H Visa FAQs

H-1 Visa re-stamping

Authored on: Thu, 10/15/2009 - 02:56

Question

I have valid H1B stamp till 2010 sept from employer A. Just after coming into US, transferred to employer B. My transfer is approved and got the I797 approval notice, which is valid until Sep 2010. Now I am planning to go India. Can I re enter US using my previous employer's Visa stamp and the new I797 or do I need to get visa stamped again? Is it true that if the previous employer has cancelled the visa, it would be a problem and the visa has to be re-stamped. It would be great if this can be clarified?

Answer

An H-1 visa does NOT need to be stamped during its life even if you change employers. You can use the same visa to travel as long as you have never been out of status.

Unpaid leave on H-1

Authored on: Tue, 10/13/2009 - 04:48

Question

What is the effect of unpaid leave for sick time or maternity leave on H1B status? I had to take about 3 months of unpaid leave and back to work for about two months now. I will have to file extension of stay H1B end of the year and want to know if it effects the extension of stay approval.

Answer

As long as the leave is normal, or supported by documented necessity, you should have no problem.

Divers Licenses, while H-1 extension pending

Authored on: Thu, 10/08/2009 - 02:59

Question

How can someone get a extension on drivers license if his H1B extension is pending and I-140 is approved in Georgia??? What do you suggest someone should do in such a situation?

Answer

I had a discussion on this just yesterday with an employer who has 19 employees in a similar situation in various States. The problem here is, while USCIS regulations do permit a grace period of 240 days to continue working, most States have no clue about it. While, this is a good topic for advocacy, short of suing the States, the best thing is to just premium your pending H-1.

Choices to work in USA

Authored on: Wed, 10/07/2009 - 07:26

Question

I am graduate B.A and I am married having one daughter of 2.8 yrs old . I want to to work in u.s.a -I can do any type of work . I want to immigrate with my family ( me ,my wife and my daughter ) .Till today I was doing import business from china from 2004 and visiting every month to china from 2004 to china for buying of goods from there and then selling it in india but due to some little bit loss i will have to stop my business . I have everything viz income tax dox , balance sheets etc. Sir now i want to immigrate to u.s.a and want to do job -any type .

Answer

The most obvious choices are H-1 and L-1 visas. Look into those. US laws are fairly stringent in visas. Good luck!

I-485 AOS Pending, Employer's Bankruptcy

Authored on: Fri, 09/04/2009 - 04:20

Question

My company (an LLC) is filing Chapter 11 Bankruptcy to restructure debt. They are planning to emerge out of Bankruptcy filing as a "C corp" company. We were told that there wont be any interruption to the day-to-day business.

1. How does it effect my H1B visa and GC application (filed I-485 - pending)?

2. Do I need to re-apply (transfer) H1 B to the new company or can I send an amendment?

3. Do I need to file AC 21 portability or send an amendment to pending I-485 application?

Answer

1. If your job remains the same and regular salary continues to be paid I see no issue for H-1 or green card.

2. An amendment should be filed, though it is debatable if it is required.

3. In my view, AC21 port is easier.

Important questions on H-1, AP and Travel

Authored on: Mon, 08/31/2009 - 01:35

Question

1. I am on H1B. It is valid until 2010. Since I am hearing that there are many queries on the port of entry, do ou think I should travel back to the country with valid AP or H1? Which one is more preferable?

2. Considering I have valid H1B until 2010 and valid AP (though I don't have AP at the moment). I plan to stay on H1 as long as I am waiting for my greencard. But for travel purposes I use AP. Does coming back into the country using AP will change my status from H1 to EAD?

3. How long is AP processing taking these days?

4. All my co-workers are getting huge queries on H1 extension or H1 transfer. Is AP processing also getting queries? Should I even start AP processing?

5. Please list out all the documents that I should carry while traveling?

Answer

1. I think I prefer AP. Read the Cronin memo and you will understand that even if you enter using AP, you will be considered to be on valid H-1 as long as you were maintaining H-1 status before you left. Search the word "Cronin" on my blog .

2. No. See answer above.

3. It is impossible to predict times. Plan for a six-month turnaround.

4. Do not be scared of queries. We are yet to lose an H-1 case. I am not aware of any queries on AP.

5. Advance Parole and Passport.

May B-1/B-2, E-1, E-2, F-1, H-1, J-1, L-1 O-1 visa or TN holder apply for green card?

Authored on: Tue, 08/25/2009 - 04:20

Question

May B-1/B-2, E-1, E-2, F-1, H-1, J-1, L-1 O-1 visa or TN holder apply for green card?

Answer

One of the questions I am asked quite frequently is whether or not an E-1/E-2 visa holder can apply for a green card and not jeopardize his or her E status. The answer is PROBABLY yes he can.

In the E visa context, this is what the govt says:

Quote:
9 FAM 41.51 N15 INTENT TO DEPART UPON TERMINATION OF STATUS
(TL:VISA-404; 04-29-2002)
An applicant for an E visa need not establish intent to proceed to the United States for a specific temporary period of time. Nor does an applicant for an E visa need to have a residence in a foreign country which the applicant does not intend to abandon. The alien may sell his or her residence and move all household effects to the U.S. The alien's expression of an unequivocal intent to return when the E status ends is normally sufficient, in the absence of specific indications of evidence that the alien's intent is to the contrary. If there are such objective indications, inquiry is justified to assess the applicant's true intent. As discussed in 9 FAM 41.54 N4, an applicant might be a beneficiary of an immigrant visa petition filed on his or her behalf. However, the alien might satisfy the consular officer that his and/or her intent is to depart the United States upon termination of status, and not stay in the United States to adjust status or otherwise remain in the United States regardless of legality of status.
So, are they saying they will apply the same standards as given in the note below? I THINK that is what they are saying, but this is not clear.

