When you travel outside of the U.S., you should take a the following with you:
- A copy of the H-1B petition/Form I-129 as it was submitted to USCIS.
- The original I-797 approval notice. If you do not have the original in your possession, please request this from our office prior to traveling abroad.
- Your valid passport
- Proof that you are maintaining H-1B status (3 recent paystubs).
- You can also request a "Travel Letter" from our office. This is not required, it is a courtesy that OIS provides.
You are required to have a valid H-1B visa in your passport to return to the U.S. from all countries except for brief trips (less than 30 days) to Canada & Mexico (see below). Before applying for the H-1B visa at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy abroad, please review the U.S. Consulate/Embassy website where you will apply for the visa to see if they require documents in addition to those listed above. Please note that Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa stamp requirement.
Travel to Canada & Mexico: You are permitted to travel to Canada and Mexico for less than 30 days without a H1B visa in your passport (you still need to take the other documents mentioned above). For detailed information about automatic visa revalidation, please refer to the information provided on Department of State's website .
***Important Steps to take when you return to the U.S. from travel abroad***
1. If you have an electronic I-94, retrieve and print your I-94. To access your record you will need your passport. Go to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. For more information and for answers to frequently asked questions, see the I-94 Fact Sheet.
2. Verify that the following information on the I-94 printout is correct.
- Your name should appear as it is stated in your passport
- The appropriate visa classification (H-1B or H-4)
- The end date on the I-94 should match the H-1B approval notice (Form I-797) or be extended for 10 additional days beyond the end date of the H-1B approval notice
- If your I-94 is shortened due to your passport expiring prior to the I-797, your status will end on the date marked on the I-94 record rather than the H-1B approval notice.
3. Contact the OIS if you notice an error or data inconsistency, or if the end date on the I-94 does not match your H-1B approval notice (or the H1B approval end date + 10 days).
4. Upon return from travel, document your time abroad on the Recapture Worksheet. The worksheet will make extensions beyond six years less cumbersome, and help ensure all available H-1B time can be requested from USCIS.