AC21 AOS Portability FAQs

Monday, June 10, 2024 - 07:30

International Managers (EB-1C) changing jobs under AC21 portability after 180 days


1. I am on L1A, and I have Approved EAD and AP. Also, 180 days of waiting is over.

My question is, can I switch employers? If so, how will USCIS match my job duties? 

2. On L1A, it's an International Manager experience, and how can I show that I have international manager experience with the new Employer?



Video URL

Thursday, March 21, 2024 - 07:45

AC21 Supplement J and Salary Increase: Potential Issues with Job Porting and leaving the employer after green card


Q1. My AOS is pending 180+ days, so which is less risky or will not cause problems when it comes to naturalization: (i) filing AC 21 and going with a new employer right after 180 days are complete, or (ii) leaving the current employer right after getting the green card?

Q2. Salary increase when filing ac21/485 j supplement: if I am filing an ac21 and the next job offers me a significant increase (2x) and 50% up from my current job, is it going to be an issue while filing a j supplement and porting a job?

Q3. What should I consider and keep in mind when changing from employer A to employer B when filing a J supplement (ac 21)?

Q4. Also, is it advisable and recommended that we stay with our employer for six months upon getting a green card? Or does it matter, and we can move as soon as we get the green card? Or should we stick with our employer for at least 3 months?

Q5. Suppose I am filing a J supplement (ac21) vs. moving right after from the employer from whom I just got the green card. Are both things considered the same, i.e., filing a J supplement and leaving the green card regarding consequences or future issues regarding citizenship/renewal? Or is one thing less risky compared to the second thing?



Video URL

Thursday, April 6, 2023 - 05:16

AC21 AOS portability: Pending AOS I-140 withdrawn before 180 days


Currently working with Employer B since 2020.
Employer A - 140 Approved in 2013. EB2 category.
Employer A - Provided form 485J in Aug and I applied for I485 in Aug. My dates retrogressed to Oct 2011 now.
Employer A - Desi consulting company, we couldn't find a project for me to join them and they withdrew I-140 in Jan. At the time of the I140 withdrawal I485 was at 150 days timeline. Now that 180 days have passed since I485 was filed in Aug, can I provide 485J with my current employer to port the I485 application? Will USCIS approve porting or deny as I140(approved in 2013) was recently withdrawn before I485 reaches the 180 days mark? Is there any way to appeal the withdrawal of I140 as beneficiary with pending AOS or ex-employer can withdraw without any issue? Are there any laws to safeguard the beneficiary when dealing with abusive and mean desi consulting companies?



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Friday, September 9, 2022 - 08:44

Unemployed on AOS EAD/I-485


Hi, My question is can I stay unemployed on EAD for long period of time (working for the same employer who petitioned me but on bench without payroll)? Can I be like that until my 485 gets adjudicated?. or do I need to show paystubs for each and every month?


Technically, you can be unemployed while on EAD/AOS/I-485. But if you are benched by the employer who petitioned for your green card, that casts doubt on the availability of the green card job. That can lead to revocation of the green card process unless you change employers using AC21 portability.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022 - 03:11

Can we file more than one AC21 portability Supplement J if we continue changing employers?


I have a question regarding the AC21 180 days rule. My I-485 Green Card was approved under EB2 category in March 2022. I changed my employer in October 2021 but my new employer filed AC21 I-485j only in February 2022 when my PD got current. When can I change jobs if I get a better offer? Do I need to work for 180 days with this employer since I-485j filing date?
In total, I have worked for 9 months for this employer (5 months before filing AC21 and 4 months after GC approval).


Video URL

Sunday, June 19, 2022 - 10:29

Using old I-140/H-1B for new employer while relocated to India


I have an H1-B/ I-140 question for you and your team. Please see below: I came to India in 2019 to get my H1 stamped along with my family and got stuck. I got a 221(g), and RFE during the process but my employer got things sorted out. Then my employer also amended my petition and I re-appeared for visa stamping interview and got stuck again due to an ‘end client’ issue. Then Covid made things worse in 2020. Questions for your team: I have an approved I-140 with my old firm (on Eb-2) with a priority date of Jan 29, 2014. I am not on a US payroll since I came to India (in 2019) & my last approved petition also expired in Jan 2022. If a new firm had to take over my H1-B case can I re-capture the unused time (time stuck in India for almost 3 years) beyond my first 6 years of H1-B with this new firm/petitioner ? If so, can I port my old I-140 (& old priority date) to the new H1 petitioner after coming to US? What is the porting time frame after coming to US? Is Premium processing available for porting old I-140 (& priority date) to the new employer? Since my priority date is current, I wanted to know if my new employer can file for AOS upon my arrival in the US. Your help and feedback on the above matter will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Q. Can I re-capture the unused time (time stuck in India for almost 3 years) beyond my first 6 years of H1-B with this new firm/petitioner?
A. Yes, you can.

Q. If yes, can I port my old I-140 (& old priority date) to the new H1 petitioner after coming to the US? What is the porting time frame after coming to the US? Is Premium processing available for porting old I-140 (& priority date) to the new employer?
A. Priority date can be ported for sure if your I-140 stayed approved till at least 17 January 2017, when there was a change in regulations in favor of the employees. Earlier, the situation was uncertain if the employer withdrew the I-140. Under the current regulations, that is not a problem for priority date transfer.

Q. Since my priority date is current, I wanted to know if my new employer can file for AOS upon my arrival in the US?
A. Adjustment of Status (AOS) is not possible. The new employer will have to start the green card all over again, carrying the old priority date.

Friday, June 17, 2022 - 02:46

"Same or similar job" criteria for green card AC21 portability


1) I-485 Filed under EB 3 Downgrade - More than one year back and pending
2)Independent I140 Approved both in EB2 and EB3 (Not as Amendment)
3) Currently working on H1B Work Authorization
4) I-485 EAD and AP Available but never used (EB3 Category)

Questions: -
1) If you change your job but by transferring your H1B (Change of Employer) and NOT use EAD, would the AC21 still apply (Same or Similar Job constraint) if you want to keep the I-485 alive?2) You said the last call that for Same of Similar Determination - USCIS Looks at all aspects:
a) Do the Job Duties and Actual Job Title need to be a dollar-to-dollar match?
b) Job Location Changes (One City/State to Another) and Job Mode Changes (From Onsite to Hybrid or Fully Remote) - Allowed?
c) Compensation Differentials - Positive or Negative - Any specific considerations/grey areas


Video URL

Friday, February 25, 2022 - 02:56

Maintaining H-1B status once I-I485 EAD is received after downgrading from EB-2 to EB-3


I have been on H-1B for the past 16 years. Recently received my I-485 EAD after downgrading from EB-2 to EB-3. Can I work full time for my own company now in the same field or Do I still need to have an employer, if I am ok to give up H-1 status?



