According to the Department of State's Foreign Affairs Manual, Consulates and embassies may issue H visas to visa applicants up to 90 days before the beginning date of employment-authorized legal status. Thus, Beneficiaries of H-1B petitions who are outside the United States may now apply for H-1B visas. In the case of cap-subject H-1B petitions, H-1B employment may begin no earlier than October 1st of the year that the petition was accepted for processing.
The U.S. Embassy in Caracas posted a notice on its website that due to the expulsion of some consular officers and delays in visa issuance for other consular officials, it does not have sufficient staff to process first-time visitor visa applications except in "emergency situations." The alert noted that applicants may apply at other posts but must still prove sufficient ties to their home country.