H-1B status is temporary in nature and may be approved initially for a period of up to three years. It may then be renewed for up to another three years. Thus, the usual duration of an H-1B worker's stay in the United States can reach a maximum of 6 years. After six years of presence in the United States in H-1B status, the individual must depart the U.S. for at least one year before qualifying again for H-1B status. Under the following circumstances, H-1B holders may extend their status beyond the six-year period:
Currently there is an annual numerical limit/“cap” of 65,000 H-1B visas issued.
Unless otherwise authorized to work, employment may not begin until the USCIS has approved the petition. If the alien already holds an H-1B, the alien may begin work for a new employer as soon as the new employer files an H-1B petition on behalf of the employee with the USCIS.
The spouse and children of the H-1B visa holder are not permitted to work, unless otherwise authorized by the USCIS.
The H-1B visa does not automatically convert to a lawful permanent residence status. H-1B status is independent of the Green Card application.
Either the employer or the alien may terminate employment at any time for any or no reason at all. As soon as employment is terminated, the H-1Bvisa is technically not valid. However, the USCIS might allow a short grace period of ten days from the date that the alien is fired or laid off. In other words, the alien will generally be able to remain in the U.S. for ten days and must file a change of status during this time. This “10-day grace period” is not an official policy and it is up to the USCIS whether such gap between statuses will be disregarded.
The U.S. employer can replace H-1B workers with qualified U.S. workers. The H-1B employee has no claim to discrimination since a U.S. employer has the statutory right, but not the obligation, to give job preference to U.S. workers over H-1B workers. However, when an H-1B employee is hired, s/he cannot be treated differently from other similarly situated U.S. workers.
For more information on H-1B Visa, please refer on one of the following topics below:
H-1B Visa General Issues
H-1B Visa Related Articles