H1B / L Visa Checklist by U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad, India14 May 2010
The U.S. Consulate at Hyderabad, India has posted a list of suggested documents for H1B and L-1 visa applicants. This list is extensive, and differs in many respects from the standard list provided by other U.S. consulates around the world. This article is intended only to advise MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers of the current expectations at the U.S. consulate in Hyderabad. It does not analyze whether these expectations are appropriate or excessive lines of inquiry in most cases. Individuals who need to apply for any visa at any U.S. consulate abroad should review instructions for the appropriate consulate in advance of applying for a visa from that particular consular post.
Background of the U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad, India
The consulate in Hyderabad became operational in December 2008 and began visa services about a year ago, on March 5, 2009. The opening of this consulate was reported to MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers in our article, Visa Appointments Available at U.S. Consulate in Hyderabad, as of March 5, 2009 (04.Mar.2009). The consulate is used by many of our readers, as it serves the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. In response to the opening of this consulate, the Murthy Law Firm’s affiliate in India, Murthy Immigration Services, Pvt. Ltd, expanded its presence into Hyderabad, as announced in our April 30, 2010 article, MISPL Announces Presence in Hyderabad, A.P., India.
H1B and L-1 Visa : Extensive Employer Documents
The current list of documents suggested for H1B and L-1 visa applicants in Hyderabad is available on the consulate’s website. The list of documents suggested is in addition to the standard passport, photo, visa application forms and petition with all supporting documentation. Not all documentation will apply to each situation.
Included in the list are:
- employment contract between the petitioning employer and the visa applicant
- the petitioning employer’s income tax returns for the last two years and financial statements
- a notarized list of all the petitioner’s employees at the listed job site with specified information about each employee
- State Unemployment Wage Reports for wages paid to employees within the state
- a letter from the client company and a copy of the contract between the petitioning company and the client
- a letter from the U.S. company job site confirming that there is a vacancy
- detailed descriptions of in-house projects
Individual or Family Documents: H1B/H-4 and L-1/L-2
The website of the U.S. consular post in Hyderabad also provides a list of documents pertaining to the individual. If applying for an H1B or L-1 visa, the consular post recommends that it will be necessary to have the documentation listed below. Family members applying for dependant H-4 or L-2 visas should be prepared with the relevant documents of the spouse or parent.
The listed documents for individuals include:
- license to practice your profession in the U.S. (if required)
- proof of applicable academic credentials
- proof of work experience related to the position
- prior passports
- proof of status extensions in the U.S.
- U.S. federal income tax returns for persons previously employed in the U.S. with W-2s
- copies of pay slips and monthly bank statements from time of employment in the U.S.
- original marriage certificate and wedding photos
Summary / Analysis
Some of the documentation listed above will be difficult to obtain and may raise legal arguments regarding the H1B or L-1 visa applicant’s need or the consular post’s legal authority to request such documents routinely. The website was not clear as to the duration of personal financial documents needed; many H1Bs have been in the United States for more than six years. It is unrealistic to retain and have the U.S. consulate review years of pay slips. This should be covered by W-2s and tax returns in most situations. Useful information from the consulates on visa processing will be reported to MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers in the future.