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Maintaining H-1B Status

H-1B Temporary Workers in a Specialty Occupation are nonimmigrants who are authorized to engage in employment for a specific employer. 

H-1B Validity Period

An H-1B petition is approved for the specific period of time indicated on your H-1B approval notice (I-797).  If you are reappointed, your international advisor will file to extend your H-1B status to match your appointment period.  H-1B status may be granted in increments up to three years.  The maximum period of time you can spend in H-1B status is six years.

I-94 and Status

Always review and save your new I-94 after reentry.  Your I-94 needs to indicate "H-1B" and include an expiration date that matches the expiration date on your H-1B approval notice.  If your I-94 includes an expiration date with an additional 10 days beyond your H-1B validity period, you have been granted a "grace period" and you are eligible to remain in the United States for the full duration of your I-94, but you are not eligible to work during the additional 10 days.  If your I-94 indicates any other expiration date, please contact your international advisor.  The official at the port of entry may use the expiry date of your passport or visa as an end date on your I-94, rather than the expiry date on the H petition, which is incorrect.  Let your international advisor know if this happens, as we will need to do an extension of your H petition.

U.S. Home Address

Immigration requires that you update your local home address within 10 days of moving.  You may file Form AR-11 or use their preferred online tool; see the USCIS website for more details.  You must report your actual, physical location, NOT a Caltech Mail Code or P.O. Box.  Additionally, Caltech scholars should update access.caltech and JPL scholars should provide updated home address information to their international advisor.

Time Spent Outside the United States

You may be able to recapture any time that you spend outside the United States during the H-1B validity period.  This may become very important towards the end of your six years of H-1B status.  We recommend keeping your old passports, boarding passes, frequent flyer accounts, and e-ticket itineraries as evidence of the time that you have spent overseas.

Unauthorized Employment

H-1B employees areauthorized to work for a specific employer in the position described in the H-1B petition. H-1B employees not receive any payment or income from any other source.  All other employment, even part-time or a one-time honorarium or consultant's fee, is inconsistent with H-1B status. Another employer may file a concurrent H-1B petition on your behalf in order to employ you.

Work Site

H-1B employees are authorized work for a specific employer at the location specified in the Labor Condition Application and in the H-1B petition.  Please contact your international advisor if you are going to work from a different location for an extended period. 

Immigration Site Visits

USCIS conducts random FDNS (Fraud Detection and National Security) site visits on H-1B workers.  The JPL or ISS offices are usually the first point of contact for a FDNS visit.  If an FDNS officer appears at your work place, please ask to see identification and contact your international advisor immediately.  FDNS inspectors are verifying your work information and may take photographs of your lab/office space.  Please see the USCIS website for more information about the tasks and purpose of the program.

Extension of H-1B Status

Once an H-1B extension is filed, H-1B employees are allowed to remain in the United States and are allowed to continue to work while the extension is pending, even if the initial H-1B status has expired.  Note:  The California DMV will not renew a driver's license with a pending H-1B receipt notice.

Document Retention

It is important that you retain all documentation pertaining to your immigration status related to your stay in the United States.  This may include current and expired passports, as well as all I-797 approval and receipt notices.  These records are important to establishing your compliance with U.S. immigration laws.

Valid Passport

Ensure that your passport remains valid throughout your stay.  You can renew your passport through your home country's consulate or embassy while you are inside the United States.