H-1B Case Types

ISSS will assign a “case type” to each H-1B, E-3, or TN petition. The application process is the same regardless of the case type, but there may be slight variation in terms of timeline, fees, post-approval procedures, and what is allowed while the petition is pending.

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Amendment

If there are any material changes in an employee’s job, a new USCIS petition may be required. Consultation with ISSS must occur before the job change. This is particularly important if it involves a change of geographic location outside of “normal commuting distance” from the work location(s) listed in the most recently approved petition.

If an amendment is required, the department must complete the same application process and pay the required fees again. If the employee has not reached the 6-year H-1B limit, an extension may be requested at the same time as the amendment (see more information below).

Upon Submission of the Petition to USCIS

In most cases, the job changes may go into effect as soon as the amended petition has been filed with USCIS. It is not necessary to wait for the I-797 Approval Notice.

Upon Approval of the Petition

After the I-797 Approval Notice is received, the employee must complete a Form I-9 if an extension was requested. If the status end date has not changed, then a new I-9 is not required.

Consular Notification

“Consular Notification” is the case type applied to petitions when the individual is not within the United States when petitioning to extend or change (most commonly, because they are residing abroad). Petitions that are approved for consular notification receive an I-797B Approval Notice.

As explained on the H-4 Dependents page, when a case is designated for consular notifications, dependents are not included in the application to USCIS.

Upon Approval of the Petition

Employees can enter the U.S. no more than 10 days before the start date listed on the I-797B Approval Notice. Review the Travel page for information about U.S. embassies, wait times for visa appointments, and preparing for visa interviews.

Upon arrival in the U.S., employees are required to present ISSS with a copy of the Form I-94 (available online). They are also invited to schedule an optional orientation with an H-1B Advisor.

Employees who are new to the Twin Cities area may be interested in the Office of Human Resources Relocation Assistance Program. Additional information about campus and local resources is available on the ISSS website.

Employees must complete a Form I-9 on or before their first day of work.

Change of Status

Employees already in the U.S. with another non-immigrant status (for example, F-1 or J-1) may be able to change status to H-1B without leaving the country. Employees and departments should consult closely with ISSS about the timing of the change of status and the job start date, any international travel during this period, and eligibility factors such as:

  • Whether the employee is subject to the J-1 two-year home country requirement (see Students, Scholars, or Student-Interns)
  • Whether the employee is currently working at the U of M, and if so, whether the job title will remain the same or change for the H-1B petition
  • Whether the employee has maintained his/her current legal status (this is required to be eligible for a change of status)

Upon Submission of the Petition to USCIS

An employee may only continue working as long as their immigration status and work authorization remain valid. If there is a gap in work authorization, the employee must stop work completely until the H-1B petition is approved.

Upon Approval of the Petition

Employees who are new to the Twin Cities area and/or unfamiliar with H-1B status requirements are invited to schedule an optional orientation with an H-1B Advisor. Employees may be interested in the Office of Human Resources Relocation Assistance Program. The ISSS website has additional information about campus and local resources.

Employees must complete a Form I-9 on or before the I-797 Approval Notice start date (or immediately if the I-797 Approval Notice start date has passed).

Extension

H-1B status may be extended for individuals who have not used the full 6 years of available H-1B status. This is a cumulative total, inclusive of all H-1B employers. Under the following conditions, it may be possible to obtain H-1B extensions beyond the 6-year maximum.

  • The individual has reached a certain stage of the U.S. permanent residence process. Consult with your immigration attorney or ISSS (tenure-track faculty only) to determine eligibility.
  • The individual spent time outside of the U.S. during their H-1B period and can show evidence of this.

Upon Submission of Petition to USCIS

If the UMN has filed the extension application before the expiration of the current H-1B status, the employee may continue working for up to 240 days beyond the expiration of the previous H-1B status.

When the H-1B petition has been sent to USCIS, ISSS will input a 240-day grace period (Renewal in Progress) into the Visa Permit Data panel of PeopleSoft on a future-dated row. This will allow payroll to see that the extension is pending. If the requested extension will be for less than 240 days, then the employee is only eligible for a grace period that matches the requested H-1B end date. 

Because the Renewal in Progress is shown on a future-dated row, the employee will continue to show up with an expiration date on the Payroll Foreign National Expiring Warning Report until the last day that their previous H-1B status is valid. Department payroll staff may, therefore, wish to view the individual Visa Permit Data panel to make sure Renewal in Progress has been entered by ISSS.

Upon Approval of the Petition

After the I-797 Approval Notice is received, the employee must complete a Form I-9 on or before the I-797 Approval Notice start date (or immediately, if the I-797 Approval Notice start date has passed).

Transfer

Portability is the official term used by USCIS when an employee already holds H-1B status and "transfers" from one employer to another. In order for the employee to begin working for a new employer, that employer must file an entirely new H-1B petition prior to the expiration of the most recent I-797 Approval Notice and Form I-94. In most cases, having one H-1B petition approved will not make it any easier to get a second approval. 

Employees and departments should consult closely with ISSS about the timing of the transfer and about any travel outside of the U.S. during this period. Employees should not finalize their employment end date with their current employer until the UMN start date has been approved by ISSS. Employees should avoid a gap between H-1B employers whenever possible, although a discretionary grace period may be available in limited circumstances.

Upon Submission of Petition to USCIS

An employee may begin working on the requested H-1B start date if the UMN has filed the H-1B petition with the USCIS. It is not necessary to wait for the petition to be approved. The employee can complete a Form I-9 using the USCIS receipt for the new petition along with their passport, Form I-94 and original I-797 Approval Notice from the previous employer.*

Employees who are new to the Twin Cities area and/or who would like to discuss H-1B status requirements are invited to schedule an optional orientation with an H-1B Advisor. Employees may be interested in the Office of Human Resources Relocation Assistance Program. The ISSS website has additional information about campus and local resources.

Upon Approval of the Petition

After the I-797 Approval Notice is received, the employee must complete a Form I-9 prior to the I-797 Approval Notice start date (or immediately, if the I-797 Approval Notice start date has passed).

*If the initial I-9 is completed while the transfer petition is pending, the employee will need to complete another I-9 upon approval of the H-1B transfer petition.

Last updated: November 15, 2021