A recently read a piece of news, published in The Times of India in February 2018, the headline of which stated, “US tightens H-1B visa rules, Indians to be hit.” This, unfortunately, has been something the Trump administration has been threatening ever since it took office but I know that it will come as very bad news for many Indians looking for work in the United States.
The H1-B visa is very sought after by Indian professionals, with the US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) stating that a whopping 300,902 such visas had been awarded to Indians in 2016 alone. In fact the USCIS statistics show that India has been at the #1 position in terms of the number of H1-B visas awarded by the US to any country since 2007!
However, under the Trump administration, it has just become much more difficult for companies and individuals to get H-1B work visas. So, now you need to be even more well-prepared when you not only go for the visa interview but also at the port of entry, where you will need to go through the immigration check point and answer certain questions posed by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or immigration officer. This is a crucial stage, since any unsatisfactory answer get them to put you on a return flight to your home country!
Here are some of the questions that immigration officers ask at port of entry.
What do you work as?
Although IT-related jobs consistently account for a large share of the H-1B visa petitions, there are many other professionals, such as architects, biologists, chemists, civil engineers and graphic designers, etc., who seek H-1B visas. Be confident and tell them about your profession.
What company do you work for?
You need to answer this question extra carefully. The officers have immediate access to information that helps them verify the data furnished by you. Any false information will immediately go against you and will be considered illegal.
How long have you been working with this company?
There are many petitioners who have been transferred to the US from their home country by the company they are currently working for. Give them the number of years you have been associated with the company. If it is a new job, tell them that.
What made you stay in this job for so long?
This is a question that can be asked to individuals whose answer to the above question is 3 years or more. You can support your answer with the plus points about your company and employer.
Explain what you will do in your job in the US
According to the policy memorandum issued by the USCIS, the traveler can be asked for detailed documentation in support of the facts they present. They can even confirm from the firm in the US, if they have specific assignments in a specialty occupation for the H-1B beneficiary for the entire time the visa has been applied. Don’t overdo the explanations. But don’t hesitate to use proper technical jargon either to describe the nature of your job.
The only key to passing the port of entry questionnaire round is to be extremely confident and honest while you answer the questions.
Keep in mind that officers are trained to detect fraud and doesn’t even need to ask questions. Just be genuine and answer for only what is asked.
All the best!