H Visa FAQs

H-4 EAD Rule FAQ's

Authored on: Wed, 04/01/2015 - 05:30

Question

1. Is there any time frame within which H-4 should have job offer after getting H-4 EAD?

2. Why is an adjustment of status I-539 needed? What status is being adjusted (H-4 to H-4?)? I get the other form for application of EAD. What if someone is on F-1? Could they file I-539 (To go from F-1 to H-1?) and I-765 concurrently?

3. I am currently on OPT ( from F-1- visa) and it ends in Dec. My husband on H-1B and I-140 to be approved 2009 PD in "ABC" company and he moved "XYZ" company .The XYZ company process my new I-140
Do we have any clarity on the F-1/OPT to H-4 EAD process? Should I move to H-4 and then apply for EAD ?

4. I know there is no clear picture that there will be a change in law for all candidates with I-140 approved can register for I-485, so that they can get EAD/AP. If that really happens, there is no use of this H-4 EAD regulation anymore it is just obsolete, any person with approved I-140 can apply for I-485. The H-4 EAD process took one calendar year from starting to beginning for approval which will become a waste of process, effort, wait time, expenses for the Government. If it really happens, it is a miracle or my guess is they might keep a condition that the person should be waiting at least 3-4-5 years with a approved I-140.
My question is it that easy task for USCIS/GOVT/EO just amend the process for I-485 pre registering ?
5. Can H-4 EAD can do business ?
6. I am in USA on H1B and running my 5th year. but recently I have got H1 extension from USCIS to 7th year. (This is because my labor is pending with DOL now for more than 1 year). So based on these conditions, is my spouse eligible for EAD?. Can your firm help me in filing the EAD for my spouse?

7. a. After the H-4 EAD, if the candidate is not willing to work or doesn't have a job and visited India, does she have to go for visa stamping while coming back?
b. Can she enter on approval EAD (without working) if she doesn't have H-4 visa stamped?

8. 1. I am planning to apply for H-4 EAD for my wife, what happens to her EAD if I change my current employer maintaining my H-1B status?
2. My wife has found a job which can apply for her H-1B, can we file for her H-4 EAD before actually knowing if her application is selected in lottery process? (In short have both H1B application and EAD application open at same time)

9. I am on H-1 B and my husband on H-4 working in India. Can I apply H-4 EAD while he is in India or he has to come here before applying?

10. a. If my H-1B petition is not selected in lottery, I will apply for H-4 COS and EAD simultaneously. Is it advisable to apply for H-4 COS/EAD on my own or through my wife's employer?
b. While my H-4 COS/EAD petitions are under USCIS’ review, can my ongoing STEM extended OPT EAD be further extended (under cap-gap extension policy or similar) to allow me continue working after 9-June-2015 (the day my OPT EAD expires) till I receive the decision on H-4 work authorization petition?
c. If YES, how long is this ‘grace period’ for OPT cap-gap extension?
- If NOT, will I be considered out of status (and have to leave USA) during the time period between the day my OPT EAD expires and H-4 EAD is approved/effective (assuming a positive outcome)?

Answer

1. Is there any time frame within which H-4 should have job offer after getting H-4 EAD?

Answer: The H-4 EAD, like the EAD under AOS/I-485 is an opportunity, not an obligation. You can choose to get get an EAD and then not work at all. The EAD remains valid.

 

2. Why is an adjustment of status I-539 needed? What status is being adjusted (H-4 to H-4?)? I get the other form for application of EAD. What if someone is on F-1? Could they file I-539 (To go from F-1 to H-1?) and I-765 concurrently? 

Answer: I-539, change of status has to be filed only if the derivative spouse is in a status other than H-4. If your spouse is already in H-4 status, you will file the I-765 only. If they are in a status other than H-4, such as F-1, you will file for change of status to H-4 using I-539 and you can concurrently file the I-765.

 

3. I am currently on OPT (from -F1- visa) and it ends in Dec. My husband on H-1B and I-140 to be approved 2009 PD in "ABC" company and he moved "XYZ" company .The XYZ company process my new I-140 Do we have any clarity on the F-1/OPT to H-4 EAD process? Should I move to H-4 and then apply for EAD?

Answer: I think we have plenty of clarity at this time. You can apply concurrently for H-4 COS and EAD on or after 26 May. You can also apply for H-4 COS now and EAD later. 

