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H1B renewal impacted due to coronavirus

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Hi Team,

Due to some family emergency, I traveled to India on March 1st, 2020 and got stuck here due to lockdown and I cannot travel back until April 15th or until the situation in US and India comes to the stable;

My H1B visa is expiring on June 30, 2020, and I am due for my extension. ( Note: I still have 3 more years left in my 6 years of H1B)


1) Am I eligible to apply for H1B extension/renewal in the month of May? 

2) Do I face any issue at the port of entry as I have lesser days( < 90 days ) left in my visa? Is there any alternative?

3) With the premium process being suspended what other option do I have?

4) Can I opt for HNSC? Is it a valid option? Do I need to change my payroll? What is the process involved in HNSC? What are the eligibility criteria?

5) Does USCIS provide an exception in this case of extension or HNSC is a valid option here? Please suggest.


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Last week, USCIS had announced that deadlines would be extended for responding to Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny. Today, they have further clarified that this flexibility also applies to Notices of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) and Notices of Intent to Terminate (NOIT) regional investment centers, as well as appeals and motions filed on Form I-290B.

If the RFE, NOID, NOIR, NOIT, or denial was issued between March 1st and May 1st, USCIS is providing an additional 60 days to submit the response or file the appeal or motion:

Notice/Request/Decision Issuance Date:

This flexibility applies to an RFE, NOID, NOIR, NOIT or appealable decision within AAO jurisdiction and the issuance date listed on the request, notice or decision is between March 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020, inclusive.

Response Due Date:

Any response to an RFE, NOID, NOIR, or NOIT received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken. Any Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision will be considered by USCIS before it takes any action.


Although this is a helpful step for many employers, visa holders, and attorneys, it does not extend filing deadlines for status expiration. If your status is expiring, you must still comply with all existing regulations and timely file your extension or change of status before your current status expires.

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@gopalakrishnach - Thank you for your response.

One clear thing is for h1b extension/filling USCIS didn't announce any grace period. Keeping that in mind:

1) I cannot apply for an h1b extension from India - This option ruled out.

2) COVID-19 is also not in my control; So traveling anytime sooner is also ruled out. 

What option do I have here? What would be the best keeping the circumstances in mind? Please suggest.

- Santosh

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Generally, it is possible for an employer to file an H1B Petition for Consular Processing for additional H1B time for a worker who has been counted against the cap. The particulars of how to do so and how long processing will take should be reviewed with an attorney. The point to be mindful of is that premium processing is not available for any petitions. While USCIS did not explain the reason, it is likely because the Service Centers are continuing to operate despite having staff out sick due to COVID19.

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So, you are suggesting the HNSC options (H1B not subjected to cap).

1) Opting for HNSC, do I have to change my payroll?

2) What are the criteria needed for the qualifying for the HNSC eligibility?

3) What is the lead time, and how long do I need to stay in India?

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