H-1B is a temporary worker visa designated for individuals coming temporarily to the United States to work in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is defined as one that requires "theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge, and attainment of a bachelor's or higher degree, or its equivalent, as a minimum requirement." The H-1B visa is employment-based, and must be approved by USCIS.
Maintaining Legal Status
H-1B visa holders are required by immigration law and regulations to maintain their legal status in the United States at all times. To meet the requirement, internationals must:
- Keep their passport valid at all times. Additional information on renewing a passport can be found on the Online Resources page.
- H-1B status is dependent upon continued employment, and are position-specific, meaning that an individual is authorized by USCIS to work at UCHC in a specific position. The International Office should be consulted prior to any changes such as job title, duties, salary, percentage of time, and/or location. An amended H-1B petition may be required under certain circumstances.
- An individual who has an H-1B approval from another employer is not automatically eligible to work at UCHC. He/she may work for more than one employer, but each employer must file a separate H-1B visa petition.
- Portability: regulations allow individuals already holding H-1B status to begin employment with a new employer once the new petition is filed with USCIS. Therefore, these employees may begin new employment at UCHC before the petition is approved by USCIS, but no earlier than the start date listed on the petition.
- An event such as change of address must immediately be reported to Human Resources and the Department of Homeland Security.
- The H-1B extension process has exactly the same paperwork requirements as an initial H-1B application, except the $500 Anti-Fraud fee is not paid again. The extension petition requires a new prevailing wage, LCA, and new supporting documents.
- The extension petition must be filed in advance of the current H-1B status end date to ensure the employee maintains status and can stay on the payroll. However, it cannot be filed earlier than 6 months before the start date of the extension.
- Once the extension is approved by USCIS, the H-1B holder may need to obtain a new H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. embassy if traveling abroad.
- Spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21 of H-1B visa holders are considered dependents and are eligible for H-4 status.
- Employment of H-4 visa holders is not permitted, but they can be enrolled in an academic program at full or part-time status
For information on international travel as an H-1B holder, please see our Travel section.
If you are currently at UCHC and are interested in switching to an H-1B Visa, please contact your department directly.