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Summary Of U.S. Department Of Labor Regulations Covering H-1B Workers Who Travel To Different Locations In the Course Of Their Jobs


Before employing a foreign national in H-1B status, an employer must obtain a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). Because wages vary according to city or region, LCAs are geographically specific. For a given position, an LCA must be obtained covering the area of intended employment. The area of intended employment means the area within normal commuting distance of the address of H-1B employment (there is no rigid measure for this distance). In certain situations when H-1B employees perform work at locations outside of the normal commuting distance, employers must obtain LCAs to cover the additional location(s).


If an H-1B employee travels/moves to different locations in the course of his or her work, under which circumstances must an employer secure an LCA for an additional location?


In the following situations, employers DO NOT need to secure a certified LCA for a location outside of normal commuting distance from the home worksite:

  • An H-1B employee is engaged in developmental activity, such as a management conference, staff seminar, or formal training course; and
  • An H-1B employee's occupation (not the nature of the employer's business) requires frequent travel from location to location AND the employee's presence at the locations other than the home worksite do not exceed five (5) consecutive workdays for any one worker.

  • An auditor conducting reviews at customer facilities; or
  • A sales representative making calls on prospective or existing customers at different locations within a "home office" territory

An H-1B employee's job duties require that he or she spend most work time at one home location but occasionally travel for periods not exceeding ten (10) consecutive workdays for any one visit.


  • A computer engineer sent out to troubleshoot software malfunctions at client locations; or
  • A manager monitoring the performance of employees stationed at other worksites.

In the following situations, employers DO need to secure a certified LCA for a location outside of normal commuting distance from the home worksite (i.e. situations not covered above):

  • An H-1B employee regularly works at the location;
  • An H-1B employee regularly or continuously performs duties at the location as an instructor or a member of resource or support staff;
  • An H-1B employee works on projects or accounts at the location for weeks or months at a time.
  • An H-1B employee is assigned to the location on a continuing basis;
  • An H-1B employee works for extended periods at a customer's office at the location; or
  • An H-1B employee fills in for full-time employees at the location for extended periods.

Note of Caution:

The regulations state that in the event of a DOL Audit, the DOL "would seriously question" any situation in which:

  • the H-1B employee's purported 'place of employment' (on the LCA) is a location other than where the worker spends most of his/her work time; or
  • where the purported 'area of employment' does not include the location(s) where the H-1B employee spends most of his/her work time.

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