Questions and tips for the H-1B visa interview

Updated on October 17, 2023
At a Glance: To obtain an H1B visa, an employer must initiate the process. They need to obtain a Labor Condition Application form, file an I-129 petition with USCIS, and if approved, you can obtain the visa. There are two ways to obtain the visa: through a change of status if already in the US or through consular processing if outside the US. Change of status is often preferred as it is automatic and avoids additional processing. Required documents include a valid passport, DS-160 receipt, appointment letter, approval forms, visa fee receipt, photos, employment letter, resume, and educational documents. Mistakes to avoid during the interview include incomplete documentation, being unprepared, and not telling the truth. Sample interview questions cover the employer, education, and intentions.

Have you also dreamt of moving to the US on an H1B visa to earn more or for a better lifestyle? We feel you, but the entire screening process can be a bit overwhelming.

The process is all the more extensive for people who either chose to or are mandatorily required to go through consular processing. This is because such a route requires you to face a one-to-one H1B visa interview with the immigration offer which can be a bit intimidating.

But, we have got your back. Prepare well before appearing and we’re sure, you would be able to go through it.

Check out our video guide “Top 10 Common Mistakes to Avoid US Visa Rejection” or read on to learn more!

The H1B Process

If you are a beginner and are not sure of what all it involves in order to get an H1B visa, let’s start from scratch and see how it works:

  • To begin with, you are first required to find a US employer who is ready to employ you in their organization. This is because the entire process of an H1B visa is supposed to be initiated by your employer
  • Next, your employer would need to procure a Labour Condition Application form from the Department of Labour
  • Next, your employer would need to file an I-129 petition with the USCIS if you or your employer are subjected to the annual cap
  • If your petition gets approved, then you have two ways through which you can obtain the visa:
  • If you are already in BS under a different nonimmigrant status, you can choose to wait for your employment to start from October 1st. This will automatically convert your status to H1B visa.
  • If you are not in the US, you can get an H1B visa by visiting the US Embassy or Consulate and getting the H1B visa stamp.

Which is Better: H1B Consular Processing or Change of Status?

Well, this actually depends on your actual circumstances. If you are not in the US, you are left with no choice but to go for consular processing.

Ideally, a change of status is far better than going through consular processing. Here are a few pros of change of status:

  • Change of status is an automatic process once you begin your employment in the US
  • Consular processing is a lengthy process and also requires you to face an H1B visa interview
  • You can face complete visa refusal (221g) in consular processing regardless of whether your petition is approved or not

You might choose to enter the US under a different visa status such as J-1 or B-2 and then get the change of status done. However, it is important to mention here that B-2 status allows you to stay just for 6 months within the US.

Documents Required During an H1B Visa

In order to ensure the smooth processing of an H1B visa, here is a list of documents that you are required to present before the consulate:

  • A valid passport that is not going to expire until your visa validation period along with other expired passports that you might have
  • A receipt of the DS-160 online form
  • A letter confirming your interview appointment with the consulate
  • I-129 and I-797 approval forms as well as their copy
  • Visa fee receipt
  • Passport-sized photo
  • Degree and other expired certificates
  • Letter of employment from your employer
  • Your resume

Mistakes to Avoid During an H1B Visa Interview

As with any interview process, there are mistakes you can avoid making to ensure you have the best interview experience possible. Read below to learn more!

Incomplete documentation

Consulates are very strict and want all the required documents in order to confirm your identity and your reason for the visit to the US.

In case you fail to provide any documents, your interview might get rescheduled wherein you are expected to present the full documents again. Additionally, the authorities can even deny your request of getting an H1B visa citing the lack of documentation.

Not prepared for the interview

In addition to providing the required documents, it is also necessary that you go well prepared for the interview as you are being judged by the authorities there.

First and foremost, you should be able to speak English, and while you speak, please speak clearly.

Second, speak slowly and do not speak too fast as that would indicate your nervousness and might even signal that you are hiding something. If the authorities feel or sense something fishy, they might even cancel your visa process.

Third, speak only as much as is required. Do not provide additional info if it is not asked by the interviewer.

Fourth, under no event, argue with the US embassy official or you might end up landing in troubled waters.

Not telling the truth

It is highly recommended to be mindful of what you say during the interview and never attempt to lie during the process. This is because US embassy officials are well-trained and are on the alert to recognize any terrorists or suspicious identities and prevent them from entering the US.

It is highly recommended to practice and prepare well for the interview well in time.

Sample Interview Questions

It is easy to get confused when it comes to preparing for the H1B visa interview. You might not know what you should prepare for.

Well, here are a few questions you can start your preparation with:

About your US employer

  • What kind of business is your sponsoring employer involved in?
  • What tasks and duties are you expected to perform by your employer?
  • What skills do you possess that make you the right fit for the sponsoring employer?
  • What is the offered salary from your employer?
  • What is the sponsoring employer’s business all about and when was the company founded?
  • Who is the CEO of the concerned company?
  • How many employees work for your sponsored employer?
  • How did you get in touch with the sponsored employer?
  • Where is your company located?

About your education

  • Have you completed your studies?
  • From where did you get your degree?
  • What is your highest qualification?
  • Do you have any experience in the concerned field?

About your intentions

  • Why did you choose to work in the US?
  • Did you ever move to another country apart from your home country?
  • Do any of your family members already reside in the US?
  • When would you return to your home country?

Read More

Final Thoughts

We hope that this article would have helped you in the process of getting an H1B visa. Do not forget to share your success stories with us in the comments below!

H1B Interview FAQ

What is the H1B interview?

The H1B interview is an interview conducted by a consular officer at a U.S. embassy or consulate. It is a part of the process for obtaining an H1B visa, which allows foreign workers to temporarily work in the United States in specialized occupations.

What documents should I bring to the H1B interview?

It’s important to bring the necessary documents to the H1B interview. Some commonly required documents include your passport, appointment confirmation, Form I-797 (Notice of Approval), the original Labor Condition Application (LCA), educational degrees and transcripts, resume, employment offer letter, and any relevant work experience letters. It’s advisable to review the specific requirements provided by the embassy or consulate where your interview will take place.

What kind of questions can I expect during the H1B interview?

The consular officer may ask various questions to determine your eligibility for the H1B visa. These questions typically focus on your qualifications, job offer, employer, job responsibilities, educational background, and intent to return to your home country after the H1B visa period expires. Be prepared to explain your job role, the company you’ll be working for, your qualifications, and the relevance of your educational background to the job.

How should I prepare for the H1B interview?

Preparation is crucial for a successful H1B interview. Some tips for preparation include reviewing your H1B petition and supporting documents, practicing interview questions, researching the company and job position, familiarizing yourself with U.S. immigration regulations, ensuring you can explain the technical aspects of your work, and dressing professionally for the interview.

What are some common reasons for H1B visa denials?

H1B visa denials can occur for various reasons. Some common reasons include lack of proper documentation, insufficient evidence of specialized occupation, failure to establish the employer-employee relationship, inability to prove the qualifications required for the job, doubts about the employer’s credibility, or concerns about the intent to return to the home country. It’s essential to address any potential concerns and provide complete and accurate information during the interview.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.