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Friday, February 25, 2022 - 02:22

Interfiling - EB-2 to EB-3 downgrade as per the amendment. Can I now interfile?


My EB-2 was downgraded to EB-3 in Oct 2020 and the attorney marked the amended box ( "To amend a previously filed petition") as checked.


I received the EAD combo card in Dec 2021. Changed the Employer (though transferred H-1) using AC21 after way more than 180 days of pending 485

My PD is June 30, 2012 Now that EB3 is retrogressed and stuck in Jan 2012., I wanted to know

1. If I interfile EB2. Will it be rejected as the amended box was checked when downgraded?

2. If we interfile, will there be an impact on the EB-3, in case they reject it

3. What is the best way now to have both EB-2 and EB-3 run side by side. What is the fastest way to get to GC in my case?



Video URL

Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 08:43

Changing jobs (shortly after a promotion) with I-140 approval, I-485 pending, and the 180-day AC-21 portability rule


I currently have my I-140 approved from two employers for a Senior Software engineer position under EB3 quota. I have my green card EAD with priority date: Nov 2014. I-485 has been pending for more than 180 days. I expect to be promoted to be a manager in the same line of work in the next 6 months. Due to personal circumstances, I might have to move to a different employer right after. Could you please let me know if there are any concerns if I switch right after getting promoted? The job duties would change but the line of work will be the same.


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Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 06:54

Applied for EB-3 downgrade and change of employer after 180 days while I-140 is pending


I have applied for EB3 downgrade last October, received the EAD cards, I-140 is still pending. What would be the process for me to change employers at this time? Does the new employer need to start the GC process all over again? As the 180 days have passed since the I-485, what would be the process to use AC21 when I-140 is still pending for same or similar occupation?


Video URL

Thursday, April 15, 2021 - 05:19

After I get my green card, is it legal to work for two companies (and not the original company) simultaneously?


I got my GC on March of 2016 through my then employer. Soon after getting my GC my project ended (May 2016) abruptly because of the change at client location. I did not had any project at hand so I started looking for a new job and started to work with new employer in June of 2016. There was no official end date of my employment with my previous employer through which I got my GC because they were looking for a new project for me but without any certainty how long it could be before they can find me a new project. While they were looking for a project for me, I already started working for my new employer so I just moved on without any official end date with my previous employer.

In Feb of 2019, I started a second job with another employer. Currently, I'm working 2 jobs full time on GC.

I am now eligible to file for citizenship through 5 years of permanent residency requirement. I'm worried if there will be any issues while I file for my citizenship because I did not stay with the employer that file my GC long enough after receiving my GC. Also will there be any issues because I am currently working 2 full time jobs when I file for citizenship?


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Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 06:41

Laid off before getting Green Card, I-485 pending! How to renew Green Card?


I have a situation of my relative - person has the employment based green card received on Mar 12, 2012, Received EAD in 2007. However lost the job(job termination) (Nov 2, 2011) 4 months before to receive the Green Card. At the time when GC was approved (March 12,2012) person was not having the job, and there after person couldn't gone to job. Could you let us know what to do for GC renewal and for citizenship.


Video URL

Friday, January 29, 2021 - 08:47

I-485 AOS filed - Maintaining H-1B status after getting EAD/Changing jobs after I-485/Being unemployed/Start own business, etc. (Filed for I-485, EAD, AP along with EB-2 to EB-3 I-140 downgrade)


I have filed for I-485,EAD,AP along with EB2 to EB3 I-140 downgrade in October 2020. Got the receipt notices.
1)After 6 months of I-140 approval & I-485 pending with USCIS. Once if I switch job to new employer and use my EAD,AP. Should I have to ever come back to my employer (who sponsored my green card)before I receive green card or after I receive green card for any duration of time anytime?
2)What happens if I stay unemployed after using EAD for some days before I receive the green card? Is my I-485 automatically denied?
3)Is it possible for me to go back to EB2 line with same employer if I start using EAD and AP based on EB3 downgrade I receive?
4)Is it possible to start a company on my own using my EAD and work for my own company till I receive green card? If yes, then say I am working project to project basis consulting do I need to file any other documentation?
5)Why do people maintain H1B status even after getting EAD. Only risk I understand is I-485 denial. But if everything is clean and clear with respect to I-485 why do candidate needs to keep maintaining H1-B visa.
6)What are the risks for EAD and AP renewal. Does the candidate need to prove anything related to job/salary etc any time for renewing EAD and AP each time till I get green card.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020 - 09:03

Pending I-485 Petitions and 180 Day Portability Rule


1) My I-140 approved one Aug 2020. Filed I-485 in Oct 2020. Pending application less than 180 days No GC EAD yet. In this situation if my job is terminated for some reason, what will happen to my I-485 application ?
2) After getting GC EAD and AP and before final action dates becomes current can I go outside USA and work for same employer who filed my I-485 or any other employers using EAD or needs to stay and work in USA until my GC is approved.?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: Pending I-485 Petitions and 180 Day Portability Rule


Video Transcript:

1. I think you should be comfortable as long as your I-485 revocation does not get triggered off.

2.  Well, first of all when you are outside the United States you do not need an EAD. Second as long as you have a permanent job offer it shouldn't matter whether it is the same employer or some other employer as long as you are protected by AC21 portability. Hence you have a lot of flexibility. Talk with your lawyers, make sure if a Supplement J is available now. The fact that you are working from outside the United States is completely irrelevant. 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.

Sunday, April 26, 2020 - 01:39

EB-1C International Managers/Executive Green Card portability


1. I work for an MNC, who filed my GC in EB1C, I-140 approved 2 years back, I-485 filed almost 2 years back, completed I-485 interview an year back, also holds a renewed EAD/AP card. My company laid off me recently, so my L1-A will soon get invalid. I got an offer from another company in similar role and responsibilities (SOC code: 113021), so planning to move using AC21 portability. However, my first employer was in e-commerce, whereas new employer in banking domain. So, my new job offer compensation will be 10% less than the salary mentioned in my I-140/I-485 by my current employer.

