Applying for an H-1B Visa

Information and Advice 

  • An entry visa is a sticker placed in your passport, which you obtain from a U.S. consulate outside the United States. Visa renewals are not possible inside the United States.
  • Canadian citizens are exempt from the entry visa requirement.
  • You should bring all documents required for entry to the U.S. to your visa appointment.
  • Most U.S. consulates have websites with information about local visa application practices. Application forms are available on the Visa Application Forms site. Check visa wait times on the Department of State website.
  • Applicants will need to pay a visa application fee. Some countries also require applicants to pay a reciprocity fee.
  • Apply for the visa in your home country whenever possible. Some embassies/consulates accept applications from "Third Country Nationals," but it is possible you might encounter additional delays when applying outside of your country of citizenship.
  • Schedule your visa appointment for as soon as possible after you arrive in the country where you will be applying. This will minimize the chance of delays in returning to the U.S., if the visa process takes longer than expected.
  • Visas, Security Clearance, and Security Advisory Opinions – In the post-9/11 world, security is a primary concern of U.S. consular officers. In their view, your timely return to work is secondary. Consulates may delay issuance of your visa for security reasons; see more information on preparing for a possible background security check.

Automatic Visa Revalidation for Travel to Canada and Mexico

U.S. immigration regulations allow nonimmigrants to re-enter the United States from Canada and Mexico with an expired visa under the following conditions:

  • Your stay in Canada or Mexico is less than 30 days.
  • You are not a citizen of Iran, Sudan, or Syria.
  • You do NOT apply for a new entry visa at a U.S. consulate during your stay
  • You have all of the documents required for entry to the U.S. (excluding the entry visa.)
  • You have an unexpired Form I-94 (i.e. paper I-94 card, or printed copy of electronic I-94)
  • You have maintained and intend to resume nonimmigrant status.
  • This benefit also applies to nonimmigrants who have changed status in the United States, whose visa is still in the category in which they had entered the United States. In that case, the visa is considered "converted" to the proper visa category as well as "extended" to allow re-entry.
  • If you have ever had a visa canceled, you are not eligible for Automatic Visa Revalidation.
  • If you are not eligible for or choose not to use Automatic Visa Revalidation, see more information about applying for visas in Canada or Mexico.
Last updated: January 10, 2024