”Recapture” allows an alien to extend H status by subtracting the period of time spent outside the United States from the authorized period of stay in H status. A person in H-1B status is considered to have accrued the 6-year period of authorized admission only during periods when the alien is lawfully admitted and physically present in the United States. This recapture policy was an Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision which was later made into binding policy.
Any part of a day spent in the United States in H1B status is considered a full day in H1B status. Therefore the day that the alien departs and returns cannot be recaptured. Only documented full days outside of the United States can be recaptured.
USCIS will only accept the recapture time if there is supporting documentary evidence. The alien must submit evidence such as: copies of passport stamps, Form I-94s, plane tickets, etc. to show that the alien was not in the United States during parts of their H-1B status. The alien must also have a statement or chart of dates that clearly shows the departures and re-entries into the United States.
How does it help?
The normal maximum period of authorized stay for H-1B non-immigrants may not exceed 6 years. With recapturing, a person in H-1B status may extend their stay in the U.S. beyond the maximum authorized stay.
Stays beyond six years are permitted, providing an application for a labor certification is filed for an alien employee 365 days before the expiration of the 6th year; any time an alien spent outside the United States may be recaptured to seek an extension of H1B status. This allows the alien some “grace” time to make his deadline for a labor certification filing.