The maximum period of H-1B stay is six years, regardless of the number of employers involved. After six years, an individual in H-1B status must depart the U.S. for at least one year before he/she can reenter and begin a new period of H-1B employment. The initial period of H-1B employment cannot exceed three years. At the end of the initial three-year period, an extension can be requested for up to an additional three years.
An employer is not required to offer H-1B employment for a specified length of time. Obviously, funding should be a primary consideration when requesting a proposed period of H-1B employment. Due to the cost and length of time involved in filing an H-1B petition, H-1B sponsors at UMMC should consider requesting the 3-year maximum period of initial employment unless there is a certainty that funding will be available for less than three years.
H-1B authorization beyond the usual six-year maximum is possible under the following circumstances:
Periods of time that the H-1B worker spends outside of the U.S. are not counted toward the maximum six-year limit and can be recaptured. Time spent outside the U.S. can be verified from documentation such as arrival/departure stamps in the employee’s passport or copies of flight itineraries.