How to get more than six years in H-1B status

  1. The H-1B may be extended in one-year increments if a PERM, I-140 immigrant petition or an I-485 adjustment of status application was filed at least 365 days prior to the expiration of the H-1B.
  2. The one year increment extension mentioned above does not need to be filed by the same employer that filed the PERM or I-140 immigrant petition.
  3. The H-1B may be extended for additional three-year increments for those in the first through third preference employment categories if the immigrant petition cannot be approved due to per country visa limitations.  This is a pretty common scenario for Indian nationals.  Many employers have filed immigrant petitions but are waiting roughly seven to eleven years for the immigrant visa to become available.  This routinely happens because there are too many applicants for a limited number of immigrant visas.
  4. In the above scenarios, spouses and children can also extend their H-4 status along with the primary H-1B applicant.
  5. Here’s a really interesting twist that you may not have known about.  A spouse’s time in H-4 status does not count as H-1B time.  If the spouse spent six years in H-4 dependent status they could have an H-1B visa filed on their behalf and get the three years and renew for another three-year period in H-1B status.  The spouse that initially had the H-1B can also apply for H-4 status.  This scenario doesn’t allow you to extend H-1B status beyond six years but it allows a person to max out their H-1B time and stay in the country as an H-4 dependent.  With the new rule allowing H-4 dependents to have employment authorization documents, the H-4 is still an enticing opportunity.

The examples above may or may not apply to your situation.  Always consult with a competent immigration attorney before making any decisions that affect your immigration status.  Contact Dhanani Law Firm at (404) 593-0434 to schedule a consultation with attorney Rahim Dhanani.

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