H1B Extension

An approved H1B petition is initially valid for up to 3 years.  Upon expiration of the H1B visa, if the H1B worker wishes to continue employment with the same H1B employer, it is necessary to obtain extensions of stay.  An approved H1B extension petition is valid for up to 3 years.   Extensions beyond the 6 year maximum period of H1B admission are possible but only in limited circumstances.

General requirements of an H1B extension

  • Initial H1B visa is still valid unless special circumstances arise;
  • Initial H1B employer has been fulfilling H1B obligations i.e. paying prevailing wages etc…
  • Initial H1B job duties and circumstances of the H1B employment have not changed significantly;
  • H1B employer is willing to pay the up-to-date H1B prevailing wages, even if it means paying more than what the H1B employee has been compensating during his/her initial  H1B employment period;

H1B Extension Beyond 6 years

1 year residence abroad requirement
The main limitation of H1B extension is that it may be extended for only up to 6 years unless some exceptions apply.  Generally, once the 6 years period is reached, the H1B worker cannot seek readmission in the H1B category, extension of H-1B stay, or change of status to a new H1B visa until he/she is resided outside of the United States for a full year. Any brief trips to the U.S. during this year is counted toward fulfilling the one-year requirement.

H1B Extension Beyond 6 years

Exemptions from 1 year residence abroad requirement
There are several exemptions from the 1 year  residence abroad requirement for foreign nationals who have been on the H1B visa for 6 years or more.  These exempted circumstances allow the H1B workers to extend their H1B admissions beyond 6 years if:

    • they have been working in the U.S. on an intermittent or seasonal basis or for less than 6 months per year, or
    • they live abroad and commute to the U.S. to engage in part-time employment, or
    • H1B worker has an approved I-140 (I-140 beneficiary) for his/her EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 employment based petition who cannot adjust because of the unavailability of an immigrant visa for his/her country of origin i.e. priority backlog for Indian/Chinese EB petitions.

The rules and regulations for H1B extensions are detailed and complex. It is advisable to consult with an experienced H1B immigration lawyer to ensure that you have a provable H1B case.  

We have over 25 years of combined experience and excellent proven track record of helping individuals and corporations getting their H1B visas approved. Make sure you contact our experienced Chicago based H1B lawyers today so that your best case can be put forward. 

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