University of Mississippi
Office of International Programs
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H-1B

The H-1B category is for persons who are coming to the U.S. to be temporary workers in a specialty occupation. To be considered eligible for H-1B, the position must require at least a Bachelor’s degree. Employment approval is granted through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and is job specific as well as employer and department specific.

The H-1B status may be granted initially for up to a three-year period with a maximum total stay of six years. Workers in this category can fill permanent positions, but must leave the country at the end of their authorized period of stay. A person in H-1B status is considered to have dual-intent with regards to immigration. This means that while in H-1B status, workers may file for a change to another immigration category. H-1B is often the category used while in the process of applying for U.S. permanent residency.

Plan More Than Six Months In Advance

    At the earliest, the Office of International Programs may submit an H-1B petition to US Citizenship and Immigration Services 6 months before the intended beginning effective date of the H-1B. The H-1B application process is very long and requires much documentation from both the department and applicant. It is recommended that departments and applicants begin any new H-1B application, extension, or amendment as close to 6 months in advance of the intended start date as possible.

    If timing is a critical issue such as with a new professor hired in the summer months who must begin work at the beginning of the fall semester, departments have the option of filing for Premium Processing. Premium Processing guarantees a decision on an H-1B petition within 15 days of the receipt by US Citizenship and Immigration Services of the I-129, H-1B application. Refer to the H-1B packet under the forms section for the current fee structure.

H-1B Application Steps

    Please refer to the H-1B Application Packet for the H-1B application procedures. The H-1B Application Packet can be found on the OIP Forms page, under Employment Request Forms.

Maintaining H-1B Status

    Maintaining Passport

    All international faculty, staff, scholars and students should maintain their passport validity. In general, it is best to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months longer than the intended dates of stay. If renewal of a passport is necessary, check with your embassy or consulate about the renewal process.


    Report Address Changes

    International faculty, staff, scholars and students are required to notify the Office of International Programs of any address changes. Additionally, all faculty and staff in H-1B status have to report any address change directly to the Department of Homeland Security using the AR-11 Form within 10 days of a change of physical address. More information about address changes and address update requirements can be found on the Forms page.


    Limitation of Stay

    H-1Bs are only valid for a maximum of 6 years. H-1B holders who have pending Permanent Residency Applications may be able to extend their H-1B status beyond the 6-year limit, but extensions beyond 6 years are generally granted for one year at a time.

    If the H-1B holder has not left the country since the most recent H-1B Approval, they are valid to stay in the country for the time period listed on the H-1B I-797 Approval Notice.

    If an H-1B holder has traveled outside of the U.S. since obtaining H-1B status, they should have an I-94 card in their passport that notes their H-1B status and an end date of the status which matches the end date on the H-1B I-797 Approval Notice. The I-94 is the white card which should be stapled inside the passport next to the most current H-1B Visa.

    As long as the H-1B holder extends his/her H-1B status before the end date listed on the I-94 or on the H-1B I-797 Approval, they will be able to remain in the United States.

    If you will leave the program earlier than the end date on your H-1B I-797 Approval Notice, you must inform The Office of International Programs

    Employment Restrictions

    H-1B holders are not allowed to work for any other employer or in any other work location other than those that are authorized on the H-1B I-797 Approval Notice. For more information on work limitations see the Employment Restriction section in the H-1B Application Packet, which can be found on the OIP Forms page, under Employment Request Forms).


    Transferring to Another Employer

    An H-1B Holder can transfer to another employer as long as the H-1B holder is currently in valid status and the new employer files an H-1B application in a timely manner (before the intended start date of new employment and before the expiration of the current H-1B Approval).

    Before taking new employment, talk to the Office of International Programs. The Office of International Programs must withdraw or cancel your H-1B when you end your employment with the University of Mississippi. The withdrawal of the H-1B petition may affect your employment eligibility with your new employer.

Obtaining and Renewing an H-1B Visa Stamp

    There are specific travel requirements for anyone on a temporary visa. For information on initial entry into the U.S. in H-1B status, or if you are currently in H-1B status and would like to travel abroad and re-enter, visit the Travel and Transportation section.

TN

The TN (Trade NAFTA) category was developed as part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to facilitate the entry of Canadian and Mexican citizens to the United States to engage in professional business activities on a temporary basis. The TN category allows for admission of individuals for the purposes of working for a U.S. employer as a professional or working for a foreign employer (including even a non-Canadian or non-Mexican employer) to provide pre-arranged professional services to a U.S. employer.

Only occupations specified in Appendix 1603.D.1 of the NAFTA treaty can serve as the basis for TN employment. Appendix 1603.D.1 also stipulates the minimum qualifications for entry into the U.S. in each occupation. A list of requirements for each occupation can be found here: http://travel.state.gov/visa/temp/types/types_1274.html.

