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I'm in the process of applying for an H1B visa and I already have a company willing to sponsor me, but the instructions state that the application should be received in USCIS after the 1st of April, and if possible right that day (since the quota is filled very quickly according to previous years).

For the H1B, I also need to fill a DS-160 and schedule an interview at the consulate. The results of that interview take around a week or 10 days, and that leaves me with no time to do it before the 1st of April (I have to travel to get to the nearest consulate). I can't really find this googling but does the interview need to be done before the 1st of April or is it done afterwards? In the required 1st of April paperwork, USCIS doesn't mention the interview at all, so I'm guessing the interview is the last step of the process, done after the visa pre-approval roughly in October?

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Short answer: You don't bother about DS-160 and the interview now.

Here's the process:

Before April 1st:

LCA needs to be approved Create your H1b application, ensure all supporting docs are handy

On April 1st:

Make sure your application is delivered to USCIS on this day. Its not compulsory to do this. Unless USCIS receives more than 65000 applications on that day. Thats why its safest to have it delivered on April 1st

Once your H1b is approved (can take a few weeks to a few months unless you go for expedited processing), you'll get a Notice of Approval.

Applying for US Visa

  1. After receiving this notice and before entering US you pay the US Visa fees.
  2. use that receipt number to fill up the DS-160 form.
  3. submit it.
  4. fix an appointment with your US consulate.
  5. get the visa stamped (if approved).

If you are not aware of this whole process very well, its better to go through a good immigration attorney (its worth the money because it saves you a lot of hassles in terms of documentation and effort)

Another note about H1 application

There are two types of H1b applications: 1) for those who are already in US 2) for those who are outside US

If this is your first H1b application, its suggested (usually by the attorneys) to not change your current residency/location after you apply for H1b. (if you are in US when you apply, don't travel outside US and vice versa).

Disclaimer: This is not legal advise. Do check with an immigration attorney to get the best legal advice.

  • 1
    I have updated the answer to explain the process a little further – Nitin Alabur Mar 19 '14 at 15:08
  • Worth mentioning that the applying for visa part is not time critical, i.e. there is no deadline (other than you'd have to do it before your planned start). Also that is the point when you'd apply for H4 visa for your family. – vartec Mar 20 '14 at 10:48
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    Small clarification regarding the April 1st filing date: the first 5 business days in April are treated as day one. So as long as the application is received by USCIS in those 5 days are treated equally and are considered as filed on April 1st. – Philippe Leybaert May 15 '14 at 20:44
  • Thanks for the update Phiippe. I think this is an exception uscis made this year (in cases where it was oversubscribed). (I may be wrong) – Nitin Alabur May 15 '14 at 21:02

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