H1b extension refers to the extension filing for lawful stay in US. H1b visa can only be revalidated / extended if the applicant currently have the same visa classification stamped. If you are seeking a visa which is in a different category to your existing visa, you must follow the process to obtain or transfer from your current status to the new visa status.
The maximum allowable period on the H1B visa is six years. However in some specific circumstances an H1 can be extended beyond 6 years.
American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act of 2000 (AC21) and the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Act of 2001 (DOJ Act) allow an H1B employer to file incremental one-year H1B extensions annually after the completion of six years on H1B status.
Under act AC21, H1B can be extended beyond 6 yrs if:
All your dependents are also eligible to get H4 visa. H4 dependent visa status continues to be tied to the principal applicant's H1-B status. This means that your spouse or children (in the H4 status) may only maintain such status as long as you hold the H-1B status.
H1b extension petition can only be filed by the employer and not by the individual H1b holder.
In sections 106 and 104(c) of AC21, Congress provided exemptions to the six-year maximum period of stay rules for certain H-1B aliens. This applies to aliens who were being sponsored by employers for the Green Card and are facing processing delays.
No. It's not mandatory to stay in the U.S. to receive an extension. However, it is likely that you will be working for your US employer who files for such an extension.
H1b extension filing that includes H4 dependents should be filed together for the family. Folowing are the documents/copies required for h1b extension filing.