Extending H-1B Status
You are eligible to hold H-1B status for up to six years, in increments of 3 years maximum. If your hiring MUSC department wishes to continue your employment beyond the end date of your current H-1B authorization period, MUSC can file a petition to extend your H-1B status while you are in the US as long as you are still eligible to hold H-1B status for additional time. The process for extending H-1B status is basically the same as obtaining your initial H-1B status, in that MUSC is required to submit a petition with supporting documentation about you, your qualifications, the employer, and the employment position. Please note that your sponsoring MUSC Department must request an extension of your H-1B status by submitting a case request to the Center for Global Health—you cannot request that your H-1B status be extended by contacting the Center for Global Health.
The 240-day Rule
H-1B extensions fall under the “240-day rule,” which allows an employee already in H-1B status to continue to work for 240 days, or about 8 months, following the expiration of his/her current H-1B status while the petition for extension of H-1B status is being processed by USCIS. The 240-day rule is applicable as long as the petition to extend H-1B status is received by USCIS prior to the expiration of the current period of stay in H-1B status.
However, if your current H-1B status has expired, and you are continuing to work pursuant to the 240-day rule, you will not be able to travel outside of the US during this time. This is because you will not be able to re-enter the US in H-1B status without a valid visa stamp. You will not be able to apply for another H-1B visa at a US consulate office without a valid H-1B approval notice.
If you do need to travel outside of the US and your H-1B extension is still being processed by USCIS, you may be able to premium process your H-1B petition. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the Center for Global Health to discuss your options.
Post-six-year H-1B Extensions
There are some circumstances that will allow the extension of H-1B status beyond the six year maximum:
- If the foreign national has a PERM labor certification application or an I-140 immigrant petition that has been pending for at least 365 days prior to the end of the sixth year of H-1B status, the H-1B status can be extended in one year increments.
- If the foreign national has an approved I-140 immigrant visa petition, the H-1B status can be extended in three year increments.
- If you think your circumstances may fit any of the criteria above, you should contact the Center for Global Health to discuss.