Travel & U.S. Re-entry in H-1B

Re-entering the U.S. from Abroad

Present the following documents to U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon re-entry:

  1. Passport (valid through the end date of Form I-797 Notice of Approval)
  2. Valid visa in H-1B classification (with multiple entry stamp)
  3. Form I-797 Notice of Approval

At the port of entry, your passport will be date stamped and returned to you. Obtain your electronic I-94 form and review the expiration date for accuracy. Sometimes, the U.S. Customs officer will add an additional 10 day grace period to your H-1B expiration date.

Obtaining Your Initial or Renewal Visa

Review the U.S. Embassy or Consulate website where you will apply for your visa for location specific information.

  • You can only obtain an initial visa or renewal visa at a U.S. consulate abroad. Visas are not issued in the U.S.
  • When renewing your visa, anticipate delays, especially if you will be traveling during holiday or peak travel seasons. Security checks can delay visa issuance by several weeks.

U.S. Consulates and embassies will generally require that you:

  1. Submit the DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Application (visit our DS-160 tips page for information on completing this form)
  2. Pay the nonimmigrant visa application fee
  3. Make an appointment to interview for the H-1B visa at the nearest U.S. Consulate or Embassy. The consulate will not schedule an appointment for you.
  4. Bring the following documents to your interview:
  • Passport (valid at least 6 months into the future)
  • Form I-797 Notice of Approval
  • Copies of I-129 Application, Labor Condition Application (LCA/ETA 9035) and H-1B Department Letter (emailed to you as a PDF)
  • Updated employment verification letter (Available from UCPath)
  • Most recent UCSF pay statements (last 3 months)
  • Original/certified educational documents, CV and publications
  • J-1 waiver documents, if previously subject to the two-year home residence requirement
  • Visa application confirmation Page
  • Visa application fee payment receipt

NOTE: Canadian citizens do not need to apply for a visa.

Automatic Visa Revalidation

If you will be traveling to Canada, Mexico for less than 30 days, you may be eligible for automatic visa revalidation. This means that you may travel to these countries for less than 30 days and return to the U.S. with an expired visa stamp, provided that you are otherwise admissible. Please confirm your eligibility at the US Customs and Border Patrol Automatice Revalidation website and the US Department of State website before traveling.

You may still need a visa to enter Canada or Mexico. Contact the embassy’s website that you will be traveling to for visa requirements.