H-1B Extension Documents Checklist: Requirements for H-1B Renewals

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Required documents for H-1B renewal: Copies of visas, I-94s, and I-797 approval notices.
  • Additional documents include university diplomas, transcripts, academic evaluation of foreign degrees, experience letters, resume, recent paychecks, job offer letter, job description, company brochure, financial statements, and articles of incorporation if available.
  • H-1B renewal can be done for up to three years with an approved I-140 petition or in one-year intervals after maxing out six years.
  • Spouses can extend their H-4 visa.

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.

List of Required Documents for H-1B Renewal or Extension

H1B Extension Documents Checklist for Applicant

  • Copies of all U.S. visas, I-94’s and I-797 approval notice(s).
  • Copies of University Diplomas.
  • Copies of Transcripts from University Degrees.
  • Copy of Academic Evaluation of Foreign Degree, if available.
  • Copies of letters of experience from previous employers, if available.
  • Copy of Resume.
  • Copy of 3 most recent paychecks, unpaid leave of absence letter, or letter from employer as other proof of employment.

H1B Extension Documents Checklist for Employer

  • Copy of the Job Offer Letter containing the Job Title, Salary Offered. Signed by both employer and foreign national.
  • Detailed Job Description.
  • Company Brochure and/or any marketing material.
  • Copy of most recent Financial Statement, Annual Report or Business Plan, if available.
  • Copy of Articles of Incorporation, if available.

H-1B Visa Renewal Process

Three year H-1B Renewal

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.

One year H-1B Renewal

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.

Recapture Time

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.

For Spouses

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.

H-1B Visa Renewal Fees

The employer is subject to all H-1B renewal expenses:

  • The filing fee for another I-129 petition: $460
  • The amended Public Law 114-113 fee (if applicable): $4,000
  • The ACWIA fee: $750 or $1,500 depending on whether your employer has more or less than 25 employees.
  • The Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee: $500
  • Any optional fee of premium processing: $1,225

Other Options in Case H-1B Renewal is Denied

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.

Read More

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is an H-1B renewal, and who is eligible for it?

An H-1B renewal refers to the process of extending an existing H-1B visa status to continue working in the United States. Eligibility for an H-1B renewal is typically reserved for individuals who have previously held H-1B status and seek to extend their stay in the U.S. with the same employer.

What documents are required for an H-1B renewal?

The required documents for an H-1B renewal include:

  • A valid passport.
  • A copy of the previous H-1B approval notice (Form I-797).
  • Your most recent Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
  • An updated job offer letter from your employer.
  • A certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) specific to your employment location.
  • Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, filed by your employer.
  • Pay stubs to demonstrate your current employment and salary.
  • USCIS filing fees, which may vary depending on your employer’s size and your specific case.

Is Premium Processing available for H-1B renewals?

Yes, Premium Processing is available for H-1B renewal petitions. By paying an additional fee and submitting Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, you can expedite the processing of your renewal petition and receive a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days.

Do I need to provide educational qualifications and experience documentation for an H-1B renewal?

While you may not need to submit educational qualifications and experience documentation for every renewal, it’s advisable to keep relevant supporting documents available in case USCIS requests them. Documentation may include transcripts, degrees, experience letters, and professional certifications.

Can I include my dependents (spouse and children) in my H-1B renewal application?

Yes, you can include your dependents (spouse and children) on your H-1B renewal application. They may be eligible for H-4 visas. Ensure that you provide their supporting documents, including passports, visa stamps, and I-94 records, if applicable.

Can I travel outside the U.S. while my H-1B renewal is pending?

If you plan to travel outside the U.S. while your H-1B renewal is pending, be aware that you may need to attend a visa interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy to obtain a new H-1B visa stamp in your passport before re-entering the country. Consult with an immigration attorney for guidance on international travel during the renewal process.

Are there any additional steps or requirements for H-1B renewals specific to my job or employer?

Additional requirements for H-1B renewals may vary depending on your job position, employer, or any changes in immigration regulations. It’s essential to consult with your employer’s immigration attorney or a legal expert specializing in immigration matters to ensure that you meet all specific requirements applicable to your case.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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