US announces a 1.5 years extension for H1B visa holders
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US announces a 1.5 years extension for H1B visa holders

Moumita Basu

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Going to the US and working has been a lifelong dream for many Indians. People prefer moving to the US and working for a few years as it provides a better opportunity, more exposure, a better lifestyle, and a higher salary.

The H1B visa, which is given mainly to working professionals, is one of the most coveted visas in India. Last year, over 300,000 H1B visas were issued to Indians, making India the top country for H1B visa allotment, followed by China and Canada. The latest development will undoubtedly catch your eye if you are:

  • A working professional
  • Planning to apply for an H1B visa
  • Currently holding an H1B visa

Recently, the Biden administration announced an automatic extension period of expiring work permits for specific categories of immigrants, including those seeking green cards and spouses of H1B visa holders who get employment authorization cards for a year and a half.

So what does the process entail?

As announced by the Department of Homeland Security, this move will benefit thousands of working professionals present in the US or ones who plan on going there in the future. The department also announced that the extension period of up to 180 days would automatically be extended to up to 540 days from the expiration date stated on the current EADs.

USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou told the media, "As USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) works to address the pending EAD caseloads, the agency has determined the current 180-day automatic extension for employment authorization is currently insufficient."

He also added that this would provide non-citizens already eligible for an extension an opportunity to maintain employment and provide critical support for their families while avoiding further disruption for US employers.

What are the exact rules of the USCIS?

  • All the immigrants with a lapsed 180 days extension and an expired work permit will be given an extension period for employment authorization and EAD validity
  • Those non-citizens who are still under the previous extension period of 180 days will be given an additional 360 days, which totals up to 540 days, and will gain an extension for EAD validity
  • Those who have a valid EAD and have applied for the renewal will be given a 540 days extension if the renewal fails to process before the expiration of EAD
  • Those who have a valid EAD on May 4, 2022, and pending renewal or have timely filed an EAD renewal application before October 27, 2023, are eligible for an extension of up to 540 days if their EAD expires before the renewal is processed

How will it benefit working professionals?

Indian-American community leader Ajay Bhutoria told the media that the recent development would benefit around 87,000 immigrants whose work authorization has lapsed or is set to in the next 30 days. Overall, the government estimates that around 420,000 immigrants are awaiting the renewal of their work permits. They will be protected from losing their ability to work for the policy duration.

The policy also plans to address a staggering 1.5 million backlog of work permit applications at the nation's legal immigration agency, leaving tens of thousands unable to work legally, resulting in a labor shortage.

Welcoming the recent policy change, Bhutoria mentioned, "This policy change allows employers to continue their workers and eligible immigrants to work on expired documents for up to 540 days, rather than 180. That means even the tens of thousands of people past their 180-day window have as much as another year of work authorization as Wednesday."

If you plan to apply for an H1B visa, sign up for a Zolve Credit Card and Zolve Bank Account, and start building your credit footprint in the country from Day 1.