When Temple University files an I-129 petition, we may request either a change of status or consular processing. A change of status is appropriate for individuals who are currently in the United States. Consular processing is used for those who are overseas or those who will be traveling overseas while the application is pending. Travel outside the United States while a change of status is pending will abandon that change of status. All H-1B applicants must discuss any travel plans with the hiring department. ISSS will then work with the H-1B Applicant and the Hiring Department to determine whether a change of status or consular processing is best.
When USCIS approves the I-129 petition, the Service Center sends an I-797 approval notice to ISSS. If a change of status was requested, a new I-94 will be attached to the approval and will serve as evidence of employment eligibility. If consular processing was chosen, USCIS sends the original approval notice to ISSS and notifies the U.S. Consulate that ISSS indicated on the I-129 petition. The individual must then travel to the consulate to apply for an H-1B visa.
An individual who requests a change of status will be required to visit a U.S. Consulate and apply for an H-1B visa stamp the next time s/he departs the United States. The exceptions are for travel to Canada and Mexico. An H-1B employee may travel to Canada or Mexico for 30 days or less without a valid H-1B visa stamp, as long as s/he retains the Form I-94 and presents it for re-entry to the United States within a 30 day period. This is referred to as automatic visa revalidation. Citizens of countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism by the US Department of State (Iran, Sudan and Syria) are not eligible for automatic visa revalidation.