Covid - Coronavirus FAQs

J-1 exchange visitors and NIE (National Interest Exception)

Authored on: Tue, 09/21/2021 - 06:17

Question

 I am a Slovenian citizen, and I plan to do a 3-month student internship in the USA in December. I have everything arranged with my employer. The only question I have is, can I travel from the Schengen area on my J-1 visa? And if not, how can I come to the USA for my internship?

Answer

J-1 exchange visitors will be able to travel only if the visa is approved and they qualify for a national interest exception (NIE). If you already have a visa, you will need to apply for an NIE or travel to and stay for two weeks in a third country from which travel to the USA is allowed.  The US consulate in Slovenia has indicated they will consider NIE for J-1 holders:

  • Academic professors/researchers (J visa)
  • Au Pairs who are providing specialized care to a child needing particular medical, educational, or sign language care; or an au pair providing care to a child of parents working in the medical field related to Covid care or research.  (J visa)
  • Exchange participant pursuant to a government-to-government agreement (J visa)

Intern or Trainee at a U.S. Government Agency (J visa, with program series G-3)

National Interest Exemption for Visas – For Students

Authored on: Fri, 06/04/2021 - 06:05

Question

Today I got NIE waiver approval from the US consulate. They sent the approval mail with a passport number. I have a valid USA visa. I am planning to travel back to the USA in a week. What doc's required to travel ? or NIE waiver is sufficient?

Answer

You have not told us what type of visa you possess. In addition to the NIE, you must meet all the usual requirements for your visa type.

Note: For the NRI readers, The Economic Times has started an immigration helpdesk. A team of experts which includes Rajiv S. Khanna will address the most pressing issues. Please see the link below.

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/nri/migrate/nri-helpdesk-all-you-need-to-know-about-the-current-situation-for-f-1-and-j-1-visas/articleshow/83171279.cms

Visitor, Tourist, B-2 visa extensions and multiple extensions

Authored on: Mon, 01/11/2021 - 11:57

Question

My Mother-in-law arrived in the USA on Feb 19th, 2020 on visitor visa (B2), her initial plan was to stay till Aug 11th 2020 but due to covid-19 and travel ban we have applied extension for another 6 months - Feb 4th, 2021 on June 19th, 2020. Her case status is still under processing("Case Was Received") even though she is getting close to the end of first extension. Since she is over 62 and belongs to high-risk traveler category(with pre-existing conditions), we would like to extend her stay for another 6 months, mostly till June 2021. Her authorized stay(I-94) expired on 8/18/2020
<br>

1) Can we apply the second extension for another 6 months while her first extension is in processing, if yes, what is the process?<br>

2) Can she stay in the US even after Feb 4th (first application requested end-date) while the application is being processed, will this be considered overstay?<br>

3) What happens if my mother in law leaves before biometrics appointment?<br>

4) if rejected, how soon do we have to leave the US and will the stay from I-94 is considered as overstay?<br>

5) Staying beyond 1 yr has any impact on future visits?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Visitor, Tourist, B-2 visa extensions and multiple extensions

Video Transcript:

This FAQ has become such a problem for people. Answering to the question:

1. Yes, you can.

2. Yes, she can.

3. Just keep track of all the paperwork you have filed to make sure you can prove to the government that she was legally in the United States. She can leave before the biometrics.

4. Reasonable time. A few days to three weeks depending upon what is reasonable under the circumstances.

5. If she stays here for six months or one year, let her stay outside for at least a year otherwise the government can refuse her entry saying you have been coming too frequently. FAQ in detail...

 

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Green Card holder stuck outside the US for more than a year

Authored on: Thu, 10/01/2020 - 07:46

Question

I am a US citizen who Sponsored my fathers green card in 2010. His green card is expiring oct 2020. He had to stay in India since Jan 2019 due to health conditions. With the Covid pandemic situation and his age (81) and health conditions, he is not able to travel back to the united States before the green card expiry. My father does not have any family in India to take care of him and will have to come here so that my brother and I can take care of him. What are our options for avoiding the expiry of the green card? Secondly, is there a 60 day extension on the expiry date due to Covid 19?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Green Card holder stuck outside the US for more than a year

Video Transcript

You should try to get in touch with the consulate and send them emails, etc., asking them their guidance and that way you have at least some proof that you are trying to get back into the USA on time, but if it goes past one year it can't be helped, you can always start a new green card if you like, not too many options here. FAQ in detail...

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Covid-19/Coronavirus applying for B-2 status

Authored on: Tue, 07/28/2020 - 03:07

Question

I came to the US on H1b in 2010. My i140 got approved in Dec 2013. I joined a new employer on 21 Feb 2020. My H1B got approved till 20 Feb 2023, But I did not receive any receipt notice for my wife and my elder son H4. My employer told me that he applied for an H4 visa for my dependents.

