H1B Travel

Documents Required for H1B, O1 and E3 Travel & Re-entry

If you are making a trip outside the United States, to re-enter the US, you will need the following:

  • Valid passport
  • If H1B or O1: original Form I-797A (Approval Notice for your current position). If E3, copy of Labor Condition Application (LCA or ETA 9035)
  • Letter from your hiring department/unit confirming employment in the position described in the H1B, O1 or E3 petition
  • Valid H1B, O1 or E3 visa stamp in your passport.** If you do not have a valid visa stamp in your passport, you must apply for one at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. Please see section below on visa issuance and renewal for more information.

Obtaining a Visa Stamp

If you have changed your nonimmigrant status to H1B, O1 or E3 while in the United States and have never had an H1B, O1 or E3 visa stamp in your passport, or if your visa stamp has expired, you must make an application with a US Embassy or Consulate outside of the US to obtain an H1B, O1 or E3 visa for re-entry.** You will need to present the following documentation:

  • If H1B or O1: original Form I-797A (Approval Notice for your current position)
  • All: copy of Form ETA-9035 Labor Condition Application (LCA)
  • If H1B or O1: copy of Form 1-129 (petition for H1B or I-1 submitted to USCIS on your behalf)
  • Letter from your hiring department/unit confirming employment and that you are expected to return to the US to resume the terms of your contract
  • If ever in J1 status: original waiver of the two year home residency requirement (required if filing for H1B visa only)
  • Valid passport (valid 6 months into the future)
  • Form DS-156 (available at Embassy/Consulate)
  • Please contact the specific US Consulate or Embassy where you plan to apply for other requirements, including photos and fees. Also, note that some Consulates and Embassies have recently changed to an appointment system. Please confirm application procedures prior to your trip. For more information on applying for a US visa, visit these State Department sites on the Internet:

Visa Renewal

If you have an visa stamp and it has expired, you must apply for the renewal of the visa stamp in the same way that you applied for the initial visa stamp in person at a US Embassy or Consulate abroad (see information above). It is not possible to obtain a US visa stamp within the US.

**Traveling to Canada, Mexico for less than thirty days

If you have an expired H1B, O1 or E3 visa stamp or if you have an expired U.S. non-immigrant visa of any other type (e.g. B, F, J) and you have a valid I-94 card stating your current valid H1B, O1 or E3 status, your visa will be considered automatically revalidated when you re-enter the U.S. from Canada or Mexico as long as ALL of the following are true:

  • You have only been in Canada or Mexico for less than 30 days
  • You have with you a current I-94 card stating your valid H1B, O1 or E3 status
  • You do not apply for a visa while in Canada or Mexico
  • You are not from one of the countries currently considered by the U.S. to be state sponsors of terrorism (as of 11/11/02 this includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea and Cuba)

For this automatic revalidation to apply to you, you must be careful to keep your I-94 card when leaving the US to enter Canada or Mexico for a trip of less than 30 days. Present your I-94 card along with your valid passport, original Form I-797A (H1B or O1 Approval Notice) or, if E3, LCA (ETA 9035) and a letter from your hiring department/unit confirming current employment.

Note regarding dependants

H4, O3 and E3D spouses and minor children must also meet the above passport and visa requirements and show proof of family relationship (marriage certificate or birth certificate) for re-entry to the US. If they are not accompanied by the H1B, O1 or E3, they must have copies of their spouse or parent's I-94 card and approval documents Form I-797A (if H1B or O1) or LCA; ETA 9035 (if E3).