MENU Office of International Services

Maintaining Status


Work Authorization

  • Work only in the authorized place(s) of employment described in the I-129 petition filed with USCIS and for the period approved on your I-797.
  • Do not accept additional employment or work at an additional location without consulting with OIS in advance. 
  • You can have more than one H-1B sponsor, but this requires a separate I-129 filing. 
  • Have the department notify OIS if significant changes in duties, responsibilities, salary, or work site are expected during your authorized employment.  An amended petition may be necessary.


Immigration Documents

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times, valid for at least six months into the future.
  • Retain copies of all immigration documents including: current and expired passports, Forms I-797, I-94, etc. Upload any new copies of these items to myOIS via the International Employees & Visitors “Immigration Document Update” form.
  • The I-797 approval notice is your property; there is a fee to request a duplicate I-797 approval notice, if lost.
  • If you changed from another immigration status or H employer, notify your last institution of your UIC H-1B.
  • I-94:
    • Always review and save your new I-94 after reentry. 
    • Form I-94 must indicate "Admitted as: H-1B" and “Admitted until date” matching your I-797 H-1B approval notice, or an additional 10 days. 
    • Incorrect end date: If your I-94 indicates any other expiration date, contact OIS. Passport expiry within six month is a common reason for a shortened I-94.  If this occurs, your work authorization and status are shortened to this date and we must work to re-extend your status as soon as possible.


H-1B Validity Period

  • Maximum duration is six years, some exceptions apply. 
  • Renewals:
    • Your department will need to initiate the H-1 B extension process (if eligible) 4-6 months prior to your H-1B expiry date.
  • Recapture:
    • Time outside of the United States may be “recaptured.” Keep copies of all documentation of your time outside of the country in the event you need to extend your H-1B beyond six years.


H-4 Dependents

  • Generally, H-4 dependents are not eligible to work, or volunteer to work.  They may attend school.  Some H-4s may apply for work authorization in certain cases.  Consult OIS if you have questions.


Address Changes

  • Report any change in residential address, within 10 days of moving, to USCIS (Form AR-11), to OIS via myOIS  International Employees & Visitors “Address and Contact Update” e-form, and via UIC’s My Profile page. If your H is pending at USCIS, print AR-11 or call 1-800-375-5283.


Immigration Site Visits

  • USCIS’ FDNS (Fraud Detection and National Security) unit must conduct random site visits on 20,000 H-1B workers every year.
  • FDNS usually contacts OIS first. If an FDNS officer appears at your work place, please ask to see identification and contact OIS immediately.
  • FDNS inspectors are verifying your work information and may take photographs of your lab/office space as well as ask you questions related to your employment.




  • Individuals in H status are required to file both state and federal taxes.


Travel and Visa Process

  • Schedule an appointment with the U.S. Consulate/Embassy and complete Form DS-160 with fee. 
  • Review consulate/embassy website for guidance about required documents. We suggest bringing:
    • Passport (valid for six months beyond reentry date)
    • Original H-1B Approval Notice
    • Copy of Labor Condition Application (ETA Form 9035) and I-129 petition
    • Employment offer or recently dated sponsoring department letter
    • Copies of most recent earnings statements
    • If a former J-1 Exchange Visitor:  copies of all prior Forms DS-2019, original I-612 Approval Notice or Advisory Opinion letter
  • H-4s:  In addition to the above, they should bring proof of marriage, or birth, when applying for a visa. If they are traveling independently from you, they should carry your original I-797 approval notice, or their own original H-4 I-797 approval notice, if they have one. 
  • Automatic Visa Revalidation exception: H-1Bs (and H-4s) may travel to Canada and Mexico with an expired visa for less than 30 days. Other exceptions may apply, please see our website for additional travel details.



Grace Periods

  • You have a 10-day grace period after the end date of your I-797 approval notice. You may not work during this period; it is time to prepare to leave the U.S., change status, etc.
  • If your department ends your employment before the I-797 end date, as above, you have 60 days to remain in the country and have a new sponsor file a petition for you.  (See “portability” below.)



  • It is possible to “port” or “transfer” your H-1B status to another employer/institution; the new employer will file a Form I-129 on your behalf.
  • Employment should be continuous from UIC to the next employer. If your department ends your employment early, you may have up to 60 days to remain in the country and seek other employment. You may not work or volunteer during the transitional time. Your future H-1B sponsor will notify you when you may begin your new employment. 
  • Please consult with your new employer for details on this process.



  • You must submit a Departure Verification Form upon completion of employment. This form is required regardless of your departure reason:  leaving the U.S., changing employers, or changing immigration status.
  • If your department ends your employment before the I-797 end date, you must be offered a return ticket to your home country, which you may accept or decline.


Unlawful Presence

  • This occurs when you stay beyond the ending date of your I-94 or upon determination by Department of Homeland Security. Consequences include a 3-year bar from reentering the U.S. if you have stayed unlawfully in the U.S. for 180 days or more, and a 10-year bar if you remain unlawfully in the U.S. for 360 days or more. Violation of your H-1B status makes you ineligible for any immigration benefits. This does not apply if a timely, non-frivolous petition to extend your stay has been received by the USCIS prior to the end date of your I-94.