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Guide to the H-1B Visa Interview Process

Guide to the H-1B Visa Interview Process

If you’re not an American citizen but are looking for a job in the US, you’re going to need a visa to help you live and work there. We’ve outlined how to obtain an H-1B visa here and if you’ve gone successfully through the initial steps, it’s time for you to prep for the visa interview! 

HiCounselor has gathered some information that will make the interview process a whole lot smoother for you! Read our H-1B visa interview guide below and if you’re still looking for companies that sponsor the H-1B visa, use our free search tool here. You can easily search for companies and locations and get details like recruiter names and their alma maters to make connecting easier for you!

Before Reaching the US Consulate/Embassy

Once your petition is approved, you have to go to the appropriate US Consulate or Embassy to have the H-1B visa interview. Candidates who are already working in the US can simply opt for change of status but if you’re outside the US, you have to go through the interview process. If you require assistance because of any disability or any other reason, you have to inform the consulate of the same 48 hours before the interview. 


For the interview, you’ll need to fill the DS-160 nonimmigrant visa online application form. Once that’s filled, you will have to pay the fee and take a printout of the confirmation page. You have to then schedule the interview date (which has to be at least two days after the date of application) as well as provide your biometrics information. Make sure you carry all relevant documents with you and have a properly filled out form. People with incomplete applications are not admitted. 

The H-1B Visa Interview Documents

These are some of the documents you must carry with you for your H-1B visa interview. You might also be required to carry additional documents not listed here. You can check the consulate website or ask your immigration lawyer for the same.


·         A valid passport

·         A printed confirmation of your completed DS-160 online application form

·         The original interview appointment letter and a copy

·         Copies of the approved I-129 petition and the I-797 notice of approval form

·         A receipt for the visa fees

·         Your passport-sized photo

·         Your original I-129 petition

·         Degrees and certificates

·         Any expired passport

·         Letters from your sponsoring employer and previous employers

·         Pay stubs from the most recent employer

·         Contact information for coworkers and managers at your current and past jobs

·         Your resume

At the US Consulate/Embassy

There’s usually a waiting line to enter the building, which you’ll have to join. Only visa applicants are allowed to enter the premises, so anyone accompanying you will have to wait outside. You might be asked to show your passport, appointment letter and visa application fee receipt. 

You aren’t allowed to carry any electronic equipment, mobile phones, perfumes, spray bottles, food items, bottles, sealed envelopes/packages, bags, backpacks, large umbrellas, etc. inside the consulate/embassy so you have to leave them in a secure place if you brought any of these items with you. Drinking water and washroom facilities are available inside. 

Going Through the Security Check

To enter the building for your H-1B visa interview, you have to go through a security check. This includes a full body metal detector scan so make sure you’re not carrying any unnecessary items on your person. If you pass this security check, you will be given a token for your visa interview. 

After this, you will be required to verify your fingerprints. An officer will take your fingerprints and verify them against the fingerprints taken at the Visa Application Center (VAC). These requirements can change depending on the circumstances, so follow any and all instructions provided by the officer. Then proceed to the waiting area for your name to be called. 


Giving the Interview

The H-1B visa interviewer sits behind a glass window that has a slot at the bottom. This slot is there so both of you can pass your documents to each other.  There is also a microphone on this glass pane so you can clearly communicate without having to raise your voice. 


The interviewer can ask you a number of questions and ask for any of the documents you brought with you. Answer only what’s asked and refrain from giving any additional information. Supply only the documents requested as well. Be honest and confident when being interviewed. The main aim of the H-1B visa interview is to check the information in the application and to make sure that you really qualify.

Usually, you will know immediately if your visa has been approved. The interviewer generally lets you know then and there that you’re cleared. Your visa is then couriered to your given address within 3 to 4 business days. In some cases, you may be allowed to pick up your visa in person. If your visa is denied or put on hold, you will be informed of that too. You can then pick up your passport after the interview is over. 

Missing the Interview

If you were unable to attend the interview, you will be marked as a ‘No Show’ applicant. If that happens, your H-1B visa fee is deactivated and you have to wait two days before you can reactivate it. Keep in mind that the US visa application fee is valid for one year and grants you one interview, so you can use the same application fee as long as you do so within a year. 

If some major change has taken place, such as employment or travel plans, you have to fill a new DS-160 form. Once the new form is submitted, you’ll get a new CEAC (Consular Electronic Application Center) barcode. If there are no major changes, use the old CEAC barcode for your new visa interview appointment. 

We hope these detailed steps will help you go through the H-1B visa interview process with greater ease! However, we realize that the process can seem challenging. If you require assistance in looking for a job that sponsors H-1B visas or want to be the sort of candidate that rocks interviews, contact HiCounselor and one of our experts will gladly help you out! We’ve also got a very handy, free tool for those looking to browse companies that help with the H-1B visa, so go ahead and try that out here. Goodluck!