General Information Regarding H-1B Status
Can I apply for a "green card" and still reenter the US in H-1B status?
YES. H-1B category permits "dual intent," which allows you to continue in H status even if you have begun applying for permanent residency in the U.S.
Can I extend my H-1B status a 7th year if I have filed for a green card?
YES. ISSS will file H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year limit until a green card is either denied or approved for individuals who meet the following criteria:
- At least 365 days have passed since filing a a Labor Certification (PERM) or EB immigrant petition (I-140) or a combination of the two;
- Individuals from oversubscribed countries whose I-140s have been approved but who cannot adjust their status solely because their priority dates are not current
I plan to travel outside the US. Do I need to bring anything with me?
YES. Bring the following items with you:
- Original approval notice (Form I-797)
- Copy of the H-1B petition submitted by Temple University on your behalf
- Valid passport
- Employment verification letter from Human Resources or your department
- Valid H-1B visa (unless you are from a visa-exempt country) - if you do not have a valid visa stamp, you will need to schedule an appointment to apply for one at a US Consulate outside the US
My visa expired -do I need to apply for a visa to reenter the US?
YES. You must schedule an appointment with a United States Embassy to apply for a new H-1B visa stamp. Contact the US Embassy or Consulate closest to your foreign permanent residence.
I used to work for a different employer. Do I need to get a new visa even if the one in my passport is still valid?
NO. If you have changed employers since first entering the US and you have a valid visa annotated for the previous employer, you can reenter the U.S. using that visa, provided you present a valid H-1B Approval Notice for Temple upon reentry to the United States.
Can I renew my H-1B visa in the U.S.?
NO. Effective July 17, 2004, the Department of State no longer accepts applications for revalidation of H visas.
Do I need to return to my home country to apply for a visa?
No. You can apply at most US Consulates throughout the world, including Mexico and Canada - please contact the Consulate for more information. Individuals who have ever been out of status in the U.S. because they overstayed their authorized period of stay are not eligible to apply at a border post. You must apply for a visa in the country of your nationality. If you are not certain about your status, please schedule an appointment with an immigration advisor in our office.
If I travel to Mexico or Canada for a quick visit do I need a valid U.S. visa to reenter in H status?
Depends. Automatic Visa Revalidation allows you to reenter the U.S. after a visit to Canada or Mexico lasting 30 days or fewer with an unexpired passport, valid Approval Notice and valid I-94 even though you don't have a valid H visa, as long as you have not violated your status. If you have changed your status in the US (such as from F-1 to H-1), you should be readmitted in H status as if you had a visa in the proper category. Certain exceptions apply.
Do I need a visa from the Mexican or Canadian government if I plan to visit Mexico or Canada?
MAYBE. Please contact the Mexican / Canadian Consulates in New York or Washington, DC to determine if you need a visa.
Can I have a pending I-485 application and still reenter the US as an H-1B?
MOST LIKELY. You should discuss your options with the attorney who is assisting you with your Permanent Residence Application.
May I travel abroad while an extension of stay is pending and my current Approval Notice is still valid?
YES, BUT NOT RECOMMENDED. Although it is permissible to travel while a petition is pending,you can experience severe difficulty if you reenter the US using your current Approval notice if the pending petition is approved while you are outside the US. Please schedule an appointment with Sharon Loughran to discuss your options as soon as you know or suspect you may be traveling.
May I travel abroad while an extension is pending and my current Approval Notice has expired?
YES, BUT NOT RECOMMENDED. Travel during the 240-day automatic extension of work authorization is not allowed. If you must travel abroad, you will need to request Premium Processing to expedite the H-1B Extension or else stay abroad while awaiting the approval, apply for a new visa and then be readmitted to the U.S. in H-1B status.
May I travel abroad while I have an application for a change of status to H-1B pending?
NO. USCIS would consider you to have abandoned your application. In this event, an H-1B petition may be approved, but you must apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate abroad to enter the U.S. in H-1B status.
If I travel to Mexico or Canada for a quick visit do I need a valid U.S. visa to reenter in H status?
