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h-1B status

General Requirements

  • This status is used for teachers, researchers, or administrators.  It is appropriate for tenure-track positions.
  • At least a Bachelor’s degree in a certain field (or fields) is required.
  • H status is very job-specific.  An H-1 amendment is required if the position changes.
  • H-1 must be on a fulltime, paid appointment in order to maintain status.
  • The H application requires an approved Labor Condition Application from the Department of Labor and the salary must meet the Prevailing Wage.
  • H status is valid for up to six years.  H status may be obtained for three years initially, with a three-year extension or any lesser increment.
  • Dual intent applies to this status: it is possible to hold H status and apply for permanent residence at the same time.
  • It can be time-consuming (several months) to obtain, even if premium (expedited) processing is requested for an additional fee.
  • The annual limit (cap) does not apply to educational institutions.


Outside Employment

  • An H-1B employee may give occasional speeches and/or lectures at other institutions, conferences, etc. but may not receive compensation for those activities.  However, the H-1B may be reimbursed for travel and lodging expenses associated with the visit.  
  • An H-1B employee may not be employed (or paid) by any other employer, unless that employer has also obtained H-1 status for him/her.
  • Approval from ISSS is required prior to participating in any outside (non-UIUC) activities.

Unauthorized Employment

  • Unauthorized employment consists of any service or labor performed by an employee for an employer within the U.S. that has not been authorized by USCIS.
  • Unauthorized employment may result in the termination of H-1B status.

On-Campus Employment

  • Even if another UIUC department has obtained H-1B status for an international employee, that employee may not be permitted to accept other employment opportunities on campus. Contact ISSS before engaging in any employment that is not specifically outlined in the H-1B petition.

H Process

Employing departments must submit an H-1B request to ISSS in order to initiate the process. ISSS will work directly with the employing department to obtain H-1B status approval. If the H-1B applicant is abroad, then the approval notice will be sent to his/her foreign address. If the applicant is in the U.S., then a change of status request will be granted upon H-1B status approval.


  • When entering the U.S. from abroad, H-1B employees should be prepared to present several documents related to their H-1B status. ISSS will provide travel guidelines once H-1B status has been approved by USCIS.
  • H-1B employees should contact ISSS to pick up their original I-797 approval notice before traveling.  I-797s are the property of the petitioner and must be returned to ISSS upon returning to the U.S.
  • H-1B employees who have applied for a change of status or who have an expired H-1B entry visa will need to make arrangements to apply for a new entry visa from abroad.
  • Applicants whose H-1B extension or change of status petitions are pending with USCIS are not recommended to travel internationally until those petitions have been approved.

When returning to the United States, please be prepared to present the following at the port of entry:

  • Valid passport: Your passport must be valid six months past the end date of your H status.
  • A valid H-1B visa stamp: Check your visa to make sure it will be valid on your intended reentry date. Also note the number of entries allowed on your visa.
  • A recent letter from your department which confirms your employment and salary
  • The original H-1B approval notice (I-797A or I-797B), which shows your H-1B approval for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. This document is kept in your file at ISSS. E-mail to request this document. It must be returned when you come back from your trip.
  • A copy of the H-1B petition (Form I-129). If you do not have a copy, you can obtain it from your department.
  • A copy of the Labor Condition Application (LCA, or Form ETA 9035) filed with your most recent petition. You should already have a copy of your LCA.
  • A copy of your most recent earnings statement
  • A copy of your diploma. If your major field is not stated on your diploma, also take a copy of your transcript.

Departure Information

General Information

  • Inform your department when your program ends and complete all necessary departure documents and procedures with them. Your department contact will submit a “Departure Data Form” through iSTART to ISSS.
  • All original I-797 Approval Notices are the property of the petitioner (University of Illinois) and must be returned to the ISSS office before your departure from campus.
  • If you plan to move to another employer, you should have no gaps in your employment.

Grace Period

  • After the completion of your program, you have no grace period and must depart the U.S. immediately (unless you are at the end of your status and your I-94 includes a 10-day grace period).