Maintaining Legal Status


H-1B status is like a contract, it is specific to one employer (appointment) and to the specific dates and activities as listed on the petition. Learn more about employment here.

I-94 Validity and Petition End Date

Those in H-1B status must pay close attention to their most recent I-94 record (the one attached to the I-797 approval notice or electronic version issued upon entry to the U.S. from a trip abroad after the H-1B is approved). The I-94 end date may be different than the approved H-1B period end date. If the dates do not match, an H-1B employee may work under the approved H-1B conditions until the petition end date or I-94 end date, whichever comes first. See the table below for more details:

I-94 and H-1B End Date Comparison

I-94 end date is earlier

H-1B status AND work authorization in the U.S. will end on the I-94 end date, and you are required to leave the U.S. by the I-94 end date. If H-1B extension is needed, the extension petition must be filed with USCIS before your I-94 end date.
H-1B petition period end date is earlier Work authorization will end on the petition end date, and the H-1B employee is required to leave the U.S. by the I-94 end date. If H-1B extension is needed, the extension petition must be filed with USCIS before the petition end date in this case.

Traveling in H-B Status

The Form I-797 Notice of Action is NOT an alternative document to the U.S. entry visa stamp. If you travel abroad during the approved H-1B period, you must have a valid H-1B visa stamp in your passport to reenter the U.S. (see Traveling in H-1B Status). If there is no valid H-1B visa in your passport for reentry to the U.S., the visa must be applied for and obtained through a U.S. consular office while abroad. A visa stamp cannot be obtained within the U.S.

If your passport expiration date is before the approved H-1B petition end date, it is strongly advised to renew your passport before reentry to the U.S. on the H-1B visa.

Note: For all international travel, individuals must retrieve their electronic I-94 record from the CBP online system upon entry or re-entry into the U.S. Please email your new I-94 record to your OISS adviser upon any entry to the U.S.

Extending or Ending H-1B Status

Extending H-1B Status

Please pay careful attention to the expiration date noted on the Notice of Action and your most recent I-94 record if you traveled abroad since the last H-1B approval. See Extensions for guidance on extension of status. Should your employment at Yale be extended, OISS must be notified of an H-1B extension request from your hiring department well in advance, ideally 6-7 months prior to the current petition end date. See H-1B Processing Time for details.

Ending H-1B Status

H-1B status is an employment-based status. As such, it immediately ends as of the date of termination of employment. Although Form I-797 (USCIS Approval Notice) may indicate a date well into the future, it will become invalid upon termination of employment. See Leaving Yale for more information, and consult with your OISS adviser when you must leave the U.S. in this situation.

After H-1B

The maximum period of stay under H-1B status is 6 years from initial date of approval of the status. For those who might need to stay longer than the 6 year period, it is important to communicate with your OISS adviser at latest 6-7 months in advance in order to examine potential options, if any. See After H-1B for more details.

Additional Considerations

Report any Address Changes

By law, you are required to report your new U.S. residential address within 10 days of the address change. You will also need to update your address in your Workday account.

Safeguard Your H-1B Approval Notice

As with all Immigration documents, it is important to safeguard your H-1B approval notice. Replacement of a lost Form I-797 requires the filing of an application with the USCIS, including payment of a significant replacement fee. The process can take more than 6 months.

H-4 Dependents

H-4 derivative visa status is for children under the age of 21 and legally married spouses. H-4 dependents’ status is valid only when the H-1B employee maintains their legal status and are physically in the U.S. If the H-1B employee is absent from the U.S. for a long period time (e.g. longer than an approved vacation period) H-4 dependents should not remain in the U.S. They would not be considered in legal status without the H-1B employee’s presence in the U.S.