This section will be populated as questions are asked.
VISA APPLICATION PROCESS - FAQs
When will I know when I can travel overseas?
Once your visa has been approved then together we will be looking for travel dates.
Can I apply for a visa in a different country than my own?
Not unless you have a permanent residence in that country. If you do not, we advise that you go back to your home country and apply for a visa there.
I lost my old passport. I have already got a new one but was curious if it might cause obstruction at the interview because i dont have the old passport with my old visas? I do have an affidavit from the police station. I needed that in order to apply for a new one.
The US Consular office should have you in their records as having had the visa before. If you have a copy of your old visa, you should take it with you. Other proof that you had a visa could be copies of old paychecks, letter of employment with the US Employer(s) and so on.
I have three passports (British, German and South African), which passport is the best one to apply on? All have been renewed within the past year, so they will be valid for the duration of my time in America.
You must use the passport of the country you are in when it is time to apply for the visa. If you are in South Africa, then you should use the SA passport. You may mention to the US Consular officer that you have multiple citizenships, but your visa stamp will be affixed onto the SA passport. If you were in England or Germany, you would use the appropriate passport.
Do I need all the documents listed on your website?
Some you absolutely do. Some you may not need and the consular officer may not ask for them. But in our experience it is better to have them with you than not have them, in case you are asked to produce them.
According to the needed documents for my consulate appointment I need a copy of the H2B visa petition application, where do I get that? I have the I-797, Notice of Action.
Once the petition filed by your employer with the USCIS has been approved, you will receive copies of the approval and additional supporting documentation.
With regards to the assets do I need to include my proof of available funds? To be honest what I currently have is my visa money and the cash I set aside for the first few weeks upon arrival.
Proof of actual funds is not an indication of your ties with your home country. The employer will pay or reimburse you for the cost of visa fee and transportation and after you arrive on site you will start earning money. If you have a bank statement you may take it with you, but it will not be a document that the consular officer is likely to ask for.
Visa Application & Interview
Can I fill out the DS 160 now?
You can start filling it out, but you will not be able to finish. There is information on the form that you will not have until the USCIS approves the petition that your employer submitted on your behalf. You should not start until we give you the green light.
I am completing my visa online application. One of the questions asks if anyone has ever filed an immigrant petition on my behalf with the USA and immigration services. I'm assuming this is a yes-as PGI has done so in order to acquire my visa extentions?
The answer here is NO. Please read the question correctly - it asks about the immigrant petition that someone might have filed on your behalf. The immigrant status is defined by a green card application, for example. In your case, the H2B visa is a NON-IMMIGRANT visa. So unless someone filed a green card application for you or on your behalf, then your answer here should be NO.
Is a visa interview mandatory?
Generally yes. However, if you have been issued an H2B visa within the past 12 months, it is possible that your initial interview will be waived.
What if my interview is waived?
You will be directed to mail your documents to the consulate instead of appearing in person for the interview . Follow the step-by-step instructions provided by the US Visa Scheduling Service, gather the listed documents, and mail them in.
How will I know my visa application result if I do not have to go in person for an interview?
The US Visa Scheduling Service sends pertinent emails to the applicant at the email address provided during the scheduling process. You can also check the DS-160 status link in your US Visa Scheduling Service account.
Is it possible that I still have to go in for the interview even if initially my interview was waived?
Yes. If, upon receipt of your documents, the Consular Officer determines that they have questions, you will receive an email instructing you to appear for an interview.
Should I have a letter from my current employer to take with me at the visa interview?
Yes, you should, if you can get such a letter. Ideally, provided that your employer is intent upon this, you would want it to state that they would hire you back.
When I have to fill the visa application form there is a question about my employer. Do I have to put my current employer or the employer in the US as an employer?
Your current employer is the one you are working for now, in your home country (if you are employed).
What is the I-797 form that I keep seeing mentions of?
USCIS uses numerous types of Form I-797 to communicate with customers or convey an immigration benefit. For example, Form I-797 Notice of Action is issued when an application or petition is approved. The I-797 A is issued when an H2B extension has been approved. For more information about the I-797 form, please go here: https://www.uscis.gov/i-797-info
I have one question, I live in Scotland; also work there and rent an apartment, does that mean that I am resident there?Not quiet sure. I do hold only Latvian passport.
