How Long Can You Stay in the U.S. on a Work Visa?

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The VanNoy Firm understands that navigating the U.S. immigration system can be complex and challenging. One common question we often encounter is, “How long can you stay in the U.S. on a work visa?” To answer this, it’s crucial to understand the different types of work visas available and their respective conditions and limitations.

Work Visas: H-1B and L-1

There are numerous types of work visas, but the most popular ones are the H-1B and L-1 visas. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant work visa designed for foreign workers in specialty occupations. It is initially granted for three years with the potential for extension up to six years. On the other hand, the L-1 visa allows multinational companies to transfer employees from their foreign offices to their U.S. offices. The initial period of stay is typically three years for L-1B and seven years for L-1A.

It’s important to note the difference between non-immigrant and immigrant work visas. 

Non-immigrant work visas, like the H-1B and L-1 visas, are temporary and do not lead to permanent residency. In contrast, immigrant work visas are intended for individuals who wish to permanently live and work in the U.S.

Work Visa Requirements and Extensions

Obtaining a work visa requires meeting specific qualifications. For instance, an H-1B visa requires a job offer from a U.S. employer in a specialty occupation and the necessary educational background or work experience. The L-1 visa, conversely, requires employment by a qualifying foreign company for at least one year and transfer to a U.S. office of the same company.

Extensions for these work visas are possible under certain conditions. H-1B visa holders can apply for extensions for up to three years at a time, with a maximum total stay of six years. L-1 visa holders can also apply for extensions, but the total stay cannot exceed five years for L-1B and seven years for L-1A.

However, maintaining a work visa is not without its potential challenges. The expiration or revocation of a work visa can significantly impact an individual’s right to live and work in the U.S. It is, therefore, crucial to stay informed about your visa’s expiration date and take necessary steps to maintain legal status.

Navigating the U.S. Work Visa Process

The duration of your stay in the U.S. on a work visa depends on the type of visa obtained, your compliance with its conditions, and any extensions granted. By understanding these factors and seeking professional advice, you can successfully navigate the U.S. immigration system.

Navigating the complex process of obtaining and maintaining a work visa in the U.S. can be daunting. That’s why consulting with an experienced immigration attorney, like those at The VanNoy Firm, is advisable. We’re here to guide you every step of the way, ensuring that you understand all the requirements and processes involved.



About The Author

Anthony S. VanNoy

Trial Attorney

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