Change of status FAQs

H-1B Visa - Change of Status

Authored on: Tue, 09/21/2021 - 05:35

Question

I have an approved H-1B petition. Right now, I am in India. However, my spouse also holds an H-1B. Can I apply for an H-4 visa and travel to the USA with my spouse and apply for a change of status in the USA from consular processing and use my H-1B there. Will it affect my H-1B in any way?

 

Answer

Technically, the USCIS can object to applying for a change of status within 90 days after entry, if the change results in activities that are inconsistent with the original visa used for entry, the H-4 visa. The key question is whether applying for H-1B soon after entry into the USA is inconsistent with H-4, a visa that allows work authorization. Perhaps not, but you should speak with your lawyers to make sure all your options are discussed.

 

 

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-are-you-q…
 

 

Priority date and original I-140 approval notice

Authored on: Tue, 12/15/2020 - 10:54

Question

I am currently on H1B visa (3rd year) and a few days back I got my I-140 approved in EB-2 category. I want to know if I can change my employer and retain my priority date.

Unstamped H-1B Quota Exemption

Authored on: Fri, 09/25/2020 - 09:17

Question

I had an H1B from my previous employer that was valid from Dec 2016-Dec2017. I never got the visa stamped and it has complete 6 years unused on it. The question I need your help with is if an employer files H1B for me, would it be eligible for Cap-Exempt processing or not?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Unstamped H-1B quota exemption

Video Transcript

The government may be pushy on this issue, but they do maintain that if you have not received a change of status for example from F-1 to H-1 or an H-1B visa stamp. If you are outside the USA you are still subject to the quota. I think they are legally wrong. So the bottom line is you should try to go ahead and give it a shot and I don't think the government is in a legally defensible position.

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.

H-1B portability without a visa stamp

Authored on: Tue, 09/15/2020 - 08:00

Question

I came to US on H-4, so I have only H-4 stamping in my passport. Got my H1b picked up in lottery two years back, and did COS to h1, and have approved i797A with I-94 and working with my current employer.

Got an offer from another company, and they filed my H1b transfer, and got the i-797A approval with I-94.

So my question here is, can I join the new company using the H1b transfer approval, even though I don’t have H1b stamp at all in my passport? Will this be a valid H1b transfer?, or should I go back to India to get my H1b stamping to join the new employer?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B portability without a visa stamp

Video Transcript

When you have an H-4 visa stamp and you came to the United States and you got selected in the lottery that means you got your H-1B and you got your change of status. If you change employers you can start working as soon as your change of employer paperwork is delivered to the USCIS. You do not need any H-1B visa stamp for that purpose. 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.

H-1B no notification of termination, 60 days grace period, etc.,

Authored on: Tue, 08/18/2020 - 05:44

Question

My employer ended my employment due to COVID reasons on May 31, 2020 but I never received an official termination letter. Calculating the grace period depending on the assumed termination date mentioned above, I have till July 30 to find a new job. Should my new employer give me an offer or start the H1B transfer application before July 30? What happens if they fail to do so in time? Can I extend the grace period on the basis of having an offer in hand or maybe because of the pandemic? My final interviews with potential employers are being withdrawn because of the time restriction.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

H-1B no notification of termination, 60 days grace period, etc.

Video Transcript

File a complaint against the employer with the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor by filling up the form WH-4. You can also call them. 

The 60 day grace period works like this. The new employer must make sure that your H-1B transfer application is received by the USCIS within 60 days. So the LCA should be done, the package prepared and USCIS should receive your H-1B transfer within 60 days, otherwise you will be out of status and you will have to go outside the USA for visa stamping pandemic or no pandemic, also remember there is a proclamation that will stop you from coming back at least before December. Make sure you remain in status or at least file a B-2. 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.

Applying for tourist, visitors, B-1, B-2 to maintain status

Authored on: Wed, 04/22/2020 - 01:39

Question

Spoken to the current employer's attorney on Tourist visa , they replied its not a correct path moreover it takes much proofs to tell USCIS i was on H1b working for employer and then changing to visitors and then after certain period of time when i find a project, changing it back (i.e applying) to h1 makes this case more complex.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Applying for tourist, visitors, B-1, B-2 to maintain status


Video Transcript:

B-1/B-2 is not a perfect solution, but it allows you to be in an authorized period of stay for up to six months. You can apply before the six months are over for another extension whether or not you get it as long as the case is pending it was timely filed you are not illegal. You do not accrue unlawful presence, but you cannot jump to another status for that  you might have  to go outside USA. But under the current environment, it is an good point to argue. FAQ in detail...



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Effect of H-1B Approval on H-4 EAD

Authored on: Tue, 09/24/2019 - 06:40

Question

My wife currently working on H4 EAD which is valid till October 2020. Her company filed for H1B this year and she got approval for 3 years starting 10/01/2019.
However, She would like to stay on H4 EAD. Does law permits her to work on H4EAD even after her H1B approved? or naturally her work visa status will convert to H1B effecting 10/01/2019?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Effect of H-1B approval on H-4 EAD

Video Transcript:

The practical solution would be to have your lawyers contact USCIS and explain to them the problem, and if you are willing to take a risk go ahead and have the H-1 revoked. Also make sure that it gets done over the phone as well as in writing. So if a change of status does not take effect I think you would continue to be in the old status which is H-4 EAD. So act quickly before October 1st to revoke or withdraw your wife's H -1. FAQ in detail...

 
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When Does One Become H-1B Cap Exempt - Change of Status/Visa Stamp?

Authored on: Tue, 07/02/2019 - 03:06

Question

At present I am working in OPT ( expires in June 2020). I have an unused stamped H1B visa which I got in August’ 2013 and my visa stamped in my passport on August,2014. However I never traveled/ worked with this H1B visa and expired in October’2016 without using or entry. I came to USA in January’2016 in F1 Visa. My question is can I use this unused stamped visa for cap exempt as transfer of employer from F1 visa to H1B visa now? or do I need to apply in Master’s cap next year.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: When does one become

H-1B cap exempt - change of status/visa stamp?


Video Transcript

In your case if we counted from six years from August 2013 when your H-1B was approved, you are then okay or cap exempt till August 2019. But again, the policy has been that they count the six years from the date your H-1B expired which is 2014 not 2013. Policies can change overnight so I think you can apply for an H-1B exemption as an H-1B exempt worker. More...

 

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H-1B Joining Another Employer while a Transfer, Extension or Amendment is Pending

Authored on: Mon, 06/24/2019 - 03:39

Question

Situation:
Resigned company A already and Got offer from employer B and applied H1B transfer(premium processing) but received RFE. But I have another offer from Employer C as well who is yet to file my h1b transfer
Question:<br>
1. If RFE is denied for employer B Can i join employer C with the receipt notice as Employer C has started H1B transfer by that time ?<br>
2. How long one can stay in US without job/payroll having H1B ?

Answer

FAQ: H-1B joining another employer while a transfer,

extension or amendment is pending

Video Transcript

1. The answer is yes. 

2. It depends. Normally 60 days grace period is available for unexpected cessation of employment. As long as your I-94 is valid. But let's say your I-94 is valid for only 45 days you will not get a 60 day grace period. You will get a 45 day grace period. More...

 

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Impact on Current H-1B if Another H-1B is Denied

Authored on: Mon, 06/24/2019 - 03:21

Question

I am already on a cap-exempt H1b working for a non-profit full time. Another employer filed my H1b petition on the cap-subject quota on april 2018 and got an RFE april 2019 and was denied with a reason for maintaining of status. They asked my paystubs from my current employer. My questions are:<br>
1. will there be any impact to my current H-1B?<br>
2. If they only ask for paystubs, can I submit them and initiate motion to reopen the case? what are the possibilities of success.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

Impact on current H-1B if another H-1B is denied

Video Transcript

1. No, not if you are maintaining status. 

2. If the case was denied just for maintenance of status and you have the pay stubs that are required then there is a very high likelihood the case will be reopened. If the petition is denied, then you are still subject to the H-1B quota. More...

