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Maintaining H-1B Status & Compliance

jon-velie
04th Jan 2023

Maintaining H-1B status and staying in compliance is critical for job continuation. Here are the six aspects of H-1B maintenance.

1. Valid Immigration Documents

  • Keep your passport valid for at least six months into the future.
  • Make sure your H-1B status expiration date is always in the future by checking your I-94 admissions record or I-797 approval notice.

Tip: If you take a trip overseas, be sure to check your I-94 record upon return. H-1B expiration dates are liable to change depending on how immigration processes your return to the U.S.

2. Change of U.S. Address

  • Report U.S. residential address changes to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) within ten daysDownload Form AR-11 (file online or through paper format).
  • Promptly update your address and contact information with your employer.

3. Notify USCIS of any Employment Changes

Employment in the originally authorized H-1B position determines status and is specific to your job title, duties and responsibilities. Report any material employment changes to ensure H-1B compliance

Examples of material changes include changes to:

  • Job title
  • Primary job duties
  • Work location
  • Full-time/part-time status
  • Promotions
  • Transfers
  • Other similar changes

Standard salary increase in the same job does not qualify as a material change.

Note: The employer may need to file a petition with USCIS to amend or update H-1B employment authorization before the proposed changes take place.

4. Outside Employment is Strictly Prohibited

  • H-1B workers can only work for the sponsoring employer in the initially authorized jobs and positions.
  • H-1B workers can change employers only after the new employer submits a new H-1B petition requesting employment authorization.

5. Travel on H-1B

  • Travel with your H-1B visa and I-797 approval notice from your employer.
  • Check your I-94 admissions record (print your I-94) every time you return to ensure correct processing and that your “admit until” date is set in the future.
  • Contact your employer if you plan to travel while your H-1B extension is processing.

6. H-1B Extension & Expiration 

  • Ask your employer to submit an H-1B Extension Request at least six months before your H-1B authorization expires; or
  • Plan to leave by the expiration of your H-1B status.

Refer to your I-797 Approval Notice and I-94 departure record for the H-1B expiration date.

Maintaining H-1B status is essential for continued employment in the U.S. Therefore, it’s important to stay in compliance with key aspects of H-1B maintenance. Here are the six primary aspects of H-1B maintenance that all job seekers should keep in mind:

 

1. Valid Immigration Documents: Passports should be valid for at least six months into the future and your I-94 admissions record or I-797 approval notice should always show an expiration date in the future. It’s important to remember to check your I-94 record when returning from a trip overseas, as immigration processing can alter your H-1B expiration date.

2. Change of U.S. Address: Anytime there’s a change of address, Form AR-11 should be filed with the USCIS within ten days and updated contact information must be given to your employer promptly.

3. Notify USCIS of Employment Changes: These changes include any alterations to job title, duties, work location, full/part time status, promotions or transfers as well as other similar changes; salary increases do not qualify as material changes unless they constitute a significant shift in terms of job titles or responsibilities associated with a prior position held by the employee. It may also be necessary for employers to file an extra petition with USCIS before any proposed changes take effect.

4. Outside Employment Prohibited: Employees can only work for their sponsoring employer on their initially authorized jobs and positions; switching companies requires a new H-1B petition request from the new employer in order for another authorization to be issued by USCIS with respect to such position held by the foreign national employee formerly sponsored by another entity abroad or within the United States itself (if applicable).

5. Travel on H-1B Status: When traveling with an H-1B visa, both corresponding I-797 approval notice from sponsors and I-94 admission records needs carried along for reference purposes; it’s also advisable that contact is established between employers and employees in case there’s travel occurring while extensions are still processing through USCIS systems itself (as cases may vary depending on specific circumstances surrounding such issues).

6. Extension & Expiration Dates: Employers are expected to submit extension requests at least six months ahead of when authorization termination will occur; alternatively, one might choose to depart by such expiry period instead if possible under relevant laws governing immigration rights (as stipulated within respective countries). A combination of both one’s I-797 Approval Notice along with departure records related thereto shall determine such term dates accordingly based upon individual case facts encountered depending upon how immigration authorities process respective applications already submitted either through traditional mail channels or online services via digital platforms available at the time.