February 7, 2022

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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.

About the author 

Online Visas

About the author: Jon Velie has practiced immigration law since 1993. He is CEO of OnlineVisas.com., the Intelligent Immigration Platform. Jon is an Amazon number one best-selling author of H-1B Visa: Application & Approval that is regularly covered by major media and has won a number of international awards. Jon can be contacted at jon@onlinevisas.com or 405-310-4333 office or 405-821-5959 mobile.

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