 

4. I know there is no clear picture that there will be a change in law for all candidates with I-140 approved can register for I-485, so that they can get EAD/AP. If that really happens, there is no use of this H-4 EAD regulation anymore it is just obsolete, any person with approved I-140 can apply for I-485. The H-4 EAD process took one calendar year from starting to beginning for approval which will become a waste of process, effort, wait time, expenses for the Government. If it really happens, it is a miracle or my guess is they might keep a condition that the person should be waiting at least 3-4-5 years with a approved I-140. My question is it that easy task for USCIS/GOVT/EO just amend the process for I-485 pre registering ? 

Answer: Good points. But H-4 EAD will still be good for people with no I-140 who are in 7th plus year H-1 extension. As to whether or not this is an easy task, depends upon whether they do it by memo (real easy) or regulation (time consuming). 

 

5. Can H-4 EAD can do business ?

Answer: H-4 EAD holders CAN do business.

 

6. I am in USA on H1B and running my 5th year. But recently I have got H1 extension from USCIS to 7th year. (This is because my labor is pending with DOL now for more than 1 year). So based on these conditions, is my spouse eligible for EAD?. Can your firm help me in filing the EAD for my spouse? 

Answer: Since you have received extension beyond 6 years of your H-1, I see no problem in your spouse obtaining her EAD.

As to whether we can represent you, is more problematic.  Since we do not know the depth to which USCIS will examine the supporting documentation that goes with the H-4 EAD petition, we have no good way to decide what to charge. For instance, if USCIS starts asking questions about the status of H-1 holder, it could involve hours of our time.  But if they do not, it would be just a simple filing.  There is no fair method to assess the issues that can be raised.  One of the options you have is to file the Form I-765 with supporting documentation yourself, and then retain us only if an RFE is issued.  That way, in reviewing the RFE, we can assess how much work is needed and charge accordingly.

 

7. a. After the H-4 EAD, if the candidate is not willing to work or doesn't have a job and visited India, does she have to go for visa stamping while coming back? 

b. Can she enter on approval EAD (without working) if she doesn't have H-4 visa stamped? 

Answer: a. In my view it is no, she does not need to go  for visa stamping if she already has a visa. Not working after getting her  EAD is  her right. Therefore, it is not a violation of her H-4 status if she decides not to work, work part time, or own a business, etc.

b. No. She will need a visa. The H-4 EAD does not operate like an Advance Parole.

 

8. 1. I am planning to apply for H-4 EAD for my wife, what happens to her EAD if I change my current employer maintaining my H-1B status? 

2. My wife has found a job which can apply for her H-1B, can we file for her H-4 EAD before actually knowing if her application is selected in lottery process? (In short have both H1B application and EAD application open at same time)

Answer: 1. I see no issue with changing employers as long as your eligibility is otherwise maintained (status/I-140 etc.)

2. Yes you can. I have discussed this in the video on my blog.

 

9. I am on H-1 B and my husband on H-4 working in India. Can I apply H-4 EAD while he is in India or he has to come here before applying?

Answer: USCIS's position is that casual trips that are brief are permitted. If your husband leaves for a long time, you are not permitted to stay in the USA.

 

10. a. If my H-1B petition is not selected in lottery, I will apply for H-4 COS and EAD simultaneously.  Is it advisable to apply for H-4 COS/EAD on my own or through my wife's employer?

b. While my H-4 COS/EAD petitions are under USCIS’ review, can my ongoing STEM extended OPT EAD be further extended (under cap-gap extension policy or similar) to allow me continue working after 9-June-2015 (the day my OPT EAD expires) till I receive the decision on H-4 work authorization petition?

c. If YES, how long is this ‘grace period’ for OPT cap-gap extension? If NOT, will I be considered out of status (and have to leave USA) during the time period between the day my OPT EAD expires and H-4 EAD is approved/effective (assuming a positive outcome)?

Answer: a. I see no reason why you must seek the help of your wife's employers.

b. You will not get any new rights other than an H-4 EAD. 

c. A timely filed H-4 petition will give you the right to stay in the USA awaiting outcome.

