International Programs Office

Travel in H-1B Status

An H-1B who wishes to travel abroad during the validity dates of the approved petition should contact the Director of International Programs and Services to verify that all travel documents are in order. Itís best to make an appointment at least a month before travelling outside the US.

The following items must be presented upon return to the US:

  • Form I-797 (H-1B approval notice)
  • Valid Passport
  • Current letter from the employing department confirming that the H-1B is still employed in the position described in the I-129 petition.
  • Photocopies of the I-129 "Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker" and ETA 9035 "Labor Condition Application." (Copies may be obtained from the candidateís department).
  • Except for brief visits to Canada and Mexico, the Form I-94 is surrendered upon departure from the US.
  • Valid H-1B visa stamp. If the H1-B visa has expired, it may be extended by presenting the documents listed above to a US embassy or consulate.
  • If you changed status in the US (went from one visa category to H1-B while in the US), it does not mean you possess a valid H1-B visa!!! Status and visas are not the same thing. You must therefore apply for an H1-B visa at the nearest US embassy or consulate in the country you will be visiting. A visa cannot be obtained in the US. Since an appointment will be necessary, you should consult the US Embassyís web page in the country to which you will be travelling well in advance of the travel to secure an appointment. With careful planning, delays can be avoided.

A list of US Embassies and Consulates can be found at this Department of State website.