2. My case is genuine as my current employer is laying off and my role got impacted, with Coronavurus pandemic, it's difficult to find new jobs. Though the roles and responsibilities (role as people manager) will be same, but domain and industry are different and hence, salaries will be different in different industries.

3. Within how months should we file I-485J and what documents do I need to provide to my new employer when joining the company?

4. By the way, my current employer suggested to use AC21 portability to move to any new employer and confirmed that they wont cancel my I-140.


Watch the Video on this FAQ:

EB-1C International Managers/Executive Green Card portability

Video Transcript:


1. Even if there were a substantial difference in the salaries I don't think it is a major issue. The requirement of the law is that the jobs must be same or similar. The idea that someting is similar presupposes that they are not the same. I don't think salary is going to be a problem.

2. As long as the roles and responsibilities are the same and you are performing substantially the same job duties I do not anticipate any problem.

3. Regarding documents don't do it yourself. Get a lawyer. You need to file supplement J and it is something that should be assessed by a lawyer before it is filed. 

4. AC21 is good. Even if they cancel your I-140 it is not going to be a problem. Once I-140 is approved and it stayed pending for 180 days you are covered from every possible angle. In your case you are protected from every possible angle, even if the employer revokes the I-140. 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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018 - 03:58

Being Without a Job on AC21


I would like to know is it ok to not be on a job for few months when a person is on AC21 and working on EAD (485 filed) status. Does it raise any issues down the line like getting green card or USC.


Watch the Video on this FAQ: Being without a job on AC21

Video Transcript:

Having a gap in your employment while you are still qualifying for AC21 is not a problem. 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.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018 - 12:55

Getting Promotions Or Changing Job Description While Green Card Is Pending


Present Status: I-140 is approved and priority date Jan 2016. I completed my MS in USA. My company attorney/HR is telling me I can't get promotion till I get my green card approved. As per them this is Immigration law or this is part of green card process. Can you please confirm if there is immigration law which tells that if your green card is pending then Job title can't be changed and promotion can't be awarded?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: Getting promotions or changing job description while green card is pending

Video Transcript

If we are speaking of a green card filed through PERM it is complicated because any substantial change in the job requires you to refile the green card unless you have the intention to go back to the old job when you get the green card. 

One point at which you can change jobs, whether job descriptions or job titles or even employers is when your I-140 is approved and your I-485 has been pending 180 days, that's the AC21 portability. 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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 03:26

H-1B Tranfer, AC21 and I-140 Process


1. While I am moving my H-1 New Employer B, What if something goes wrong during H-1 transfer or after that in GC processing with new employer like RFEs etc comes up, can I move back to employer A if employer A is willing to take me back. Does AC 21 portability rule applied to my case also? Since I have not filed I-485 yet, as per my understanding this rule does not apply to me. While my GC is in process with new Employer B and I am in waiting mode for I-140 approval with new employer, What will happen if my time to extend H-1 petition comes up.
2. Can I still extend my H-1 with new Employer even if I-140 with new employer is in process and not yet approved. Can I use my old Employers approved I-140 to extend my H-1 in this situation.


Watch the Video on this FAQ: If H-1B transfer is denied, can I go back to my old employer? When does AC21 job portability

begin? Can H-1B be extended through a new employer while I-140 is in process?

Video Transcript

1. You can apply for an extension based upon two reasons either the first year anniversary of your green card filing that your PERM was filed a year ago or based upon I-140 approval. So, yes you can file for a one year extension if PERM was started a year ago.

2. The answer is yes, as long as one of the two things exist. Either the I-140 has not been revoked in that case you can use it for extensions or the I-140 was revoked by the old employer, but after 180 days of approval in both cases you can extend your H-1 through some other employer like employer B even while employer B's own I-140 is still in process. 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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 07:47

AC-21 Job Portability, Changing Jobs Before 180 Days


Have an I140 approved with a priority date of Oct 2009 under the EB3 category and worked for the same employer for over 10 years from 2007 - 2017
I filed for my AOS in December 2017 using Cross Changeability since my spouse is born in Malaysia
I left my employer after 2 weeks of filing the AOS for a better opportunity in terms of Compensation
I used my approved I140 to get three years of H1b extension. My new job and position are in the same category and my new employer is ready to provide Supplement J if needed
It has been almost two months since the filing and have received all the receipt notices and have also done the fingerprinting and haven't received any RFE Yet. Do you foresee any issues arising in near future and jeopardizing the application because I left my employer before 180 days of AOS pendency?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: AC 21 job portability, changing jobs before 180 days

Video Transcript

I do not see any issue other than the time issue so if you are able to have the I-485 pending for 180 days you are good. 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.

Monday, January 22, 2018 - 23:59

Change in Job Title after Getting a Green Card Approval


Come to US on green card EB2 (future employment base GC) consular processing. At the time of green card consular processing interview my employer offer letter mentioned my job title as “Programmer Analyst”. My employer is a consulting company and after coming to US on GC, I got my first contract project at client location (while full time with my GC sponsoring employer) with job tilte as “Architect/Project Manager”. But is it having similar job duties as my GC employment offer letter? My question is at the time of US citizenship interview will it be problem because of different job tittle between (GC offer letter and actual contact project at the client site), but similar job duties?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: Change in job title after getting a green card approval

Video Transcript:

We would have to look at your job title and job description in the green card and see how different it is from the position you took on. Unfortunately for consular processing people, we don't have that same law - the AC21 same or similar job law. So I cannot really comment that this is going to be or not going to be a problem. Generally speaking, if you are going through Adjustment Of Status process and your I-485 has been pending 180 days, your I-140 is approved that means you are covered by the AC21 rules. In those circumstances, a change in job title to a same or similar job is not a problem. 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.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 06:34

AC21 Green Card Portability For A Lateral Move From Developer To Analyst


I am currently working on a GC-EAD. The I-140 was approved for title "application developer (oracle financials)" soc code 15-15051. I would like to make a lateral career change from developer to functional analyst. It will involve the same ERP software, I have picked up the skills to perform the new role while performing the previous job i.e it will be a lateral move (There are skills overlap between the two roles). Do you see any issues with doing this?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: AC21 green card portability for a lateral move from developer to analyst

Video Transcript

I think what you should do because this is an important benefit for you, you should have your case evaluated by a lawyer. Show them the job description of the next proposed job - salary, title, job requirements and let them help you decide. 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.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017 - 06:20

Porting Green Card To A Self-Owned Company Under AC21 Portability


I am considering working contract jobs while employed by a self-owned company. I am on GC-Ead (pending AOS). Considering the mandatory filing of supplement J forms in case of job change. Is there potential for rejection? Considering that it will be a brand new company and no turnover at the time of filing supplement J.