Unfortunately, I got laid off due to COVID-19 and my employer notified USCIS on 8th June 2020 to revoke my visa. My priority is to find a new job. But in case I do not find any job I would like to move out of the USA, I do not want to accrue unlawful days. But, due to the COVID-19 situation in India, I am scared to travel to India.

My wife called USCIS and was asked to email USCIS on lockboxSupport@uscis.dhs.gov to notify her of the receipt number of my wife and son. But she has not received any response.
I want to stay in the USA until the COVID-19 situation becomes normal. As per the Document COVID Coronavirus Converting to B-1 B-2 status.pdf on your website, I can apply for a change of status to B1/B2?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Covid-19/Coronavirus applying for B-2 status

Video Transcript

Reach out to your lawyers and explain to them what is happening and tell them to make sure you get copies of everything. File for your family's B-2 if your H-1 is not filed within that 60 day I-94 time. If it is filed go ahead and file another H-4 application with them. For applying for EAD under certain circumstances please click here

FAQ in detail...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

 

 

Covid Coronavirus Converting to B-1 B-2 status

Authored on: Tue, 06/09/2020 - 06:32

Question

My employer has applied for my H1 B extinction and got an RFE ,based on RFE responded but I got denial USCIS site 03-20-2020. But my employer still did not received denial notice. How many days I can stay in the USA after denial. (my I-94 has expired Jan-25-2020)

Answer

 

Watch the Video on this FAQ:
Covid Coronavirus Converting to B-1 B-2 status and 
Covid Coronavirus H-1B denial

Video Transcript


A lot of you who have been laid off can use this information to maintain status. Lets say you got laid off in your H-1B. The way the 60 day grace period works is, you are given either the time remaining on your I-94 or 60 days whichever is less. So if you have only 45 days on your I-94 you have got a 45 day period not a 60 day period. 

As long as you file a B-1/B-2 application with the government within those 60 days or 45 days depending upon your situation I think you are going to be quite OK. But here is what you need to understand. When you file B-1/B-2 you will use the form I-539. You will prepare a cover letter to the government telling them the truth that you have been laid off unexpectedly in the times of coronavirus. You cannot travel outside the USA, finding another job is getting difficult, you have enough money to support yourself, you will not work illegally and you are asking for a six month stay on a B-1/B-2 status and that as soon as you are back on H-1B you will not start working until the H-1B is approved. So make these points with the government.

You can file the application online. While this application is pending you are not accruing unlawful presence. You are in an authorized period of stay. But here is one big point to remember. If you ask for six months your application is probably not going to be decided till about nine months. The last three months you would be accruing unlawful presence. So what you need to do is before the requested six month period is over if you have not found a job, apply for another extension even though the first one is still pending. Keep applying for further extensions until you need them no more.

But B-1/B-2 is a great way to maintain your status. Nobody can travel during this time, so obviously you have something pending with the government even if you are out of status. These are extraordinary circumstances the government should forgive you for being out of status and at some point either at the point of the fist B-1/B-2 or at the point of the second B-1/B-2 approve your B-1/B-2 therefore take away all your unlawful presence issues and if they don't that’s what the good lord made the courts for. Apply for a B-1/B-2. It is a very important way to do things.

FAQ in detail...

 

 

 

Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Covid Coronavirus loss of job while in AOS I-485 period

Authored on: Tue, 05/05/2020 - 01:39

Question

What happens if somebody on H1B loses job while in AOS ( interview done)? Can he/she be without job for an extended period of time? Does the status change to AOS automatically? Have you seen a rejection in I-485J that’s filed after change of employment under a SOC code that’s not same as earlier SOC code but Job Description is similar? What happens if I-485J is denied? Does USCIS allow a new I-485J to be filed?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: 

Covid Coronavirus loss of job while in AOS I-485 period

Video Transcript

 

All you have to do is file a Supplement J with a new job offer. In the meantime, if you are not working and staying at home that’s fine because adjustment of status 180 days brings you to a point where you don't have to have a job you only have to have the offer of a same or similar job. If the supplement J is denied I guess you can file another Supplement J. I would probably file a motion to reopen if the I-485 is being denied with another Supplement J. FAQ in detail...     

 
Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Covid Coronavirus changing H-1B home office location

Authored on: Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:39

Question

I recently got approval for Work From Home, from my client. So my work location will be my home. My H1B Amendment is filed. Because of situation, I have to change my home i.e work location, within same MSA. Also, if we can change the house, just updating AR-11 will suffice?

Answer

 

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

 

Covid Coronavirus changing H-1B home office location


Video Transcript

Changing location of work within the same geographical area is not a problem. Do remember to file your AR-11. FAQ in detail...



Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.


