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Washington State University
International On Campus

Maintaining Status

Requirements

To maintain lawful H-1B visa status in the United States, follow the procedures outlined below.

Have Valid Documents

You may be employed and paid at WSU only when (for border entry):

  1. You arrive no sooner than 10 days prior to the start date of your H-1B approval notice,
  2. A customs officer at port of entry has affixed an entry stamp indicating H-1B status in your passport; and
  3. It is during the validity dates indicated on your H-1B Form I-797 approval notice.

Different conditions may apply if you are:

  • Changing status to H-1B inside the U.S.
  • Changing your H-1B employer
  • Granted an H-1B extension or amendment
  • Have H-1B concurrent employment

Work Only on the Job Your H-1B Specifies

H-1B status is employer- and employment-specific. You are authorized to work only for your hiring unit at WSU.

If you wish to change employers, your new employer must petition with USCIS on your behalf for a new H-1B visa.

If You Wish to Change Jobs

You are authorized only to be employed and paid for the specific job that was authorized by USCIS. A new job with another U.S. employer will require a new H-1B petition for a qualified specialty occupation.

If you want to change to a new job at WSU, immediately contact an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services. You and your department are required to consult with International Student and Scholar Services before you can start a new position at WSU. We will need to file a new H-1B petition unless the new job is substantially similar to your current position.

Make Employment Your Primary Purpose

While you may enroll in school while in H-1B status, your studies can only be incidental. Employment must remain your primary purpose for entering the country and remaining in H-1B status.

If you enroll in a course of study, you may not accept an assistantship or other student job.

Receiving Honorariums

No payment to the benefit the H-1B outside the terms of the i-129 upon which the H-1B was approved is permitted. Therefore, an honorarium cannot be paid. A 1994 legacy INS letter stated that an H-1B might be reimbursed for “transportation and reasonable, incidental living expenses” incurred in connection with giving “speeches, lectures, etc.” at other entities, provided:

  • The activity is incidental to the H-1B beneficiary’s employment as an H-1B,
  • The H-1B beneficiary is not paid a wage or salary for his or her services, and
  • The H-1B beneficiary does not derive a monetary or other material gain from those activities

Report Changes in Employment Terms and Conditions

The U.S. government requires you to report any upcoming change(s) in your employment terms and conditions to WSU Office of International Programs International Student and Scholar Services before changes take effect.

Changes to report:

  • Job title
  • Salary
  • Job location
  • Job duties
  • Job requirements
  • Working hours
  • Resignation
  • Early termination of your job by the employer
  • Approval of a change of status (for example, obtaining U.S. permanent residency)

If You Are Offered a Promotion

Immediately contact an advisor in International Student and Scholar Services. Do not work in your new position unless you receive specific instructions from International Student and Scholar Services. We may need to file an H-1B amendment petition with USCIS before you can start the new position..

If Your Job Is Terminated Early (not due to resignation)

When your job with your sponsoring employer ends, you no longer have lawful H-1B status in the United States. Be sure to leave the United States, file to change status, or have your new employer petition to transfer your H-1B to them by your last working day or during the next 60 following days. Failure to do so may make you ineligible to re-enter the United States in the future or receive immigration benefits due to unlawful presence. The 60-day grace period is granted in its full length only if your H-1B approval notice end date is beyond this period. If your employment is not renewed and it ends on the same date as your H-1B approval notice end date, you do not have a grace period.

Your Employer Pays for Your Trip Home

If your appointment is terminated by WSU before the end date shown on your current USCIS H-1B approval notice, the hiring unit owes you reasonable transportation costs back to your last place of residence abroad. This is true regardless of the reason for termination: non-renewal of employment contract, lack of funding, unsatisfactory performance, or other reasons.

ISSS must withdraw your Labor Condition Application (LCA) and H-1B petition once notified of the termination of employment by resignation or otherwise..

Do Not Use Your H-1B Approval Notice Improperly

If you are no longer employed by WSU, you cannot use the USCIS H-1B approval notice we obtained to apply for an H-1B visa stamp and seek entry to the United States as an H-1B worker. Doing so may be considered fraud. It could make you inadmissible to the United States.

