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H1B Extension: How it Works for H1B Holders
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Our blog explains in detail the following information about the H1B extension:

  • Steps to file an H1B Extension
  • H1B extension options
  • Upgrading to Premium Processing

Before you learn the H1B extension process, gain complete knowledge about H1B Visa.

Why the H1B Extension is a Popular Choice

The H1B visa has enough reasons to justify its popularity. Among the many visas issued in the USA, the H1B is valued for its benefits, considering the long and arduous processes involved. Foreign applicants have to cross several hurdles like finding the right US-based employer, getting selected in the H1B visa lottery, and finally obtaining a valid H1B visa.

The H1B's value also explains why foreign employees want to hold on to it by applying for the H1B visa extension. An H1B visa has a three-year validity period. If you wish to extend your H1B status, you must apply for an extension that allows you to continue working in the US for three more years. Your H1B visa expires after these six years. However, you can apply for a fresh H1B visa after leaving the US and remaining outside the country for an entire uninterrupted year.

When should you file your H1B extension?

As per the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ) norms, your US-based employer must file the H1B extension on your behalf. Ideally, all employers submit their extension petitions at least six months before the first H1B validity period expires. There is no point in filing your petition after the expiration date because once your initial H1B period expires, your H1B status is revoked or terminated.

Filing for an H1B renewal is one of the easiest among all other processes, provided you submit the right documents and complete the formalities before the

Here's a detailed compilation of the steps to file your extension application.

The H1B Extension Process- Steps Explained

The H1B extension process is quite similar to the initial application process. Here's how it goes:

Step 1: Your employer files Form I-129 on your behalf.
Step 2: You will submit the following forms and documents:

  • New H Forms
  • A new approved LCA from the Department of Labor
  • A new letter of employment
  • Copy of the original H1B approval notice
  • Filing fees
  • Other supporting documents (which we have discussed later in this article)

Step 3: Submit H1B dependents' applications, if any.

An H1B holder's spouse and unmarried children below 21 years are eligible for an H4 visa. Hence, they are also eligible for the extension and the H1B primary applicant. According to the rules, all extension applications should be filed together for the entire family.

The USCIS holds power to conduct a site visit before or after the extension approval. Officials from the Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) office may want to interview you and your supervisors to ensure that nothing is amiss.

H1B extension processing time delays and backlogs are quite common and should be expected. However, your application submission automatically preserves your H1B status. Your H1B extension status also allows you to continue working for the same employer for upto 240 days even if your original H1B timeline has expired.

However, there are two contingencies:

  1. Your employer received your I-797c Notice of Receipt.
  2. Your employer has filed your extension request before the end of your current H1B status.

Other Document Requirements for H1B Extension

According to the USCIS norms, it is mandatory for you and your employer to submit a list of documents for the H1B extension. Submission of all the documents at the right time is the best way to expedite your H1B extension processing time.

As an employee, you must submit:

  • Copy of passport
  • Original H1B visa (if any)
  • The USCIS' I-797 approval notice
  • I-94 Arrival or Departure form with an unexpired departure date
  • Your curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Bachelor's or advanced degree certificates
  • University transcript
  • Academic evaluation
  • Letters of recommendation from previous employers

To demonstrate Proof of Employment, you must submit:

  • 3 prior paychecks
  • Letter stating your leave of absence
  • A letter from your employer

Your employer must submit:

  • Copy of the job offer letter mentioning the salary, job title, job duties and having the signatures from the employer and the H-1B foreign employee.
  • Company brochure or other marketing materials.
  • Copy of the company's Financial Statements, Annual Reports, or business plans.
  • Copies of the Articles of Incorporation.
  • Job description.

Also Read: All You Need to Know About H4 Visa Extension

What are the H1B Extension Options?

The USCIS grants various options to establish your H1B extension. Knowing your options will help you at the right time.

1-year H1B extension

Your employer must renew this extension at the end of each 12 months. Your employer must have filed for a PERM application with the Department of Labor. It is the first step in the employment Green Card process. They could also have filed for an I-140, and if the petitions are pending for more than a year, the H1B visa is eligible for extension.

3-year H1B extension

You are eligible to apply for a three-year extension if:

  • Your Visa number is unavailable.
  • You have an approved I-140 petition for EB 1, 2, and 3 employment-based green card classifications.

Extension after six years

An H1B visa has a maximum allowable period of six years. You can also apply for permission to stay in the US beyond six years. To extend your H1B under the Act AC21 under these conditions:

  • Your application for an employment-based green card purpose has been pending for more than a year.
  • Your petition for I-140 is approved under employment-based green card.
  • Your AOS/485 is pending.

Recapture time

H-1B visa holders often travel abroad for extended periods. The USCIS grants H-1B visa extensions based on time spent abroad or what is known as recaptured time. To extend your H1B time limit based on your recapture time, you must submit:

  • US entry and return dates
  • Related stamp papers
  • I-94 copies

How to Upgrade to Premium Processing During H1B Extension

Regular processing is what USCIS does on a normal basis. Although the USCIS does not have any deadlines for completing H1B petitions, the process takes between two months to a year. However, if you want to expedite your H1B application process within 15 calendar days, you can choose Premium Processing. Even if your application is categorized under Regular Processing, your employer can request to upgrade your petition to Premium Processing on your behalf.

Premium Processing costs a fee of $1400. Although your employer is legally obliged to pay your visa processing fees, you can choose to make the payment for Premium Processing if your employer refuses to do so. You can pay the fees if you require your H1B approval for the following reasons:

  • To travel abroad for personal reasons
  • To obtain or renew your driver's license

How Does H1B Extension Work in India?

It is possible to file an H1B extension from India under the Cap Exempt. If you have not used your entire six-year H1B validity period, you must visit the US Consulate and get your H1B approval stamped. Nevertheless, when your H1B visa expires, you need to apply for an H1B approval and obtain a new visa stamp if you want to return to the US.
Call the TechFetch team for help.

H1B visa processing can be very tedious and time-consuming. Visit our TechFetch H1B website to get all information related to H1B.

**Disclaimer: All H1B visa processing details are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for updated information.**

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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