The H-1B petition may be filed for an initial period of up to three years, with a possible extension of an additional three years. The maximum period is a total of six years, and any time spent in the L visa category also counts toward this time limit. To extend the period of employment, the petitioner (the employer) must file an H-1B petition on behalf of the individual exactly as it did for the initial period of employment. If the petition is filed in a timely fashion (i.e.: the initial period of employment did not expire prior to filing the extension request), the individual may continue to work while the extension is pending. If you have spent a substantial portion of the time you were in H-1B status outside the U.S., we may be able to "re-capture" this time by applying for an extension at the end of your six year total. Please contact the Office of Visa and Immigration Services for more information.
Last Updated: 5/28/09