Report Any Address Changes

Within 10 days of any move in the United States, report your address change to all of the following:

Request an Extension 4+ Months in Advance

If your contract with WSU will be renewed after your current H-1B approval notice expiration date, your hiring department must contact International Student and Scholar Services to request an H-1B extension.

This request must be made at least 4 months before the expiration date of your current H-1B approval notice.

USCIS must receive your extension application before your current H-1B approval notice expires.

Don’t Assume You Have an Extra 10 Days in the United States

There is no “grace period” for H-1B workers. H-1B status is date specific. At the U.S. port of entry, a customs officer may or may not give you an extra 10 days beyond your H-1B validity period (end date).

If you are granted an extra 10 days, no employment is allowed during that period. It is simply to allow you more time to depart the U.S.

If you are not given an additional 10 days, you must exit the United States by the last date of your authorized employment as determined by:

  • Reaching your H-1B expiration date
  • Early termination by your employer or
  • Resignation 

If you have been given 10 extra days once, it does not mean you will be given it every time. Each time a new petition on your behalf is filed with USCIS, or your re-enter the U.S. in H-1B status, the immigration officer reviewing your case will make such determination at their discretion.

Exceptions

Change to a different status case pending with USCIS

If a change of status is pending before your H-1B employment ends, you may be able to stay longer in the United States. Talk with International Student and Scholar Services about your circumstances well before the final date arrives.

Change of H-1B employer

There are instances in which you may be able to remain in the United States to begin your new job elsewhere. Do not resign your current WSU job until your new H-1B employer tells you to do so.

Traveling Outside the United States

Verify regulations and required documents before traveling outside the United States. If you travel outside the United States while in H-1B status, you must have the proper documents to re-enter the country to begin or resume your employment at WSU.

Contact International Student and Scholar Services for guidance at least 3 weeks before your scheduled international travel.

Changes to Your H-1B Status

If you are currently working at WSU in H-1B status and need to request a change in your current position, follow the procedures below.

SituationProcedures
H-1B extension
You are currently working at WSU, but your H-1B status will expire soon. Your hiring unit decides to extend your H-1B stay.
You have not yet completed the 6-year stay in the U.S. allowed under H-1B status.
Your hiring unit must contact International Student and Scholar Services to initiate an extension request on your behalf 4-6 months in advance.
Once you have a receipt notice from USCIS for the extension request, you may remain in the U.S. and continue working for up to 240 days while you await approval. You must have maintained legal H-1B status.
H-1B amendment
You are currently working at WSU in H-1B status. A substantial or material change in your employment terms and conditions warrants a new H-1B petition. Examples might include changes in the following:
• Salary
• Job title
• Job duties
• Job location
• Job requirements
• Working hours
• Department to which you report
First, International Student and Scholar Services must determine if an H-1B amendment petition is necessary. Your hiring unit must contact International Student and Scholar Services to initiate an amendment request on your behalf at least 3 months in advance. The change cannot take effect until a receipt notice is received from USCIS.
Once a receipt notice has been received, you may remain in the U.S. and continue working for up to 240 days while you await approval. You must have maintained legal H-1B status.
Change of employer (transfer)
You are currently working in H-1B status for one U.S. employer and intend to work for another U.S. employer in H-1B status.
You may begin working for your new employer only after:
• That employer has filed an H-1B petition with USCIS on your behalf prior to the current expiration of your H-1B approval notice. Note processing times to prepare an H-1B petition vary by employer. At WSU, we request cases be initiated at least 4-6 months in advance from the start sate. And
• They have received a receipt notice.
Once a receipt notice has been received, you can remain in the U.S. and continue working for up to 240 days while you await approval. You must have maintained legal H-1B status.

ISSS reserves the right to develop and create internal policies in the best interests of the University’s teaching and research needs, as well as within our office capabilities. Therefore, we do not process part-time and/or concurrent employment H-1B petitions.