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H-1B Extension Beyond Six Years Will Not Be Granted If Priority Date is Current and Green Card is Not Applied for Within One Year

Published: 05/18/2022

The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) § 214(g)(4) limits the amount of time that H-1B nonimmigrant workers may extend their H-1B status to six years. Under certain situations, however, H-1B status may be extended beyond the statutory six-year maximum, namely by way of a “Lengthy Adjudication Delay Exemption” or a “Per-Country Limitation Exemption”.

On January 17, 2017, regulations for high-skilled workers incorporating provisions of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) were implemented. Under AC21 §106(a), H-1B status may be extended beyond the statutory six-year maximum for H-1B nonimmigrant workers if, inter alia, a labor certification or immigrant petition was filed 365 days prior to the end of the sixth year. Under AC21 §104(c), H-1B status may be extended for three years at a time if the individual is the beneficiary of an employment-based I-140 immigrant visa petition, and is eligible to adjust status but for backlogs, caused by per-country limitations, in the employment-based first (EB-1), second (EB-2), or third preference (EB-3) categories. Therefore, a petitioner seeking an H-1B extension on behalf of an H-1B beneficiary pursuant to §104(c) must establish that at the time of filing for such extension, the beneficiary is not eligible to be granted lawful permanent resident (LPR) status on account of the per country immigrant visa limitations. In other words, if at the time of filing Form I-129 to extend H-1B status, the beneficiary’s priority date is not current under the Department of State’s Immigrant Visa Bulletin, the USCIS is authorized to grant the H-1B extension request for three additional years. Beneficiaries born in India and China can generally avail of the exemption under §104(c).

Source: Cyrusmehta

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