Extension of H-1B Status at MUSC

In general, you are eligible to hold H-1B status for up to six years, in increments of three years maximum.

If you are eligible for an H-1B extension, your hiring MUSC department must request an extension of your H-1B status by submitting an H-1B extension request to the Center for Global Health. You (the H-1B employee) cannot initiate the H-1B extension request directly. 

H-1B Extension Process

If your hiring MUSC department wishes to continue your employment beyond the end date of your current H-1B authorization period, and you are eligible for additional time in H-1B status, MUSC can file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requesting the extension of your H-1B status.

The process for extending H-1B status is basically the same as obtaining your initial H-1B status – MUSC is required to submit a petition to USCIS requesting H-1B employment authorization and providing supporting documentation about you, your qualifications, the employer, and the employment position. MUSC can submit an H-1B extension petition to USCIS up to six months in advance of the requested start date in the petition (which, in most cases, is the day after your current H-1B status expires).

Hiring MUSC departments must submit the H-1B extension request to the Center for Global Health at least eight months in advance of your H-1B expiration date. Due to the complex nature of preparing an H-1B petition along with long governmental processing times for things like the prevailing wage determination, H-1B petitions often take several months to prepare. In other words, it may take several months in order to get the H-1B petition ready before being able to actually submit the petition to USCIS. Ideally, H-1B extension petitions should be submitted to USCIS as soon as possible.

If your department is planning to extend your H-1B status, you must contact your supervisor and/or your department’s administrator to discuss the process. You should encourage your department to initiate the H-1B extension request with the Center for Global Health as soon as possible.

The 240-day Rule

H-1B extensions fall under the “240-day rule,” which allows an employee already in H-1B status to continue to work for 240 days, or about eight months, following the expiration of his/her current H-1B status while the petition for extension of H-1B status is being processed by USCIS. The 240-day rule is applicable as long as the H-1B extension petition is received by USCIS prior to the current H-1B expiration date.

However, if your current H-1B status has expired, and you are continuing to work pursuant to the 240-day rule, you will not be able to travel outside of the United States during this time. This is because you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. in H-1B status without a valid H-1B visa stamp or valid H-1B approval notice. If you do need to travel outside of the U.S., and your H-1B extension petition is still pending with USCIS, you may be able to premium process your H-1B petition. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact the Center for Global Health to discuss your options.

Post-Six-Year H-1B Extensions

There are some circumstances that will allow the extension of H-1B status beyond the standard six-year maximum:

  • If the H-1B beneficiary has a PERM labor certification application or an I-140 immigrant petition that has been pending for at least 365 days prior to the end of the sixth year of H-1B status, H-1B status can be extended in one year increments.
  • If the H-1B beneficiary has an approved I-140 immigrant visa petition, H-1B status can be extended in three year increments.

If you think your circumstances may fit any of the criteria above, please contact the Center for Global Health to discuss.