Immigration Rights & Responsibilities

This information is directed to those UNH employees who hold H-1B status.

H-1B Status Granted through Change of Status from within the U.S.

If you were granted a change in status to H-1B, O-1 or TN in the U.S., you were issued Form I-797 by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Please be aware that Form I-797 is not a visa, although it does permit you to work for UNH for the time period specified on the Form.

The next time you travel outside of the U.S., you need to apply for a visa in order to return in H-1B status. You will need to take the original Form I-797, along with any other documents required by the U.S. Embassy or Consulate outside the U.S. where you will apply. We recommend that you visit the appropriate Embassy’s or Consulate’s website for specific visa issuance requirements.

Special Information for Canadian Citizens

Citizens of Canada are not required to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. However, the H-1B employment does require a petition to the USCIS. If you are in Canada, we will forward the approval notice to you. Because you do not need a visa, you will simply present Form I-797 to the Immigration Officer at the port-of-entry (if driving) or to pre-flight inspection at the airport.

Maximum Presence in the U.S.

The maximum allowable time for any individual to remain in the U.S. in H-1B status is six years. Immigration regulations permit an employer to ask for a maximum of an initial three years initially (some departments request less time, especially if funding is uncertain), with extensions of up to an additional three years possible. At the end of the six year period, the holder of an H-1B visa must do one of the following:

  1. depart the U.S. for a period of not less than one year before s/he is eligible for a new H-1B status; or visa;
  2. change to a different nonimmigrant visa category (if eligible ); or
  3. obtain permanent residence in the U.S.

Extensions of Stay

You have permission to be employed at the University of New Hampshire until the expiration date listed on Form From I-797, H-1B A pproval Notice, or your Form I-94. If you are offered an opportunity to extend your employment at UNH, we must file a request for extension with the USCIS. To remain in valid status, this extension request must be filed before the date your current stay expires. H-1B extension petitions can be filed a maximum of six months before the expiration of current status. Requests for extensions of stay must be made by your department on your behalf.

Approval of H-1B Petition While Outside the U.S.

If you were outside the U.S. at the time an H-1B petition was filed on your behalf, you must wait to receive the Notice of Approval from UNH before you can apply for a visa with which to enter the U.S. Visit the U.S. State Department's list of Embassies and Consulates for application procedures and visa issuance requirements.

Employment Limitations

It is important for you to understand that you are only authorized to work for the University of New Hampshire. The H-1B status is employer and position specific. If you accept a position with another employer, you may begin work at that institution as long as your new employer files another H-1B petition on your behalf.

If you are offered the opportunity to change positions within UNH, you must contact the OISS before you assume your new position. Depending upon the circumstances of the change, we may be required to submit an amended petition to the USCIS, which will allow you to hold a different position.

Payment of U.S. Taxes

International employees holding H-1B status are considered residents of the U.S. for tax purposes, and as such are subject to Social Security (FICA) taxes, as well as federal income tax.

Responsibility for Compliance with Immigration Regulations

It is your responsibility to comply with all federal immigration regulations which govern your specific nonimmigrant visa classification. Remaining in the U.S. beyond the designated period granted by the USCIS could subject you to a bar from re-entering the U.S. for a period of up to ten years. Please do not jeopardize your legal right to remain in the U.S. by accepting unauthorized employment, failing to apply for an extension of stay as necessary, or violating your immigration status in some other manner.

The OISS is available to answer any questions you might have related to your immigration status and responsibilities. Please do not hesitate to contact the OISS if you need assistance.