Watch the Video on this FAQ: Porting green card to a self owned company under AC21 portability

Video Transcript

Yes. There are two hidden problems here that you need to be aware of and be careful. One it must be an employer, employee relationship. Second, your job should be same or similar. Talk to a lawyer. Make sure you have covered these two grounds very carefully. 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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 03:34

Pros and Cons of Adjustment of Status and Consular Processing for Green Card


My H1B (6 years) was from 10/1/2004 - 9/30/2010 from 5 different companies.
Company A - PD(EB3) - Jun 19, 2007, I-140 applied on July 9, 2007, I-485 filed July 17, 2007 - got laid off Oct 31, 2008. - I-140 approved on Dec 29, 2008.
Moved to Canada in July 2012 and became Canadian Citizen in Apr 2017. I have been keeping Advance Parole active by visiting the USA every year.
Now I want to add my family in Canada(wife(Indian Citizen with USA visitors visa) and kid(Canadian Citizen)). Do you recommend AOS for myself and Consular Processing for my family?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: Pros and cons of adjustment of status and consular processing for green card

Video Transcript:

You have got your I-485 filed and that's a good thing and you kept it alive by keeping your advance parole alive, but you need a job offer and you need to file Supplement J. So if you want to take advantage of AC21 you have to move over to a new employer get a new job offer and use Supplement J to indicate to the USCIS that you are going through another employer. You have two choices. You can split the green card. You going through adjustment of status, you enter the USA with your Advance Parole and you file form I-824 for your family to go through green card processing through consular processing in Canada. So you can either bring them all in on an H-1/H-4 type visa or you can do your adjustment of status and let them do their consular processing.You should not convert yourself to consular processing that could probably end in the loss of a green card. You are taking advantage of AC21 which as far as I know is available only in adjustment of status. It is not available in consular processing. Hence adjustment of status for you and consular processing for your family makes sense. 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.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 06:33

I-485 Applicant Holding Multiple Jobs On EAD


1. In respect to the above, Case: I-485 pending since 4 years. Did not renew H1B as using EAD/AP. Can a primary applicant on Green card have multiple jobs on EAD ? More than one W2's simultaneous.<br>
Employer A (original) - Filed Green Card<br>
Employer B (temporary) - New Employer<br>
Work for both Employer A & Employer B.<br>
2. Is it important to have a continued pay stub from Employer A (original company)? Can I work for Employer B for few months and then work back for Employer A? Will there be any problem during final Adjudication?


Watch Video on this FAQ: I-485 applicant holding multiple jobs on EAD

Video Transcript

1. If you qualify under AC21 that is same or similar to the offered job under the green card or if you are going through the green card sponsoring employer, you will maintain that job. So, if you are currently maintaining that job full time and doing all other jobs at the same time or you intend to return back to that job when your green card is approved you can actually have simultaneous jobs with several different employers.

2. A green card is based upon a job offer which could be present or future. So for example, if you are working for employer A it can be a job offer for a present job or they could be offering you a promoted position. 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.

Friday, May 19, 2017 - 23:00

Physicians (FMG) NIW, AC21 portability, Teaching to clinical position


Do the 3 years spent in residency training in an HPSA/MUA area be counted towards the five years required for NIW? The residency training (3 years) and subsequent job (2 years) were on H1B visa in two different HPSA/MUA areas but not processed through NIW route. Can the NIW petition be filed now retrospectively for those years already worked in underserved areas? My current GC sponsoring job is in a University teaching hospital (job designation Assistant Professor) but obviously also involves treating patients. The PERM prevailing wage category was teacher/ Professor but job description included patient care. Can the job be changed to that involving only patient care (no teaching) and still be considered same/ similar? How about a job (with patient care only & no teaching) in a private practice (as opposed to hospital employee)?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: Physicians (FMG) NIW, AC21 portability, Teaching to clinical position

Video Transcription

Under the current regulations beginning January 17, you can actually ask for a predetermination before you change jobs. You can send your Supplement J and wait, for they got to decide it before you join the new employer. They will readjudicate the case so you will know if you are safe when you move instead of just jumping. 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.

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 03:12

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


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?


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.

Friday, March 17, 2017 - 03:49

AC21, changing jobs, when to file Supplement J


My EB2 priority date is June 2009. I filed for my I 485 in 2012 and since 2013 I have EAD and have been maintaining H1b status.
In 2014 I changed my job from the original employer who started my GC process (with whom I have I 140).
I sent AC21 when in 2016 I got the standard RFE to produce medical records and employment proof (since then the priority date had retrogressed again), and also have H-1B with my new employer. I have not started the new GC file with a new employer.
Should I file supplement J now, proactively, or should I wait for another RFE from USCIS when my priority date becomes current in the future, to file for supplement J?


Watch the Video on this FAQ: AC21, changing jobs and when to file Supplement J

Video Transcript:

There is a graph on this about when you must file Supplement J on our web site and what happens after you file. 

As for your question, the answer is No. You will have to file Supplement J when the case is still pending, it's optional if you want to file you can but if you change employers next time and if there is an RFE you must file a Supplement J. 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.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 02:18

Changing Employers With An Approved I-140 After January 17 2017


I have approved 140, Green card EAD/AP card in EB2 from company-A and passed more that 180 days. I have maintained H-1B status since last 9 years instead of using EAD/AP as the need to go India for marriage so my future wife gets H-4 easily. Just transferred my H-1B to company-B. Company-A will revoke my I-140 in March 2017 due to company policy. I have following questions to ask you.<br>
1. Shall I get H-1B extension (beyond 6 yr) in future with company-B after I-140 revoke from my previous employer?<br>
2. I have EAD/AP card from my previous employer. Is it required to start GC process like labor and I-140 application again with company-B if my previous employer revokes my I-140?


You can continue to extend your H-1 even after I-140 is revoked by the employer, IF, the revocation was sent more than 180 days after I-140 approval.

