You can travel abroad during your H-1B status. Your trip may be personal (to visit relatives, for example) or professional (to attend a conference or work with colleagues overseas). These recommendations will help ensure that you have a smooth trip.
Traveling during your H-1B status
What do I do if I am traveling to Canada or Mexico and I have an expired visa stamp?
If your trip will last 30 or fewer days, you may be able to re-enter the United States using the expired visa stamp. This procedure is called Automatic Visa Revalidation. Contact us for more information.
Gather and check your documents
You will need to take the following documents:
- Your passport
- Your I-94 card, which you will turn in when you leave the country. If you have an electronic I-94 instead of a physical I-94 card, you do not need to turn anything in.
We recommend taking the following documents, too:
- A recent letter from your department that confirms your continued employment
- A photocopy of your H-1B Approval Notice (Form I-797)
- A photocopy of your H-1B petition
Check your passport, H-1B Approval Notice (Form I-797), and H-1B visa stamp to ensure that they have not expired. If your passport will expire within six months, we recommend renewing it. If your visa stamp will expire while you are abroad, you will need to visit a U.S. consulate for an interview and get a new H-1B visa stamp to return to the United States.
Request a visitor’s visa, if necessary
If you are traveling to a country other than your home country, you may need a visitor’s visa. You may even need a visa for a transit stop or layover. To find out, visit that country’s embassy website and search for the nearest consulate.
Plan for additional wait times
If you have to get a new visa stamp while you are abroad, the process can take six weeks or more because of security clearances. When you make travel arrangements, you and your department should plan for the possibility of these wait times.