Both Canadian and Mexican citizens can be admitted to the United States in TN status in increments of up to one year. Extensions of stay are also granted in up to one-year increments. There is no cumulative total limit on the time a Canadian or Mexican citizen can be in TN status. Status can be renewed each year indefinitely, provided that the stay remains temporary in nature.

There are two basic ways for Canadian and Mexican citizens to process the TN: apply for the TN Visa in their home country or apply for a change-of-status to TN within the United States.

Applying for TN Outside of the U.S.

    For Canadian and Mexican citizens who are currently outside of the U.S., there is a separate application process for entering the United States in TN status. Information about obtaining the TN Visa can be found in our TN Application Packet, on the OIP Forms page, under Employment Request Forms.

    All Canadian and Mexican citizens who plan to apply for the TN outside of the United States should still complete the TN Application Enclosure B Section and submit the form and requested documents to the Office of International Programs. The TN Application Enclosure B Section can be found on the OIP Forms page, under Employment Request Forms.

    Departments should also submit the TN Application Enclosure A Section and support letter even if the prospective employee resides currently outside of the United States, but the department does not have to pay the TN filing fee associated with change-of-status.

Change of Status to TN within the U.S.

    If the Canadian or Mexican citizen is present in the United States in another nonimmigrant classification (i.e. F-1, H-1B, etc.), it is possible to file an application with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to change status to TN, without traveling outside the United States. An individual must have a valid nonimmigrant status in order to be eligible for a change of status, and must wait until the change of status is approved before he or she begins employment in TN status.

    If a Mexican citizen changes to TN within the U.S., the next time he or she exits the United States for travel, he or she must get a TN or TD visa prior to returning to the U.S. to resume work in TN status.

    Please refer to the TN packet for the complete instructions on TN application procedures.

Extending TN Status within the U.S.

    According to 8 C.F.R. § 274.12 (b) (20), if the TN applicant is currently in TN status with the University of Mississippi, it is possible for the applicant to continue working for the University of Mississippi for up to 240 days after the expiration of the current TN status as long as the TN extension was timely filed. Timely filing means that US Citizenship and Immigration Services must receive the I-129, TN application before the expiration of the current TN. The Office of International Programs will authorize employment to continue as soon as the I-129 receipt notice (the official notice of application receipt from USCIS) arrives before the expiration of the current TN.

    An extension for a TN worker currently employed by the University of Mississippi requires the department to pay the filing fee. Otherwise, the application process for a TN extension is exactly the same as it is for a change-of-status TN application. Please refer to the TN packet for the complete instructions on TN application procedures.

    If the TN extension is not filed before the expiration of the current TN status, employment must stop until the TN is approved and the approval notice is received by the Office of International Programs.

Maintaining TN Status

    Maintaining Passport

    All international faculty, staff, scholars and students should maintain their passport validity. In general, it is best to have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months longer than the intended dates of stay. If renewal of a passport is necessary, check with your embassy or consulate about the renewal process.


    Report Address Changes

    International faculty, staff, scholars and students are required to notify the Office of International Programs of any address changes. Additionally, all faculty and staff in TN status have to report any address change directly to the Department of Homeland Security using the AR-11 Form within 10 days of moving to a new physical address. More information about address changes and address update requirements can be found here: Address Reporting

    Limitation of Stay

    TNs are only valid for only one year at a time. There is no maximum to the total amount of time allowed in TN-status, but the TN should only be working in a temporary position. TN’s cannot work as tenure track professors or in any permanent employment position for the University of Mississippi.

    If the TN holder applied for a change of status or an extension of the TN from within the United States and has not left the country since the most recent TN Approval, they are valid to stay in the country for the time period listed on the TN I-797 Approval Notice.

    If the TN holder entered the U.S. in TN status, they should have an I-94 card in their passport that notes their TN status and an end date of the status. The I-94 is the white card which should be stapled inside the passport and shows the date of entry into the United States and the port of entry.

    As long as the TN holder extends his/her TN status before the end date listed on the I-94 or on the TN I-797 Approval, they will be able to remain in the United States.

    Employment Restrictions

    The TN is job specific as well as employer and department specific.

    Those in TN status cannot work for any employer other than the one which offered the initial employment for which the TN was issued (either the employer listed in the job-offer letter or the employer listed on the I-129 TN Application and on the I-797 TN Approval Notice).

    TN holders CANNOT receive honorariums or fees from other U.S. institutions or businesses for lectures or for contractual services. Any University employee in TN status must check with the Office of International Programs prior to accepting any offer to give a lecture or conduct any employment outside of the University of Mississippi.

Obtaining and Renewing a TN Visa Stamp

    There are specific travel requirements for anyone on a temporary visa. For information on initial entry into the U.S. in TN status, or f you are currently in the U.S. in TN status and would like to travel abroad and re-enter, visit the Travel and Transportation section.