 

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Travel While Change of Status Request is Pending - H-1B Related

Authored on: Fri, 03/22/2019 - 02:05

Question

I was planning on going to India for vacation (after I graduate, before I start work) and I had some questions about whether that would be alright from an immigration stand point. My lawyers are filing my H1B visa application this April; would there be any potential issues with the application if I was to leave the US in May/June?

Answer

There are multiple issues involved in traveling.

First, if someone travels while a change of status request is pending, they will have to obtain a visa stamping or reapply for an H-1B for change of status to activate the H-1B on or after October 1.

Second, getting visa stamping is by itself a highly uncertain process that could take from days to months. The consulates reopen and dissect the entire H-1B case from the ground up and try to find any reason they can to deny the case.

The New Restriction on 12 Months of CPT OPT Combined – – Consequences of H-1B Denial on OPT

Authored on: Tue, 12/04/2018 - 03:18

Question

I am currently on F1 visa and working on CPT. My H1 petition was picked in the lottery this year and status changed to RFE 2 weeks ago. I wanted to know if August 9 unlawful presence rule applies in my case i.e; if I get a response for RFE after Feb 4 2019, that completes 180 days.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ:

The new restriction on 12 months of CPT OPT combined – –

consequences of H-1B denial on OPT

Video Transcript

In my view you are still on OPT and to activate your H-1 you have to either refile for change of status or go outside the USA for visa stamping. More...

 

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Traveling Abroad While H-4 EAD is Pending

Authored on: Wed, 11/21/2018 - 10:33

Question

I changed my job from company A to Company B. H1,H4,H4 EAD is approved for company A. I moved to company B and my H1 change of employer is approved. While H4 is pending with company B. Can my wife travel to India and apply for H4 visa stamping in India?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Traveling abroad while H4 EAD is pending

Video Transcript

You can travel if you are already on H-4 and just your EAD is pending. If you have a change of status as well as an EAD pending don't travel. If only EAD is pending and you are already on H-4 that is ok. Please talk to your lawyers. 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.

Unlawful Presence for Minors

Authored on: Thu, 11/15/2018 - 10:56

Question

My son’s I-94 and visa are expired in June. We have applied for I-539 for extension in October. Will he be granted the extension.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Unlawful presence for minors

Video Transcript

For a child under the age of 18 until they hit 18 there is no unlawful presence. They are only out of status. 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 Petition Revocation During Visa Process/Reaffirmation

Authored on: Fri, 07/27/2018 - 04:37

Question

I had my H1 visa extension stamping appointment on Feb 21, 2018. Initially it was put under Administrative Processing and later on May 23rd my petition was send back for revocation. As per the inquiry with embassy they told me that "Based on the documents you submitted and the information elicited in your interview with a consular officer, you were determined ineligible for an H1B work visa. Your petition was returned to the Kentucky Consular Center (KCC) on May 24. Currently H1 status website shows KCC received the application on June 8. Once KCC receives a petition, it is returned to the approving USCIS office for review and possible revocation. At this point, USCIS can either reaffirm the petition or issue a notice of intent to revoke it. What are the options available with me now?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B petition revocation during visa process/reaffirmation

Video Transcript

In a case where you got your H-1B approval but you have travelled outside the USA and you need a visa, you go to the US consulate for visa stamping. They put you in administrative processing and discover something which often is unjustified frankly and sometimes can be justified, gives them some reason to send the case back to the USCIS saying that the case needs to be revoked and that can take a few months (5-6 months). Then USCIS will issue a notice of intent to revoke which would be sent to your lawyers as well as to your employer that says we found out this information through the consulate and it looks like this case needs to be revoked. You have 33 days to respond to USCIS and justify why they shouldn't revoke it. Once the employer responds to it and if USCIS finds out that the case is really approvable and the consulate is mistaken, they reaffirm the case and send it back to the consulate. This whole thing can take months and even a year.

The option would be to file another H-1 through another employer or with the same company  that is if this was not a quota H-1 and there is no fraud, etc., involved. 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.

How Does One Change Status While Within The United States?

Authored on: Tue, 06/05/2018 - 05:30

Question

I am currently working on L1B with company A and I received my H1B I-797 last year from same company A, but didn’t do the conversion to it yet.
I want to change to company B in regards to which I have the below questions:<br>
1- What is the process of switching the visa, and does it need me to setup an interview appointment?<br>
2- If yes, does this have to be out of USA and in my home country?<br>
3- Do I need to get the stamping for H1B with company A before moving to company B? Or can I switch to company B without going for H1B stamping for company A?

Answer

FAQ: How does one change status while within the United States?

Video Transcript

There are three types of situations I can think of. One is when you are changing status to one to another (H-1 to F-1 or H-1 to tourist visa) can be filed just by using form I-539. Then there are some where the change of status requires refiling of the entire paperwork for the petition. H-1 and L-1 are examples of that category and the third situation to change of status is when certain categories of people are not allowed to change status. An example would be if you are here on a visa waiver also calling ESTA program you cannot change status. More...


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Child Turning 21, Immigration Consequences for Pending Green Card Cases

Authored on: Wed, 05/16/2018 - 10:20

Question

I am on H-1 Visa and my son is on H-4 visa. He is 17 years(studying 11th grade). I wanted to know whether i need to change the visa status at the age of 21. If so, the green card processed by my employer for him will still be valid or not. Also, if he goes to India for studying his degree for like 4 or 5 years, will the green card processing for him will be valid.

Answer

 

Video Transcript

Normally the children of people undergoing the green card process, convert to student visa if they are in school. If he gets covered by the CSPA (Child Status Protection Act) even though he has a student visa it doesn't change his green card status through you and again if he goes to India for a degree for four to five years his green card processing will still stay valid. There might be some technical details you have to attend to but that is certainly possible as long as he's not got a problem with aging out as he is covered by CSPA.  More...

Related Video on CSPA:

Rajiv Khanna discusses the impact of the CSPA (Child Status Protection Act) on Employment based Green Card delays on children turning 21.

 

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H-1B and Green Card Transfer From a Non-Profit Organization to For-Profit

Authored on: Thu, 05/03/2018 - 13:09

Question

I am currently working for a Non-profit org on a cap-exempt H-1B. and my company initiated my GC processing. Below are the few questions:<br>
1. Is the GC processing any different thru a non-profit from a for-profit organization? meaning, is it any advantageous to process my GC thru a non-profit?<br>
2. Can my I-140 from a non-profit be transferred to a for-profit org, if I was able to move to a for-profit org?<br>
3. What are the possible ways that I could move to work for a for -profit organizations? From your previous calls and thru my research I found out below few ways that I could to that. Please give your inputs<br>

a. Finding a profit employer to file my cap-subject H1 (Can I start working for my new employer as soon as my H1b is picked in the lottery or approved, instead of waiting till Oct 1st?)<br>

b. If a new employer sponsor my cap-subject H1 and if I dont move to the new employer, will my current cap-exempt H1 be still active and should I have to go under the cap next time I file a Cap-subject H1<br>

c.applying for concurrent H1b<br>

d. Moving on to H4EAD and filing a H1b next April<br>

e.Joining a Masters CPT college and filing a Cap-subject H-1B next year

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B and green card transfer from a non-profit organization to for-profit

Video Transcript

1. The answer is No. There is no advantage in going through for-profit or non-profit that's just irrelevant.

2. No, non-profit or for-profit does not matter you cannot transfer I-140s, you can transfer priority dates unless your 1-140 is based upon a National Interest Waiver or an EB-1A.  Your green card can be transferred once your I-140 is approved and I-485 has been pending 180 days, then it doesn't matter what the nature of the organisation is.

