Maintaining H-1B Status

IMPORTANT UPDATE: 

Starting April 3, 2017, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B petitions. This suspension may last up to 6 months. While H-1B premium processing is suspended, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker which requests the H-1B nonimmigrant classification.  The full text of this announcement is at https://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/uscis-will-temporarily-suspend-premium-processing-all-h-1b-petitions.

Premium processing requests that have already been submitted should be unaffected.  If you have any pending H-1B requests that were submitted with regular processing, and you would now like to request premium processing for them, please let us know. 

USCIS must receive any premium processing request for an H-1B case (whether new or already pending) no later than April 3, 2017.

Employment Restrictions

H-1B petitions are granted to the hiring department only, and H-1B positions are governed by the details of the LCA posted during the petition process.

Your department should consult ISSO before changing any aspect of your H-1B employment, including:

  • change in title
  • degree required for position
  • number of hours worked
  • change of salary
  • employing department
  • job location
  • duties of the position

Failure to notify ISSO puts UNL and the H-1B employee at risk of sanctions by Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor. In most cases of employment changes, an amended H-1B petition will have to be filed with USCIS.

H-1B employees cannot accept any pay from outside sources, including honoraria for travel or presentations.

Part-Time Employment

Any requests for part-time employment must have been specified in the initial petition. If you were hired as an H-1B scholar for part-time work, you and your department are obligated to track the number of hours you work each day and each week.

Portability

If you currently have (or have had) H-1B status, you can transfer your status to another employer or request an extension of your status. You may begin work at your new job only if USCIS has physically received the petition for your transfer or extension (Form I-129). Your new employer will pay you as outlined on the new I-129. If your petition is denied, you must stop working when notice of denial is received.

Maximum Validity

H-1B status is available in increments of up to three years and limited to a maximum total duration of six years. H-1B employees do not have a grace period following the termination of employment. Valid status ends on the end date listed in the approved H-1B petition, or when the employee is no longer employed in an H-1B position.

It may be possible to request an H-1B extension beyond the 6-year limit for any time spent outside the US. If applicable, a list of dates and location of travel with documentation, such as copies of entry and exit stamps in passport (preferred), travel itineraries, or frequent flyer mile postings, should be provided.

It may also be possible to request an H-1B extension for up to one year beyond the 6-year limit if a Labor Certification Application (not Labor Condition Application) or I-140 Immigrant Petition was filed at least 365 days ago. An extension for up to three years may be possible if the I-140 has been approved.

Dual Intent

Although H-1B status is designed to temporarily employ professionals, it carries a provision for dual intent, which allows an employee to work while intending to become a U.S. permanent resident. Obtaining permanent residency is a lengthy process; acquiring H-1B status is therefore normally recommended to initial employees who have been offered a tenure-track position while permanent residency is sought. Contact ISSO to determine which visa status is most appropriate for your situation.