H-1B Status at UT
International Student & Scholar Services processes H-1B petitions for eligible position titles at UT. The allowable position titles can be found in the UT Policy for Hiring Foreign Nationals. The hiring department must initiate the H-1B request to ISSS to begin the process. Processing times for an H-1B petition can take up to six to eight months, so it is recommended to start the process as early as possible.
H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa status for an international worker who will perform services in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is one that requires a specialized body of knowledge, meaning that the job requires at least a bachelor’s degree. The regulations pertaining to the H-1B nonimmigrant status indicate the following:
- H-1B is job specific - the number of hours, job title, nature of job duties, and salary are all specified within the corresponding H-1B petition. Thus, an H-1B status holder is authorized to work for the employer that sponsored the H-1B position only, and may not work or receive payment from any other employer in the U.S. (including honoraria).
- H-1B is location specific - work that will be performed outside of Austin or a change in departments during the approved H-1B status may require an amendment of the H-1B petition.
- H-1B is time specific - the H-1B status can initially be granted for a period of up to 3 years, which is renewable for a maximum of 6 years, with few exceptions.
Maintaining H-1B Status
While traveling in H-1B status, it is important to carry your original I-797 H-1B Approval Notice, valid passport, valid H-1B visa and current proof of your employment. Please note that being in valid H-1B status is not the same as having a valid H-1B Visa. H-1B status holders will need to apply for an H-1B visa to re-enter the country after international travel. For information on obtaining a visa, visit the website of the U.S. Consulate in your home country and review our page Prepare for Your H-1B Visa Interview. International travel plans should account for potential delays while obtaining the visa at the U.S. Consulate. If you would like to check out your original I-797 H-1B Approval Notice for travel or if you have further questions about traveling or applying for a visa, please schedule an appointment for Faculty & Scholar Advising.
Extending H-1B Status
The length of time an individual may remain in the U.S. in H-1B status is indicated on I-94 Arrival/Departure record. Ordinarily, the date on the I-94 should be consistent with the H-1B approval notice on form I-797.
Please report any inconsistencies immediately to an International Faculty & Scholar Advisor. If an extension is needed, the department must initiate the process by contacting ISSS 6-8 months prior to the current H-1B expiration. The H-1B status holder will need to provide supporting documentation for the H-1B extension petition, as reflected on the ISSS website.
Understanding H-1B Immigration Documents
Arrival/Departure Record on Form I-94
This important Department of Homeland Security document allows an individual to remain in the United States in the indicated nonimmigrant visa status up until the date specified on the I-94 Arrival/Departure record. The expiration date follows the phrase “valid until” and is evidence of the H-1B status holder’s authorization to accept employment in the United States with the petitioning employer. The I-94 record should be reviewed for accuracy upon each entry to the United States.
H-1B Petition on Form I-29
The H-1B petition is filed on Form I-129 to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request H-1B status for an individual. ISSS prepares and files the H-1B petitions for The University of Texas at Austin. Changes in the details of employment (e.g. salary, job title, job duties, etc.) may require the university to file an amended H-1B petition.
Labor Condition Application on Form ETA-9035
The Labor Condition Application (LCA) is filed with the Department of Labor on Form ETA-9035. The LCA outlines the conditions of H-1B employment and The University is required by law to follow these conditions. Changes in employment conditions (e.g. salary, job title, etc.) may require a new LCA.
Notice of Action on Form I-797
Upon adjudication of an H-1B Petition, United States Citizenship & Immigration Services issues a Notice of Action on Form I-797, which reflects the approval of H-1B status for an individual. This document, along with the Arrival/Departure Record on Form I-94, is the official documentation of an H-1B status holder’s authorization to work in the U.S. The original Notice of Action resides with The University of Texas at Austin, and the H-1B status holder is provided with a copy of the form. For international travel, the H-1B status holder should bring the original Form I-797 to carry along with the passport, visa, Form I-94, and ideally a letter of employment.
In order to enter the United States in H-1B status, a valid H-1B visa is required. A U.S. Embassy or Consulate General outside of the U.S. issues the H-1B visa. Please note that H-1B status is not the same as the H-1B visa. Therefore, an H-1B status holder who was granted H-1B status within the U.S. will still need to obtain the H-1B visa upon the first trip outside of the United States. In addition, expiration of an H-1B visa in the passport does not necessarily mean that H-1B status has expired.