Length of Stay
Six Year Maximum
The H-1B visa is eligible for a total maximum stay of six years*. The six-year limit includes time spent on the H-1B visa at other employers and time in L status. The initial H-1B petition may cover a period up to three years. Extension petition may be made for period of three years or less, up to the six year total.
As the six-year limit is strictly enforced, it is important to plan accordantly. It may be possible to begin another six-year period as an H-1B visa after the individual has spent at least one year outside the United States.
*Exceptions to the six-year rule: if an individual is at a certain stage in the application to permanent residency, she or her may be eligible for an extension beyond the six-year maximum. International Programs will work with the individual to determine if they are eligible for the extension.