Going for H1B Visa Stamping? Be Prepared To Stay Back For A While
Its no longer a hearsay or a rumor that some Professionals on H1B had trouble getting Visa stampings in their home countries. When I first shared a similar story with friends and colleagues almost a couple of months ago, most of them didn’t believe and suspected that there must be something not appropriate with that professional, so encountered issues with Visa stamping. Listen to this NPR’s Market Place story that reports that lots of H1B professionals that left for India recently had trouble coming back.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week. She said her agency is stepping up checks on the H-1B visa program. Those are the visas that let highly skilled foreign professionals work in the U.S. when no qualified American can be found.
Professionals from India -- often tech workers -- have generally taken a big chunk of those visas. But a lot of them are now finding it harder to get them renewed. So they're stuck in their home country.
Source: Market Place
It was reported in that story that Homeland Security has stepped up security checks on the H1B visa program and your Visa renewal may take much longer time than it normally do. I would also assume, the current economic conditions have some say in those decisions as well. With the growing unemployment in almost all sectors, it would be difficult for most employers to justify continue hiring a H1B. So if you are leaving for your home country that need to have Visa renewed, be prepared to wait for a long time.
Most important things to take care of are your current job with your employer and any payments that must be made. Discuss with your employer the possibility of delays and try to setup your laptop such that you can work from India if the need arises. That will ensure you get at least your regular paychecks and keep your cash flow for payments. If it is not possible, make sure to have alternate arrangements for any regular payments. Leave enough reserve in your bank to handle any contingencies or have your friends take care for some.
Also, take all the information required to make any adjustments to all your Loans, Credit Card payments, Apartment leases etc. so that if the need arises you can contact right from India itself and negotiate better terms. Many times, your friends may not be able to discuss even though they may have all the information.