Information for Faculty and Staff

Applying for the H-1B Visa

Application Process

Below is a general breakdown on how to apply for an H-1B visa abroad.

Step 1 – Verification of Employment

Current employees should obtain a verification of employment letter with the Office of Human Resources. New employees entering the U.S. can should use the official offer of employment letter issued by the Office of Human Resources. Please note that only the Office of Human Resources can issue verification of employment/offer letters.

Stage 2 – Visa Application

The Form DS-160 is an online application to apply for a Nonimmigrant visa (i.e. H-1B Visa). In addition, you will schedule an appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy/Consulate to interview with a Consular Officer. Please review the Resources page for more information on visa appointment wait times and U.S. Embassy/Consulate locations.

Stage 3 – Visa Interview

It is recommended that you bring the following documents with you when you attend your appointment.

  • Confirmation page of the DS-160.
  • The original I-797 Approval Notice.
  • A complete copy of the H-1B petition that was filed on your behalf.
  • Verification of Employment letter (Offer Letter for new employees)
  • 3 most recent pay stubs (current employees)
  • Passport. Passports should hold at least 6 months of validity before applying for a visa.
  • Any previous passports with U.S. visas.

Stage 4 – Obtain visa

If all goes well the U.S. Embassy/Consulate will take your passport and issue a new H-1B visa stamp.  Review the visa stamp for any errors before leaving the facility. After you receive the visa stamp you can proceed with travel arrangements to the U.S.

Stage 5 – Entry into the U.S.

Upon entry into the U.S. you will meet with a Customs and Border Protection Agent who will review your documentation and create the electronic Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. The Form I-94 record will reflect the length of stay you are eligible to remain in the United States under. Please provide Visa and Immigration Services with a copy of the Form I-94 (I-94 look up located on Resources Page) and visa stamp.

H-4 Visa Dependents


The spouse and minor children (21 years or younger) of an H-1B employee are eligible to apply for an H-4 visa to enter the United States as dependents.

Application Process

Howard University does not provide legal services for H-1B family members. The H-1B employee is responsible for securing legal representation in securing H-4 status for their dependents. The H-1B employee is responsible for ensuring that H-4 dependents properly comply with the requirements of their status. Visa & Immigration Services will allow the Form I-539 (H-4 Application) to be filed concurrently with the Form I-129 (H-1B Petition), but Visa & Immigration Services will not act as representation or incur any legal fees associated with the filing.

Key Information

Please note the following information below:

  • Duration and legality of H-4 status is contingent upon the H-1B employee’s ability to properly maintain status. Generally, H-4 length of stay in the U.S. will coincide with the duration that the H-1B employee was granted. If the H-1B employee has an extension of status, the H-4 dependent will also need to file for an extension. In addition, if the H-1B employee adjusts status to another category, the dependent H-4 status will no longer be valid.
  • There are no restrictions relating to study in the U.S. for H-4 dependents. H-4 dependents are eligible to enroll in both part-time and/or full-time education programs.
  • H-4 dependents are not eligible to work in the U.S. unless they meet one (1) of the following criteria:
    • The H-1B spouse is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker.
    • The H-1B spouse has been granted extended status beyond the 6-year limit.