Quote:
9 FAM 41.54 N4 ISSUE OF TEMPORARINESS OF STAY

(CT:VISA-803; 04-27-2006)

L aliens are specifically excluded from the intending immigrant presumption of section 214(b) of the INA and are, furthermore, not required to have a residence abroad which they have no intention of abandoning. In addition, INA 214(h) provides the fact that an alien has sought permanent residence in the United States does not preclude him or her from obtaining an L nonimmigrant visa (NIV) or otherwise obtaining or maintaining that status. The alien may legitimately come to the United States as a nonimmigrant under the L classification and depart voluntarily at the end of his or her authorized stay, and, at the same time, lawfully seek to become a permanent resident of the United States. Consequently, the consular officer's evaluation of an applicant's eligibility for an L visa shall not focus on the issue of temporariness of stay or immigrant intent.
There exists in law something called the "doctrine of dual intent." This doctrine permits nonimmigrants to have immigrant intent. In other words, even though, you are coming to USA on a visa that is temporary, you may pursue your green card (exhibiting intent to live in USA permanently).

By law, L-1 and H-1 holders are PERMITTED by the doctrine of dual intent to have their green cards pending. This is beyond question. That your green card application is pending can never be a ground for denial of your H or L visa application (includes H-4 and L-2).

As I have noted above, E-1, E-2 visas have an unclear situation. It appears the consulates WILL permit them dual intent, but may not(???). They do NOT have the same level of protection as H and L visas but usually consulates will permit dual intent.

The following visa types have no such protection and their vise or entry into USA can be denied if they have a green card application application in process: B-1, B-2, F-1/F-2, J-1, J-2.

O-1 is allowed to have an immigrant intent (by regulations - though not by statute).
Pursuant to 8 CFR Section 214.2(O)(13)
(13) Effect of approval of a permanent labor certification or filing of a preference petition on O classification. The approval of a permanent labor certification or the filing of a preference petition for an alien shall not be a basis for denying an O-1 petition, a request to extend such a petition, or the alien's application for admission, change of status, or extension of stay. The alien may legitimately come to the United States for a temporary period as an O-1 nonimmigrant and depart voluntarily at the end of his or her authorized stay and, at the same time, lawfully seek to become a permanent resident of the United States.

TN is also not allowed dual intent, but are often not questioned on their green card pendency.

H-1 visa denial and investigation

Authored on: Tue, 08/25/2009 - 03:50

Question

1. I had filed for H1B visa last year but the VISA consulate in Delhi denied it as they wanted Tax returns of the Client company and other details which my H1B sponsor company was not willing to share. I was really frustrated with VO at embassy. I then applied to embassy to withdrawn my H1B visa application. I got a confirmation that it has been withdrawn.

Now today after so many days when I checked my H1B status on USCIS, it said " This case has been received from the State Department with a request we review it."

Please let me know what does it mean and does it mean something serious to take care of.

2. Updated FAQ - What are the implications of H1B Visa revocation for future H1b application

Answer

1. This means that the consulate sent the case back to USCIS for review, revocation (and may be investigation of the employer). Usually, you should not have any issue with it. But from what I recall, if the case is revoked, you will be subject to the H-1 quota in future.

2. I do not see any implications for the individual unless the revocation was based upon some problem with the individual's qualifications.

Compensation for H-1 lay off

Authored on: Mon, 08/03/2009 - 15:05

Question

My friend is working for NASDAQ listed company in US. We were in a discussion about the compensation details available for H1B employee if the company does a lay-off and he is affected due to it. He is on end of his 6th year and just got his 7th year extension.
If something like that happen(not that it should happen) but if that happen what are the compensation he is entitled to get from the company, apart from 2 weeks pay.

Answer

There is no special protection of compensation under H-1 laws once employment is terminated. Under immigration laws, the employer is required only pay for a one-way ticket back to your home country. The protection, if any, comes from employment contracts.

F-1 visa stamp, H-4 pending

Authored on: Tue, 06/16/2009 - 09:21

Question

I'm on H1B working in USA. My visa was expiring in May, so my company applied for H1B and H4 (for my wife) extension in April.
In May 1st week, my wife got admission & assistantship in one of the university. She returned to India on May 20th and she got her F1 visa stamped from India.

Now we are very much concerned that what will happen to my H1 and her H4?

1) Since she has F1, will it affect H1/H4 processing?
2) Do we have to apply for H4 withdrawal in order to maintain her status as F1 ? If so, is it possible for you to apply withdrawal on behalf of us? What is the fee you charge for the same?
3) Is it possible to have F1 and H4 both together at the same time?
4) Since my Employer is a large company and they have filed H1-H4 on behalf of us, is it possible for an outside agency to file H4 withdrawal? And will the H4 withdrawal application affect my H1 visa extension application?

Answer

1. H-4 is her personal application. All she needs to do is send a letter to USCIS stating "I hereby withdraw my application for H-4." Attach a copy of the fee receipt for H-4 application that comes from USCIS. I see no need for you spend money on legal fees, but that is your choice.

2. If nothing else works and she does get the H-4 approval, just have her step outside USA and reenter on F-1 visa and get a new I-94 from CBP at the airport.

3. Generally speaking, no.

4. Let your employer know. They should be able to withdraw for you. If not, do it yourself as I have suggested.