When a foreign worker gets the US government’s authorization to work for a US company within the country due to their specialized knowledge, they do so via an H1B visa. Besides specialized workers, fashion models and project workers for the Department of Defense may also apply for an H1B visa. In such cases, a US employer hires and sponsors the applicant, pays their visa fees, and submit certain documents on their behalf.
Since this type of visa is only valid for six years, they must spend at least one year outside of the US before they reapply. However, visitors should know they can extend their stay past that duration, as well.
Ways to Extend Past Six Years
An H1B Extension after 6 years is possible. For instance, a year-long-extension is likely if the applicant’s PERM/I-140 went for filing about a year ago before their visa reached its 6-year expiration date.
You may also apply for a three-year-long extension with an approved I-140 petition for the employment-based green cards if they don’t have a visa number for the latter.
The last option for H1B Extension After 3 Years is through the Recapture Time option. If, as an H1B visa holder, you had to leave the US for extended periods of time while it was valid, you can get that time back. For that, you must submit your dates for entry and return, I-94 copies, and other documents, such as related stamps.
240 Day Rule
The H1B Extension Timeline tacks on an additional 240 days to your visa, provided your six-year limit is over, you have an approved I-140, and are awaiting your extension’s approval. Depending on if you satisfy the following requirements, you can continue working for 240 more days:
- Your visa was valid when you/your employer filed the extension petition
- Your petition got to the USCIS before the expiration date
- You work for the employer who filed for the extension
Should the petition get approval within this time, your extension will begin. However, in case of a denial, you must immediately leave the country.
H1B Extension Fees and Cost
Most of the H1B Extension Fees fall to the employer sponsoring you. They include a $10 registration fee, a $460 filing fee, and a 750 or $1,500 AICWA fee. Employers who have less than 25 full-timers working for them pay $750, and those with more than 25 must pay $1,500. If you end up with a different employer for the extension, they must also pay a $500 fraud prevent/detection fee.
Another expense for the employer is a $4,000 fee if more than 50% — or 50 or more – of their employees are in the US on an L1 or H1B visa. There is also an optional $1,410 fee for H1B Extension Premium Processing if you want to expedite things. Either you or the sponsor can choose to pay it.
H1B Extension Application Process
The H1B Extension Process is quite similar to the one you undertake for the H1B visa application the first time.
We list what you and your employer must submit to get the process started:
For the Employer
- Job description
- Copies of job offer letter signed by them and you, financial statement, annual report, business plan of the company, its brochure
For the Employee
- Your US passport with the stamp of the original H1B visa,
- USCIS-approved I-797
- University degrees, transcripts, academic evaluations
- I-94 with a still-valid departure date
- Letters of recommendation from past employers
- Employment proof, such as previous paychecks and employer or leave of absence letters
H1B Extension Processing Time
The H1B Extension Processing Time can go on for two to three months. So, apply as early as you can manage to and choose premium processing if you can afford it. The latter option reduces the duration to 15 days.
What to Do If H1B Extension Gets Denied
When considering H1B Visa Renewal and facing a roadblock, stop to consider if the USCIS sent you a rejection or a denial. For instance, this process has two stages. In the first one, the evaluating officer inspects your form, payment of fees, filing, and paperwork. Should any of these be out of place or absent, they will reject your case. And, while you won’t get a refund, you will have a chance to fix your error and refile. Of course, you must pay the new fees.
During the second stage, however, the evaluating officer won’t reject your petition; they will deny it. This can take place due to the following reasons:
- On switching employers or jobs, the new position isn’t sufficiently specialty to merit an extension. Avoid this by not changing jobs when you file for an H-1B extension. If you must switch, talk to an attorney about the special nature of the job.
- If you got hired by a staffing agency or own the company sponsoring you, you may get a denial. The USCIS states the sponsor should be in control of your employment completely – such as salary, firing, work location, etc.
- Your visa has lost its validity status. This will happen, for instance, if you commit a crime, dodge taxes, or work without authorization.
When you get denied, you can follow up on the issue behind it. Correct it before you refile. Or, you can have your attorney file a legal motion. You may also use a different visa/green card to petition. If those options don’t work, you’ll have to leave the US.
Extension Process for Family Members
As your spouse, your partner will be eligible for an extension, as well. They can begin by filing an I-539. Ensure that they include their original visa application and proof of relationship. However, just as with the case of a primary H1B holder, committing crimes or violating the visa regulations can result in denial of extension.
Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!
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