How best to obtain an H-1B visa to work as an intern in the US if I’m already in the states?

I’m French and am in the US for a language program for the next 3 months. I don’t have a visa because I’m taking less that 16 hours of English classes. I’m searching for a french-related internship in my area. I know I’m going to ask for a H-1B visa to work as an intern. Can I fill the forms here in the US and ask for a H-1B visa or do I have to go back to my native country then come back here? As a foreigner, can I go to the American embassy and fill the forms without leaving the country then coming back to work?

Asked on October 13, 2011 under Immigration Law, New York


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You cannot self-petition for a H-1B visa.  YOu have to have your employer petition you for a H-1B visa, assuming the job you are offered qualifies as a specialty occupation for which H-1B is available AND you have at least a bachelor's degree or its equivalent in an area of relevant study to the job offered to you.  Once the H-1B visa petition is approved, then you can take the approval to the US Embassy in France and apply for a H-1B visa on the basis of the approved petition.  If you are in valid status in the US at the time the H-1B visa petition is approved and it was filed as a change of status, you can just start working for the employer and your status is automatically changed from F-1 to H-1B.  You cannot go to an American embassy in the US to fill out forms since there are obviously no American embassies in the US.  An embassy is a diplomatic mission from one state, present in another state, to represent the sending state in the receiving state.

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