When do I need a visa stamp in my passport?

Unless you are a Canadian citizen, you will need a visa stamp in your passport to enter the USA.  The visa stamp shows the type of status you are approved for, and other types of information that the officers of the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) will consider when deciding to admit you to the USA.

How do I obtain a visa stamp?

You must apply at a U.S. Consulate for a visa stamp to be laminated into your passport.  Please factor this into your travel plans.  Visit the website of your preferred U.S. Consulate to learn more about their specific procedures, timelines, and to make an appointment.  U.S. Consulate Websites »

How do I pick a U.S. Consulate?

If you are applying for your very first H-1B visa stamp, you will typically need to apply in your home country.  If you will be processing in a different country, you will need to check with the specific U.S. Consulate to see if they will accommodate you as a “Third Country National” (TCN).  Not all will do so.  U.S. Consulate Websites »

What documents do I need?

Generally, the documents FSVS gave you with your original approval notice should suffice.  However, some U.S. Consulates may request additional information or documentation when you make your appointment.  Please check with them directly.  U.S. Consulate Websites »

How long will it take?

It depends on the visa type and the Consulate’s work queue.  Delays are likeliest in the summer, when lines are longest.  Please check with your Consulate directly.  U.S. Consulate Websites »

My visa application is delayed by “Administrative Processing”. What can I do?

Very few of the individuals we sponsor are selected for “Administrative Processing”.  Those very few cases are typically resolved in 2-4 weeks.  However, there are rare exceptions that take longer.  Let the FSVS Director know immediately if your application is selected.  Contact FSVS

Do I need to get a visa stamp if I remain in the USA after changing status?

No. A valid visa stamp is only required when you request entry to the USA after traveling abroad.

What do I need to do after I enter the USA on my new visa stamp?

  1. Print out your I-94 Entry information from the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) website. Keep the printout for your records.  It is a good idea to make this a habit each time you enter the USA, and carefully scrutinize the “Admit Until” date on the I-94 entry record to make sure it matches, at minimum, the date on your I-797 approval notice.  Also check it against the entry stamp in your passport.  If there are discrepancies, please contact your FSVS Specialist, so that we can take a look and determine if corrective action is necessary.
  2. Please forward copies of your new visa stamp and I-94 information to us at FSVS.  Contact FSVS »