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USCIS Issues Guidance on Periods of Admission for H and L Workers


U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released guidance on determining periods of admission for those previously in H-4 or L-2 status, those applying for additional periods of admission beyond the H-1B six-year maximum, and those who have not exhausted the six-year maximum but who have been absent from the U.S. for over one year. Specifically, the memorandum:

  • clarifies that time spent as an H-4 or L-2 dependent does not count against the maximum allowable period of stay available to principals in H-1B or L-1 status;
  • clarifies that H-1B workers, who qualify under section 106(a) and (c) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act of 2000 need not be in H-1B status when requesting an additional period of stay beyond the six-year maximum; and
  • clarifies how to determine the maximum period of admission in H-1B status for a beneficiary who was in the U.S. in valid H-1B status for less than the six-year maximum period of admission, but who has since been outside the U.S. for more than one year.

USCIS noted that a worker seeking H-1B or L-1 status (or corresponding derivative status) in light of these clarifications still must meet all of the substantive requirements for those classifications and is subject to the normal maintenance-of-status requirements.
Additional details on these clarifications and why they were necessary are included in the memorandum.

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