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H1B Extension/Renewal


H1B visa status can be granted initially for up to three years, and then can be extended for another three years. The normal maximum amount of time a foreign national can remain in the U.S. in H1B visa status is six years. Once the six year cap is reached, the foreign national must be physically outside the U.S. for one full uninterrupted year in order to “reset” the 6 year clock.

In limited circumstances, H1B visa status can be extended beyond 6 years if:

  • The foreign national is the beneficiary of an approved I-140 petition.

  • The foreign national is the beneficiary of a PERM petition or I-140 petition that was filed over 365 days ago.

  • The foreign national is recapturing time spent outside the US during the past 6 years in H-1B status.

H-1B Extension Documents Checklist


In order to apply for an H-1B visa extension or renewal, a foreign professional must provide the following extension documents:

  • A valid U.S. passport with the original H1B visa

  • The I-797 approval notice issued by the USCIS

  • I-94 Arrival/Departure form with a departure date that has not yet expired.

  • Your resume or curriculum vitae (CV)

  • Evidence of employment demonstrated by one of the following:

    • 3 previous paychecks

    • a leave of absence letter or;

    • a letter from employer.

  • University bachelor’s or advanced degree

  • University transcript

  • Academic evaluation

  • Letters of recommendation from prior employers

Rules Regarding H-1B Extension 

  • 240 Day Rule:
    This is the H1B visa 240 day rule where an individual can continue to work for the current employer for up to 240 days after the current H-1B visa expiration if he/she is waiting for the USCIS decision.

  • 1-Year H-1B Extension
    The foreign professional may apply for an H-1B extension past 6 years in one-year intervals. This can occur if the PERM petition or the I-140 was filed 365 days before the 6-year expiration date.

  • 3-Year H-1B Extension
    The foreign professional is able to apply for an H-1B visa extension status for up to 3 years if the applicant has an approved I-140 petition for the EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 employment-based green card classifications and the immigrant visa number is unavailable.

  • “Recapture” Time
    Many H-1B holders decide to travel internationally for extended periods of time. “Recapturing” that time spent abroad is one way to be granted an H-1B visa extension. The foreign professional may request an H-1B extension if he/she traveled outside the United States during the validity of the visa. The applicant is obligated to submit U.S. entry and return dates, I-94 copies, and related stamps.