Enter USA while Green Card is Pending on B-1, B-2/H-1 Visa

Authored on: Wed, 03/11/2015 - 07:39

Question

I am US citizen and planning to sponsor green card for my sibling. My sibling has already visited US in B-1/B-2 visa few times and holds that visa for another few years.
I know that this kind of application takes 10+ years to approve. From this context in mind, I have few questions -<br>

1) Can my sibling enter United States on the same B-1/B-2 visa after I apply immigration application?<br>
2) Can my sibling apply for renewal or new B-1/B-2/H-1 visa while application is being processed?

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baprYGs8IzQ&t=782

FAQ Transcription

There really is no statute law that specifically prohibits such an entry. Well maybe there is something that says you must have nonimmigrant intent but the question is can they do it. Theoretically  yes they can enter on a b visa while the green card is pending especially when something is pending for 13-14 years they maybe allowed an entry but they can be disallowed an entry at any point of time. So there is no guarantee that the B-1/B-2 option either the renewal of the visa or entry at the airport will be permitted on a indefinite basis. You could be stopped any time.  However H visa, L visa, E visa and O visa are some of the visas that are not subject to the problem of green card pendency. These visas can be utilized. Also remember a green card can be filed through several different categories at the same time. So if your sibling qualifies for other categories they can apply under all the categories available for them. So H-1 visa is no problem b but B-1/B-2 no guarantee.

How Does H-1 Visa Quota System Work?

Authored on: Tue, 03/10/2015 - 09:03

Question

I am an Indian and have been living in London for the last 6 years and currently in the process of getting British Citizenship, which I am hoping to get by April and subsequently British Passport by June. I work for a leading international bank in London.<br>

My girlfriend is currently doing Masters in Illinois, USA, so, I am looking to move to US, but understand the H-1B visa is a bit complicated.
<br>
My question is, how does the quota system work for H-1-B visa and when does the new quota start, and what's the best period to apply for one? So, If I am looking to move there in October 2015, when do I have to get an employer to apply for H-1B for me (provided an employer agrees to sponsor me)? or, is there a particularly good time to apply for H-1B visa?
<br>
Also, is it easier to get the visa if I am there physically in the US or it doesn't matter?

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baprYGs8IzQ&t=138

FAQ Transcript:

Well you don’t have any time to lose. Apply right away. The way it works is your H-1 application must reach the USCIS on April 1st no earlier and usually no later. Sometimes they give us three to four days but normally April 1st is the day the quota opens and that’s pretty much the quota closes as well and there are usually more applications received by the government than they have visas almost two to one ratio maybe more sometimes and then there is a lottery held and if you get selected in the lottery then your H-1B gets approved. You go for a visa stamping and you can enter USA no earlier than 10 days before October 1st when your H-1B visa period starts.

What is this thing about October 1st?

The US government fiscal year begins on October 1st so all the quotas including green card and H-1’s they get reset on October 1st.  H-1 you can apply six months ahead of the start date  which is April 1st  so that’s why you file on April 1st  and you begin working on October 1st  but you can enter USA ten days ahead of October 1st.

Status of the H-4 EAD regulations

Authored on: Fri, 02/20/2015 - 20:22

Question

Status of the H-4 EAD regulations

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXq6DaDK7AA#t=93

FAQ Transcript:

This FAQ is about H-1 quota, how does H-1 quota work?

I think this is an issue important for many people.

Question: I am on L-1 A, If I get H-1B this April, is it mandatory to work from October 1st. Can I continue on L-1A and then change to H-1B when I like.

Answer: It can be done, sure. Here is how you do, when you apply for H-1, don't apply for change of status, its up to you. You can tell the employer and double check it,make sure you talk to lawyers. Just say I want an H-1 approval but I don't want change of status. That way from October 1st you don't automatically get on H-1, you stay on L-1 continue working on L-1. And whenever you are ready you can go outside, get your visa stamped and come back or apply for change of status within USA to H-1, which is like doing H-1 all over again but you are not subject to the quota. So that's how you do.  

When do I become exempt from H-1 quota

Authored on: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 01:57

Question

I got my H-1B petition approved in 2008 and again got it extended in 2008 unto Jan 2011. Now, I have never used both these visa's to work in US. Though, I have traveled few times to US but on B-1 visa for meetings with customer. Today, one of my friend told me that I am eligible for cap exempt H-1B application if I get job in US. Also, what will be the processing time for this cap exempt H-1B. Can this be done in premium processing in 15 days ?