If you have a legal status in Scotland - that is, if you are a permanent resident in Scotland and with documents to prove it - then you can apply for the US visa in Scotland. If your status in Scotland is temporary, then you are better off applying for the visa in your home country.
My brother is currently in the US on an H2B program. Would I need a copy of his I-94 with me for my interview?
It is not a bad idea to have a copy of his I-94 which shows that he is legally in the US.
I live in Durban (South Africa). Can I have my visa interview in Johannesburg or Cape Town?
Yes, you can. You must first make sure to fill out the DS 160 form appropriately and indicate what consulate you will be going to. Then, when you set up your visa appointment, you will be able to pick a date / time at that consulate.
I have completed my visa application i am just having a problem uploading my picture. I have tried on a computer and on my phone and it won't allow me? Please let me know what I am doing wrong
Being unable to upload a photo may have to do with the fact that your application is incomplete or you made a mistake somewhere along the way. Also, the size of the photo may be too big. Photo has to be less than 240 Kb. Another possible cause is the format of the photo. Only a jpg format is accepted, so please check your photo.
I am trying to fill out the D'S 160 form. I'm wondering what the tax payer ID number is?
If you have been to the US you must have a Social Security Number, not a Taxpayer's ID number. If so, please use the Social Security Number.
My friend also has a job at Ibis. Can I indicate him/her as the travel companion on my DS 160 form?
NO. For the purpose of the H2B visa application, you are applying for the privilege of working legally in the US. Your friend has nothing to do with that. Just because he/she also received the job from the same employer, and you may be on the same flight as he/she, it doesn't mean that he/she is your companion.
What is my monthly income in the US?
First, please review your job offer letter to identify the hourly wage you were offered. Second, please do a simple math as shown below:
I see they ask for a Tax Payer's number. Do we have that or do we use only our social security number?
You do not have a Taxpayer ID number, therefore leave the field blank. And if there is a “Does not apply” box next to that field, check that box. Providing your SSN is the correct action.
When they ask how long you stayed in the US on your previous Visa, do I put the number of years? Ie. 2 and a half years? Or the amount of time you stayed on that visa before an extension if that makes sense?
We do not believe the field allows special characters (dots) therefore the easiest way to quantify the length of your stay is in months. So if you’ve spent 2.5 continuous years in the US, then you can answer 36 MONTHS.
They ask your intended date of travel to the US? And is the intended legnth of stay 7 months?
Your intended date of travel should coincide with the start date as shown on the I-797 form. Your last day of work will be the end date as it is shown on the I-797 form. The intended lenght of stay is, therefore, the interval between your start date and the end date and you can quantify that in months (ex. 6.5 months, 7 months). Rounding to the nearest half should be acceptable.
When they ask the date your last visa was issued, are they refering to the visa in your passport your your last I-94?
Extension of Status is NOT the same as Visa. Therefore you should provide details about the visa placed in your passport following your successful visa interview.
Is it unfavorable to list your employer as your parent? My mother owns her own company.
Having a job (no matter who the employer is) should not be unfavorable to you. On the contrary. Consequently, if you can provide documentation verifying your current employment with the respective company, then you should list your current job truthfully.
Problems with the DS 160 employment page. On the previous job page it won't allow meto add more than two places. If I save only two places and try to continue it shuts down the site then kicks me out. I am stuck and don't know waht to do. c
You have done nothing wrong – the system is set up to only accept 2 prior jobs.
Therefore at this time you should proceed with finalizing and submitting the DS160, then paying the visa fee and scheduling your appointment.
Can I pay the visa fee to the embassy directly?
No, you cannot. Click on the link provided here to access the procedures for the country you are from.
Will the visa fee amount be reimbursed to me?
By law your employer is obligated to reimburse you for the visa fee in the first paycheck you will be issued.
