Changing Status to H-1B in the U.S.
If you are already in the US in another nonimmigrant status, you may be able to change status to H-1B. CGH will consult with you and the academic department about issues affecting your eligibility to change status and if you have maintained legal status. If you are currently in J-1 or J-2 status and are subject to the two-year home country physical presence requirement, we will not be able to request a change of status on your behalf unless you have received a waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.
If you are eligible to change status to H-1B while remaining in the US, then CGH will request the change of status on your behalf within the H-1B petition. You must be maintaining your current nonimmigrant status, or be in an authorized grace period, until the H-1B petition is adjudicated. Once the H-1B petition is approved and the H-1B approval notice has been received, your status will change to H-1B.
Traveling While H-1B Petition is Pending
You are advised not to travel outside of the US while an H-1B petition and change of status request is pending with USCIS. If you travel outside of the US while your H-1B petition and change of status request is pending with USCIS, USCIS will consider that you have abandoned this petition, and it may be denied. Please inform CGH if you are planning on traveling at all in the coming months during the preparation of your H-1B petition.
I-94 Card & Visa
If you are already in the US and MUSC has requested a change of status to H-1B, a new I-94 card will be attached to the I-797 H-1B approval notice. This I-94 card will replace your previous I-94 card or I-94 online record (the online record will not be updated) and will show your new nonimmigrant status (H-1B) and dates of valid status in the US. The eleven-digit I-94 number should be the same as the number you were given when you last entered the US.
If you change status to H-1B while in the US, this means that you may not have an H-1B visa stamp in your passport. You do not need an H-1B visa stamp in your passport in order to be in legal H-1B status in the US as long as you have your Form I-797A H-1B approval notice and your new I-94 card reflecting your H-1B status. You will only need to get an H-1B visa stamp in your passport if you travel outside of the US and need to re-enter the US in H-1B status.