Depends. Automatic Visa Revalidation allows you to reenter the U.S. after a visit to Canada or Mexico lasting 30 days or fewer with an unexpired passport, valid Approval Notice and valid I-94 even though you don't have a valid H visa, as long as you have not violated your status and have never been denied a non-immigrant visa while in Canada or Mexico. If you have changed your status in the US (such as from F-1 to H-1), you should be readmitted in H status as if you had a visa in the proper category. Do not allow the airline (or anyone else) to remove your Form I-94 (Departure Record) when you depart from the U.S. as you will need to present it upon reentry. Certain exceptions apply – visit http://www.temple.edu/isss/immigration/travel-reentry-neighbors.html
Do I need an H-1B visa if I've received an extension of H status beyond 6 years and I travel abroad?
YES. H-1Bs who have received extensions of H-1B status beyond 6 years under AC21 are required to have a valid H-1B visa for entry to the United States after travel abroad.
I need to travel briefly outside the US. Can my H4 dependents stay here while I'm gone?
YES. H4 dependents may remain in the U.S. in H-4 status temporarily. However, if you will spend more than 30 days abroad, your H-4 dependents should also leave the US.
Must I stop working if my Approval Notice expires?
MAYBE. If ISSS has filed an extension petition with USCIS in a timely manner, you can continue working for 240 days beyond expiration of the current Approval Notice. You may not travel outside the US and reenter during this waiting period. Please contact our office for further information if you plan to travel.
Can I extend my H-1 status at any time before my Approval Notice expires?
NO. The hiring department should submit an H extension application to ISSS no more than 6 months and no later than 2 months prior to your current expiration date. Please inform our office of any possible travel plans that you may have while an extension is pending. Premium Processing may be necessary.
Can my H4 Dependent spouse work?
NO. Individuals in H4 status may not engage in any employment unless they have been issued an EAD from USCIS based on a pending green card application. Your spouse can, however, attend school part time or full time. In most cases, If your spouse wishes to work, s/he will need to obtain a new immigration status that allows employment.
I used to have an H-1 with another company but I've been offered employment by Temple. Can I start working here once ISSS files my transfer petition?
YES. You may begin working at Temple under the auspices of portability once our office has received a Receipt Notice from USCIS confirming that a petition to transfer your status has been received by the USCIS.
I have been asked to teach a class at Temple.Is this OK?
NO. You may not teach a class, even at Temple, unless our office included teaching in your job description in the H-1B petition.
I've been offered a new position at Temple, but my current H-1B Approval Notice hasn't expired. Do I need to contact ISSS?
MAYBE. When there is a change in your title, duties or terms and conditions of employment, the new hiring department must provide our office with information about the new position. ISSS may need to file an amendment petition with USCIS prior to you starting the new job.
I have been asked to teach a class at a university other than Temple. Is this possible with my current Approval Notice?
NO. You may receive travel and living expenses reimbursement for occasional lectures, but not an honorarium, wages or a salary. If you wish to establish a relationship with the outside employer, they must file an H-1B Concurrent Employment petition on your behalf.
Can I pursue a new degree while in H-1B status?
YES. Your studies must be incidental to your employment and may not interfere with your assigned responsibilities.
IIs H-1B employment excluded from Social Security coverage?
NO. H employment is subject to Social Security tax. Income tax is paid on income derived from employment in H status, unless tax exemption is specifically provided by treaty or convention. For additional information on this matter, please contact the Office of Payroll Management (215-926-2244) to speak with a Nonresident Alien Tax specialist.
I'm going to stop working at Temple next month. I have 30 days to leave the US after that, right?
NO. There is no official "grace period" for H-1s after your Approval Notice expires or after employment terminates. If the CBP Officer does not add 10 days to your I-94 at the time of entry, the 10-day "grace period" does not exist. If the 10 days are added you can stay in the US during that period, but you may not work. Please contact ISSS to let us know that you are leaving Temple.
I'm being laid off. As long as my Approval Notice hasn't expired, I can stay in the US until I find a new job, right?
NO. USCIS holds that when the H-1B employment relationship is terminated (either by the employee or by the employer), the H-1B falls "out of status" and can be removed from the US. If you find a new sponsoring employer within a month USCIS has the authority to reinstate your H-1B status on a discretionary basis and approve a petition to extend your stay. However, this is completely at the discretion of the USCIS adjudicator and is decided only on a case-by-case basis. Please note that your hiring department is bound by law to cover the costs of your return trip to your home country if you are terminated by the department before your Approval Notice expires. This is a complex situation – please schedule an appointment with Sharon Loughran to discuss your options as soon as you know or suspect you may be terminated.