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv_vI7O0d4U#t=518

FAQ Transcript:

It is a very odd situation. I think the USCIS interpretation of when you become exempt from the quota is incorrect. But this is their current thinking at least as of last week. With them you never know. They felt if you are outside USA and you get an H-1B approval never go for visa stamping. You are not exempt from the quota. So if you never get visa stamped we don’t consider you to be exempt. If you’re in the United States and you get your H-1 approval but the employer who got the approval revokes your H-1 before October 1st you are not exempt from the quota. I think both the interpretations are incorrect. I would encourage you to try and take a chance and see if you can consider being quota exempt. Anyway if I were you I would certainly file a quota application in April just to preserve all my rights and if it does not get selected in the lottery file again and ask for quota exemption because of the reason that you have an H-1 from before.

 

Can I postpone H-1 status

Authored on: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 01:44

Question

Currently I'm on L-1A status and it expires in *** hence my employer is planning to file new H-1B this April not change of status. Here are my questions...<br>
1) If I get H-1B this April, is it mandatory to work on H-1B from Oct 01, 2015?<br>
2) Shall I continue with L-1A status until it expires and then can I change to H-1B?

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv_vI7O0d4U#t=441

FAQ Transcript:

The answer to the first question is it can be done. When you apply for an H-1 do not apply for a change of status. That’s up to you. You can tell the employer and make sure you talk to the lawyers. Just say you want an H-1 approval but I do not want change of status. Come October 1st you don’t automatically get on to H-1 but stay on L-1 and you can continue working on L-1 and whenever you are ready you can go outside get visa stamping and come back or apply for change of status within US to H-1 which is like doing the H-1 all over again but you are not subject to the quota. 

H-4 EAD Rule

Authored on: Tue, 02/17/2015 - 01:23

Question

My spouse and I are living in different sates due to obvious work reasons. I am currently on H-1B Visa with my I-140 approved. My wife is on H-1b working as a full time employee to XYZ company. Now, with Obama's executive action particularly with H-4 EAD my wife is planning to change her visa status from H-1B to H-4 so that she can get opportunities at the place where I live (at this point of time all the companies at my place are asking her for Either Green Card or Proper Work permit without any sponsorship in order to hire her). In this regards I have 2 questions <br>
1. Would you suggest us to get H-4 approval in advance before H-4-EAD rule comes into effect or would you suggest we can file them concurrently?<br>
2. If she applies for H-4 when can she quit the job - Is it on the day of notice of application receipt from USCIS or from the day of H-4 approval?<br>

P.S: I am aware that no rule has been published yet but just wanted to get your thoughts/suggestions on this issue.

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv_vI7O0d4U#t=110

FAQ Transcript

As you folks know there is a regulation that is pending for a long time and we were expecting in December that it will get finalized, published and H-4 people whose spouses are at the I-140 stage would have the right to work with an EAD. So far that is still pending; there is no news on that. Last week USCIS said that they are very close to finalizing but knowing the government I do not know what very close means. 

There is a difference between Executive action of Obama and the pending regulation for H-1 EAD. These are two different things. Right now we are waiting for the regulation that was pending to be published.  

So the answer to the question is she can quit the job on the date USCIS receives the H-1 application. If she does the H-1 application online then she can quit the same day. I would want you to wait and see what the rule looks like before you start making changes in the work authorization. if you’re ok with the idea that your wife could end up not working at all for many months then go ahead and apply for H-1 but if you do not  want to take that chance then wait until the regulations become finalized and then you can decide how you want to go about. 

Work for Old Employer When New H-1 Transfer Approved

Authored on: Fri, 12/05/2014 - 18:36

Question

I have a question on H-1B. I have an approved I-140 from company B and I'm currently working for company A on H-1B( valid till February 2015). Company B applied for H-1B transfer and also 3 year extension based on approved I-140.
I'm expecting H-1B transfer process to be over by 10th Dec 2014( as it was a filed under premium processing ) but I would like to join them only after Jan 1st 2015. In the meantime I would like to continue to work for company B till Dec 31st 2014. My question is how long can I continue to work for company A after successful transfer of visa (H-1B) to company B ?

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YV-qIlAEpI#t=2372


FAQ Transcript

The Answer to the question that is often asked: I am working for an employer on H-1B, my transfer to another employer, let's call other employer 'Y' gets approved. I am working for 'X', 'Y' gets approved and can I continue working for 'X'. The answer is 'Yes'.

