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FAQs - H-1B Visas

What is an H-1B visa?

The H-1B nonimmigrant visa classification is for individuals who will work in a "specialty occupation." To be eligible, the offered position must require at least a bachelor's degree in a specialized field of study directly related to the duties of the offered position. The beneficiary must have that academic credential to be eligible for sponsorship.

What kind of jobs qualify for H-1B sponsorship at Dartmouth College?

Dartmouth will sponsor tenured and tenure-track faculty positions for H-1B classification, as well as certain senior research positions, and certain senior professional staff positions. To be eligible, the position must be full-time, exempt, and for a long-term appointment. The position and salary must satisfy the H-1B regulatory criteria, and the beneficiary must be able to demonstrate eligibility for sponsorship.

What do I need to travel outside the U.S. and return, if I am on an H visa?

In general, in order to return to the US in H-1B status you must have with you

  • the original H-1B approval notice (Form I-797)
  • a passport valid at least six months beyond the period of validity of the H-1B petition approval
  • a valid H-1B visa stamp (Note Canadian citizens are exempt from the visa requirement)
  • proof of employment under the terms of your H-1B approval (i.e., copies of two most recent pay statements)

**Note that if your H-1B visa stamp is expired you must apply for and receive a new stamp before returning to the U.S. OVIS recommends you check the relevant Consulate or Embassy website in your home country for specific information on the visa application process, as well as fees and appointment wait times.

What happens to my H visa status if I lose my job?

Your H-1B immigration status is tied to your valid employment. If your employment ends then Dartmouth is obligated to withdraw the approved H-1B petition. Unless you are able to change to another nonimmigrant status or change to a new H-1B employer, then you would need to depart the U.S. For more information on the H-1B and termination of H-1B employment, see the USCIS website.

What happens to my H visa status if I take a leave of absence?

It may be possible for Dartmouth College to maintain your H-1B petition as active if you are taking a permissible leave of absence. We can only do this if the leave of absence is for a defined period and is a benefit offered to all employees (such as a maternity leave), and is permissible under Dartmouth policy, and State and federal law. You should contact the Human Resources Office, and your immigration advisor at the Office of Visa and Immigration Services if you are considering a leave of absence.

My spouse has an H-4 visa -- can s/he get a work card?

Most H-4 spouses are not eligible for work authorization in the U.S. There is, however, a provision that allows work authorization for H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B principals who are in the employment-based green card process. More information can be found on the USCIS website.

I am in H-1B status at Dartmouth College, and I would like to travel to Canada for the weekend. However, my H-1B visa has expired. Can I go to Canada and return to the United States with an expired H-1B visa?

You may be able to travel to Canada or Mexico under "automatic revalidation". This allows some individuals to travel to Canada or Mexico for a period of less than 30 days and return using an expired visa. You should check the rules for automatic revalidation to ensure you are able to use this provision for travel. You should also confirm whether you require a visa to enter Canada or Mexico before seeking to enter one of those countries. Find more information about "automatic revalidation" at the US Department State and the CBP websites.

Last Updated: 3/16/18