An H-1B visa is issued for a period of up to 3-years with the possibility of an extension for a maximum of 6-years in H1B visa status. In limited situations, you may be able to extend beyond the 6-year limit. Find out how to extend or renew your H1B visa and if you are able to extend beyond the 6-year limit.
How do I extend or renew my H-1B Visa?
You are allotted a maximum stay of up to 6 years on your H-1B visa. This means you can extend or renew at least one time. An H-1B visa can be extended or renewed by filing USCIS Form I-129 with the appropriate USCIS service center. The process to extend or renew your H-1B Visa is the same as obtaining a new H-1B visa. The main difference is that you do not need to enter the H-1B lottery again for an extension or renewal. The following is required for an H-1B extension or renewal:
- USCIS Form I-129 and H Supplement
- Evidence that you have maintained your H-1B visa status
- Evidence showing the proposed employment qualifies as a specialty occupation
- Evidence showing that you qualify to perform the specialty occupation
- A copy of any required license or other official permission for the beneficiary to perform the specialty occupation in the state of intended employment (if applicable)
- A copy of any written contract between the employer and the beneficiary or a summary of the terms of the oral agreement under which the beneficiary will be employed
- An itinerary showing the date and places of assignment if the petition indicates that the beneficiary will be providing services at more than one location.
- A corresponding Labor Condition Application (LCA) that has been certified by the Department of Labor (DOL)
How far in advance can my H-1B visa extension or renewal be filed?
You can file as far as 6 months in advance or the expiration of your H-1B visa for an extension or renewal. We recommend filing as early as possible to avoid the need for premium processing and any potential lapse in your H-1B visa status.
Can I extend my H-1B Visa beyond 6 years?
H-1B status can be extended beyond the 6-year limit if a labor certification or I-140 was filed at least 365 days prior to the expiration of H-1B status. Extensions can be granted until the labor certification or I-140 is denied, or you become eligible for adjustment of status.
Can I travel while my H-1B extension or renewal is pending?
If you have a pending Form I-129 for an extension or renewal of your H-1B visa, you cannot travel outside the United States until it has been approved. Departing the United States before receiving approval is considered abandonment of the petition and will result in a denial. You must wait until the I-129 has been approved before traveling outside the United States.
Can I work while my H-1B visa extension or renewal is pending?
If you filed your I-129 Petition to extend or renew your H-1B visa in a timely manner for the same employer, your authorization to work continues for 240 days beyond the expiration of your I-94 or until a decision is made.
How can I expedite my H-1B extension or renewal?
You can expedite the processing of your H-1B visa petition by filing Form I-907 Request for Premium Processing with USCIS at the time you file your Form I-129 Petition or anytime thereafter. Premium processing is an extra fee and promises a decision in your case within 15 days.
Additional Outside Resources
- USCIS: Form I-129 Nonimmigrant Petition for Foreign Worker
- H-1B Visa Checklist
- USCIS Form I-140 Immigrant Petition for Foreign Worker
- USCIS Form I-907 Premium Processing
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The immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 20 years of experience helping people to live and work in the United States. Contact us today for a free assessment of your legal situation.