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Other Frequently Asked Immigration Questions

Prior to travel outside of the U.S., H-1B employees should obtain a travel letter from their respective department.                                                                                                                                                               

Be aware that if an H-1B petition is currently being processed by the OLA or outside counsel or has been submitted to USCIS and is pending approval, departing the U.S. may negatively impact the processing of the H-1B petition. If an international employee finds himself/herself in this situation, consult the OLA before making any travel plans outside the U.S.

Documents Needed for Re-entry into the U.S:

  • Original top portion of your current valid H-1B approval notice (I-797)
  • Bottom portion of the H-1B approval notice (I-797
  • H-1B petition packet - This is a copy of the materials submitted to USCIS provided to the H1-B holder by the OLA when it processed the case.
  • Passport valid for six months beyond the expected date of return.
  • Valid H-1B visa stamp - If a new visa stamp is needed, see the Getting a U.S. Visa Stamp section.
  • A brief letter from the relevant UD host department stating the international employee is in H-1B status; the pertinent salary (which must be at least the amount listed on the LCA in the H-1B petition); and the dates of travel the international employee will be outside the U.S., showing an expected return to work date.
  • If H-4 dependents are traveling with the international employee, the dependents must have a valid H-4 visa stamp, H-4 approval notice (if applicable), and a copy of the marriage certificate for spouse and copies of birth certificates for children. If dependents are traveling without the international employee, they should also bring an original employment verification letter supplied by the relevant UD host department and copies of the international employee’s approval notice (top and bottom portions) and of the H-1B petition packet.

If an international employee will be in the U.S. longer than six months and intends to drive, he/she is required to get an Ohio driver's license, regardless of whether he/she has an International Driver's License.


To get a temporary driving permit, an international employee will need to obtain an application packet from one of the licensing agencies. He/she will need to show the following documentation to get the temporary permit application.

  • H-1B Employees Required Documents (see below)

Required Documents for H1B Employees

  • Valid passport
  • Most recent I-94
  • Visa stamp
  • Original I-797:

     1.  Receipt Notice (I-797C): if at the time of renewal you only have the Receipt Notice, please borrow the original one from the OLA advisor who worked on your case.  OR
the latest Approval Notice (I-797A or I-797B)

     2.   A letter from your department verifying your employment dates and your status (please make sure that the letter was issued within the past 60 days)

  • Petition packet is optional and only recommended especially for renewals based on the Receipt Notice (I-797C)
  • Two different documents that show proof of Ohio residence.  Acceptable List of Ohio Residency Documents

A person must apply for a U.S. Visa outside the United States at a U.S. Consulate. Since consulates often require an appointment, an individual may need to schedule one several weeks in advance. Visa processing times vary from days to weeks to even months, depending on the extensiveness of any security check required.  Verify consular procedures, paperwork, and fees in advance by visiting the website for the consulate which will be used for applying for the visa. Applying for the visa in the person’s home country is recommended since the U.S. government discourages foreign nationals applying to consulates in third countries. Doing so may result in significant delays in visa issuance.

Family members accompanying the international employee to the U.S. should apply for H-4 dependent visas. Only spouses and children under 21 years of age are eligible for H-4 visas. Proof of relationship to the person (marriage and birth certificates) will be required as well as the original H-4 Approval Notice (I-797) if applicable.

Applications for an H-1B Visa Stamp require:

  • Original top portion of the H-1B Approval Notice
  • Bottom portion of the H-1B Approval Notice
  • H-1B petition packet (copy of materials submitted to USCIS given to you from OLA)
  • Passport (valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • A brief letter from the relevant UD host department stating: the international employee is in H-1B status; the pertinent salary (which must be at least the amount listed on the LCA in the H-1B petition); and the dates of travel the international employee will be outside the U.S., showing an expected return to work date.
  • Visa fee
  • Passport-sized photograph
  • Fees, additional forms and/or documents as required by the U.S. Consulate at which you will apply. 

Terms & Conditions

Employees holding H-1B status must maintain employment as described in the H-1B petition. Any change in the terms and conditions of the employment (reduction in salary, change in the number of hours worked, job duties, new employer, etc.) requires the filing of a new H-1B petition before the position changes take effect.

Employees who want to request unpaid leave should consult OLA first to ensure the leave does not negatively impact the H-1B status. Unpaid leave at the employer's request is not permitted.

Working for another employer requires additional H-1B filing with USCIS by the new employer.

Length of Status

The normal maximum time permitted on an H-1B status is 6 years. A maximum of three years may be requested at one time. More time beyond the normal 6-year maximum may be requested depending on how far along you are in the processing of obtaining permanent residency in the U.S. See Permanent Residency for more information.

Address Reporting Requirement

USCIS requires that all H-1B and H-4 status holders notify them of any address change within 10 days of moving by submitting Form AR-11.


For questions relating to the University policies of Legal Affairs, please contact:

Office of Legal Affairs