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The H-1B visa in the United States allows U.S. employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. If a foreign worker in H-1B status quits or is dismissed from the sponsoring employer, the worker must either apply for and be granted a change of status, find another employer (subject to an application for adjustment of status and/or change of visa), or leave the United States.
An H-1B visa is issued for up to three years, depending on the period of validity of approved H-1B petition. However, as per requirement, it can be extended for up to another three years, with six years being the maximum period of eligible stay on H-1B visa; the 7th-year extension is available to persons who are applying for their green cards through the employment-based category.
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An existing H-1B immigrant can apply for H-1B visa renewal for up to three years, if he has an approved I-140 petition for the EB-1, EB-2 or EB-3 employment-based green card classifications, and if he can demonstrate that an immigrant visa is not available at the time the H-1B petition is filed because the immigrant visa classification sought is over-subscribed.
The H1-B visa immigrant may apply for H-1B renewal in one-year intervals post maxed out six years, provided the PERM petition or the I-140 petition was filed 365 days before the 6-year expiration date.
In case an H-1B immigrant travels abroad for extended period of time while on H-1B visa, he may apply for an extension or renewal on his H-1B visa for an equivalent time amounting to his absence in the U.S., provided he submits necessary documents stating U.S. entry and return dates, I-94 copies, and related stamps.
Spouses of H-1B visa immigrants are eligible to extend their H-4 visa upon expiration, provided he or she has not committed any crimes or violated the regulations of their visa. However, H-4 renewal does not happen automatically along with H-1B, the H-4 holders must file the I-539 concurrently with the original H-1B extension application along with proof of the relationship with the primary H1B holder, for visa renewal.
The employer is subject to all H-1B renewal expenses:
H-1B is a very sought after visa considering the effort, time and luck required to earn it. It is valuable to many foreign nationals, which is why most H-1B holders want to renew it as they find new employment, work toward their green cards, or simply wish to continue working and living in the United States.
However, the new U.S. rules may prevent visa extension, as they aim to impose new restrictions to prevent abuse and misuse of H-1B visas, besides ending the provision of granting an extension for those who already have a green card.
Therefore, in case your H-1B renewal is denied, you can consider applying for a different visa or green card that matches your qualification; such as, TN visas for professional workers from Canada and Mexico, J-1 visas for exchange visitors such as professors and medical students, O-1 visas for those with extraordinary ability, L-1 visas for the specialized employees, managers, and executives of multinational companies. Or, you may apply for a green card under EB-1, EB-2, EB-3 category.
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