H-1B Immigration Rights and Responsibilities

This information is for UNH employees who hold H-1B status.

If you were granted a change of status to H-1B from within the U.S., you were issued Form I-797 by USCIS.  Please be aware that Form I-797 is not a visa, although it does permit you to work at UNH for a specific time period.

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.

Special information for Canadian citizens:

Citizens of Canada are not required to obtain a visa to enter the U.S.  However, an H-1B petition still must be filed with USCIS.  You will simply present your Form I-797 to the U.S. Customs Officer at the port-of-entry.

The maximum allowable time for any individual to remain in the U.S. in H-1B status is 6 years.  Immigration regulations permit an employer to ask for a maximum of an initial three years, with extensions of up to an additional three years.  At the end of the six-year period, the holder of an H-1B visa must do one of the following:

  • depart the U.S. for a period of no less than 1 year before he/she is eligible for a new H-1B status or visa;
  • change to a different non-immigrant visa category (if eligible); or
  • obtain permanent residence in the U.S.

You have permission to be employed at UNH until the expiration date listed on your Form I-797 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 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/unit on your behalf.

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 Form I-797 from UNH before you can apply for a visa to enter the U.S. Visit the U.S. State Department's list of Embassies and Consulates for application procedures and visa issuance requirements.

It is important for you to understand that you are only authorized to work for UNH.  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 OISS before you assume your new position.  Depending upon the circumstances of the change, we may be required to submit an amended petition to USCIS, which will allow you to hold a different position.

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.

It is your responsibility to comply with all federal immigration regulations which govern your specific non-immigrant visa classification.  Remaining in the U.S. beyond the designated period granted by 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.