3. a.  I don't think there is any specific law on this issue. Technically, you can start working for them on receipt, but obviously you will only get a receipt if your case is picked up for the lottery. So if you have been maintaining H-1B status I believe you can start working for a cap subject employer as soon as your H-1 is picked up.

     b.  Absolutely. My guess would be if your H-1B cap subject H-1B is approved and it is not revoked till October 1st, I don't think you will be subject to a cap to work for a for-profit in the future. It shouldn't be revoked before October 1st and you should receive your change of employer. So in other words, you should get a new I-94 with the case because USCIS has been taking this position that just getting an H-1B approval does not put you over the top where you are safe from cap quota issues. They say unless you receive a change of status or go get a visa stamping till that time you are not exempt from the quota so you must also receive an I-94 which is a transfer of employer, but you can still continue working with the old employer.

    c.  Another way is applying for concurrent H-1B although it is a strange provision in the law where if you have a quota exempt H-1B as long as you maintain that without worrying about the quota you can also work on a concurrent H-1B for a quota employer.

    d. Moving to H-4 EAD is not a good idea because in June they are going to announce the revocation of the H-4 EAD regulations according to the court.

    e. Joining a Master's CPT and filing a cap yes, that's definitely an option.   

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.

Change of Status to Student F-1 While Green Card is in Process

Authored on: Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:05

Question

My question is about switching from an H-1 to F-1 visa. My six years of H-1 expires in March 2018. I have received an offer for a Phd. at Stanford (starting Aug. 2018) that happens to be one of my dream universities. My employer applied for a PERM back in August 2017, it has not been approved yet. Does the filing of PERM interfere with getting an F-1 visa. I know you’ve answered this question in the past regarding an I-140 and I understand that my chances with just a PERM are slightly better ?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Change of status to student F-1 while green card is in process

Video Transcript

Yes, obviously you can try. I think what happens is when you are going to a good school, chances are government will accommodate and they will allow you to go back on F-1 because it is definitely a promotion path a career progression for you. I can't predict if the government will be reasonable or not, but reasonableness would require that they allow you to convert to F-1. Under the Trump administration I do not know how things are going to work out, but as far as predicting your chances are concerned I think you certainly have a shot. More...

 

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Can I Get H-4 Visa Stamping While the H-1 to H-4 Change of Status is Still Pending?

Authored on: Mon, 02/19/2018 - 03:41

Question

H1 to H4 COS pending from Jul 14 2017. I94 expired Nov 2nd. H4 to B2 applied on Oct 31 2017 as per our attorneys suggestion due to some delay with spouses visa. Spouse's H1 is now approved. I would like to get my H4 as soon as possible and apply for H4 EAD. Can I go to Canada/ any close by country and get my H4 stamping done while the petitions are pending or wait till H4 is approved? or going to India is my only option

Answer

Watch the Video for this FAQ: Can I get H4 visa stamping while the H1 to H4 change of status is still pending?

Video Transcript:

Absolutely no problem at all. You can go to any country of your choice, no harm done. Remember for H-4 stamping a prior approval from the USCIS is not needed. You walk in with your spouses H-1 approval and that's how you get your H-4. More...

 

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H-1B or Other Status Denied - What is my Status?

Authored on: Wed, 02/14/2018 - 11:26

Question

My I-94 expired on Dec 13th last year. Company filed for extension but RFE....now i will be laid off on Feb 9th and my company will not file for RFE response. How many days do i have to leave the country? Do i need to leave immediately on Feb 9th or can i leave by Feb 13th or 14th ? Will 5 days of out of status impact my future applications ? Also another company has offered me a job. If they file for H1B do they have to do it after I leave the country or can they start it and i can leave in between and do Counselor processing?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B or other status denied - what is my status?

Video Transcript

Basic Concepts to be in Status

To be in Status means you got the right kind of I-94. For example, if you are on H-1B and you have got an H-1B and I-94 which is unexpired and a proper approval from the USCIS to work for that employer at that location and you get paid and you are doing the work that you are supposed to be doing. So Status is a combination of immigration permissions as well as the work you do in the context of H-1B. In the context of F-1 it is the study that you do, so you could have an F-1 approval on paper, but you are not attending school, you are out of status or you could have an H-1B approval with an unexpired I-94 but you are not approved to work at the location you are working.

Therefore, it is a mixture of immigration permissions and the activity which is permissible and expected under the immigration permissions.

Then comes unlawfully present. This is a very complicated concept. Unlawful presence is dangerous because 180 days of unlawful presence will make you ineligible to enter the United States for three years. One year of unlawful presence will make you ineligible for 10 years. Now typically the unlawful presence begins with I-94 expiration or a finding by the USCIS or by an immigration court if you are in proceedings in deportation etc... that you are out of status and unlawfully present. That's the date your unlawful presence will kick in. This is a very complicated concept.

So when you are not doing the activity or don't have the proper legal permissions you could be out of status and unlawfully present that's the third concept and the fourth concept is authorized period of stay. This is in between status. You are allowed to stay in the United States, but you cannot convert from one status to another, from authorized period of stay to status. An example: lets say you were on H-1 and you filed for I-485 Adjustment of Status you let the H-1B expire you working on EAD you are in an authorized period of stay. If you want to go back to H-1 you cannot do a conversion or a change of status from Adjustment of Status to H-1. You can get an H-1B approval, but to get this status you have to leave USA get a visa stamp and come back because authorized period of stay is not status. 

These are very important. Please share them with as many people as you can especially in today's environment when Trump administration is in my opinion illegally denying a lot of cases. 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.

When Does One Become H-1B Cap Exempt?

Authored on: Wed, 12/13/2017 - 02:56

Question

I have read that in some cases of H1B as follows "They had H1 petition and H1B visa was stamped in 2012 but they never traveled to the US on that. And when a new employer applied for a cap-exempt H1B petition in 2017 they got it approved with change of status to H1 in May 2017...Whereas in my case I also didn't use this H1B visa and I even didn't travel to US i.e. My employer filed H1B in 2016 which got approved in Sep 2016 and after my resignation, they revoked H1B in Nov 2016 (which is > OCt, 1 2016), but I got a Denial. When contacted few attorneys they said I may get "Approvals" Or "Deny" in such cases, nowadays its more of details saying I am NOT cap exempt?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: When does one become H-1B cap exempt?

Video Transcript

The first principle is if you are in the United States and you do not get a change of status you are not exempt from the quota. The second principle is if you are outside the USA and you don't get a visa stamp you are not exempt from the quota. Now in both these cases whether you join the job or not is irrelevant. So the third principle is whether you are joining the job or not is irrelevant.

If you are in your home country you must get a visa stamp if you don't, you are not exempt from the quota. If you are in the USA you must get a change of status otherwise you are not exempt from the quota. Hence principal number four is that if your approved H-1 is revoked before October 1st then you are still subject to the quota and the last principle is if your H-1 is revoked for error or for fraud or misrepresentation you are still subject to the quota. 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.

What can be Done if an H-1B is Denied While in the USA?

Authored on: Mon, 12/04/2017 - 07:42

Question

In case of H1 transfer denied what other options one can have ? [provide that has 140 approved since many years]<br>
1. Can new H1 transfer with new employer can be initiated ? 2. Can one can apply for B1 [Visitor Visa] and remain in USA for valid period ?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: What can be done if an H-1B is denied while in the USA?

Video Transcript

You can always file another H-1. You can file for an H-1 renewal, you can file for an H-1 transfer, you can file for an H-1B amendment even if the H-1B is denied. While in the USA depends upon whether or not you have status. If you are maintaining status you can file for an extension and another amendment because one denial does not foreclose another application under the same category. 

But if you are not in status chances are you will have to go outside the USA for visa stamping before you can start working with a new approval, but a new application can always be filed. 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.

