International travel with H-1B status can be complicated. Below are some basic guidelines you should know about. However, it is recommended that you check with your advisor before you travel if you have any questions about your situation.
All international scholars and family members planning to depart temporarily from the U.S. and return to the Yale area must have a valid passport in order to exit the U.S. The passport must also be valid for a minimum of six months into the future at the time of re-entry to the U.S. There are a few exceptions to this passport rule outlined in the State Department document [PDF].
Except for Canadian citizens, all international scholars will also need to have a valid H-1B visa stamp in their passport issued by a U.S. embassy or consulate. Visa stamps cannot be obtained or renewed inside the U.S.
The visa document for the H-1B is called the Notice of Action Form I-797.
Every nonimmigrant entering the U.S. on a sponsored visa will have what’s called an I-94 record created by the authorities upon entry. It is the responsibility of international students, scholars and family members to look up their I-94 record after entering the U.S. to ensure there are no errors.
Third Country Visits
When planning to visit a country outside the U.S. which is not your country of citizenship or legal permanent residence, be sure to research whether or not you will need a visa to enter that country.
Canada, Mexico and contiguous islands
If you are traveling to Canada, Mexico or the contiguous islands for less than 30 days, you may be eligible for a visa renewal exemption.
Travel Check List
- Valid I-797 Approval Notice for Yale University
- Copy of all supporting documents issued to you in the OISS approval package (Form I-797 approval notice, I-129, and the Labor Condition application)
- Copy of most recent payroll from Yale
- If this will be your first H-1B visa application, and you were subject to the two-year home-residency requirement, bring a copy of your Form I-612 Waiver
Travel During Change of Immigration Status
Scholars are advised to not travel outside the U.S. during a pending change of status petition (e.g., those who are changing from an F-1/J-1/Other to H-1B.) Please contact your OISS adviser for further details.
Travel During Extension or Change of Employers
If you have any plans to travel outside the U.S. during the H-1B extension process, you should speak to your OISS adviser as soon as possible.
- If you plan to return to the U.S. before the expiration of your current approved H-1B status and with a valid H-1B visa stamp, there may not be any difficulty.
- However, depending on when the new extension is submitted to USCIS, the action of departing from the U.S. during the extension process can make the new H-1B extension inactive, or void.
- If you plan to leave the U.S. and your current H-1B status is expired, you cannot return to the U.S. until the extension application is approved, and the approval notice is sent to you. You would also have to apply for a new H-1B visa stamp with a consulate or embassy before you can return to the U.S.
- After you have received the new, extended H-1B approval notice, you may travel outside the U.S. once again. However, while outside the U.S., you will have to obtain a new H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. embassy or consulate. It is not possible to obtain visa stamps inside the U.S.