A 240-day extension rule is a process by which the employees are authorized to continue work for their employers in the US for up to 240 days while USCIS processes their renewal or extension petition, or until USCIS decides on your petition. Current regulations provide 240 days of continued work authorization to various nonimmigrant visa holders on timely filing of the petition by the employer. This rule applies to employment-based nonimmigrant visa holders. This article deals with eligibility and other details related to the 240-day extension rule for nonimmigrants.
What is the 240-day Extension Rule?
The 240-day rule applies to nonimmigrant visa holders who want to extend their stay in the US to work for their employer. This rule authorizes them to work for an additional 240 days, which begins from the expiration date of the authorized stay. The employer is suggested to fill “240-day Ext.” in the Additional Information Box in Part 9 of Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker). It is advisable that your employer applies for the extension of your stay 45 days before the expiration of your authorized stay. The 240-day rule only applies when your Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) is pending before the USCIS.
To apply the rule, in case requested by USCIS, you need to show that you are a nonimmigrant with a valid nonimmigrant visa, your lawful status must be close to its expiration or has expired, and that the petitioner(sponsoring employer) has timely filed the extension petition on your behalf. For example – Suppose your H1-B status is about to expire on September 30th, 2021, and your employer has filed the extension on August 1st, 2021.
You will be allowed to work for the same employer after September 30th for 240 days if the USCIS does not adjudicate your application before that. Once 240 days are expired, or USCIS somehow denies your extension application, then you have to stop working for the employer.
Certain limitations to the 240-day rule are that it does not apply where the extension application is filed with a change in employer and where the beneficiary wants to change his nonimmigrant status. Also, the terms and conditions of the initial authorization continue to apply even after the extension. It is important to note that the validity of the 240-day rule continues until either the adjudication of your extension of stay petition or until 240 days from the expiration of your authorized period of stay, whichever is first.
In case your Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) is still not adjudicated after the expiry of your 240-day extension, you will not be authorized to work for your employer any longer. Thus, it is advised that Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) be filed as soon as possible.
The general eligibility criteria that must be fulfilled to take advantage of 240 days rule are as follows:
- You were admitted into the United States with a valid nonimmigrant status.
- The status of your nonimmigrant visa remains valid, which can be determined by checking the departure date in the United States Customs and Border Protection stamp in your passport or Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record);
- You are not ineligible for a visa due to the commission of a crime;
- There has been no violation of conditions of admission by you;
- Your passport must remain valid during your stay in the US.
240-Day Extension Rule for O-1, P-3, H-1B, and L1 visa
USCIS allows you to file for an extension for O-1 visas(Aliens with Extraordinary Ability), P-3 visas (Artist or Entertainer Coming to Be Part of a Culturally Unique Program), H1-B visas, and L1 visas (Intracompany Transferee Executive or Manager). The 240-day extension rule will apply on all the above visas if your employer has submitted the extension application on time and you have complied with the eligibility criteria for the visas. This will help you and your employer prevent the discontinuation of work due to delays in the adjudication of your extension applications/petitions.
You may be required to submit the following documents when you are applying for the 240-day rule extension are as follows:
- A valid passport;
- Copy of your Form I-129 (Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker) or Form I-797C, which acknowledges that your extension of stay petition is pending before the USCIS;
- Copy of employees existing Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)
- Duplicate copy of all supporting documents;
- Copy of your nonimmigrant visa; and
- Copy of duly stamped Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Records)
The 240-day rule is an advantageous provision that covers up the time gap between the expiration of the nonimmigrant status and adjudication of your petition to extend your stay in the US. This helps in continuing your employment without any hurdles for an extended period of 240 days. Although the filing of application of the 240-day rule is effortless, it would be best if you considered the limitations of the same. If you have trouble filling your visa application or have any other queries related to US visa laws, you can contact Sethi and Mazaheri law firm. Our experienced immigration attorneys will help you with your immigration case.
When does the 240 days period start?
The 240 days period will start from the date when your authorized period of stay on your nonimmigrant visa expires.
What will happen if the USCIS denies my O-1, P-3, H-1B, or L1 visa extension application?
Suppose you are working on a 240 days extension, and you were notified that the USCIS had denied your extension application of either your O-1, P-3, H1-B, or L-1 visas. In that case, you are unfortunately out of status and will accrue unlawful presence in the US from the day of denial or the grace period USCIS designate for you in its denial notice. Therefore the best course of action for you is to leave the US immediately and apply for a nonimmigrant visa from your home country again.