USA and the UK
The H-1B Visa and time limits
The H1B visa is one of the most popular work visas available in the US and it enables companies to recruit overseas professionals across a range of speciality fields such as IT, finance and science.
It is a non-immigrant visa type which only allows this temporary residence in the United States and is initially issued by immigration services for a three year period. However, it is possible to apply for an extension of an additional three years with a flexible limit of up to six years permissible.
H1B visa holders are also eligible for a Green Card that would allow them to gain permanent resident status in the US.
Extending a H1B Visa
If an employer wishes to retain an overseas working then they must file a Form I-129 and pay the appropriate filing fees. Although, the H1B visa is subject to an annual cap when first applying, this does not apply for any extensions as the visa has already been included in the initial limits.
There is also a 240 Day Rule that enables the holder of a H1B to continue to work while their renewal/extension petition is being processed – this means a foreign employee can work for 240 days/8 months as long as they have submitted a legitimate extension petition.
However, it is important to note that if the H1B holder leaves the US during this 240 day period then they will have to remain overseas until their extension is approved so H1B holders are advised to stay in the US otherwise they could face potential problems.
How much is a H1B visa extension?
When a H1B visa is extended then there are additional H1B extension fees that need to be paid. H-1B extension fees include the filing fee for another I-129 petition and the optional premium processing fee. However, the Public Law and Anti-fraud fees to not need to be paid again. The ACWIA fee has to be paid for the first extension through the same employer but not on subsequent extensions.
Apply for an H1B extension past six years
In most circumstances, it is not possible to extend the H1B visa for more than six years. However, the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Act of 2001 (DOJ Act) do allow your same employer to submit a number of one-year H1B extensions after the six year maximum has been reached.
According to US Immigration Laws, the H1B visa status can be extended past the six year limit if the following conditions apply:
- The employee’s labor application for a Employment-based green card purpose has been pending for more than one year
- The employer’s petition for I-140 is approved under employment based green card and AOS/485 is pending
Documents Needed for H1B Extension
The H1B extension process requires a number of supporting documents to be submitted. If unclear about the paperwork needed then you should seek advice from a law firm that is aware of immigration law before submitting your application.
As part of the extension process you may need to submit:
- copies of your passport
- your current job profile
- evidence of ongoing job requirements with your current employer
- your credentials (resume/work experience/education certificates)
- labor condition application approval
- pending labor certification or immigrant petition or approved petition and unavailability of immigrant visa number
- other documents proving admissibility or maintenance of nonimmigrant status.
Moving from H1B visa to Green Card
Unlike other non-immigrant visas the H1B Visa is classed as a “dual intent” visa – this means H1B visa holders can apply for a Green Card to obtain permanent residency whilst they are in the US on a H1B visa.
There are many categories of Green Cards, including family-based Green Cards that allow you to join family members such as spouses already living in the US. Many H1B visa holders may be eligible for an employment-based Green Card providing that their employer is willing to sponsor them.
There are five categories of employment-based Green Cards, you could be eligible for one if you:
- Have extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher or a multinational manager or executive (EB-1)
- Hold an advanced degree or equivalent and have exceptional ability in a relevant field (EB-2)
- Are a skilled worker, professional who holds a Bachelors degree or unskilled worker (EB-3)
- Are a special immigrant (EB-4)
- Are a foreign investor with the ability to invest at least $500,000 in US businesses (EB-5)
To switch from a H-1B visa to a Green Card your U.S sponsor (your family member or employer) will need to file an appropriate petition on your behalf. Once this petition is approved you can apply for an Adjustment of Status by filing Form I-485.
Last modified on April 26th, 2023 at 9:23 am
Comprehensive immigration advice tailored to your circumstances and goals.
Designed to make your visa application as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Fast Track Package
Premium application service that ensures your visa application is submitted to meet your deadline.
Ensure you have the greatest chance of a successful appeal. We will represent you in any case.
The Advice Package
With our untimed Advice Session, our professional immigration lawyers will review your case and provide you with comprehensive advice, completely tailored to your needs and your situation.
The Application Package
With our Application Package, your dedicated caseworker will advise you on your application process and eligibility. Your legal advisor will then complete and submit your forms to the Home Office on your behalf.
The Fast Track Package
Our Fast-Track Application Package is a premium service for those who need to submit their application in time with their deadlines. Your case will become a top priority for our lawyers and you will benefit from our highest-quality services.
The Appeal Package
By choosing our Appeal Package, you can rely on our lawyers’ legal knowledge and experience to ensure you have the highest chance of a successful appeal. We will also fully represent you in any hearings/tribunals.
The time taken to process a H1B application varies considerably as it can depend on a range of factors including demand, where you are based and what role you wish to do in the US.
The average time taken to approve a H1B visa can vary between 3 and 12 months. It is possible to pay a premium processing fee to fast track the application so a decision can be made within 15 days.
In some cases, the US immigration services may need additional information to proceed with your H1B visa application and may issue a RFE (Request for Information).
You have 90 days to response to this and provide any information they have requested. It is important to deal with the RFE promptly otherwise you could face delays to your application or possible rejection.
It is possible to bring some dependents to the US if you have a valid H1B visa. You will need to apply for a H4 visa for your spouse or unmarried children under the 21 and they will only be able to live in the US for the time your H1B is valid.
The minimum salary for H-1B visa holders is $60,000 per year, however, employers are required to pay their H-1B visa workers the prevailing wage for their occupation. This means that the minimum salary varies depending on the type of occupation and what the average wage for that occupation is, for example in some technology occupations the minimum H-1B salary can be upwards of $100,000.
Yes, it is possible to travel and re-enter the US of a H1B visa. However, you should ensure you always have your supporting documents so that you can proof your immigration status when arriving and leaving the country.
Here at IAS, our team of immigration lawyers has already helped several companies and individuals get their H1B Visa extended. We can offer you a premium service, completely tailored to your needs.
Our services include:
- Liaising with you and your sponsor
- Completing your I-129 Petition
- Confirming that you have adequate competence consistent with the one requested by your role in the United States
- Helping with Request for Evidence
Use our online inquiry form or contact us today at +1 844 290 6312. We are here to help!