Conditions And Limitations-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Conditions And Limitations

6 Year Limit

A person may remain in H-1B status for up to 6 years, although an employer may only petition for a maximum of 3 years at one time. There is no minimum period of time -- an employer may petition for a visiting professor to be in H-1B status for only a few months, as an example.

J Status and 2-year home residency requirement

Persons who are or were in J status and are or were subject to the two-year home residency rule must obtain a Waiver Recommendation from the U.S. Department of State and a Waiver from USCIS . For more information on obtaining the waiver, visit the U.S. Department of State and/or make an appointment with your OIE advisor. The waiver process typically takes 6 months or more. The Waiver Recommendation must be submitted with the other H-1B application materials. So, plan ahead!

The Cap

The US Congress has placed a limit (a "cap") of 65,000 on the number of new H-1B employees who may be processed in a one year period (of which 6,800 are set aside for citizens of Singapore and Chile).  There are an additional 20,000 H-1Bs available for workers who have completed their masters- or PhD-level education in the U.S.   Note: only new H-1B applications are counted towards the cap. H-1B petitions from universities (including Carnegie Mellon) and other research and non-profit organizations are currently excluded from the cap. Therefore, persons who will work for a university in H-1B status need not worry about the cap. Graduating students and those completing F-1 OPT or J-1 Academic Training need to plan carefully if working in the private sector.

Pre-approved Attorneys

CMU rules for hiring immigration attorneys and list of approved attorneys (.pdf).

Travel outside of the US while the H-1B application is pending

If the employee is in the US in another non-immigrant status (i.e. F or J), at the time of the H-1B application, the H-1B case will request most likely include a "change of status" request. In this scenario, the H-1B petition requests that (1) the employer be allowed to hire the qualified person in H-1B status, and (2) the employee's non-immigrant status be changed from the current status (i.e. F or J) to H-1B. For a change of status case, travel outside of the US while the H-1B application is pending must be discussed with the person processing your H1B application in advance of the H1B petition being filed with the USCIS. If the person exits the US, the status change portion of the application is considered to be "abandoned." This results in problems if the person reenters the US, when the H-1B is pending or after it has been approved, without having first obtained the H-1B visa stamp in order to enter the US legally in H-1B status.

Consular processing

H-1B employees who are living outside of the US or who are in the US but will exit the US during H-1B processing will want to request "consular processing" at the time that the H-1B petition is submitted to the USCIS. In this way, a designated US consulate will be electronically notified of the approval directly by the USCIS. For CMU scholars who are currently in the US, discuss consular processing options early in the H-1B process with the OIE advisor or attorney who is processing your petition if you plan any foreign travel during the H-1B application process.

Last Updated On: December 2016