Changing Status from Tourist or Business Visa (B1 or B2) Within the United States

Authored on: Tue, 10/31/2017 - 04:09

Question

Right now I'm in USA on B1 visa. I came last week 1st Oct 2017. Got the stamp for 6 months (i94 expires on Mar 31, 2018). This is the 3rd time I'm traveling to the US on B1. Below are the previous trip details.<br>
Aug 02 2014 To Sep 28 2014, May 03 2015 To Jun 15 2015,3) Oct 1 2017 To till date (Nov 11 2017). Now my company wants to file L-1B petition for me. The employer is ready to file an application for L-1B in the USA if it is legitimate.<br>
1) Now I'm already in the US, so Is there a process to get my L-1B without going back to my country (India)? Is B-1 to L-1B is a complex process? Is there any complication(s) if I put my petition in USA?<br>
2) What will be the time frame to get L-1B?

Answer

Watch the Video for this FAQ: Changing status from tourist or business visa (B1 or B2) within the United States

Video Transcript

1. You should go to your home country or a third country. You can go to Canada or Mexico. B-1 and B-2 are not complex if you qualify. L-1B's are very difficult to get. Specialized knowledge employee is very difficult to get but if you qualify not a problem. 

2. Regarding time frame you can always apply through premium processing and within a few weeks, you should get your adjudication done.  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.

Status and Unlawful Presence Questions in the Form DS-160

Authored on: Wed, 09/27/2017 - 07:27

Question

Having plans to travel to India in last week of Sept 17 and with my visa stamp on passport expiring on 1st Sept 2017, need to go for visa interview & when I am filling my DS-160, came across the question : Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa? Considering the above situation, could you please help with what to answer Yes/No. If Yes, what comments to be written in the EXPLAIN BOX .

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Status and unlawful presence questions in the form DS-160

Video Transcript

This is a very generic statement. Do not depend on this as the last word on the subject. Generally speaking, the following two or three rules should be kept in mind. First of all, if you are ever in doubt you are better off saying yes, I was out of status and yes, I was unlawfully present and let the consulate deal with that issue. If you are not in fact not out of status and you are not unlawfully present there is no issue, but if you were out of status or lawfully present and you don't reveal that it can be construed to be fraud or misrepresentation which then becomes a permanent bar from entering the United States. It is a very painful situation. If you tell the truth, no issue.  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 Denied and Petition Sent for Revocation

Authored on: Wed, 09/13/2017 - 08:12

Question

I went to the US in May 2014 on H1-B working for Employer A. In Feb 2016, I moved to work for Employer B (small US based company, on other offices) with H1-B transfer receipt.
The new job was remote work, so I started working from home for Employer B. I received RFE in April 2016 and I went to India the same month. While I was in India, the transfer got approved in June 2016 and I came back to the US with the approval notice as proof. My visa was getting expired in Sep 2016, so extension was filed with Employer B. The extension also got approved after RFE and extended till Sep 2019. <br>
Current Situation:<br>
Now, I came to India in Jan 2017 for my marriage. I went for visa stamping in Delhi with my wife (for H4) in Feb 2017. The visa officer asked me about my Role, client, and other common questions which I answered correctly. VO then collected my documents (I-129, client letter etc) and handed me 221(g) letter saying that he needs some time to review the documents. We left the embassy and the wait started.
In March 2017, I received an email from embassy asking for the latest LCA which I promptly provided.
After that there was no response for a few months, and I started working from India in US hours. Since my employer is a small company, they did not hire any attorney and did the processing themselves. They also did not seem to put any effort to expedite or help the process.
In July 2017 (after 5 months), I received a call to collect the passport. On collecting the passport, the stamping was not done and I received a letter stating that my stamping is being refused and visa is sent to consulate for revocation.
This came as a shock. I notified my employer, they were disappointed and did not know what can be done about this case. When I enquired, they said they don't want to spend more resources on this case and are fine with me continue working from India (reduced salary).
<br>1. Is it possible to have the case reconsidered and to know the exact reason for refusal? If yes, how would I go about it without the support of my employer?<br>
2. If this is only for stamping, how long will my extended visa be valid? Can I try the stamping again with this employer or find a new employer from India and use the same visa with them?<br>
3. What happens to my assets (personal stuff, bank accounts, etc) in US?<br>
4. If I can legally work for the same employer, how does it affect my taxes? Do I now pay taxes in India and in US both? Since when I can be considered liable to pay tax in India (when I came to India or stamping refusal date etc)?

Answer

Watch Video on this  FAQ: What are the options of an H-1B visa denied and a petition sent for revocation?

Video Transcript

1. Not until a notice of intent to revoke is sent.

2. This case is going back to USCIS. 

3. You can always get the assets back. You can try getting a tourist visa that's one way to do it. Second is to send somebody a power of attorney. You can get together with lawyers of the state where your assets are and get a proper power of attorney made out in the name of a friend. They can take care of it for you.

4. I guess in India the answer is yes. But you don't have to pay taxes both in India, as usual, there is a relief available for people in your situation, but I am not a tax expert, you need to talk to a Chartered Accountant in India.  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 Stamping in Canada or Mexico; Importance of I-94

Authored on: Tue, 09/05/2017 - 07:35

Question

I am currently working on H1B visa, My current visa stamping is via my previous employer (Employer A) and valid till September 2017 and my I-797 is via my current employer (Employer B) ,its valid till August 2018.
I have few queries regarding my new H1B visa stamping and I-94. <br>
1. Can I get my visa stamped in CANADA or any other country nearby to USA without revisiting INDIA.<br>

2. Am I eligible for drop box option for my new stamping as my current stamping is via my previous employer.
<br>
3. I can see also my I-94 expiring is September 2017. Do I need to reach out to USCIS to update it, in order to maintain my status.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B visa stamping in Canada or Mexico; importance of I-94

Video Transcript

1. You can get your visa stamped in any country which is called Third Country National (TCN) processing. It is a good idea to check with them beforehand. Sometimes if they have too much of a workload, especially in Mexico they might temporarily stop taking TCN's. 

2. I don't know because I don't know the rules for the drop box. If you read the rules and you qualify for them, then the answer is yes.

3. I-94 is important. Once you are inside the USA your status is governed by the I-94. You could have a visa good till 2020 but if your I-94 is expiring tomorrow then you are going to be out of status day after tomorrow and unlawfully present. If your I-94 is expiring you got to get that extended whether it is through an H-1 extension or if you already have an approval and you can go outside with the visa for a visa stamping. H-1 and L-1 visas require a prior approval from USCIS. H-4 and L-2 visas do not. 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.

Does H-4 Require a Prior USCIS Approval for Visa Stamping?

Authored on: Thu, 08/10/2017 - 04:43

Question

My dependents visa stamp on passport expires on Sept 1st 2017 and have valid I-94 till Sept 1st 2017 and this was with the previous employer A I worked for. I moved to a different employer B a year back and haven't filed H4 for dependents with employer B as it was not necessary. Now if my dependents travel to India prior to Sept 1st 2017, do I still need to file for H4 extension or is it good if they attend the interview at consulate in India and get visa stamped on passport without H4 extension using my approved I-797 (till 2019) with employer B.

Answer

Watch Video on this FAQ: Does H-4 require a prior USCIS approval for visa stamping?

Video Transcription

You do not need to get an H-4 extension from USCIS when you have certain derivative visas like H-4 or L-2. Those visas are given based upon the approval of the H-1 holder and the L-1 holder. For the dropbox facility, you have to look at the local rules. 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.

