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Consular Process:
Applying for a nonimmigrant work visa
at a U.S. Consulate


When applying for a nonimmigrant work visa (such as H-1 , H-2A , H-3 or L-1) at a U.S. consulate abroad, keep the following in mind:

Approval Notice.

The single most important part of your application is the original approval notice issued by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. After receiving your visa, be sure that the consular officer gives the original notice back to you. The approval notice should be returned to your employer immediately upon entry to the U.S.

Original Documents.

In addition to the "consular kit" which your immigration attorney will have provided to facilitate your application, you should bring with you to the consulate your original credentials (diplomas, certificates, transcripts, etc.) A consular officer may want to see them, or he/she may not.


It is advisable to have a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond the expiration of the visa. Upon entering the U.S., you will only be admitted for the time/length of your visa or the time your passport is valid, whichever is shorter. Also, you are required to keep your passport valid for six months beyond the duration of your visa throughout your stay in the U.S.

Processing Time.

The processing time for a visa may vary dependent upon where the application is filed. Be advised that you may be required to return to the consulate a day or two later to retrieve your passport with the visa or depending on where you live you may have to send your application and documents by mail or put them into a drop-box.


There is no fixed fee schedule common to all U.S. consulates around the world. Some consulates do not charge any fee at all. However, you should be prepared to pay a fee of US$50 to US$200 (which you may pay with U.S. or local currency.)


You will need to submit a recent passport-type photograph. It must be 1½ inches square (37 X 37 mm) with your usual signature on the reverse.


If you have a spouse and/or child(ren) applying for derivative visas, you must present to the consulate proof of your relationship (marriage certificate and/or birth certificate.) Be sure to have certified copies of these documents with you.

Consular Hours.

Before going to the consulate, please remember to check its business hours. Many consulates only accept applications in the mornings.

List of US EMBASSIES AND CONSULATES from Bureau of Consular Affairs.

Travel Plans.

Lastly, keep in mind that no firm travel plans to the U.S. should be made until you have obtained your visa. Keep travel plans flexible to avoid difficulties!

RO 9/95

TM 12/98

KN 12/99

NZ/KC 8/01

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Immigration - Nationality - Consular Process
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Fax: 1-503-223-3886 - Voice: 1-503-221-1600

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