Btween L1 and H1-B - Maximum tenure


I was in U.S on L1-B visa from July 2009 through July 2012 and returned to India prior to visa expiry. I returned to U.S on an H4 in May 2013 (when I had an approved H1-B) and now going back to stamp my H1-B. How long I can stay in U.S on H1-B (H1-B valid till Sep 2015)?. Is it 5 years max tenure allowed L1 and H1-B combined or I need to return to India prior to H1-B expiry, stay in India for 1 year and then come on H1-B extension if I don’t get through PERM in GC processing?.Could I have stayed in U.S for 6 years on H1-B had I stayed in India for 1 year upon my L1-B expiry?.

Similarly my wife started working on L2 from Nov 2011 till July 2012 and returned to India with me. She came back to U.S on H1-B in Feb 2013 (H1-B valid till Sep 2015). What will be the maximum tenure she can stay in U.S on H1-B without going back to India.

If say I start my GC in 1 year (July 2014) and my PERM/I-140 is approved before my H1-B expires, can I get H1-B extension and stay in U.S on another term without going back to India and be there for 1 year because of H1-B max tenure requirements?.


Your clock is not reset. So you can spend at most 6 years inside US on H-1 and L-1 visas. Same goes for your wife. Note that time spent on L-2 or H-4 is not counted.

If your PERM or I-140 have been pending for > 365 days, then you are eligible for 1 year extension beyond the 6 year cap. If your PERM and I-140 are both approved, then you can apply for 3 year extension.