A blog about U.S. immigration matters by Paul Szeto, a former INS attorney and an experienced immigration lawyer. We serve clients in all U.S. states and overseas countries. (All information is not legal advice and is subject to change without prior notice.)

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Monday, October 10, 2016

7 Things You Should Know After H-1B Approval

So you are one of the lucky winners in the H-1B visa lottery.  Not only did you get a visa number, but your H-1B petition has actually been approved, and you just started working as an H-1B professional in the United States!   

This is your first real job after many years of studies in school. Although this is an exciting time of your life, you should not relax just yet.  There are still many legal requirements and consideration that you should be aware of, as an H-1B worker.  The following are the most important ones:

1) Change in Work Location:  There is some new law that went into effect.  Generally speaking, before the work location (or client/project) of a temporary worker (E.g, H-1B) is changed, the employer must first submit an amendment before the move.  Sometimes, re-posting of the Labor Condition Application (LCA) or submission of a new LCA may be sufficient.   Failure to follow these guidelines will result in denial of future immigration applications and other adverse consequences. 

2) Material Changes in Employment:  Other material changes including change in the job nature and classification, working conditions, etc., must also be reported to USCIS through an amendment or extension petition.

3) International Travel:  Before travelling internationally, you must make sure that you have the required documentation to ensure your return to the U.S.  Usually, you must first apply for an H-1B visa stamp before you may return to the U.S.

4) I-94 Information:  Upon your return from international travel, you must check the entry information in the Form I-94 to make sure that the info is correct.  For example, if your H-1B/L-1 status ends on 9/30/2017 and your I-94 is only valid until 6/30/2107, it could be a mistake or an extension application must be filed before 6/30/2017.

5) Change of Address: For all non - U.S. citizen employees, every time when they change their addresses, temporarily or permanently, they must file the AR-11 form and keep a copy or proof online filing.  

6) Extension of Status:  Before your temporary employee status expires, you should start the extension application process at least 4-5 months before the expiration date to ensure timely filing.

7) Spouses and Dependents:  Do not forget to also keep the status of your spouse and children current.  Also check their I-94 entry information every time they travel. 

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