Under AC21, you do not have to start a new green card if:

1. Your I-140 is approved;

2. Your I-485 has been pending for 180 days or more;

3. You will take an employment same as or similar to your green card job; and

4. You file Supplement J.

Monday, January 11, 2016 - 07:23

The Proposed I-140 EAD Rule - FAQ's



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:

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. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015 - 03:17

What is I-485 Pre-adjudicate/Pre-adjudication and How soon must I join my future green card employer


What is I-485 Pre-adjudicate/Pre-adjudication?
How soon must I join my future green card employer?
Situation -
I have my EB2 India PD as March, 2008. I applied for I-485 in Oct 2014 (Future based GC application). My PD is not current as of yet but I have got an RFE for expired medical form I-693 ONLY in Oct, 2015.


Video URL


Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 00:03

How soon can I change employers after getting green card?


I got my green card base on EB-2 category. I got mail from USCIS mentioning they change my status in to Permanent resident. As well as I got my Green Card in mail this year March. But I filed my I-485 last year July.I want to change my employer. (New Employer offering similar salary as well as similar position ). Is there any legal issue. Do I have to worry about this junction ?


Video URL



Monday, March 30, 2015 - 00:12

Considerations for AC21 job portability


My I-485 (based on EB-1) is pending more than 180 days. If I decide to change jobs under AC 21 rule -<br>
(1) Does the new job description should be same as by definition of EB-1 or should it match my current job description based on which I applied for GC in EB-1B?<br>
(2) Do you advise to change using EAD or transferring H-1B? <br>
(3) Based on your experience, will you advise to change jobs under AC 21 or stay in the present job until GC is approved?


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

FAQ Transcript

Very important issue is Job portability. Today the way it works is an AC 21 portability was basically enacted by Congress back in October 2000 under a law called American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act, the kind of abbreviation or acronym for AC21. What does it mean? If you’re I-140 is approved and your I-485 is pending whether it was filed with the I-140 or after I-140 approval. If it has been pending 180 days, you may change employers to any same or similar job anywhere in the United States and you will not have to do your Green Card again. So basically you can port your job over as long as it is same or similar. Tricky problem, what is same or similar? No one knows. If you are a software engineer and you remain as software engineer in the next job then same or similar. If you are a software engineer and you become IT manager in next job then not sure same or similar job.

This is where Obama steps in and he says look I will make it clear for the record that natural progression in a job does not take away from being a job same or similar that's the first thing President Obama wants to do and hopefully they will implement really quickly. So, natural progression is considered to be same or similar. Second thing President Obama wants to do is to let you file I-485 without the priority date becoming current. So that means you will earn a right for AC-21 almost a year- year and half, two years into your Green Card process which is very good. Right now if you are India born or China born you could have to wait minimum years to earn that right. So that's in a nut shell what AC-21 is.

Further down somebody was asking a question today: Do we have to inform USCIS?

Interesting thing is that there really is no formal process for implementing in AC-21 transfer over, job portability. Basically, you are not required to file a letter but we usually have employees, people, individual in that situation, file a letter and inform USCIS. Because USCIS is prone to making mistakes, sometimes if the old employer revokes your I-140, if you are an AC-21 eligible individual it does not make any difference if the employer revokes the I-140 as long as you cross the 180 days deadline. Even if they revoke you are entitled to AC-21. But the problem is USCIS sometimes is not aware of the new laws especially the less trained officers. They could revoke your I-485 and send you notice. Next thing is you are running around and trying to solve this problem and if the AC-21 is revoked you are immediately unlawfully present, you cannot work and work is debatable. Let’s just say you are unlawfully present, it’s just a whole lot of mess that should be avoided and that's why I also advice people to keep their H-1 active. So AC-21 letter should be sent.

Another question asked is should I hire a lawyer?

Please do not do this yourself, many things I OK with people doing by themselves you may be ok and you may be get through it. But this is not worth taking chance as downside is too terrible so get a lawyer don't do it by yourself.

Now the question before me

My I-485 (based on EB-1B) is pending more than 180 days. If I decide to change jobs under AC 21 rule -

1. Does the new job description be same as by definition of Eb-1B or should it match my current job description based on which I applied for GC in EB-1B?

Answer:  Current job description. If you are trying to take advantage of EB-1 portability or AC-21 portability your job description should be same or similar in relation to job description is already being filed.

2. Do you advise to change using EAD or transferring H1-B?

Answer:  I told you H-1 is better; keep your H-1B alive.

3. Based on your experience, will you advise to change jobs under AC 21 or stay in the present job until GC is approved?

Answer:  Yes if you have good opportunity. We have done thousands of AC-21 in last few years and we never had an issue as long as job is same or similar you should be fine.




Thursday, February 5, 2015 - 10:05

Changing from EB-3 to EB-2 Category


I have my I-140 approved under EB-3 category, even though I have Masters Degree from accredited US University. Can I change it to EB-2 now?


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

FAQ Transcript 

The idea is once an I-140 is approved under any category EB-1/EB-2/EB-3 the priority date becomes the property of the employee. Whether the employee goes to work for a different employer or a different job completely or like a different job where you go from being a IT professional to a civil engineer you would still carry your priority date. This is not AC21.  AC21 requires same or similar job but that also requires I-140 approval, I- 485 pending for 180 days. This is not that case. The priority date transfer from EB-2 to EB-3 requires only the I-140 is approved. 

Hence the answer to the question is YES. If you get a job with the same employer or with a new employer that requires a masters degree or bachelors plus five year experience type of qualifications and your priority date will remain the same. The difference between AC21 and priority date carry over date is this: In AC21 you do not have to re file the green card. You can take the whole green card and take it over to a same or similar job if you’re I-140 is approved and I- 485 is pending 180 days. But in the priority date transfer you carry forward nothing. You only carry the priority date and it can be ported from EB-2 to EB-3/EB-1 to EB-2/EB2 to EB-1 it doesn’t matter. There is no requirement that the job that you are filing for is same or similar. That is the difference between AC21 and priority date transfer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 - 21:06

