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H-1B eligibility

The foreign beneficiary must be fully-qualified for the job at the time the petition is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Eligibility Based on Legal and Appointment Limitations

USCIS regulations establish a 6-year cap on the number of consecutive years a foreign national may hold H-1B status. Initial admission as an H-1B can be up to 3 years; extensions of stay are granted in up to 3-year increments. Where a medical or other professional license is required, USCIS will approve the H-1B petition for either the length of the current license, or one year, whichever is longer. While ISO can request the H-1B for longer, units should note that the H-1B petition may ultimately be approved for a shorter period when the medical license will expire before the requested end date.

After that time, the individual must remain outside the U.S. for an aggregate of 1 year before another H-1B petition can be approved. Any periods of time in H-1B status with other U.S. employers prior to UW appointment count toward the 6-year limit. Extensions beyond 6 years are possible in limited circumstances involving delays in the processing of applications for permanent residence.

Multi-Year Eligible Appointments

For multi-year-eligible appointments, ISO will request H-1B status for the dates listed on the offer or reappointment letter, up to the 3-year limit on H-1B requests or other eligibility limits.

Annual Appointments

For annual appointments, ISO may request H-1B status for up to 3 years (or to the end of the appointment title eligibility, whichever is shorter); however, the department must indicate that the current expectation of programmatic needs is for more than one year, and the offer letter or reappointment letter must specifically state that continued visa sponsorship is contingent upon successful reappointment. If the beneficiary’s employment is terminated by UW before the end of the sponsorship period, either through non-reappointment or involuntary termination, the unit must pay the reasonable costs of return transportation to the beneficiary’s home country.

Two-year Home Country Residence Requirement

Scholars subject to the 212(e) 2-year home country residence requirement are not eligible to change status to H-1B inside the U.S. or to receive an H-1B visa stamp at a U.S. consulate abroad. See the J-1 Two-Year Home Country Residence Requirement page for more information and contact ISO with any questions or concerns.