Employees in H-1B, TN, E-3 or O-1 Status


MAINTAINING YOUR STATUS

Regardless of nonimmigrant status, the documentation secured for your employment at Augusta University and stay in the United States is only valid while you are employed at Augusta University. IPSO must be notified of any plans for change to employment to avoid being considered out of status. Failure to notify IPSO can result in the termination of your employment and/or your Exchange Visitor program and can negatively impact future petitions for nonimmigrant status and/or permanent residency.

  • Documentation
    • All documents issued by the U.S. Government or your home country in connection with your immigration status should be kept in a safe place, as they may be required for future immigration processing, travel, visa applications, work authorization, and/or related matters. Replacement of documents is the responsibility of the employee. These documents include:
    • Passport (Issued by: Your Country of Citizenship)
      • Make sure to renew passports (including those of dependents) at the earliest opportunity
    • Visa (Issued by: United States Department of the State)
      • Your visa is your “ticket” into the United States. It does not grant you valid status in the country. The expiration of your visa does not necessarily mean your status in the U.S. has expired. You do, however, need a valid visa to re-enter the U.S. after any international travel.
    • I-797A Approval Form (Issued by: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services)
      • This document gives status validity and employment eligibility for those in H-1B, E-3, TN, and O-1 status, and often includes a new I-94 at the bottom of the form. This form will indicate what status you are in, the sponsoring employer and the dates of validity. The form is only valid for employment with the entity listed for the dates listed.
    • I-94 (Issued by: United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or USCIS)
      • Issued by Customs and Border Protection when you enter the U.S. or attached at the bottom of a USCIS-issued I-797 approval, the I-94 will list the dates of valid status in the country. Your status must be extended before the end date listed on your I-94 or you must leave the U.S.
      • The CBP Arrival / Departure Record, issued to foreign visitors entering the United States may be in paper form or electronic. Paper forms were attached to visitor’s passports by a CBP officer upon entering the United States, with an expiration date stamped on the form.
      • Since May 2013, I-94 records are now created electronically upon entry into the U.S. Instead of a paper form, the visitor will be provided with an annotated stamp in their passport. For more information on the new electronic format and how to retrieve your I-94 number, please refer to the CBP website.

EXTENDING YOUR STATUS

(For those in H-1B, E-3, O-1 or TN status)

Processing for the extension of your status can begin six months prior to expiration of your current status. Your college/department will be notified of your pending expiration by IPSO. It is the college’s/department's decision whether or not to extend sponsorship of your status. Once IPSO has received a Processing Request Form to extend your status, we will contact you to advise what documentation will be needed for your extension.

  • The “240 Day Rule”
    • o    Those in H-1B, TN and O-1 status are eligible for the “240 Day Rule” allowing them to continue working in valid status past their current expiration date while their extension is being adjudicated as long as their extension petition was filed prior to the expiration date.
    • o    E-3 holders are not eligible for the 240 Day Rule and must have approved extensions to work beyond their expiration date.
  • H-1B status can be extended for 3 additional years past the initial three-year period. With exceptions, the maximum time allowed in H-1B status is 6 years.
  • E-3 status can be extended in two-year increments
  • TN status can be extended in three-year increments
  • O-1 status can be extended in one-year increments

TRAVEL

Current employees at Augusta University in H-1B, TN, E-3, or O-1 status should notify IPSO in advance of making any international travel plans to ensure chances of travel delays due to immigration issues are minimized.

H-1B, E-3, TN OR O-1 STATUS

OBTAINING AN H-1B VISA

Once you are in H-1B status, you will need a valid H-1B visa to enter or re-enter the United States. If you do not have a current valid H-1B visa, you will need to apply for a new one at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate which processes H-1B visas. To find more information on specific embassies and their services and procedures, consult the US DOS website at: http://www.usembassy.gov/.

Please carefully make note of the documents and fees required by the embassy/consulate. You must prepare and pay for these documents yourself prior to your meeting with the consular officials or submission of your application. When you notify IPSO of your plans to travel, a complete copy of your H-1B petition as it was submitted to USCIS will be given to you to bring to your visa interview.

Please be aware that your visa application may be selected for a security check. Some scientists and clinicians will be subject to this check because of the nature of their research and skills. These security checks might delay the granting of your entry visa for 30-60 days or more. This is a U.S. Department of State security clearance and cannot be influenced or expedited. Please plan your travels and advise your department accordingly.

THIRD COUNTRY VISAS

Applicants for H-1B status will sometimes read on websites that it will be easier for them to secure their initial H-1B visa in Canada or Mexico. This is not always the case: It's usually best for foreign nationals to apply at the U.S. embassy/consulate in their home country. A variety of factors can complicate Third Country National visa applications. Consular officers may decide that the home country consulate is better able to assess eligibility (home country ties, etc.), deny the application, and suggest that they apply at home.

ENTERING THE U.S.

In H-1B status, you may enter the United States with a valid H-1B visa and the original I-797A approval notice. In most cases you should be admitted for the duration of the approval notice.

Upon entry into the United States, you will be issued an I-94 Arrival and Departure stamp by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It is important the date stamped on your passport matches the expiration date on your I-797A approval notice. If the date stamped is earlier than this date, please have the officer check to make sure this has not been done in error.

CBP Website: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home.