I have already completed my ds160 form and I am trying to pay the MRV fee but when i log into that page it shows my old Visa information. I am not sure how I should go about paying for the new Visa? Do I have to create a new account?
If you have been issued a visa before, your old visa information will likely show. You must add yourself as a new applicant by clicking on the respective button in the upper right corner of the screen.
The visa appointment I am getting is very late. What should I do.
Please book the date you can at this time; then, make a habit of checking the website 2-3 times a day from your phone for any changes. It happens often that earlier appointment dates become available; once you see one, you can take it.
How many hours before my visa interview should I be at the consulate?
If you have an appointment with a specific time, you should only arrive at the consulate / embassy about 1 hour before.
I recieved the email about preparing for visa and just wanted to confirm that all i must do for now is gather documents and get the photos etc and not actually go ahead booking my appointment, correct?
Pease read the instructions carefully; click here for details. In order to complete Steps 4 and 5 you will need information that is petition related and which will not be available until such time that the USCIS approves the petition. Once it does, we will provide you with the pertinent information so that you can finalize your application and set up your visa appointment.
How long after my visa has been approved will I have to depart?
This will vary from employer to employer, but generally there will be little time between the time you receive your processed passport and the date you must travel to your employer. It could be as little as a few days or as much as a week.
Will our flights be paid for?
The H2B regulations do not specifically mention who buys the plane ticket. The regulations do mandate that the employer is responsible for the most reasonable and economical cost of transportation from your point of origin to the employer.
Will transport be provided from the airport to our accomodations?
Yes. PGI or the employer will arrange transportation. In situations where your flight is delayed or you arrive very late, you may be required to take a taxi or an Uber in which case the employer will reimburse you for the cost. As you prepare to travel you will receive pertinent instructions on where to go to be picked up.
Since I have been to the US before, do I use the same Social Security Number?
Yes. The social security number assigned to you is yours for life.
This would be my first time in the US; I know that, in order to receive a salary, I must have a social security number. How do I go about applying?
Upon your arrival in the US, after approximately 24 hours, you can and should apply for a social security number. You will need your passport, your valid I-94 form which attests to your legal H2B status and the one page application form.
Is there any kind of surety that we need to get signed by parents or relatives? Meaning, do we need to have someone that can provide the financial security to pay back the expenses incase we cannot complete the season?
Absolutely not. This would be agains the law and neither us, nor our clients work this way. Under the H2B regulations no one is allowed to ask for money, or financial guarantees, in exchange for offering you a job.
What does DR Attendant mean? (this only for people going to The Club at Ibis)
The DR Attendant position is the same as "server". The Club at Ibis is the only one of our clients who uses this definition, but it is the same as server.
I need to give notice to my current employer before going to the US. When should I do it?
You shoudl not give notice until you have applied for the visa and it has been issued. Then, you should immediately inform your current employer and give the proper notice.
When might I be able to apply for the visa (winter season beginning October).
Normally, we expect our clients to have secured all necessary approvals to hire you by mid-late August. As soon as that happens, we provide you with the necessary instructions to begin the visa application process.
When would I need to travel to the US?
If you prepare for the winter season which begins in October, then you would be expected to travel in the first half of October.
I live in Johannesburg but will be in Cape Town aroudn the time I am supposed to travel to the US. Can I choose to fly from Cape Town instead?
If the employer buys the ticket for you, then you will be provided a form to fill out where you will be asked to provide your name (as it appears on your passport), your date of birth, your passport number and the city / airport you wish to fly out of. The employer will use the information which you provided to then buy the ticket for you.
Passport / visa photo
I am having problems getting my photo done. Can I still fill out the visa application form (DS 160) without the photo?
Yes, you can. Please make sure that you have the photo with you at the visa interview, or else your passport cannot be processed. Without the photo you will most likely not be allowed to enter the consulate. Make sure that the photo meets the requirements listed here (https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/photos.html )
I am struggling to move on after entering the information of the visa to the photo part. The system won't let me continue.
You can submit your applications without the photo; you’ll just have to make sure you have the photo with you at the interview.
So if you are stuck on uploading the photo, go ahead and submit without and move on to the next step.