Travel Outside the U.S.
All H-1B visa holders planning to travel outside of the U.S. who plan to return must have the following documents to present for reentry into the U.S.:
- A valid passport.
- An original I-797 Approval Notice from the BCIS which is valid for a period beyond the anticipated travel.
- A valid H-1B visa stamp in the passport.
- An employment verification letter from Human Resources. Contact Elizabeth Fay via email to obtain a letter.
- When you arrive back to the United States after a trip abroad you will receive an admission stamp in your passport. Please go to the Admission (I-94) Number Retrieval page on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website to print a copy of your Admission Number Retrieval Form for your records. Also, you will need to drop off or email a copy of the form to the UConn Health International Office. You must remember to do this every time you re-enter the country.
In the interest of national security, federal mandates must be followed. If you have an H-1B visa stamp that expired less than a year ago, you may be eligible to obtain a new visa stamp inside the United States. Contact the U.S. Department of State for “visa revalidation” information. This may take over four months to obtain. If the present visa stamp in your passport has expired over a year ago, you must secure the visa from the U.S. Embassy in the country of travel as all U.S. Embassies have different procedures for visa application. This procedure can take over 30 to 45 days. It is strongly recommended that you review the specific information on their website or contact them prior to your travel. To contact a specific embassy, visit the U.S. Embassies website. Individuals from certain countries or from certain disciplines may be subject to additional security clearance. Additional travel information is also available at the U.S. Department of State website.
For visa processing at the U.S. Embassies in the country of travel, the following is also required:
- Copy of the form I-129 filed by the employer.
- Copy of the Labor Condition Application.
- Copy of the Department’s support letter.
- Employment verification letter from Human Resources. Contact Elizabeth Fay via email to obtain a letter.
- Original copy of the pay statement from UConn Health.
- Original copy of your diplomas. Physicians will be required to provide their original license.
- Marriage certificate for your spouse and birth certificates for your children if your dependents will be applying for J-2 dependent visas.
Travel to Canada or Mexico
Nationals from countries sponsoring terrorism will in all cases require a valid visa in order to reenter the United States following short trips to Canada or Mexico. The countries falling within this classification are: Iran, Syria, and Sudan. To see the most up-to-date information, visit the U.S. Department of State website.
Foreign nationals from all other countries will still be able to reenter the United States following short trips of under 30 days upon presentation of valid immigration documents showing maintenance of nonimmigrant status PROVIDED that they have not applied for a visa in Canada or Mexico.
If a third country national applies for a visa through a U.S. Consulate in Canada or Mexico, that individual will need to possess a valid visa in order to reenter the United States. This means that if the visa is denied, the foreign national will no longer be able to reenter the United States by presenting a valid I-94 card; rather, he/she would most likely need to return home in order to apply for a visa through a U.S. Consulate in the home country. In fact, third country visa processing is now particularly unattractive for nationals from 26 countries (i.e., generally, countries in the Middle East) who are now subject to up to a 30 to 45 day background security check prior to visa issuance. This means that nationals of these countries would need to wait out this background check in Canada or Mexico prior to returning to this country. While the BCIS Immigration Inspectors at the border have certain latitudes to admit temporarily a foreign national who does not possess a valid visa, this is a discretionary matter which certainly does not provide any type of assurance or predictability of successful readmission to the U.S.
Maintaining Legal Status
H-1B visa holders are required by immigration law and regulations to maintain their legal status in the United States. Failure to maintain legal status will result in loss of legal status and the inability to remain at UConn Health. To meet the requirement, internationals must:
- Keep their passport valid at all times. Information on how to renew the passport is available on the Embassy website at www.embpage.org. Additional information can be found on the Online Resources page.
- An exchange visitor scholar must engage in the activity described on his or her IAP-66 form.
- Extensions of Stay must be applied for at least 30 days before the expiration date on the I-20 or IAP-66.
- Off-campus employment must be approved by the Office of International Programs.
- An event such as change of address must immediately be reported to Human Resources and the Department of Homeland Security.
H-4 visa; employment not permitted; can be enrolled in an academic program.