Maintaining Status on an H-1B visa status
All Non-Resident Aliens (NRAs) are required to notify USCIS within 10 days of a change of residential address. H-1B status holders may report a change of address by completing Form AR-11 or Form AR-11SR found at: https://egov.uscis.gov/coa/displayCOAForm.do. Please also update Middlebury’s Oracle HCM system.
An individual’s H-1B status is dependent upon continued employment. H-1B petitions are employer and position specific, which means that the individual is authorized by USCIS to work only at Middlebury/MIIS in a specific position. ISSS should be consulted prior to any changes in H-1B employment such as:
- job title
- job duties
- percentage of time
An amended H-1B petition may be required under certain circumstances.
As H-1B status is employer specific, H-1B status holders may not accept compensation, including honoraria, from any other entity. Individuals in H-1B status invited to give a lecture, collaborate, conduct research or present at other institutions can receive reimbursement for reasonable living and transportation costs only. All H-1B employees sponsored by Middlebury/MIIS or any other employer are required to obtain a written approval from their employer/visa sponsor to receive reimbursement.
In order to enter the U.S. in H-1B status, the following documents are required to be presented at time of entry:
- Copy of the I-797 approval notice for the most current H-1B petition*
- Evidence of maintenance of status if you were in the US, such as recent paystubs.
- Employment verification letter: please Human Resources for a short letter confirming your title and salary such as “I am writing to confirm that [NAME] has the position of [xxxx] at a salary of $xxxx.”
- You may also want to obtain a copy of the H-1B petition package filed with USCIS from the attorney that filed the H-1B petition on your and Middlebury’s behalf.
- Evidence you have complied with al U.S. tax laws.
- For more information regarding H-1B status, please refer to https://cbkimmigration.com/h1b-approved/.
NOTE: US Customs & Border Protection officers will not grant H-1B status any longer than the validity of a passport or the H-1B approval notice whichever is shorter. Please notify ISSS if you are admitted with an end date different than what is on the I-797 Approval Notice.
To apply for an H-1B visa stamp at a US Embassy or Consulate outside of the U.S., all of the following documents may need to be submitted in addition to any other documents required:
- Copy of the I-797 Approval Notice for the H-1B petition*
- Application Form DS-160, Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application
- Your machine-readable passport** (valid for at least six months beyond your intended period of stay)
- Two color, passport-style photographs (if unable to upload photos to your DS-160)
- Copy of the I-797 Approval Notice for the H-1B petition*
- Proof that that all U.S. tax laws were complied with for previous stays in the U.S.
You may also be required to present copies of the H-1B petition documents and proof of your employment, such as a letter from your employer. For more information, please refer to the U.S. State Department website specifically designed for people seeking U.S. visas.
* You do not need to present your original I-797 approval notice when you apply for entry into the U.S. The receipt number on your visa stamp is sufficient for officials at the port of entry to look up your petition approval in the system. This number typically begins with LIN, SRC, EAC, WAC, or IOE. We recommend traveling with a copy of the I-129 (I-797A) approval notice, especially if you intend to request a consulate-issued visa. The original I-129 petition is no longer needed by US consulates because hand-delivered copies are not considered to be secure documents. USCIS provides a copy of the I-129 petition directly to US consulates. Please also follow any specific instructions on the consular website about additional documents to bring to the interview.
Upon entry to the U.S. you are given an I-94 Admission Arrival/Departure Record. You are given a new record for each entry. After each entry into the U.S., you need to go to www.cgp.gov/i94 to check the record to make sure that you were admitted in the H-1B status for the period of admission until the end date on the I-797 approval notice. If you were not granted the H-1B status or the end date is different than what is on the I-797 approval notice, please notify email@example.com immediately.
The H-1B extension process is identical in paperwork requirements as it is for an initial H-1B application. An H-1B extension petition will require a new prevailing wage and a new labor condition application (LCA) along with new supporting documents. A petition must be filed before the current H-1B status ends in order to allow an individual to maintain status and continue to remain on payroll.
The earliest an extension can be filed with USCIS is 6 months prior to the end date of the current H-1B status. If a petition is filed in a timely manner, an individual in H-1B status is authorized to continue to work and be paid for up to 240 days after the expiration of his/her current H-1B status. You will be required to show evidence that the extension has been filed timely (a USCIS I797 Receipt Notice) along with your current expired I-797 H-1B approval notice to Human Resources for the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification process. It is very important to inform ISSS and/or the attorney processing your H-1B extension of any travel outside of the U.S. when the H-1B petition for extension will be pending with USCIS as this may affect the petition processing.
Once the extension petition is approved by USCIS, individuals traveling abroad may need to visit a U.S. embassy or consulate to get a new H-1B visa stamp before returning to the United States. Canadian citizens do not need to obtain H-1B visas in their passports.
If an individual in H-1B status leaves Middlebury before the end date on his/her H-1B approval notice, Middlebury, via the attorney, is required to notify the U.S. Department of Labor and USCIS. The individual must inform ISSS and the attorney if they end their job with Middlebury/MIIS before the expiration of their current H-1B status. Individuals in H-1B status should make sure that their departments are informed of their intending departure and their future contact information.
Remaining in the United States
Individuals intending to remain in the United States after leaving Middlebury should take the initiative to prepare and submit proper paperwork to maintain lawful immigration status. This may involve applying for H-1B status with another employer or changing to an entirely different visa category.
Change of H-1B Employers (Portability Provision)
Whether a scholar is leaving Middlebury to go to another employer or coming to Middlebury/MIIS from another employer, this is called ‘porting’ the H-1B. This requires that the new employer file an H-1B petition on behalf of the employee they intend to hire. The change of employer process is identical in paperwork requirements as it is for an initial H-1B visa. An H-1B change of employer petition will require a new prevailing wage and a new labor condition application (LCA) along with new supporting documents.
H-1B regulations allow individuals already holding H-1B status to begin employment with a new employer once the new petition is filed with USCIS. This means that individuals may begin new employment before the petition is approved by USCIS, but no earlier than the start date of the petition. Further guidance should be obtained from ISSS if being hired by Middlebury or from the new employer for those who leave Middlebury.
Moving from the United States
Individuals in H-1B status are required to leave the United States on or before the end date on their Form I-797.
When an individual is admitted to the United States in H-1B status, a grace period of 10 days may be given at the discretion of an immigration officer at the port of entry. The 10 day grace period is indicated on the individual’s Form I-94.
For additional information on an approved H-1B status, please refer to Curran, Berger, & Kludt Immigration Law: https://cbkimmigration.com/h1b-approved/.
Last updated 01/03/2024