I-140 Revoked after AC21 Portability


<b>From our community member </b><p>
<b>Here is my Situation.</b><p>

I used to work for Employer "A" who filed for my EB3 Labor and I-140. I-140 was approved in Feb 2007. In July 2007, when the dates became current, I filed for my I-485. In December ending of 2007, which was around 180 days after filing the I-485, Company "A" was acquired by Company "B", at that time I got an email from my employer HR indicating that Company "B" will now take over all immigration responsibilities of "A" and no H1 transfers or re-filing of I-140 is required. I was also assured that since my I-485 was pending for 180 days and i had EAD and 6 pay slips / one per each month from company "A" , there should not be
any issues, since AC21 can be applied too, in this case. So I continued to work for Company "B" for about 1 year from Jan 2008 to Jan 2009. I received pay checks from "B" during this period.
In Feb 2009 I joined a direct client, Company "C" on H1B. Got the H1B approval beyond 6 years, using company "A" I-140 approval copy. Company "C" Attorney sent AC-21 documents to USCIS. Company "C" does not file labor or I-140 they do only H1B or hire on EADs but does not do green cards. Now, after more than 7 years of I-140 Approval from Company "A", I came to know that USCIS, has revoked the I-140 of a different employee who was in the similar situation as me, but he didn't had H1B and he was forced to leave USA since his I-485, EAD and Advance Parole were all based on this I-140. It seems USCIS said the underlying Labor and I-140 were fraud. Hence everything is denied. He did leave the country.
<b>My Question : </b>
What are my Options if something like this occurs for my case too? I understand its hard to tell if this will occur or not. Company "A" which filed my I-140 no longer exists and I have no contact what so ever with Company "B". If I-140 gets revoked for fraud by the company "A", will the employee be held responsible? Can this kind of adverse decision be appealed and during appeal process what happens to the status.
Are we allowed to stay and work in the country when this case is in progress? I was reading online about the "The case, Kurapati vs USCIS”, this lawsuit is similar in nature. Is there a ray of hope with this? <p>You’re Suggestions/Comments please.


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


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

- See more at:

First of all a company does not file labor or I-140. They are not going to do green cards.  

Now Kurapati actually does not stand for this.  Let me explain to you what happens. First of all I-140 can be revoked by the USCIS for fraud at any time. In addition they can also revoke an I-140 where it was not approvable when filed.  So if it was incorrectly approved it can also be revoked. If it does get revoked unfortunately USCIS reading of the law is it gives you no portability right and it gives you no right to priority date. I think that’s a question because if they revoke an I-140 after they have approved it I can still argue for the priority date if the revocation was not for a fraud. Although I think I would probably loose that argument. So in any case right now the rule is that if they revoke a case either for fraud or for not having been approvable when filed you get nothing out of it. You cannot get the priority date, you cannot get anything. The problem is what do you do?  Can you file an appeal and while the appeal is pending keep getting H-1B extensions and the answer is doubtful unless the old employer wants to file the appeal.

About five years ago we had a series of cases like this where a company went under - couple of hundred employees was put under the street. We were able to file appeals on behalf of the employees using the Kurapati logic. What is the Kurapati logic?  That’s the case in which the 11th circuit this year decided that even employees have the right to fight an I-140 revocation.  So in our view we always took the position that especially where AC21 rights are involved employees have a clear actionable plan to the I-140. So it’s not only the employer but even the employee who should be allowed to file the appeal.

What can you do?

In my view the best thing to do is leave this employer and find another employer who is willing to start your green card process because if this green card can go away really you need to have a backup plan. That is the only thing I can recommend.  

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

Monday, November 24, 2014 - 00:52

Obama's Immigration Action EAD At I-140 Stage


I am on H-1B Visa, got my I-140 approved in EB-2 Category and waiting for the dates to get current. Based on Executive Action, shall I be given any EAD ? Or at least any other forms so that I can travel and need not go for Visa Stamping and all the additional paper work.


I have heard that there is a proposal to allow filing of I-485 at the I-140 stage, without waiting for priority dates to be current. This, if implemented, would get you an EAD as well as the right to change jobs under AC21. Unfortunately, there is no clear indication about this proposal in any government document so far. 

Friday, June 6, 2014 - 02:56

From AOS to pending to green card


If the employee was already working for the employer using AC21 (using EAD) and was already on payroll Then what steps employer has to do to actually get the employee on the GC job other than changing I-9 details. And what document proof employee need to have that may be helpful when one apply for citizenship ? to prove that employee indeed gave employee the GC job ?


Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job.
Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at:
Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at:
Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at:
Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at:
Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at:
Other than updating the I-9, there are no immigration law steps involved in going from AOS to pending to green card. There is no need for any specific documentation. So far, no proof of job has ever been required. Your W-2/Paystubs should suffice, if the issue ever arises. If you are unsure, just get a new offer letter confirming the job. - See more at:

Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 01:05

Ability to Pay


1. Is submitting consolidated returns and audited financial statements for a parent company and its wholly owned subsidiaries sufficient to meet the burden of proof for establishing the company’s ability to pay by a preponderance of the evidence?

2. Where an employee who is the beneficiary of an approved I-140 and is eligible for AC-21 portability ports to a new employer in the same or similar occupation, must the new employer demonstrate the ability to pay the proffered wage from the date of portability?

3. When adjudicating I-485 applications for portability-eligible individuals where the petitioning employer is no longer in business, does USCIS require the subsequent employer to satisfy both the ability-to-pay requirement and the bona fide offer of employment requirement from the date of the employee’s subsequent hire through the approval of adjustment of status?

4. Why are prorated net assets not sufficient evidence to support ability to pay?

5. Why is the Yates Memo not applied if a beneficiary’s W-2 indicates that the actual wage paid to him/her is at least as much as the beneficiary’s proffered wage for the prorated period?


1. USCIS says that it evaluates each consolidated financial statement on a caseby-case basis under the preponderance of evidence standard to determine whether the petitioner has the ability to pay the proffered wage.

2. USCIS says that, in this situation, the new employer is not obligated to demonstrate the ability to pay from the date of portability.

3. USCIS says that, in this situation, the new employer does not have to demonstrate the ability to pay during the entire period.  Once the Form I-485 has been pending for 180 days, the applicant may port and present evidence.  If AC-21 portability requirements are met, the dissolution or withdrawal of the I-140 petition (after the 180-day point) by the former employer does not affect portability.

4. USCIS does not specifically address why it will not accept prorated net assets as sufficient evidence to support ability to pay.  Prorating is not provided for in any policy, regulation, or statute.  Therefore, only current assets should be included in the calculation.

5. According to USCIS, the Yates Memo will apply only in respect of ability to pay. The adjudicating officer will look at the rate paid and not the total amount paid.  It is the petitioner’s burden to demonstrate that the rate that is being paid is an appropriate increment to the proffered wage.

Monday, April 9, 2012 - 04:54

Priority date retrogression -- consequences and concerns


The current prediction that the priority dates for employment based green card applications are likely to retrogress again has brought a lot of speculation and questions from our clients and our community. Let me clarify some of the questions and concerns.

Q 1. What happens if my priority date (“PD”) retrogresses while my I-485 is still pending?

