Details for H-1B workers and H-4 dependents-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Details for H-1B workers and H-4 dependents

H-1B employees travelling outside the US should carry the following documents:

  • Current, valid passport
  • Current, valid H-1B visa stamp in passport. NOTE: an expired visa is valid for persons reentering the US from Canada or Mexico after a visit of fewer than 30 days.
  • I-797 H-1B Approval Notice (copy of entire form, original bottom section for H-1B beneficiary)
  • I-94 (most recent arrival record, printed from the CPB website)
  • Copy of the approved Labor Condition Application and USCIS form I-129/Application for H-1B status
  • Travel letter from OIE or department (strongly recommended but not required.) Make request to OIE one week in advance of travel by email or in person. Letter should state your name, period of current H-1B status, place and dates of intended travel, and expectation that you will return to continue your employment.

If applying for a new or renewal H-1B visa at a US consulate, also carry:

  • All documents recommended above for travel
  • Letter from department confirming salary or recent pay stub from Payroll
  • Academic documents showing degree obtained
  • CV or resume including list of publications (if any)
  • Letter from supervisor or advisor addressing Technology Alert List (“TAL”) issues if you work in a “sensitive” field with military or possible military application; read OIE handout on the TAL.
  • All other documents required at US consulate overseas. Access specific country and consulate information. Check for fees, application procedures, processing times, holiday breaks, etc.

H-4 dependents travelling outside of the US separately from H-1B holder should carry:

  • Current valid passport and H-4 visa stamp
  • Copy of the H-1B Approval Notice, visa stamp, and passport of the primary H-1B holder
  • If change of status to H-4 was granted in the US, carry the USCIS Approval Notice granting H-4 status
  • Copies of marriage certificate in English or with English translation (for visa application)
  • Wedding or other photos of the H-4 dependent(s) with the H-1B employee (for visa application)

"Dual Intent" of H status

Workers in H status benefit from "dual intent." Dual intent implies that that individual may choose to remain in the US on a more permanent basis (as a permanent resident, also called "green card holder"). Therefore, visa applicants at a US consulate overseas should not be overly concerned about the need to prove ties to home country (as is required for those in F or J status, although all other documentation (listed above) must be current and correct.

*Department of State (DOS) PIMS system*

The US DOS must verify the approval of the H-1B petition through the CCD Database in PIMS (Petition Information Management System) before issuing the H visa stamp. All H-1B approvals -- initial, extensions, amendments, and changes of status cases -- will be entered into PIMS. If a visa applicant is not found in PIMS at time of the H visa application, a two-working day process has been developed to research and enter the missing information into PIMS so that that visa application can proceed.

Last updated: February 9, 2017