New Regulations, Effect on Layoff after I-140 Approval

Authored on: Thu, 07/27/2017 - 05:56

Question

1. I have I-140 approved and its more than 6 months over. My priority date is March 2011 under EB2. At this situation, if my current employer lay me off from work, what immediate step I need to do, in order to legally stay in the USA. ( Do I need to contact my lawyer to change my H1B visa status and my family status to Tourist visa or Can I change my status online or what is the option?). <br>
2) With the new I-140 EAD regulations effective Jan 17th 2017 in place, am I eligible to apply for EAD using "Compelling circumstances EAD", if my company laid me off? As of July dates for filing for EB2 visa application is 01FEB09 , which is more than 2 years wait time for my dates to be current.

Answer

Watch Video on this FAQ: New regulations, effect on layoff after I-140 approval

Video Transcript

1. Having an I-140 approval that stayed in existence for 180 days does not protect your current status by itself so with the new rule you've got that 60 day grace period to file for an H-1 or any other kind of change of status after the layoff so you have got that 60 day grace period you could try applying for a tourist visa if nothing else works out.

2. Yes. You can use Compelling Circumstances EAD. See my blog for more details.

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.

Evidence or Documents Created After the Filing of a Petition

Authored on: Thu, 07/27/2017 - 03:21

Question

1. I had my H-1B approved in Feb 2017. I moved to the US after H-1B petition is submitted. My employer filed for COS from H4 to H1 through premium processing in March 2017. Got RFE on COS petition for proffered position and employee and employer relationship. which they have replied to .. And now got a second RFE asking for a combination of following or similar types of evidence: Letter explaining how the Level 1 wage designation LCA that you have provided corresponds to the proffered position. Document to support that the level 1 wage designation on the LCA supports the proffered position.
<br>
2. What are the other options if my COS petition is is denied?
<br>
3. Am I eligible for transfer if I get an offer from the new company?
<br>
4.Is my approved H-1B still valid and cap exempt, whatever is the outcome of COS petition decision?

Answer

Watch Video on this FAQ: Evidence or documents created after the filing of a petition

Video Transcript

1. As a general rule, USCIS takes the position that any documents or events that occur after you have filed a case are normally not going to be accepted as part of the case. Level 1 jobs are entry level jobs that are still being developed. If you submit a new LCA and say this is a level 2 position and the LCA is dated after the filing of this case that would be thrown out. You will have to refile the case. 

2. Well if you are not subject to the quota you can always refile the case. 

3. Yes, if you have earlier received a change of status or an H-1 visa. USCIS has been inconsistently telling us that they want us either to get a change of status or an H-1B visa stamping. Near approval is not enough. 

4. Yes, if you have earlier received a change of status or an H-1B visa stamping. 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.

60 Days Grace Period for H-1B

Authored on: Mon, 07/24/2017 - 04:09

Question

My Project with My Client will end soon and my employer doesn't have any further projects and asking me to go back to my home country (India) by end of this month. My Visa is valid till Aug 2017 with extension filed. So I am considering to resign on last day of the assignment. ( no new employer found yet).<br>
1) as per new Rule would I be getting the grace period till my I 94 expires i.e till Aug 2017? Is this correct? ( 60 days grace period rule) Also during this Grace period Can I apply for a Change of Status to another non immigrant Visa - F1? (change to a different nonimmigrant classification.) if yes and F1 filed after termination of employment, will this not be considered as timely filed which can result in problems in the future?<br>
2) if F1 is filed Should I start my classes before I94 expiry date or can I Start in September or should I wait till F1 is approved ( after 90 days from date of filing F1)?

Answer

Audio FAQ: 60 days grace period for H-1B

Audio Transcript

1. Let's say your I-94 was not expiring for five or six months no doubt you could lay claim on the 60 day grace period and get another extension or change of status filed during that time. If you do anything during that 60 day period unless the grace period is denied for any other violation of status you are considered to be applying within the status.

2. As long as the difference between the last day of the 60 days and the period your F-1 begins is not more than 30 days you should be ok. 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.

Applying For H-1B Visa When There Was A Status Violation

Authored on: Wed, 07/19/2017 - 07:16

Question

Recently I got Consular visa, that my I-797 was approved without I-94 so I need to step out of the country to get H-1B visa stamped.
Got laid off from EMP A and took around 55 days for EMP B to file h-1 and now I’m with EMP C. Both I-797's from EMP B and EMP C, I got consular visa to step out for visa stamping.<br>
1. Usually, how much time I have to step out of US for stamping, if I go little after 3-4 weeks what’s the valid reason that I can give to Visa officer at interview time.<br>

2. How can I justify myself about the 55days of gap I have from EMP A to EMP B ( during the time I do not have H-1B status), my attorney suggested that I need to tell VO that “I was looking for a Job and my employer took time to file for H-1B “. I’m not sure whether I can say this. Can you suggest a valid reason to give VO.<br>

3. MY GC Perm Labor has approved and EMP C has applied for I-140 recently and it's still in processing status, during this situation If I get a full-time opportunity can I move with a new employer? OR I have to stay with current one until I get I-140 approved and then transfer with a new employer.

Answer

Watch Video on this FAQ: Applying for H-1B visa when there was a status violation


Video Transcript

1. Go as quickly as you can. It isn't an emergency, but it is something you should not take lightly.

2. It is not an issue. Even if you had a 179-day gap it is not at a ground of denial for a visa. Just make sure you reveal it. If they ask you if you were out of status which is a part of the form you will say yes. Be truthful.

3. When you want to move and a case is pending unless the pending case is decided you have to go outside for visa stamping. 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 60 days grace period explained

Authored on: Tue, 05/09/2017 - 04:50

Question

Lost job recently. Was working on H1B. I am trying to understand how much time I have effectively to find another job and have the H1B filed by next employer. Is it necessary that the H1B “start date” in the I-129 petition be within the 60-day mark ( the grace period) from the last day of job in order for USCIS to grant H1B approval after a layoff?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-1B 60 days grace period explained

Video Transcript

The 60 day grace period is not a right, it is something you ask the government for. If you got unexpectedly laid off or something of that nature happened beyond your control you can request the government when to file for an H-1 transfer even though you were out of status for 45 to 50 days. You should request the government to give you status without having to leave the USA.  Once you file the application and get a receipt you can start working. AC21 does protect you under this rule. 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-4 EAD Status When Moved to Different Employer

Authored on: Mon, 05/08/2017 - 23:44

Question

1. I have approved I-140 with company A and my wife got H-4 EAD. I am planning to move to company B. Can my current employer (Company A) revoke I-140? (I-140 has been approved for more than 6 months). If he can't revoke I-140, can my wife work on the H-4 EAD that she got based on company A's I-140?<br>
2. If my H-1 and my wife's H-4 transferred to Company B, do I need to apply for new H-4 EAD or can she continue working on H-4 EAD from company A (that H-4 EAD still has validity)?

Answer

1. The employer can revoke, but, USCIS says, after 180 days they will not revoke the H-4 EAD.

2. You will not need to change the H-4 EAD upon moving to any number of companies, as long as you maintain your H-1 status.

Travel while H-4 EAD is pending

Authored on: Thu, 05/04/2017 - 06:10

Question

Can my wife travel to India and then back to the USA for a period of 12 days while her H4 EAD application is pending? Based on current estimates of processing times we do not estimate that her H4 EAD will come before the first week of July. We will be back to the USA in the first week of May.

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: Travel while H-4 EAD is pending

Video Transcript

If somebody has applied from H-1 to H-4 or F-1 to H-4 and applied for EAD at the same time they should not travel until the F-1 or H-1 to H-4 status is approved because if you do then you have to go apply for a visa come back and then apply for EAD all over again. On the other hand, if your H-1 is approved or you already have it and EAD is pending you are allowed to travel. The government discourages it as it can cause delays in EAD processing but it is not illegal. 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.

If H-1 transfer is denied, can I rejoin my old employer?

