H-1B classifications are usually granted for a period of three years. If the H-1B is approved with Consular notification (i.e., for beneficiaries who are overseas), most of the times the beneficiary arrives in the US a few weeks or months after the starting date of the H1B validity. In such cases, the I-94 card given at the entry point may still expire at the expiry of the H1B visa. In effect, the beneficiary gets less than three years of initial stay in the US, but since only the actual physical stay is counted towards the H1B validity, the remaining period can be captured through subsequent extension petition(s).
An H1B extension petition can be filed up to six month ahead of the expiry date. The Petition procedure is the similar to the initial petition except that the beneficiary’s legal stay in the US has to be documented with latest pay stubs, etc.
As the maximum stay permitted on H1B is six years, the second or subsequent extensions will usually be granted only for a fraction of the three year period. However, any time spent outside the US since the original entry on H1B can be captured with adequate documentation.
Further, H1B extensions can be obtained beyond six years if certain conditions are met.
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