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Maintaining immigration status

As an H-1B worker, you must maintain your immigration status by following these guidelines:

  • Engage only in the activities identified on your H-1B petition (see employment information for details about change of employer or terms)
  • File appropriate extensions
  • Refrain from unauthorized employment
  • Maintain a valid passport

Because a valid passport is required at all times, it is your responsibility to renew or replace a passport in a timely fashion and to provide evidence of the renewal or replacement to the International Center.


It is critical that you check your I-94 entry online each time you travel and provide a copy to the International Center. If you do not do so, the center cannot be responsible for tracking this information.

The expiration date at the top of your Form I-797A approval notice shows the validity date requested in the H-1B petition and the period of work authorization. However, the I-94 shows the date and class of admission, and the expiration date of the period of authorized stay. The expiration date of your authorized stay may be shorter than the I-797 validity date. You are not authorized to stay in the United States past the expiration date on your I-94. It is your responsibility to track the end date of your authorized stay.

Extension of stay

The length of time you may remain in the U.S. in H-1B status is indicated on the approval Form I-797A and your I-94 (see above). The host department should request an extension of stay at least 120 days before expiration of the current H-1B. The department must contact the H-1B adviser and provide the supporting documentation and filing fees for the petition to USCIS. The maximum length of stay for an H-1B worker, including extensions, is six years. Under some specific conditions, H-1B status may be extended beyong the six limit. To see if the required conditions apply in your situation, please contact the H-1B adviser.

Initial H-1B visa stamp and visa revalidation

If you have changed your nonimmigrant status while in the United States and have not obtained an H-1B visa stamp in your passport, or if your H-1B visa stamp has expired, please see the information about travel outside the United States.