Extending your H-1B status

Your H-1B status is extended by the employer when filing with USCIS a petition requesting an extension.  The petition must be filed before your current H-1B status expires.
Required documentation must be submitted upon request by Immigration Affairs through Tracker.  Upon receipt, Immigration Affairs will proceed with requesting the prevailing wage and filing the Labor Condition Application.  The petition for extension should be file as soon as possible but not more than 6 months before your current expiration.
Extensions can be requested for any period of time up to a maximum of 3 years as long as this does not put you over the 6 years you are allowed to be in H-1B status.
Exceptions to the 6 year maximum include the following instances:
  • If you have spent time abroad while in H-1B status, that time is recoverable.
  • If 365 or more days have elapsed since a labor certification or I-140 benefiting you was filed, you may be eligible for a one-year extension of your H-1B status.
  • If you are a citizen of India or China having an approved I-140 but who cannot apply for adjustment of status because your priority date is not current due to the "per country" limits on immigrant visa availability, you may be eligible for a three-year extension of your H-1B status.

Employment While Extension is Pending
Depending upon the remaining time left on your H-1B maximum 6 year stay, federal regulations allow you to work for up to 240 days after your current H-1B expires while your petition for extension is pending with USCIS.
In order to take advantage of this rule:
  1. The petition for extension must be received by USCIS before your current H-1B expires; and
  2. You must continue to work for the employer that filed the extension petition.

H-1B Extension and International Travel
You must be physically present in the U.S. when your H-1B extension is filed with USCIS.  If you travel after the extension is filed you must be sure that you have, or can obtain, a valid H-1B visa for your return to the U.S.  If your travel plans include returning after your current H-1B expires, you will have to wait outside the U.S. until your extension is approved and you can use it to obtain a new visa.