How to Request an H-1B Visa Extension

You must file an extension request when you already have the coveted H-1B visa and want to stay past the expiration. The initial validity period is usually three years, but you can stay up to six years and occasionally even longer.

The key is to follow the guidelines for filing an extension early. We’ll walk you through the visa extension process, including times, costs, and more.

What the H-1B Visa Extension Does for You

As of May 2022, USCIS has increased the automatic extension period through October 27, 2023. Until then, your employment authorization and EAD renewal are automatically extended for up to 240 days. On October 27, 2023, the extension returns to a 180-day period, as long as you’ve filed your I-765 renewal application.

The temporary rule was established to allow USCIS time to handle the EAD caseloads that had piled up after COVID. Anyone eligible for the automatic extension is granted the extra time to continue their employment without disruption, although you must still file the paperwork.

Extensions Past Six Years

If you’ve already received your initial extension and would like to stay at your place of employment beyond six years, this is determined on a case-by-case basis. H-1B holders on the path to a green card with a Labor Certification Application that has been pending for over one year can request an extension beyond six years. 

If approved, this is allowed in one-year increments until the decision about your green card status is finalized. The extension is only good for you, not your dependents. 

Anyone who has filed an I-140 (employment-based immigrant petition) with USCIS but hasn’t received a current priority date yet is able to apply for an Employment Authorization Document. 

With an approved I-140 and an EAD, you can work anywhere in the US without restrictions unless you change jobs or the employer withdraws the I-140. You could still remain in the US until the expiration of the EAD, but the original EAD would not be renewable. You’d need a new I-140 approved before the expiration date.

Typical H-1B Visa Extension Processing Times

The H-1B visa is in higher demand than ever, making processing times longer than usual. Right now, the regular application process requires about three months, but this depends on which service center you’re using and the caseload of requests there.

An extension with no delays, errors, or requests for evidence can take about four weeks. However, if three are issues or a backlog of requests, this can take over five months. Your immigration attorney can advise you as to when you should start the extension request and how long you can expect the processing time to take.

If you are concerned about the processing time, your lawyer may recommend premium processing. This expedites the petition request to 15 calendar days. By the end of that period, you should have received approval, denial, or request for more information. 

You’ll need to file a Request for Premium Processing (I-907) and submit the filing fee of $2,500, payable by the employer or employee, depending on the situation.

What to Expect During the H-1B Visa Renewal Process

You’ve already completed the initial process to receive your H-1B visa. The extension process is similar to that but without the lottery. You’ll have to submit filing fees, new He forms, a new LCA, documentation of your job, and other supporting documents. The petition package is slightly simplified because you only need one copy of each document.

The extension request must be submitted at least six months before the H-1B expiration date. Your employee must submit a new Labor Condition Approval (LCA) and an I-129. Once you file for an extension, your legal status remains valid for 240 days beyond the H-1B expiration.

Your Options for H-1B Visa Extensions

After three years, you can choose to request a 1-year or 3-year extension. The one year is used when a foreign worker files an I-140 at least one year before the six-year expiration date. The three-year extension is used when the applicant has already received an I-140 petition for an employment-based green card under an EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 classification.

You may also request an extension to “recapture” any time you missed in the US by traveling internationally. If you spent extended periods out of the US while your visa was valid, you can submit your US entry and return dates, copies of your I-94, and the stamps for those international travels. You may be allowed to stay in the US beyond your visa expiration date for the amount of time you were traveling.

Documents Necessary for an H-1B Visa Renewal

In addition to the basic documents mentioned above, USCIS requires foreign professionals to include the original H-1B visa and passport copy, the I-797 approval notice, and an I-94 arrival and department with a valid expiration date.

Additionally, you’ll need to include work-related documents, such as:

●     Your resume or CV

●     Something that proves your current employment (the three most recent paycheck stubs, a letter from your employer, etc.)

●     A copy of your bachelor’s or other advanced degree and the official university transcript

●     An academic evaluation

●     Letters of recommendation from past employers

Employees will have to submit documentation, as well. The job offer letter with details about the position, proof that the company is legitimate, and a copy of the business plan, financial statement, or annual report are required.

Keep in mind that the extension for the H-1B visa doesn’t automatically apply to your spouse and dependents. Your lawyer can help you determine the best course of action to keep your family together.

Filing Fees for the H-1B Visa Extension

As with the original petition, your employer is expected to pay the filing fees. These include:

●     $460 for the I-129 petition

●     The ACWIA fee ($750 for 25 employees or less, $1,500 for more than 25 employees)

●     $500 for The Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee

There may also be attorney fees when you need help completing the process.

What’s Next?

The extension request for an H-1B visa must be filed six months before the original visa’s expiration date. If you wait too long, it could reduce your chances of getting an extension approval.

Visa2US is ready to help you avoid the “out of status” designation that occurs when your visa expires before it can be renewed. Talk to our experts to see how you can get your H-1B extension request approved, how to keep your family together, and what your other options are if your renewal request is denied.

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.