H1B Extension: After 3 years


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Hi All:

let me start off by saying I am not employed in the IT field. I work for a small business as a design engineer. My H1B Visa expires September 23 2012 (applied in 2009). That is 83 days more. I am calculating the option of regular processing & not premium. I want to know if its the wise choice. If not, why not ? and secondly, will I be in-status post Sept 23rd if I haven't heard back from USCIS ? If so, how long is the legal status valid ?

Much thanks to all again for your time & inputs :

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The information posted is correct, albeit the regulation / rule regarding the 240 days was a little hard to find in the USCIS / DHS online information, when the approval of my extension went past my visa expiry date.

If the H-1B extension petition is filed before the current visa expiry date, then there is a 240 day in-status period to allow for processing and approval of the extension. The main thing to remember is that you cannot travel outside the U.S. during the period between the H-!B visa expiry and the extension approval, as you have no valid visa for returning to the U.S. This also applies to any H-4 dependent visa extensions that are filed in conjunction with the H-1B visa extension.

In my case, I did not realize that an H-1B visa extension is the same as a new petition (subject to all the same requirements, documentation, review, and approval as the first H-1B visa), and did not get the process started 6 months before expiry (lesson learned -- immigration processes require factual information, good communications with your lawyer, and proper and sufficient planning). It took 6 months for regular processing. During the 4-1/2 months in-status without a visa my son had to postpone a Christmas trip and there were some challenges renewing my daughter's drivers license.

Consider issues of beiing in-status without a visa and any issues that may cause the H-1B visa extension to be denied in deciding on permium processing. For me regular processing was okay.

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