a Beneficiary’s entry to the US and start of work with the Petitioning US company.
For approvals received before 10/1: we strongly advise going for stamping prior to the 10/1 start date. Once an H-1B visa is issued and in hand, Beneficiaries can enter the US up to 10 days prior to the 10/1 start date (9/21).
For approvals received after 10/1: Once an approval notice is issued, we strongly advise going for stamping as soon as possible.
Please contact our firm if you have case specific questions.