Most temporary worker categories require the prospective employer or agent to file a petition, which must be approved by the USCIS before one can apply for a work visa. When the petition is approved, your employer will receive the Form I-797. You can apply for visa up to 90 days before the employment start date noted on this form
The US embassy in India on Wednesday clarified that those who have landed a job offer in America will be allowed to apply for a visa up to three months in advance. "Applying for your work #USvisa? You can apply up to 90 days before the employment start date noted on your I-797," the embassy tweeted on Wednesday.
The I-797 form is a document the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses to communicate with applicants/petitioners or convey an immigration benefit. As per the US immigration law, non-immigrants who want to work in the country will need a specific visa based on the type of work they will be doing. For instance, the H1B visa is a popular non-immigrant work visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations.
Most temporary worker categories require the prospective employer or agent to file a petition, which must be approved by the USCIS before one can apply for a work visa. "The petition, Form I-129, must be approved before you can apply for a work visa at the Embassy or Consulate. When your petition is approved, your employer or agent will receive a Notice of Action, Form I-797, which serves as your petition's approval notification," the US Mission in India says on its website.
The consular officer then verifies your petition approval through the Department of State's Petition Information Management Service (PIMS) during your visa interview. Applicants need to bring along their I-129 petition receipt number along with a copy of their Form I-797 to the interview in order to verify the petition's approval. "Please note that approval of a petition does not guarantee issuance of a visa if you are found to be ineligible for a visa under U.S. immigration law," the website stated.
Another important point to keep in mind is that the earliest visa holders can apply for entry into the US is 10 days prior to the beginning of the approved status period noted on the I-797.