Under immigration law, approval of the second case does not over rule your previous H-1 approved. If you choose not to join them or join them 6 months later, I think it is OK. However, if you have signed any contract with employer 'B' or employer 'Y' in this case. Just make sure you are not violating any contract issue.

Under immigration law, I don't see any problem for you to continue working for employer 'A'. How long that's very difficult question to answer.  I would say commercially reasonable period of time. Technically, under the law there is no limit to how long you can continue. If you have joined after 6 months, 7 months, 4 months or 5 months, USCIS can raise an objection, as to if the second employer really had the job through. Don't continue too long, there is no legal limit here established.

Error by USCIS Giving Time Beyond 6 Years on H-1

Authored on: Fri, 12/05/2014 - 17:06

Question

Error in last H-1B extension- now I-140 approved and I have been working on H-1B since 2005. In between, I changed to -F1 and also spent time outside USA. Cumulatively, I would have completed six years of working on H-1B by March 30 2015, after excluding stays in USA on non-H-1B status and stays out of USA.I changed my job in Feb 2014 and have been working with this employer since then. At the time of change, the current employer filed for a H-1B petition and requested an extension for three years – from Jan-2014 until Jan 2017, even though, if I added up all the time of work on H-1B visa in USA, I would have completed six years by March 30 2015.
My I-140 has been approved this month. Now I do not know whether my employer should file for an extension of H-1B (assuming that without the I-140 approval, I was allowed to work until I completed six years of H-1B in USA) or not file for H-1B extension, because, the last extension is valid until Jan 2017.

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YV-qIlAEpI#t=1831

 

FAQ Transcript

What happens is sometimes, USCIS by mistake gives you more time than you are entitled soon for your H-1. Let's say your 6 years is getting over in one year and they give you 2 or 3 years by mistake.

Can you use that time?

And the answer is, that is very risky, don't do that because USCIS could say that you are deliberately misusing an error made by them. They can consider it to be a deport-able offense. It can be a mess. You should assume you have to go through whatever the correct date. You can even call USCIS, make notes of date and time of call etc. Ask them what they want you to do. This is something that your lawyer should be able to resolve. Have them talk with USCIS, protect yourself. Don't assume that because USCIS made an error and gave you more time, you can use it.

Unpaid Leave On H-1

Authored on: Mon, 11/24/2014 - 00:08

Question

I have a question on the unpaid leaves when outside USA while on H-1. I am on H-1 and recently went to India for stamping which was completed without any problem. I had paid vacation of 2 weeks, which I had already used and stayed in India for a month which is not going to be paid. My employer is saying these will be unpaid leaves and won't be running paychecks for these leaves and is mentioning that this won't be a problem in future as this is legal. I want to take legal opinion from you regarding what the law says in the above situation. <p>
1. If I am out of US on unpaid leaves and won't get paid, will there be any issues on my H-1 status in future for transfer or GC? <br>
2. If due to unpaid leave, W2 is less than the LCA, will it be a problem? If yes, what documentation we can show to USCIS to clarify to them why it’s less?

Answer

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujMQ79pgzX8#t=1516

 

FAQ Transcript

If you are on H-1, sometimes people ask me, I want to maintain status even though I am getting laid off. Can I be on unpaid leave and does maintain status? 

Answer is NO. Unpaid leave is not a device to maintain status. However in this scenario  you have gone to gone to India and  got the stamping done and you got the paid vacation of 2 weeks , but you want few more weeks of unpaid leave and is this legal? 

And the answer is YES. It’s when the employer gives you leave unscheduled, normally unpaid based upon your request not because you don't have a project, then for them not to pay you there is no problem. And for them not to pay you especially when you are outside the USA is absolutely no issue. 

The only problem is, make sure for the green card purposes the employer is generating enough money to meet the ability to pay wages issue. This is something you have to talk to your lawyers about it. Just tell them make sure if I am unpaid for few weeks it does not affect my green card, ability to pay wages issue. H-1 is no problem but if W-2 is less than the LCA because you are outside USA  there is good explanation. 

What documentation can you show? The facts that you are outside the U.S.A; so your boarding passes, any other evidences you have been outside the USA any email from you, something inviting or requesting that unpaid leave of absence for personal reason.