Covid Coronavirus Question from Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees

Authored on: Thu, 04/30/2020 - 01:39

Question

We are looking at various measures of safety and expense control. First and foremost everyone is working from home for their on safety and wellness. For expense control one idea that we were discussing was a potential pay rate reduction for a short period of time.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Covid Coronavirus Question from

 Employers about Payroll for H-1B and others L-1, E, etc. employees


Video Transcript

If you look at the Department of Labor regulations they say that the employer cannot stop paying a salary or the right amount of salary for anything that the employer does. So if you don’t have a project that's your problem. If by law or by local order you cannot open offices and you cannot work, would you as an employer be allowed to pay a lesser salary and that might be something to look at because rather than laying off all the people that your concerned about I would have you to think about other alternatives. FAQ in detail...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Covid Coronavirus H-1B employee furlough's impact on green card and H-1B

Authored on: Tue, 04/28/2020 - 01:39

Question

I currently have an approved I-140 with my former employer which is past 180 days. I'm on my H1b (exp May 2021) with my current employer, now my current employer has furloughed me for 90 days and asked to return to work after the furlough period. During this time I'll be paid 20% of my salary or could use my PTO (200 Hours). What options do I have to maintain my status during the furlough period? Can I take paid/unpaid leave and go back towork for the same employer or do I need to find a new job?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Covid Coronavirus H-1B employee furlough's

 impact on green card and H-1B


 

Video Transcript:


First of all you haven’t lost status in my opinion because you can always claim with the government that you are maintaining status and the non-payment of the full salary is no fault of yours. I don't think you can do much during the coronavirus times. Don't worry about status. You have not done anything wrong and definitely you are not accruing unlawful presence. At the termination of this coronavirus period you can continue the same employment, but I would rather have you change employers and get another H-1 then file a complaint against the employer because they have to pay you a hundred percent of your wages. They cannot just pay you twenty percent. That’s illegal. FAQ in detail...



Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Loss of job/laid off during Covid/Coronavirus times

Authored on: Sun, 04/26/2020 - 01:39

Question

I lost job and my last date of employment with the employer is March 20, 2020. This employer sponsored H1B and also had ported GC AOS in 2018.:

1. After my last date of employment (March 20, 2020), how much time do I have to transfer H1B and I-487 to a new employer?

2. Will losing the job affect the EAD renewal in processing?

3. How would it affect I-487 application, which can become current any time soon?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Loss of job/laid off during Covid/coronavirus times

 

Video Transcript:

 

First of all you are in a good situation because if you have a I-485 pending then you can continue to stay even if you lose your H-1B or L-1 or any status because I-485 allows you to stay here. EAD that comes with I-485 allows you to work here and advance parole that comes with the I-485 allows you to travel. Keep in mind that all these are additional benefits to being able to stay.

1. You have 60 days or the time remaing in on I-94 whichever is sorted so in this case probably 60 days.

2. It will not.

3. By the time you are ready to deal with the I-485 you should get another employment or at least an employment offer. More...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

H-1B visa holders during COVID

Authored on: Tue, 04/21/2020 - 01:39

Question

1. Is H-1B visa holder eligible for unemployment only if laid off or even furloughed? if yes, how do we know that we are eligible?

2. Where can I check my i-94 expiration date?

3. If I now have to change from H1 to B2 due to furlough, and if I have to return back to work later with the same employer, should i have to go out of the country to change back to H1?

4. What are the effects to my H1b if I have to chose using PTO or unpaid leave or combination of both, or if I have to work just 20hrs/week?

5. If I have to apply for a H4 and an EAD, do both of them get approved at the same time? I am asking this because I wanted to know if there could be a gap in my employment after I switch from H1 to H4 waiting for EAD.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H1B visa holders during COVID

Video Transcript:

 

1. You can definitely take the state unemployment insurance if the state law allows. 

2. I-94 expiration date is in one of the two places. If your most recent I-94 was issued upon international travel you can go online and print out a copy but if your most recent I-94 was issued within USA as a change of status  you will need to get a copy of the approval notice at the bottom of which the I-94 is attached. Your lawyer should cut it out and give it to you. They are required by law to give it to you.

3. You cannot do that.

4. Reducing the number of hours is less objectionable. 

5. They are taking a long time and they don't necessarily have to get approved the same time. Yes, there is likely to be a gap. FAQ in detail...


Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.

Student on OPT during Covid 19

Authored on: Sun, 04/19/2020 - 01:39

Question

I graduated from UCLA in December 2019 and my OPT started on February 10th. I was supposed to start working on March 30 in Los Angeles and I was scheduled to travel back to US from India on 28th March. But due to the travel restrictions, my flight got cancelled and I am unable to travel back. When my employer found out about this, they pushed my start date ahead to end of April because I am not physically present in the US (they mentioned immigration laws don’t allow them to let someone start work overseas). I am now scheduled to travel at the end of April to be able to start work else I will run out of my 90 non working days leading to expiry of my visa.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Student on OPT during Covid 19

Video Transcript:


Please check the websites ICE (SEVP) , USCIS and NAFSA for frequently asked questions related to your issue. Also if they have a foreign office or an office in your country you can work for them. 

FAQ in detail...



Note: This is a verbatim transcript of the referenced audio/video media delivered as oral communication, and, therefore, may not conform to written grammatical or syntactical form.