Frequently Asked Questions - Visa

Administrative Processing
What is Administrative Processing?

Some visa applications require further administrative processing, which takes additional time after the visa applicant's interview by a Consular Officer. Applicants are advised of this requirement when they apply.

Interview Protocol
May a third party (spouse, sponsor, etc.) accompany an applicant to an interview for a Nonimmigrant or Immigrant Visa?

The State Department says that on the Immigrant Visa side, the petitioner may accompany the beneficiary if the petitioner is in the Consulate city at the time of the interview.  The interviewing officer will speak to the petitioner only if he/she determines it is

Request Number in the visa appointment site - Explanation from State Department
When using the new visa appointment site, what should my client list in the mandatory field that asks for the "Request Number"?

When a visa applicant sets up a user account in the appointment system, an 8-digit identifying number is assigned to the applicant. When logged into the appointment system, this "Request Number" appears in white against a red background in the upper right hand corner of the screen in parentheses after the applicant's e-mail address:

AOS applicants applying for H-1 visa
My spouse and me are currently working on H1 and we do have our EAD and AP even though we are not using it. We are planning on a trip to India in the month of December. Both of our H1 visa's on passport have expired. We plan on using AP when coming back to US to avoid the hassle of getting our passports stamped. We plan on remaining on H1 even though we use AP to get back. We do plan on renewing our AP and EAD when they expire. What I want to know is… is there any advantage of having visa stamped in your passport as to using AP if you plan on remaining on H1? One that I know is cities like London require you to get a transit visa if your visa has expired when traveling to India.

We would highly recommend not applying for an H visa if it can be avoided. In the past few weeks, I have provided consultations to various employers on H-1 visa refusals. The refusals were ridiculous, illegal and would be overturned if there were an adequate mechanism for reversal. So, I see no point in applying for an H-1 visa. Even if you enter on AP and continue working for the original H-1 employer, you ARE considered to still be on H-1. All other matters are more or less ancillary.

H-1 visa denial and investigation
1. I had filed for H1B visa last year but the VISA consulate in Delhi denied it as they wanted Tax returns of the Client company and other details which my H1B sponsor company was not willing to share. I was really frustrated with VO at embassy. I then applied to embassy to withdrawn my H1B visa application. I got a confirmation that it has been withdrawn. Now today after so many days when I checked my H1B status on USCIS, it said " This case has been received from the State Department with a request we review it." Please let me know what does it mean and does it mean something serious to take care of. 2. Updated FAQ - What are the implications of H1B Visa revocation for future H1b application

1. This means that the consulate sent the case back to USCIS for review, revocation (and may be investigation of the employer). Usually, you should not have any issue with it. But from what I recall, if the case is revoked, you will be subject to the H-1 quota in future.

2. I do not see any implications for the individual unless the revocation was based upon some problem with the individual's qualifications.

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence are three VERY important concepts in US immigration laws with far reaching implications. The nuances in these concepts are so intricate that they can trip up even my fellow-lawyers. I see issues in this all the time.

Here is a brief primier to enable you to understand the basics. This is by no means an exhaustive analysis.


H-1 holder aplying for H-4 visa
My wife has been in US for 6 months on H1 and is going back to India. In india if she applies for H4 , will it be necessary to carry any Salary Slips generated during her stay in US on H1? Is there a possibility that the consulate might demand for her W2 and salary slips before stamping her H4 visa?

The cardinal rule in visas is that consulates can ask for pretty much anything. If they do ask for proof of H-1 employment or pay stubs and you do not have it, the H-4 still cannot be denied. The fact that one has been out of status is no bar to the grant of an H-4 visa.

When is an H visa stamping required?

1. My story begins like this: I was working for company A, got stamping in May2007(in canada). Came back to US, changed to company B. Got laid off on Feb 27th, 09. In order to have a valid status I got married on Feb 15th and got my H4 legally on March 20th, 09. Two weeks back a miracle happened, got a job through company C and applied for PP H1b, received it last Thursday. Now, I am planning to go to India for a week in June, 09. Tough having a valid H1b stamping prior to the H4-H1, do I still need another H1b stamping?

PS: I do not have H4 stamping.