Q 2. Can we expedite the adjudication of our pending I-485 (or any application, for that matter)?


A 1. There are two possibilities. First, the case is not yet ripe for adjudication (for instance, it has not been assigned to an officer or the security clearances are not yet submitted or obtained), USCIS can shelf the case and not process it any longer untile the PD becomes current again. Second, USCIS can “preadjudicate” that case. That means the case is adjudicated and then shelved for PD to become current again. I do not believe there exists a mechanism currently to determine what USCIS will do with an individual case.

A 2. Not usually. Here is what USCIS says about expediting:
Expedite Criteria
All expedite requests are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and are granted at the discretion of the Director. The burden is on the applicant or petitioner to demonstrate that one or more of the expedite criteria have been met. The criteria are as follows:
• Severe financial loss to company or individual
• Extreme emergent situation
• Humanitarian situation
• Nonprofit status of requesting organization in furtherance of the cultural and social interests of the United States
• Department of Defense or National Interest Situation (Note: Request must come from official United States Government entity and state that delay will be detrimental to our Government)
• USCIS error
• Compelling interest of USCIS
Note: Discretionary expedite requests for petitions and applications that have Premium Processing Service available will not be considered for expedite processing. The only exception is when the petitioner is a not-for-profit organization designated by the Internal Revenue Service. For information regarding premium processing, please refer to the premium processing webpage.
If you have already filed your application or petition:
You can make an expedite request by contacting the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. The NCSC will take a “service request” and forward your expedite request to the office with jurisdiction over the application or petition. You also have the options of 1). visiting your local office by scheduling an InfoPass appointment or 2). writing a letter to the local office or service center.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 - 03:03

Spouse of an O-1 - next step to Green Card


I am the spouse of an O-1 visa holder and we live in the US (so I am on an O-3). His company is putting together the application for his green card, but do they need to do a separate one for me too? Or do I get one automatically if he gets one? Or do I have to wait until he gets one and then he applies for one for me? And what about our children - too young to work yet, but want to make sure they are ok too.


The way it works is that the company can file everyone's AOS (Form I-485) together OR they can first get your husband's I-140 approval and leave you to file the last step (AOS) for the family.

Friday, December 16, 2011 - 06:38

Questions regarding I-485


I am on H1-B visa and my EB-2 Priority Date is May 15, 2010. Please see below questions regarding I-485.

Question # 1:- Typically, how long would it take to receive Advance Parole and EAD after filing I-485?

Question # 2:- I entered USA on F1-Visa in year 2000, and then changed my status to H1-B visa within USA in year 2004. I never left USA since year 2000. My passport does not have H1-B visa stamp. In order to file I-485, is it required to have H1-B visa stamp in my passport?

Question # 3:-After filing I-485 and before receving A.P., if I travel to my home country for H1-B visa stamping, is it possible that my company can mail A.P. documents to my home country so that I could enter USA using my A.P. in case H1-B visa in my home country is denied?

Question # 4:- I came to know that it is required for an alien to be present in USA at the time of I-485 filing. Is it also required that an alien must be present in USA until A.P. is approved?

Question # 5:- Does Visa Officer have the ability to cancel A.P., in case H1-B visa is denied in my home country due to 221(g)/missing tax returns/W-2's/Paystubs?

Question # 6:- If my H1-B visa is denied in my home country, and if i enter USA using A.P., then could my spouse enter USA using H-4 visa using my valid I-797 approval notice even though I do not have H1-B visa stamp in my passport? If I enter USA using A.P., what are the options for my spouse?

Question # 7:- At what point of time during GC process, do I need to add my spouse? Should it be before filing of I-485 or before Visa Number is available?

Question # 8:- After filing my I-485, and if my spouse is in USA on H-4, will I be able to add my spouse to my I-485 application? By the time, I want to add my spouse to I-485 application, if Visa Number is available and if AOS/I-485 is approved, then would I still be able to add my spouse if spouse is in USA and also outside USA?


Answer 1: EAD is usally processed within 90 days and AP within 3-6 months. You can check I-131 processing times from links on this page:

Answer 2: A visa stamp is NOT required. Proper status only is needed.

Answer 3: It is NOT advisable to travel before AP is issued, if you do not have an H/L visa already stamped. For details, listen to recording's of the community conference call. It is posted here:

Answer 4: Presence in USA for 485 filing is mandatory. See previous answer for AP.

Answer 5: I do not believe VO has the authority to revoke an AP.

Answer 6: Under Cronin memo, if you enter on AP to continue working on an existing, valid H-1, you are still considered to be on H-1. I believe your spouse can use his H-4.

Answer 7: Before APPROVAL of I-485.

Answer 8: Your spouse can file his 485 if he is in USA; Priority Dates are current AND he has not been out of status for more than 180 days -- whether or not your 485 is already approved.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 01:24

AOS interview next week, mother in India on AP


I am a US citizen, had applied for my parents GC in October 2009. Mom underwent fingerprinting three times here, but did not get her AOS done in time. End of last year my father (who got his EAD and AOS smoothly) had emergency heary bypass here, and then they had to leave back for India for more tests. Mom left on AP. Subsequently I wrote a letter to NBC, MO to ask them to expedite my mothers case. Yesterday I received a letter stating that she has go to Philadelphia USCIS office next week for "Completion of application to register for Perm residence." Mom is in India now.


You need to contact USCIS customer service for guidance. Definitely put something down in writing that you are requesting a rescheduling. Maybe asking your Congressman's assistance is the best way to go for rescheduling.

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 15:38

AOS applicants applying for H-1 visa


My spouse and me are currently working on H1 and we do have our EAD and AP even though we are not using it.
We are planning on a trip to India in the month of December. Both of our H1 visa's on passport have expired. We plan on using AP when coming back to US to avoid the hassle of getting our passports stamped.

We plan on remaining on H1 even though we use AP to get back. We do plan on renewing our AP and EAD when they expire. What I want to know is... is there any advantage of having visa stamped in your passport as to using AP if you plan on remaining on H1? One that I know is cities like London require you to get a transit visa if your visa has expired when traveling to India.


