If you are outside the United States at the time your H-1B petition is approved, you will need a valid H-1B visa to be admitted to the United States in H-1B status.
Exceptions to the Visa Requirement
Although a valid passport is always required, U.S. visa policy permits citizens of certain countries to travel to the U.S. without a visa. Citizens of the following countries are not required to apply for a visa:
Bermuda, or citizens of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda
Bahamian nationals or British subjects resident in the Bahamas
British subjects resident in Cayman Islands or Turks and Caicos Islands
Citizens of the Republic of the Marshal Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia
Please note: Only citizens of these countries will not require a visa. Landed immigrants will require a visa to travel to the U.S.
When you fill out the Employee Information Form, you will indicate which consulate you will visit to apply for your H-1B visa stamp. USCIS will then notify that consulate in advance. Approval of an H-1B petition does not guarantee that you will be issued an H-1B nonimmigrant visa.
H-1B Visa Application Procedures
You should visit the website of the U.S. Consulate where you intend to apply for the H-1B visa stamp for directions on making the visa appointment and the list of required documentation. You will not be able to make this appointment until you have received the Form I-797 that USCIS issues once the petition is approved. Your department at Emory will send this document to you once it has been received.
When applying for an H-1B visa stamp, you should take the following documentation to the visa interview:
You should always consult the U.S. Consulate website or phone the consulate prior to your interview to determine if any additional documentation is needed: http://www.usembassy.gov/
Before issuing an H visa, the U.S. Consulate will verify the petition through "PIMS" (Petition Information Management Service), even if you have a paper Form I-797 approval notice. Your petition must also be approved in the “PIMS” system before the consulate can approve the H-1B visa.
All incoming scholars should be aware of the possibility for “Administrative Processing.” If you are told by the consular officer that your visa application has to undergo “Administrative Processing,” you are likely being subjected to security clearance checks. You can read more about the security clearance procedure through this link.