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(#147-03/16/01)

Information regarding
the new "Portable" H-1B Visa


On October 17, 2000, President Clinton signed into law the "American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000." The new law increased the H-1B "training fund fee" from $500 to $1000, increased the maximum number of new H-1B visas to 195,000 per year through 2003, and allows persons previously issued a visa or otherwise provided H-1B status to begin working for a new H-1B employer as soon as the new employer files a "nonfrivolous" H-1B petition for the alien. This last concept is known as a "portable H-1B alien."

In order to be classified as a "portable H-1B alien"

  1. the alien must have been lawfully admitted into the US;
  2. an employer must have filed a nonfrivolous petition for new employment before the date of expiration of the period of stay authorized; and
  3. the alien must not have accepted unauthorized employment subsequent to his admission and before the filing of the new petition.

A "portable H-1B alien" who travels internationally while the new petition is pending with the INS can be readmitted to the US in H-1B status if the following conditions are met:

  1. The applicant has a valid unexpired passport and unexpired visa endorsed with the name of the original H-1B petitioner.
  2. The applicant proves that he was previously admitted or granted H-1B status. Such proof includes a copy of the previously issued Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record, or the Form I-797 INS Notice of Action (approval notice) with the original H-1B petitioner.
  3. The applicant presents evidence that the new H-1B petition was filed with the INS. Such proof includes the INS receipt notice that you should receive within one to two weeks after an H- 1B petition is filed.

IMPORTANT EXCEPTION. If the original H-1B petition has expired the alien is not allowed to reenter the United States in H-1B status until the new H-1B petition is approved. This is the case even if he was previously considered a "portable H-1B alien."

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