Consequences of not using an H-1 visa
I really appreciate ur efforts here.I had one question to ask u if u can answer humbly.I am a doctor from india and i had got a residency in internal medicine last year.I got my H1b visa stamped but coulnt go to usa coz of some reasons.So the hospital got my H1B visa legally cancelled.This year again i have got residency in another hospital and they r ready to sponsor my H1b visa.I wanted to ask u that will there be any problem from USCIS in processing my petition this time as my visa got cancelled last year.As i have not told this hospital about my visa cancellation last year will that be a problem.Will my petiton be processed in a routine way this time too by uscis.

It looks like your visa was not canceled, you just did not use it. Note two things. First, non-use of an earlier issued visa should not create any problems in the future. But second and much more important, you HAVE to tell the hospital that you had an H-1 earlier. As far as I know, there is a question on the H-1 forms that specifically asks that question. Not answering the questions on the forms truthfully can get you into trouble. Check the forms, if there is no question that asks about any earlier H-1, you are fine.

L-2 to L-1 COS or Visa?
Hi…i have a question…i came to US on my L2 visa and am here for 1 month.meanwhile my company has initiated for my L1b visa in my question is… 1. Should i have to travel back to my native for Visa stamping or i can apply for COS from L2 to L1B in US itself? 2.Since i already own L2 visa is there any chance that my L1B is rejected?i have been working in the company for 1yr and 2 months only now. case if my L1b is rejected is there will be any impact on my already approved L2 visa?can i come back to US again using L2 visa?

You can apply for COS. Even if L-1 is rejected, you can still maintain your L-2. In case of a visa rejection, you should be able to come back on L-2 visa or reapply for L-2 visa on the spot.

Using B visa with F-1
I have a tourist visa to the US which expires in 2009. However, back in 2004, i was able to obtain a F-1 visa for MBA studies. It expired in 2006 and my stay was extended through practical training. I have all necessary documents supporting that. My question is, will I still be able to use my tourist visa until the March 2009 expiration?

My assumption is that you are still on F-1 and in USA. If this is correct, you cannot use your B visa within USA.

While in USA, your stay and status is controlled exclusively by your I-94.

You can, however, try to reenter USA on B visa but after having stayed here for so long, a reentry is likely to be denied.

If, you are outside USA and have been out for a while (like a year or more), I think you can still use that B visa and try to enter USA.

Filling DS 156

I am trying to take an appointment for my wife to renew her H-4 visa since the dates are available right now. She came here on H4, switched in between to F-1 (change of status) but did not leave US, then got the new approval for change of status to H4 (after we filed for green card) and wants to get it stamped now. There is a bit of confusion on the DS-156 form that I have to fill out.

Visas for same-sex partners from countries where such marriage is not allowed
My partner is a teacher and was granted a J-1 visa on September 25, 2019. We've been together under one roof for 5 years and undergone the rite of Holy Union since same-sex marriage is not honored in the Philippines. I would like to seek advice on the best possible way on how to go to the US. Should I still push through with the J-2 visa application or as a tourist or visitor?
Legal Stay to the Parent of US Citizen Child With Disability
My spouse and me are staying in USA since last 10 years on work visa H-1B. We have our second daughter born in 2016 who is facing neurological disability which requires long term care and constant therapies. Current scenario is my husband's H-1B has denied and couldn't get back to USA. I am here in USA with my both kids on B2 Visa. My both kids are US Citizens. Is there any legislation which can provide legal stay to the parent of child with disability in the USA?

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Is there any law to provide legal stay to the parent of US citizen child with disability?

Video Transcript

The answer is No. You can stay on a tourist visa. There are no special visas or green card for such situations.  More...



