Under current immigration law, an H-1B visa worker whose visa renewal or extension application is filed before his current H-1B visa expires, may continue to work for the same employer for a maximum of 240 days prior to the approval of the extension. However, many extension applicants have driver's licenses that expire on the same day as their current H-1B status.
Problem: Even though they may continue to work legally for a maximum of 240 days after visa expiration, H-1B extension applicants might have a problem with driver's license renewal depending upon their state's rules. Some states require an approval notice for renewal of the driver's license.
Keeping in mind that the issuance of a driver's license is entirely under the discretion of each state's motor vehicle agency, here are some tips in order to try to renew a driver's license if your H-1B extension is pending:
- Look at your state's licensing agency website for the renewal requirements. Most states provide a detailed list of the documents you need to renew your license.
- If the website is not clear as to requirements, call the agency and specifically ask what documentation is needed and whether an I-129 Receipt Notice is accepted (federal form I-797). Many states will accept certain receipt notices along with other documents and issue temporary licenses based on those documents.
- Personally go to the agency and take the following documents
- Valid Passport
- Expired Visa (or about to expire visa)
- Expired I-94 (or about to expire I-94)
- I-129 Receipt Notice (Notice of Action, federal form I-797)
- Copy of 8 CFR 274a.12 (b)(20) and 8 CFR 214.2(h)(1)(ii)(B)(1)
If these steps fail, then you should fast track your H-1B application and request premium processing. Currently, the USCIS will act on your application within 15 days after receipt of the $1225 premium processing fee. Premium processing can be requested online at http://www.uscis.gov/e-filing-i-907.
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