H-1B status benefits from the concept of "dual intent,” meaning that anyone applying for an H-1B visa at a U.S. Consulate is not required to prove intent to return to their home country. Most other non-immigrant visa classifications do not benefit from dual intent. H-1B holders may seek a change of status to any other non-immigrant or immigrant status for which they are eligible. H-1B status does not make one subject to the
Pay and Taxes
As FTE employees, H-1B workers sponsored by NIH will earn a salary. USCIS requires extensive wage documentation for H-1B petitions. H-1B workers must be paid the higher of the “actual wage” and the “prevailing wage”. The actual wage is the wage rate paid by the employer to all other individuals with experience and qualifications similar to those of the H-1B nonimmigrant for the specific employment in question. The prevailing wage rate is the average wage paid to similarly employed workers in a specific occupation in the area of intended employment.
H-1B employees will owe U.S. income taxes on any income received during the period of employment. Income taxes are assessed at both a state and a federal level. The United States has
Income Tax agrements or treaties with several nations that may exempt some individuals from certain types of U.S. tax. FTE employeesIndividuals in H-1B status are also subject to Social Security taxes from the date they start working. See our
Taxes webpage for more detailed information.
Status vs. Visa
The terms “visa” and “status” are often used interchangeably, but they are actually distinct. A “visa” is the foil sticker issued by a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and placed in a passport; it is necessary for entering the U.S. “Status” refers to one’s official immigration classification in the U.S. as indicated on the
I-94 record. The I-94 record may be issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a port of entry or may be affixed to an I-797 approval notice from USCIS. It is possible to have multiple visas in one’s passport, but an individual can only have one immigration status while in the U.S.
It is important to understand the difference between visa expiration date and status expiration. One’s visa may expire while remaining in the country, but one’s status should not. A visa must be valid at the time a traveler seeks admission to the United States, but the expiration date of the visa has no relation to the length of time a temporary visitor may be authorized to remain in the United States. Refer to the Department of State
What the Visa Expiration Date Means page for additional guidance. Conversely, status expiration governs the length of time a foreign national is permitted to remain in the United States.