Authored on: Thu, 04/13/2017 - 03:12

Question

I received my 3-year extension post 6 years based on approved I-140 (sponsored by employer A). I am in the 7th year of H1B and have a valid visa until 2019. I have an offer from employer B. I am told by employer B that they are going to do H1B portability and extension using my approved I-140 from my previous employer. Since the premium processing of H1B is going to be suspended starting April 3rd, my new employer B wants me to join them based on the receipt notice of the H1B transfer. I am also told that the risk I have in case of denial is I would have to leave the US and re-apply for an H1B petition from my home country. From my understanding, one can always go back to their previous employer in case of rejection of H1 transfer?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: If H-1 transfer is denied, can I rejoin my old employer?

Video Transcript

According, to USCIS, when you are working under AC21 you are not out of status, you are in fact working according to the law and hence you should be able to join back. 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-4 EAD changing back to H-1

Authored on: Tue, 04/04/2017 - 02:52

Question

1. Had H-1B petition approved in 2015 through consular processing while residing outside the USA? But did not get stamped for H-1 but came to the USA on H4 visa. Currently working as an employee on H-4-EAD. Can I change my status to H-1B from H-4, If Yes - Will it be treated outside H-1B Cap?<br>
2. Do I have to leave the country and get stamped and re-enter with H-1B status?<br>
3. Will I get a new I-94 with latest 1 yr or 3 yrs approval? <br>
4. How many days will the process take to change status?<br>
5. Can I continue working while the COS is in progress or pending with USICS as I would like to continue working without a break? Also, do I have to go back to the same petitioner who applied for H-1B visa or can I transfer it to a different employer?

Answer

Watch the Video on this FAQ: H-4 EAD changing back to H-1

Video Transcript

1. That's uncertain. If you are outside the USA and you got your H-1B but you didn't get it stamped, will consider you still subject to the quota. I personally think if they say you can't get an exemption from the quota and you got to get a visa stamping there is really no support in law for that viewpoint. So you can try that's all I can tell you.

2. You don't have to leave USA to get H-1B status if you are maintaining H-4 status.

3. If you got three years remaining on your H-1 or more you will get a three-year H-1 and if the project is for 3 years.

4. Many months.

5. If your EAD is valid until your H-4 is changed to H-1 you can continue working. Once you are exempt from the quota you don't have to go back to the same employer. 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.

Gap in Status

Authored on: Tue, 04/19/2016 - 03:35

Question

A couple of questions on Gap in status:<br>

1. I am on H-1B and my project/job is going to end on April 29,2016 (Friday). I have my H-4 approved effective May 2, 2016. I will get salary slip from 1 April to 30 April. Do I need to have salary slip for May 1, 2016 (which is a Sunday) to maintain H-1B/ legal status (considering that I won't be getting May 1 to May 31 salary slip).<br>

2. I am currently on H-1B and have an approved H-4 Effective 15 July 2016. As part of my H-4 application (which I had filed along with my spouse extension) , I had requested USCIS to give me H-4 effective date of 13 May 2016 as my project was going to end on 13 May 2016. But, the request was not honoured and USCIS responded citing the reason "Since the beneficiary of the I-539 and I-765 will change status, we cannot give an earlier start date than what is shown on the I-129 approval notice." If my project ends on 13 May 2016 , should I leave the country as my H-4 effective start date is 15 July 2016 to maintain legal status ?

Answer

Watch Video: Gap in Status


Video Transcript:

Answer 1: These kinds of de minimis small gaps are sometimes  even a product of the way the government works. In your case I don't think it is going to be a problem. Technically yes even for one day being out of status the government can say you are out of status, but when they have already approved your status I don't think this is going to be a major issue. 

Answer 2: I personally think it is still not a big issue because  if you got the H-4 already with an I-94 attached I doubt if the government is going to make an issue out of it. But you can do another thing. You can file a tourist visa to cover you for those two months but make sure it does not go beyond July 14. Other wise your status will be changed to B. So you could do a stop gap kind of arrangement or you could leave USA for a couple of months. But even if you stayed I doubt whether it is going to be an issue. 


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.

Travel while H-1 COS is pending

Authored on: Tue, 04/05/2016 - 02:37

Question

My Spouse is on H-4 and has a Valid H-4 stamped till Jan 16 2017. I am planning to apply H-1 for my Spouse through an Employer this year. Is it advisable to travel to India while her H-1B is in Process? What will be the implications if she travels to India?

Answer

Watch Video: Travel while H-1 COS is pending

Video Transcipt: Whenever you are on one status and you apply for another status, like from F-1 to H-1, from H-1 to H-4 or from tourist visa to student visa, anytime you have a situation where you are going from one status to another your application with the government has two requests implicitly contained in your application. One request is find me eligible for the status I am asking for. When I go from H-4 to H-1 I tell the government (USCIS) can you please hold me to be eligible to receive H-1 and if they say yes then you go on to the next step.

Next step is actual change of status. So not only do I want to be held eligible for H-1, I want you to then change my status to H-1. So there are two applications within that one application when you file for going from one status to another. One is the determination and the other one is the change. When you travel outside USA generically speaking there can be exceptions. Generically and generally speaking your application for determination is not invalid but your change of status is invalid. So what does that do. Let's say I am on H-4 like the questionnaires wife is and they file for my H-1 change of status, I travel to India or Switzerland where ever I want to go and I come back. Government will give me my H-1 if it is approved, but they won't give me status change from H-4 to H-1. I am still on H-4, my H-1 is approved but only the determination has been issued that I am entitled to an H-1. Now I have two choices either I cannot apply for change of status from H-4 to H-1, because by traveling out I abandoned that part. I didn't abandon my determination request but I abandoned my change of status. The second option is to go to a consulate and get a visa stamping and come. So if she travels she has to do one of these two things when she comes back. She won't have to wait outside the USA if she doesn't want to. She can come back on H-4. 

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.

The Proposed I-140 EAD Rule - FAQ's

Authored on: Mon, 01/11/2016 - 07:23

Question

Answer

Question 1: Redo the PERM or just the I-140. If redoing the PERM again then what's new in this regulation? 

Answer: After 180 days, you can extend H-1 even if 140 is withdrawn.

Question 2: It seems that there is no easy provision for EAD/AP for approved 140 applicants. So is there any point in waiting for this rule or Should I consider Visa stamping is only option for traveling outside US? Please suggest as I waited for a year or long thought they are going to give AP.

Answer: Your observation about EAD/AP is correct- no easier. I will be surprised if USCIS changes these proposed rules in any significant manner when they finalize.

Question 3: If I have consumed my 6 years of H-1B and I have approved I-140. If I go to India and of some reason I got stuck in India. After a while I want some other employer to file my H-1B petition other then with approved I-140 employer. Do the new employer can apply for my new H1b cap exempt petition based on approved i-140 from my old employer. OR New H-1B petition from the new employer comes under H-1 cap count?

Answer: You have raised two separate issues. One, the I-140 can be used to extend your H-1 through ANY employer, if it is not withdrawn within 180 days of approval. Two, you are exempt from H-1 cap if your H-1 was approved any time within the last 6 years.

Question 4: Is there any provision for promotions internally within a company that filed the petition and the I-140 is approved more than 180 days previously?

Answer: These regs will only clarify (I am not sure they really do that) what "same or similar" jobs are. That concept is crucial when your I-140 has been approved and I-485 has been pending 180 days. At that time, you can accept a same or similar job anywhere, including within the same company, and NOT have to start your green card all over again. That comes under the topic of AC21 portability.

Question 5: Is direct portability of I-140 across multiple employers, ever possible. because I-140 is a property of the Employer and not the Employee (unlike 1-485) ?.Can we suggest any other creative options, of working around this legal hurdle. a. Can PERM be made portable across multiple employers. So employees donot have to go through the hassle of the PERM filing, repeatedly. This will save, almost 4 months of pre PERM filing effort and another 8-10 months of PERM processing window.

b. Or, can the I 140 be made an Employee’s property after 180 days it is approved. If that can be done then portability of the same may be legally possible across different Employers

Answer: The Priority date IS the "property" of the employee, NOT of the employer. So, an employee can port it to any job, anywhere, any number of times. But, I do not think they are excusing us from having to refile the PERM.