Immigration Consequences of a Denial of Entry at the Airport
I had been travelling to the US on a tourist visa for all my life, in 2008 I had to travel out of the country and when I returned to the US, in the Minneapolis checkpoint they found a pay stub from my work which I obviously shouldn't have had since I didn't have a work permit, they took away my tourist visa and made me sign what looked like a "voluntary departure" or "refusal of entry" I really can't remember exactly the term that I signed and was returned to MX the next day. My questions are: 1. Is there a website where I can see if I was penalized? 2. Will I be able to solicit another tourist visa? 3. If the answer to the above question is yes, given the political climate, do you think it is a good idea to go through the whole process again or would it just be a waste of money? 4. My father has become a US citizen, I'm unmarried, can he request citizenship for me or residency? approximately how long is the process?
Exemption from H-1 Quota and Visa Stamping
In 2014, My wife was working with employer "A" on L2 EAD and the employer "A" filed H1B petition in April-2014. She got approval notice in May-2014 but due to some family reasons we have to go back to India and she continues working for the same employer from India since then. Her approved H1B petition with the same employer "A" is valid till Aug-2017 and H1B visa is stamped in Dec-2016 for the same employer "A". She never traveled to the USA on that H1B visa as her employer does not have any opportunity there. Since she never traveled to the USA on her H1B visa ever, does that mean she has never granted status as an H1B Non-immigrant?
Is it legal to do business in home country while working in USA on a visa?
I am a Canadian citizen currently working in the U.S. with a TN visa. I am planning to start a Canadian business part time with a partner in Canada (also a Canadian citizen). I've read that starting a U.S. business is not allowed while I'm working in the States with a TN visa, but I cannot find sufficient information online about whether I can operate a Canadian business part time while I am in the states as a Canadian citizen.
English Language Exemption for VisaScreen for Nurses
I have an inquiry about the section that says: Additionally, applicants graduating from an entry-level program accredited by the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission (NLNAC) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) are exempt from the English language proficiency-testing requirement. If this is true then the program I graduated from is CCNE accredited. Is this included in the USCIS law if yes so that I check with the CGFNS how to proceed because in the visa screen section they don't mention being graduate of an accredited school as an exempt?

For VisaScreen --

Applicants educated in specific countries where English is both the native language and the language of classroom and textbook instruction (see below) are exempt from having to take an English language proficiency examination. For you to be exempt, you must meet BOTH of the following criteria:

1. your country of entry-level education was in United Kingdom (England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland), Australia, Canada (except for Quebec), New Zealand, Ireland or the United States, and

Visa Is In An Expired Passport
If my visa is in an expired passport, what should I do?

If your Visa is in a passport that has expired or will expire within 6 months of the end of your U.S. visit, you will need to get a new passport. However, you do not need to apply for a new visa. Just bring both your NEW and  passport with the valid visa to present to the CBP Officer when you arrive in the U.S. 

*Note:  Your ESTA is not a U.S. Visa.  If you obtain a new passport, you are required to apply for a brand new ESTA.  To re-apply visit

Birth certificate late registration and secondary evidence
I have a delayed birth registration certificate issued by municipal authority with place of birth: hospital name, city. My passport just got the city name as place of birth. Do I need to submit secondary evidence when I file I-485 because of delayed registration?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

In which country must I apply for a US visa?
My name is Harendra having H-1B and an Indian national , I want to file H-4 for my wife who is a Srilankan national with Srilankan passport , living in India legally with my parents after marriage for the past three months. Can she apply her H-4 from India or she needs to go back to her native country to apply ? Is there any rule for spouse applying visa from primary applicant's country of residence?

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

FAQ Transcript:

H-1B Visa stamping in general and in third countries like Canada
My H1B petition got approved through my existing employer and became effective 10/01/14 (I was on F1 OPT before). Where am I eligible to go to for doing first time H1B stamping, other than my home country (Russia) – can it be done in Canada, Mexico, or other countries? I have Masters from an American university, and over a year of working experience in the US. Also I’ve heard that starting June Canada has suspended doing first time H1B stamping, can you please provide any clarification, and also could you please advise what all options are available to me?
Visa Status (Void when out of status)
How do I know if my visa is voided or not? I applied for a change of status while in the USA and got a denial, so I left the country 11 days after, with my I-94 already expired. Some people say my visa is voided, but where can I check this?

That is covered by section 222(g) of INA. See this link: 

Visa Expiration Date
What the Visa Expiration Date Means
The visa expiration date is shown on the visa along with the visa issuance date. The time between visa issuance and expiration date is called your visa validity. The visa validity is the length of time you are permitted to travel to a port-of-entry in the United States.
Depending on your nationality, visas can be issued from a single entry (application) up to multiple/unlimited entries.