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UC Merced International

After H-1B

After H-1B

Strategies and Green Cards

The H-1B has a limited duration of six years, total cumulative time during a consecutive stay in the U.S. For those who might want or need to stay longer than this it is important to plan far in advance. Most people who stay in the U.S. after the H-1B maximum time change to some sort of Legal Permanent Residence (LPR), also known as green card status. Please review the following points and speak to an advisor at OIA while planning your extended stay in the U.S.

Re-Claiming H-1B time
If during your H-1B stay you have taken vacation or business trips outside of the U.S., you may be able to reclaim this time in the form of an H-1B extension application through OIA.

Re-Starting the H-1B time period
If you have H-1B Status but then leave, and live outside the U.S. for 12 months or more you can apply to return to the U.S. in a new H-1B status that includes a new six year maximum.

Extending the H beyond 6 years based on a LPR application
There is a legal provision that allows some people to extend their H-1B beyond six years, as long as they have made a non-frivolous LPR application at least one year prior to the end of the H-1B. In other words, the deadline is to have immigration receive a complete application before the end of your fifth year in H-1B Status.


Changing to Other Visas
Most people in H-1B Status would not qualify to begin a new Exchange Visitor Program on the J-1 Visa. Canadian and Mexican citizens might qualify for TN status, Australian’s might qualify for E-3 status. Otherwise the only visa option might be the O-1, which is often very difficult to obtain.

Legal Permanent Residency (LPR)

Some UC Merced employees in H-1B status will qualify to have UC Merced sponsor them for LPR and others will not.

If it is your desire to apply for LPR status you need to plan in advance. In your fourth year of H-1B Status, you should discuss with your school administrator and OIA your eligibility for Yale sponsored LPR status.

If you do qualify, OIA will work with you to meet the H-1B six-year expiration deadline. If you do not qualify for UC Merced LPR sponsorship, you need to secure an immigration attorney to evaluate whether or not you qualify for another LPR category.

Many researchers at UC Merced that do not qualify for employment based LPR sponsorship may qualify for a self-sponsored green card. It is important to plan in advance and work with an immigration attorney so that you can file a successful application no later than the end of your fifth year in H-1B Status. Contact OIA if you need a recommendation for an immigration attorney.