H1-B Visa Workers: Can You Apply for an Extension?

The typical maximum stay for H1-B visa holders in the U.S. is only six years, even if they get a chance to extend their stay. Once they’ve reached this six-year maximum stay, they must leave the country for one year at least and then apply for an H1-B visa again. But there are two specific circumstances in which H1-B workers could apply for an extension beyond the six-year maximum stay.

While Waiting for a Green Card

In the event that as an H1-B visa worker you’re also seeking a green card based on employment in the first to third preference category and are eligible for status adjustment but are still waiting in line due to unavailability of a green card because of limits per-country, you could apply for an extension beyond the time limit of six years for an H1B visa, explains a top immigration attorney from Buhler Thomas Law, P.C. in Utah.

The maximum extension you could obtain from this extension is three years. You just have to request the specific extension time you need in your application and include an LCA or labor condition application to cover for the three-year extension. You could also apply for more extension time if you’re still waiting for your green card and were given less than three years extension time.

While Waiting for Agency Decisions

If you’ve been waiting for a significant time for your status adjustment or green card, visa petition based on employment, or decision regarding labor certification application, and filed 365 days before reaching the end of your fifth year as an H1-B visa worker, you could also apply for an extension. You could apply for multiple extensions under this policy, which mean that you could continue requesting for extensions every year until you get a decision from the agency you’re waiting on.

File Your Application Extension As Soon As Possible

Failing to maintain your H1-B visa before filing an extension could result in your application being denied. If your employer left the task of fixing your paperwork, it’s best to seek legal help to help you with the process. Your lawyer could determine if you’re eligible for an extension and work with you throughout the application process.