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H and L Visa Application Instructions
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Following are general instructions about applying for an H or L visa at a U.S. consulate. We recommend that you directly contact the U.S. consulate at which you will apply for the visa to inquire about local procedures (e.g., hours of operation, fees, special requirements).


Original approval notice (Form I-797) or, in some cases, the left half of the bottom portion of the original approval notice. Note: you need not have the original if the notice indicates that the INS sent a cable to the consulate and you call the consulate to confirm receipt of the cable. If a cable has not been received, you should present the original, or appropriate portion of it, to the consulate. Once the visa is issued, the original should be returned to you.

Nonimmigrant visa application (Form DS-156), made available at the consulate. You should complete all information accurately prior to submission to the consulate.

A new form DS-157, Supplemental Nonimmigrant Visa Application, is now required of all male nonimmigrant visa applicants between the ages of 16 and 45, regardless of nationality and regardless of where they apply for a visa.

The only exceptions are as follows: Applicants for A-1, A-2, G-1, G-2, G-3, G-4, NATO-1, NATO-2, NATO-3, NATO-4, NATO-5, NATO-6 and TECRO E-1 visas are not required to submit a DS-157. Also, all applicants for crew-list visas are exempt from the DS-157 requirement. Please Note: This form IS required for all male A-3, G-5, and NATO-7 applicants between the ages of 16 and 45, as well as for all male C (C-1, C-2 and C-3) and D applicants between the ages of 16 and 45.

At the visa interview, you may be questioned about your job duties in the United States as well as your experience and education. You should review and have with you a copy of your employer's petition on your behalf (includes Form I-129 with H or L Supplement, the employer's supporting letter and, for H-1B applicants, the approved Labor Condition Application). When reviewing the petition, pay particular attention to the parts relating to your prospective job duties and responsibilities in the United States.

Educational documents (accompanied by translation, if not in English). Because all H-1B and some L-1 job duties require certain educational qualifications, the consul may want to see copies of your transcripts and/or diplomas. In addition to photocopies, it is sometimes a good idea also to have the original documents available for consular inspection upon request.

Valid passport.

Exit permit from the local government authority, if this is required as in, for example, the People's Republic of China.

Required number of 37 mm x 37 mm color photographs (usually one per person).

Required visa fee, if any. Because the fee varies, it is best to inquire in advance by calling the consulate.

Spouses and minor children applying for H-4 or L-2 visas must each submit a separate application along with evidence of his/her relationship to the H-1B or L-1 applicant. It is a good idea to have original birth and marriage certificates (with translations, if necessary) available for consular inspection.

Please review the "Excludable Conditions List" and contact your attorney before applying for a visa if you believe any of the grounds listed may apply to you or your dependants.

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