As per USTravelDocs.com you cannot apply for the F-1 Visa 120 days before the expected starting date on the I-20.

Is there some similar condition for the H1B Visa or the B1/B2 Visa as well?


For the H1B visa, from USTravelDocs:

You can apply for an H1B visa up to 90 days before the petition start date listed on the form I-797, Notice of Action. However, you cannot enter the US earlier than 10 days prior to the start date listed on the I-797 unless you are already working on an H1B visa for the same petitioner.

For the B1/B2, there's no real restriction as far as I can find, the only recommendation is that you apply no later than 60 days before the date of travel to ensure that it gets processed in time. Indeed the USCIS pages on B1 visas and B2 visas mention no requirement for when you can apply.

  • As far as I understand those are both restrictions on how late I can apply, not how early I can apply right? May 23 '14 at 1:30
  • Did you check the link? It's specifically under the heading "How early can I apply". For the second one, as I said, there's no limit mentioned anywhere on how early, but clarified that there is a limit on how late.
    – Mark Mayo
    May 23 '14 at 1:32
  • Maybe I've been constantly failing at English when reading that sentence earlier :/ I checked the link earlier also, what I understood was that I couldn't apply for an H1B any later that T-90 days from my petition start date. So what it actually means is that I can start applying T-90 days before my actual petition start date? Giving me effectively 90 days to apply/wait? May 23 '14 at 1:35
  • Mark, check this link - immihelp.com/visas/h1b/visa-stamping-faq.html. This seems to disagree with the language in the above link. :( May 23 '14 at 1:40
  • What part? The bit I see says "You can apply at any time up to 90 days in advance of the employment start date, as shown on the I-797 notice. However, you can only enter the U.S. 10 days in advance of the employment start date, unless you are already working on an H1B visa and have applied for restamping." which would match what it says in the above link...
    – Mark Mayo
    May 23 '14 at 1:47

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