Question 6: Does the 60 day grace period is accepted in this case; H-1 Ext filed before expiry of I-94, then Current H-1 and I-94 expired, then H-1 Ext denied. Can we use 60 day grace period for filing new H-1 with new employer? In what cases does this 10 day validity before and after petition dates is used. The 60-day grace period appears to apply only in those cases where an approved H-1 employment abruptly comes to an end. The proposed regs say, upto 60 days may be given: "on the basis of the cessation of the employment on which the alien’s classification was based".

Answer: The 10 days allow you enter (but, not work) upto 10 days before the date your "validity period" (approval of petition) begins, and another 10 days to leave the USA (but, not work), after that period ends.

Question 7: Emp A - I-140 Approved and Moved to Emp B. Got i-140 with Emp B and priority date retained. submitted Emp A Experience letter while fling PERM. Now I want to move to Emp C. Do I still need to get experience letter from Emp B? If I am not able to get experience letter from Emp B, Can Emp C file PERM. if so and filed new PERM and I-140 with Emp C, Can I still retain priority date even though if its not same or similar job?

Answer: There are two fundamental principles that you need to apply to your case:

1. Priority date transfer does NOT require that your jobs must be same or similar.

2. Experience letters are NOT required for priority date transfer or retention. 

Question 8: Now that it is clear that there is almost nothing much in the so called reform, how can the immigrant community represent themselves forcefully, while the public comment period is in place? I understand that each one of us can go and put our comments, but is your firm, or someone else, planning to represent us? For lack of proper words, these so called reforms are a piece of trash, and only done to pretend as if reforms are taking place. It could not be worse actually. 

Answer: There is a limit on what USCIS can do without action from the Congress. You can certainly write your comments and several organizations will place their comments on the record as well. NORMALLY, USCIS does not change the rules much once they have been proposed. I think US immigration policy in "skilled" immigration is distressingly short-sighted. Our adopted country does not recognize the value brought in by us.

Question 9: My I-140 already withdrawn/revoked after 180 days of initial approval date. Now after implements new rule, will it apply for my case to extend my H-1 beyond 6 years?

Answer: I cannot say for sure whether USCIS intends to apply these rules retroactively. I hope they do. 

Question 10: Can you comment on what date will this become effective ? Is it after the comment period is over?

Answer: The effective date is unpredictable. Usually, it is a few months after the comments are over. 

Question 11: I need to clarify regarding the I-140 EAD for H-4. If the principal applicant has I-140 approved but the priority date for that category and country in the visa bulletin is more than 10 years back, Can the dependents, such as H-4, apply for I-140 EAD without the documentation for compelling evidence? If no, what are the examples of compelling evidence?I think the regulation does very little incremental for the EB categories. As mentioned, it provides clarification rather than provide more flexibility to the household or family of EB categories. I am disappointed with the revisions that have been made.Also, the compelling evidence was not required till now. What happens to those H-4 EADs which were issued since USCIS started applications from May 27, 2015? How would those H-4 EADs which are approved on the basis of I-140 approval of principal applicant be dissolved?Also, if the spouse moves from H-4 to H-4 EAD. Can he/she move from H-4 EAD to H-1B or any other non-immigrant category? Does the form I-539 allows movement among all categories?

Answer: H-4 EAD does NOT require compelling evidence. That is a different rule: http://www.immigration.com/blogs/form-i-140-form-i-765/h-4-ead-rule-cont...

I-594 does allow movement between all categories. H-4 to H-1 is definitely no problem. I agree; I am not too thrilled with the regs. But there is a limit to what Pres. Obama can do, folks. 

H-1B Laid Off Issues

Authored on: Thu, 11/12/2015 - 09:15

Question

I have been laid off by my current employer, with severance paycheck coming at regular pay intervals until mid January-2016. Finding a new employment is taking time. I am on H-1B which first started on October 01, 2013, latest I-797 valid until December 2017. <br>
1. How long do I legally have, before I become unauthorized to stay? What constitutes as unlawful presence?<br>
2. My I-94 admission validity is until October 2016; with no employment, does this mean anything?<br>
3. Before I transition into a new H-1B, can I travel outside and into the country, without a Change of Status? Can I use severance pay checks if asked, for entry purposes?<br>
4. Can I use my severance pay stubs as pay stubs when my next employer applies for new H-1B?<br>
5. I am hesitating to inform my next employer about my termination, thinking that this may impact my hiring decision or my ability to negotiate. But not indicating terminated employment, is it possible that my H1B transfer or new petition may be considered unethical?<br>
6. In your experience, how long does the USCIS take to update a revoked H-1B petition in their systems?<br>
7. If my new employer files for H-1B transfer before the update but with pay stubs older than 30 days, do I have to mandatory leave the country for new H-1B stamping before starting to work?<br>
8. If such is the case, is it best to change to a B-2 status and have my next employer apply for new H-1B? If yes, I would assume that I will be cap exempt until September 30, 2019 plus the days spent on B2; would this be a fair assumption.<br>
9. Can my employer continue to pay severance checks when I am on B-2 status?<br>
10. What happens if my new employer applies for H-1B transfer with severance paychecks, after USCIS has updated their records?<br>
11. In your experience, what gap in unemployment is generally ignored by USCIS when filing for new H-1B or transferring new H-1B?<br>
12. What other words of wisdom do you have for me?

Answer

See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.

https://youtu.be/F0YZD8zWm88?t=1068&nbsp;

FAQ Transcript:

If you get laid off on H-1B there is no grace period. You get laid off today tomorrow you are out of status.

Answer 1.  Not even one day. However when you are getting paid can you not make the argument that since you are getting paid you are still maintaining status. That’s a slightly unpredictable argument. It can cut both ways. An example: I did a consultation on garden leave. Garden leave is very common in the financial industry. The employer lets you resign or if they lay you off they will pay you for the couple of months but they don’t want you to join another employer. The idea is you should not be able to take their information which is current and apply to a competitor. So in that case those pay checks are strongly set to keep you in status because it is full salary and they are maintaining control over you and they are not letting you do what you please . And that’s the assumption.

However severance pay… government has at one point said that they don’t consider severance pay to maintenance of status because severance pay seems to be a part of an arrangement were this is not salary you are basically just getting paid sought of a bonus to part company and I have doubts about that . I do not believe that to be a very good legal opinion from the government.  I feel as long as my salary amount is getting paid, my deductions are being made, it is does not matter if I have a job or not. So you can certainly argue that. Severance pay doubtful, something like garden leave or regular leave coming out your way is probably ok to maintain status.

Answer 2.  Not really. Understand the difference between out of status and unlawful presence. These are two different concepts. If you are on H-1 and you get laid off you are out of status the next day. But you are not unlawfully present until your H-1 is revoked or until your 1-94 expires. For sure unlawful presence begins when 1-94 expires. So unlawful presence and out of status are two different things. You are out of status the following day but you may not be unlawfully present until you’re I-94 expires or revocation of the H-1 occurs. Consequences of being out of status and unlawful presence are quite different. You are out of status that is no bar from getting another H-1B visa, another H-4, L-1, L-2 maybe a problem for F-1 or B-1 visas that have rather weak basis but for H-,4 H-1, L-1, L-2  or even O-1 or E-3 this is not a problem. On the other hand if you are unlawfully present for 180 days you are barred from green card or work visa for three years to ten years if you are unlawfully present for one year. So you can’t come back without a waiver and waivers are limited.

Answer 3.  No because you don’t have a job. If you use the same visa to come back in, that could be fraud.

Answer 4.  The answer is yes and why not. Government has never made a formal announcement that they will not accept severance as indicative of violation of status. So definitely use them.

