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When you travel outside of the U.S., you should take 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
  • 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.

To request a Travel Letter:

  • Go to iHopkins Self-Service Portal:
  • Use iHopkins login option #1: ACTIVE JHED LOGIN. Enter your JHED ID (network/login ID) and password
  • Click “University Employment” from left side menu
  • Click “Travel Letter Request” to open the eForm
  • Complete and submit the eForm

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.

You are permitted to travel to Canada and Mexico for less than 30 days without a H-1B visa stamp 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
  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

Recapture Worksheet