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In order to continue working without a gap or loss of lawful status, an H-1B extension must be filed by ISSS before the current H-1B expires. The extension process should begin at least 6 months prior to the current expiration date. A request for an extension can be for a maximum of 3 years or less as long as the beneficiary has not exceeded the 6 year maximum in H-1B status.  We recommend that once the petition for an H-1B extension has been filed, the H-1B worker should not travel outside the United States.

According to 8 C.F.R. § 274.12 (b) (20), if the H-1B applicant is currently in H-1B status with UNC-CH, it is possible for the applicant to continue working for the University for up to 240 days after the expiration of the current H-1B status as long as the H-1B extension was timely filed. Timely filing means that USCIS received (receipted in) the I-129, H-1B application before the expiration of the current H-1B. ISSS will notify the employee and department as soon as the I-129 receipt notice (the official notice of application receipt from USCIS) arrives. If the H-1B extension is not filed before the expiration of the current H-1B status, employment must stop and the individual may have to leave the U.S. until the H-1B is approved and the I-797 approval notice is received by International Student and Scholar Services.

Please note that an H-1B temporary worker can remain in H-1B status for a maximum of six years from the date of entry as an H-1B or the date of changing status to H-1B. There are, however, some exceptions to this rule. If you have a Labor Certification or an I-140 that has been pending for more than one year, then you may qualify for a seventh year extension. If you have questions regarding the seventh year extension, please contact ISSS to speak to the appropriate advisor.