Frequently asked questions about the H-1B visa period of stay

Posted by Camilo Espinosa on July 25, 2017

H1B Period of Stay

Receiving your H-1B visa can be the start of an amazing career in the United States but often doubts arise regarding the period of stay with an H-1B visa. In this blog, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions and its respective answers.

How long can I stay in the United States with an H-1B visa?

You can stay inside of the U.S. for up to 3 years with an H-1B visa. This time can be extended but usually, cannot go over 6 years.

If I return to my country before my H-1B status expires, who pays for my traveling costs?

This will depend on why you’re returning to your country. If you’re fired from your job before the end of your period of authorized stay, the employer who petitioned you will be liable for the costs of you return transportation. On the other hand, if you quit/voluntarily resign your position, your employer will not be responsible for the payment of your trip.

When does my period of stay with an H-1B visa status start?

If you’re in the United States your time will start the day you change your status, but if you’re outside of the United States your time will start when you first enter the U.S. with your H-1B visa stamp.

How do I know when my H-1B visa is expiring?

When you first applied for the H-1B visa status, you had to fill something called: “Arrival-Departure Record Card” (Form I-94), In here you will find the date you last entered the United States as well as the date by which you must either leave or file a request to extend your status. If you don’t have an I-94 on paper, you can access it by going to the U.S. Customs & Border Protection I-94 website.

How soon before my H-1B status expires can my employer renew it?

Your employer can petition to renew your H-1B status six months prior to its expiration date. This will give time to both you and your employer to get all of your papers and process sorted out. As long as your petition is filled by your employer before your status expires, you can stay in the United States while the extension is pending.

Can someone stay in the United States for more than 6 years with an H-1B visa?

Depending on your case, you may be able to remain in the United States for more than six years. One of these cases can be, for example, if you spend a year outside of the US or if you travel a lot. It is very important that you know that the possibilities depend on your specific situation and should be reviewed with an immigration attorney.


If you need any help with staying longer in the USA or any other question regarding immigration law, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free 1-hour consultation.

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Topics: H1B Visa, Immigration