It is the responsibility of the H-1B visa holder to maintain legal non-immigrant status at all times while present in the United States.  Keep in mind the following conditions that are part of status maintenance.

H-1B visa holders must:

  • Maintain a valid passport at all times, unless exempt from passport requirements.
  • Work only for the employer(s) that have obtained an approved H-1B petition on your behalf.
  • Notify the Office of International Services (OIS) immediately of any potential changes to the conditions of your employment BEFORE the change occurs. This includes, but is not limited to, a significant change in your compensation package, changes in your job title, academic department, or day-to-day employment activities, changes in city of employment, changes in number of hours, and/or any leave of absence.
  • The processing of an H-1B petition is a complex and lengthy process involving multiple government agencies. It is your responsibility to ensure that the processing for any extension(s) of your H-1B status is started in a timely manner. You are strongly urged to start the process 6 months in advance of your current H-1B expiration date.
  • There is NO grace period for foreign nationals in H-1B status after the authorized period of stay ends. You must petition for an extension or change of status prior to the expiration of your current H-1B status. If you resign from your job or are terminated, and you have no other petition currently pending with USCIS, you are considered to be out of legal status.
  • Consult OIS with any questions regarding international travel.
  • Report a change of address to the OIS within 10 days of the change. You should also report the change to other departments throughout Pitt. Finally, you must also notify the USCIS by completing a Form AR-11 or AR-11SR. You can complete this form online by going to http://www.uscis.gov and clicking “Change Your Address with USCIS”.

Please keep in mind that there is a difference between H-1B status and an H-1B visa stamp. H-1B status is granted when an employer receives an Approval Notice (Form I-797) from the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) approving the H-1B petition. An H-1B visa is the stamp placed in a foreign national’s passport by the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and is granted for entry purposes only. Even if your visa stamp is valid, if you do not comply with immigration laws regulating your stay in the U.S., you may be considered unlawfully present in the United States and may be subject to deportation.