Answer 5.  That’s between you and your new employer. Immigration law does not require you to inform your new employer about termination by the old employer. 

Answer 6. It can be many months but revocation should be retroactive so if your employer sent a revocation request which reaches USCIS today even if they act on it three months down the line they will back date it to today. Revocation is effective on the date revocation request is received.

Answer 7.  It is up to USCIS, they might allow you status if the facts of your case is such that they require some sympathetic consideration but normally if you are out of status even one day government is  well within its right to refuse to issue you status within the country. In these cases I always advice people to file premium processing soon so you know rather quickly were you stand.

Answer 8.  B-2 application to maintain status is acceptable sometimes and also objectionable by the government. You can try, you can tell them that you were laid off unexpectedly and you have enough money to support yourself and you will not work without authorization, and that as soon as you find another employer you will immediately apply for an H-1. When all these things are said and done I think you can make a case for a B-2.

Sometimes government has come back and said we cannot give you a B-2 but as long as you get it filed before your current H-1 expires at least you have the right to stay in the US.  You can argue in what is called authorized period of stay. But the problem is this. Something you need to be aware of. Let’s say your status is expired you have filed for B-2 and it is pending now you found a job remember an H-1 transfer within US will be approved only (most cases) if the pending B-2 has been approved in your favor by the time USCIS decides the H-1 transfer. If the case is still pending they will not give you status within USA, they will ask you to go for visa stamping. That is not a problem. You can do that but be mindful of that. If the B-2 is still pending or the B-2 is denied you will have to leave USA. The only time you get H-1B within USA is if by the time they decide your second H-1and your B-2 is already approved in your favor. 

You will be cap exempt. That is not a problem because cap just says if you have been approved anytime in the last six years you are not subject to the quota.

Answer 9.  Why not. On the one hand we are arguing that’s keeping you in status. On the other government could take the position that means you are violating status and I would say “no” because that is payment for work already done. They are giving me severance not because I am working for them; it’s because I already worked for them and this is either a payment for work already done or part of the arrangement while I was working.  In order for employment to be unauthorized there must be a payment or remuneration as well as work.  If there is payment without work or work without payment I think that is a good argument that’s not an unauthorized employment.

Answer 11.  There is no consistency.  I have seen them ignore not even one day they will come back and say no you were out of status for one day, in some situations they have done  for two or three months. Most of the times they are not tolerant of this issue at all. 

Answer 12. I think B-2is a good idea as long as you understand the implications of a B-2.

Maternity leave on H-1, FMLA and status

Authored on: Thu, 10/22/2015 - 04:32

Question

My wife is on H-1B visa and went on Maternity Leave (normal delivery) starting 8-Sep-2015 and will be completing 6 weeks of allowed vacation on 16-Oct-2015 (We have 6 Weeks letter from doctor). However, she would like to extend the leave till 15-Dec-2015 ( Total Duration 3 Months 10 Days) as we do not have the required support for the baby. Her Employer is willing to provide her with a leave/vacation letter and she can continue to work with the same employer post her vacation. Pay stubs ($0) will not be provided by the employer.<br>

Also, we are trying to have the pediatrician provide a letter suggesting 4 months of leave but not sure if we can get the same or will it be helpful?
<br>
State - New Jersey<br>
Visa Type - H-1B<br>

Question 1 - Will a $0 pay stub from employer be helpful to keep her in status while on leave?<br>
Question 2 - Will letter from pediatrician suggesting 4 months of leave be helpful to keep her in status while on leave?<br>
Question 3 - Request you to suggest if she will be in valid status if she continues to be on leave till Dec-15 and have a vacation letter from the employer without pay stubs ?<br>

We do have an option of moving her to H4 starting 30 Oct but would like to avoid the same.
<br>
If she changes her status to H-4, <br>
Question 4 - Will her current employer have to file a new H1B or a simple COS from H-4-H-1B would be required once she is ready to work?<br>
Question 5 - Can COS from H-4 to H-1B be filed in premium processing ? If not, what are the timeline for processing of the same.

Answer

 See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.  

https://youtu.be/ZvUVIGTM-Kk?t=2334

 

FAQ Transcript:

 If you go to this website - http://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/&nbsp;on Family and Medical Leave Act the website explains a lot to you that you can go 12 weeks easily and USCIS will honor that and they will still consider you to be in status. So even if you don’t get paid for that time and you don’t get a pay stub that’s fine. Now if there is a medical reason for eg: a pediatrician saying she needs to have x number of months of leave. I think she will be in status. We had a case were one of our friends had to be hospitalized for extended period of time and then she was out of work on H-1 for almost a year but we were able to convert her to H-4 because the government realized she was not out of work because she didn’t have a job it was because she had a medical necessity.

As for the question if she changes her status to H4, and file premium processing, she is not subject to the quota if she changes into H-4. But the employer will have to file H-1B change of status which is almost like doing a new H-1.  Also COS from H-4 to H-1B be filed in premium processing can be done.

How to Enter The USA to Start A Business And Then Continue

Authored on: Tue, 08/26/2014 - 03:23

Question

I am planning to start an IT company in USA which is registered in India. Currently I am planning to travel on B1/B2 visa for my company set up. Can I transfer my visa status from B1/B2 to L1 if required within USA? What are the possible chances of success? Kindly you please suggest me the best way.

Answer

There are several issues that should be examined before you can make an informed decision.

1.  B visa or ESTA does not allow you to “work:”

To enter the USA, a B-1 visa or ESTA (Visa Waiver Program) is a good option, but you need to remember, these visas do not allow you to actually engage in income generating business yourself.  There are several impediments to what you can do.  You are, of course, allowed to enter the USA, seek a business, negotiate and/or purchase the business.  You are also allowed to incorporate and/or start a new business, including, a US branch of your business in your home country.

Read about B (the same limitations exist for ESTA entries) visas: http://www.immigration.com/visa/b-visa/b-visa-overview

 

2.  Are you already a part of or own an established business in your home country?

(a)  Yes: Look at the following options:

                                                               i.      L-1 (Intra-company transferee – visas where you have or are starting a company related to your foreign company) http://www.immigration.com/visa/l-visa/l-visa-overview

                                                             ii.      E-1 and E-2 (Treaty trader and treaty investor visas – require a treaty between your home country and the USA.  India does not have any such treaties with the USA.  http://www.immigration.com/visa/e-visa/e-visa-overview

                                                            iii.      EB-5 (These are investment-based green cards requiring investment of $500,000 or $1 Million and creation/preservation of ten American jobs over two years) http://www.immigration.com/greencard/eb5-green-card/eb-5-investment-green-card

(b)  No: Look at E-1/E-2 and EB-5 visas (links are in the previous para).

3.  Should you convert from B visa to any other visa?

Generally speaking, that is a bad idea.  Watch this video:  http://youtu.be/es4SlhcXr9E

For more information related to B visas, you can watch videos from this play list: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL13184E6EA97A1593

4.  How do you start a business in the USA:

This matter should be addressed based upon the advice you receive from legal counsel in the State where you wish to start your business.  The incorporation of foreign business entities is regulated at the state level (as opposed to the federal or national level) in the United States. The application process will vary from state-to-state.  Here is a good resource page from SBA, Small Business Administration (SBA is a US Government agency) on the types of business entities you can form in the USA.  Generally speaking, you, as a B or ESTA visitor, should be able to form any of these entities:  http://www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting-managing-business/starting-business/choose-your-business-stru

Change of Visa From H-1B to F-2

Authored on: Mon, 05/06/2013 - 03:00

Question

I am currently on H-1B visa. Is there a way I can change the visa to F-2 without going back to India? My fiancé is here on F-1 visa and this visa is valid till Sep 2014.

Answer

You must be married to the F-1 holder in order to be eligible for F-2 status.  Fiances do not qualify for derivative status.