Once you receive your H-1B visa, what is the duration of H-1B status? Initially, you may obtain H-1B status for up to three years. Prior to the expiration of the three-year period, you may apply to extend your stay for an additional three years. In general, at the end of the six-year period, no further extensions of H-1B status are permitted. Although you are allowed to change employers by submitting a new petition to USCIS (accompanied by a new LCA from DOL), this does not waive the six-year limitation.
Extensions after six years are possible for certain persons who have experienced lengthy delays in the adjudication of their applications for labor certification or for employment-based visa petitions, or for H-1B holders who are unable to adjust their status in the U.S. because of backlogs in their preference category.
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Therefore, if you wish to apply for lawful permanent residence, you should begin this process as early as possible after you have located satisfactory employment.
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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