We would highly recommend not applying for an H visa if it can be avoided. In the past few weeks, I have provided consultations to various employers on H-1 visa refusals. The refusals were ridiculous, illegal and would be overturned if there were an adequate mechanism for reversal. So, I see no point in applying for an H-1 visa. Even if you enter on AP and continue working for the original H-1 employer, you ARE considered to still be on H-1. All other matters are more or less ancillary.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010 - 01:38

EAD-AC21-Self Porting


I have EAD/Pending AOS. I ported to employer B based on AC21 in 2008.
Now i am considering a great opportunity:
-Joining S corporation in Florida
_I will receive similar hourly rate as prior employer
-similar job
-i will receive 40% of profits on top of salary
-the new corporation will be my fututre full time job
Does the new corporation have to be huge with lot of finances for me to use the AC21?
I have valid EAD can I join as a partner in the S corporation in Florida?
Any thoughts things i,ve to carefull with?


Very little is clear about self-porting. Read the Yates Memo of May 2005. It seems you should be fine as long as the jobs are same or similar, but like I said, not much is known about this issue.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 - 06:04

AC21 and losing job


I am EB2 priority date Sep2005. I had lost my job in Apr 09. I started working on Dec09 with another company similar job description, in same geographic location and with 15% higher salary than labor approved. I was out of job for almost 8 months.My old employer has assured not to evoke approved I140 (more than 3 years since I 140 is approved)

I have few questions:

1.Shall I file for AC21? it advisable to send copy of current paystunb with AC21, If yes how many months?
2.Is it okay to file AC21without paystub for around 8 months?
2.If I dont file for AC21, will there be an issue travelling on AP at POE?


AC21 should be filed. The fact that you were out of job for 8 months is irrelevant. As long as the jobs are same or similar, you should have no issues.

Friday, February 26, 2010 - 06:52

J1 overstayed by years, married to a greencard holder


I came to US in 2004, overstayed my J1 visa by 3 years and got married to a greencard holder in 2007. My I-130 was approved in 2008 . Is it possible to adjust status when my visa number becomes available. I have read on different sites that I'm not eligible since I have not maintained lawful status during my stay. Are there any loops?


Unless your spouse becomes a US citizen, nothing can be done as far as I can see. If you had a 2 years HRR, you have bigger problems.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 - 04:08

Questions on AC21, EAD, losing job, etc.


1. On 5th year of H1. Single employer till date from day one of H1. Same employer has sponsored GC applications, I-140 approved, I-485 filed in Aug-07, EAD and AP approved and successfully renewed. What is the real value of CIS issuing EADs to people like me? Does this allow me in addition to the current job I have, take up ‘any’ other job using EAD? Does having an EAD permit me to work multiple jobs?

2. Does having an EAD permit me to work multiple jobs?

3. If due to economic situation my employer (who has sponsored GC) has to lay off people and I am let go am I out of status? Reading through your blogs I understand that since I-485 is pending, one is NOT out of status even if NOT working – is this correct?

4. How long can one stay without working (no job) while I-485 is pending? Will not working be seen as ‘abandoning the GC application’?

5. Do we have to let CIS know that one has been laid off? If we have to do this wouldn’t CIS see that the job for which GC is being processed is no longer available and immediately terminate the I-485 application?

6. Do I lose EAD and AP?

7. My wife is working using her EAD…will she lose her EAD?

8. Is it possible to invoke EAD and take up similar job if one can be found? Is there a time period within which this has to be done?

9. Is it possible to invoke EAD and take up ‘any’ job if a ‘similar’ job is unavailable? If this route is chosen I understand that Labor Certification & I-140 may have to be re-applied, but would the priority date remain where it was originally (as obtained in original GC application) OR would priority date change to the date when new I-140 is filed?


1A.  Yes.

2A. Yes, but you will then lose H-1 status (which can be revived by reentering USA using an H-1 visa during the life of your H-1 and taking up single-employer job with the H-1 sponsoring employer – not a difficult task, usually).

3A. Correct. You are in authorized period of stay. That has been explained in my blog.

4A. You can stay as long as CIS does not send an RFE or a Notice of Intent to Deny requiring you to prove similar, alternate employment (AC21 portability – also explained in detail on my blog).

5A. There is no such obligation for the employee. If the employer informs CIS, they should send (eventually) an NOID requiring proof of employment – see the answer above.

6A. No.

7A. No.

8A. I am not sure I understand, but there is no deadline unless an RFE or an NOID is issued.

9A. Since your I-140 is approved and I-485 has been pending over 180 days, you are entitled by law to change jobs to a similar position with any employer. And you do not have to start your green card all over again. This is referred to as AC21 portability – discussed in exhaustive detail on my blog. But if the jobs are not similar, you can only carry forward the PD and have start your GC all over again. Make sure you maintain H-1 status.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 06:47

I-485 pending and after 6 months laid off


I-485 pending and after 6 months (so AC21 portable). Laid off. H1-B revoked but I-140 not revoked. Since it was very hard to find a job in US, I found a job outside the US temporarily in Sept 2009 and stayed there till now. Can I still enter US on AP?


The way I see it, until and unless your AP or 485 is revoked, it is legal to use both.

Thursday, January 7, 2010 - 04:35



1) My GC is into EB3 Catergory. 2) I have approved Labour. 3) I have approved I-40 and priorty date is July 2008. 4) As I am into EB3 Category and so cannot file I-485 till priorty date. My Questions is can I use AC21 to change job, what are a)pro's b)con's. Can I use my PD if I use AC21. If company revokes my I-40, do I need to start Labour again and full process from start.


AC21 can never be filed before I-485 has been filed pending 180 days. I have fairly detailed discussion on these issues on my blog.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 - 02:02

Current USCIS procedures for PD transfer and AOS


Recenlty we submitted my NOID response for my 485. Today called USCIS customer service about my status of my 485.They said its PreAdjucated waiting for Visa number.But they mentioned I have 2 I-140s in my file
1.EB3 PD,2002
2.EB2 PD,2005.
They said which date first current then that 140 will use. I am not sure about EB3 140( i don't have any info about this 140).B'cos i filed my 485 with Eb2 140.My case is Ac-21 .So i wasn't with both employers now.
Is that above statement correct? Do i need to do anything now or just stay calm until either of EB category comes current? Please advice.


I would probably do nothing. Under current USCIS procedures, they scan an applicant for all existing I-140 approvals. You are then automatically assigned the earliest PD you are entitled to.

Monday, November 2, 2009 - 04:15

AC-21 Ability to pay


I have changed employer using AC-21. I-140 appoved - Jan'09. I-485 filed July 2007. PD June 2007, EB-3 ROW. My previous employer will not withdraw my approved I-140. I am current working on EAD with my current employer. My current employer filed for Bankruptcy under chapter 11. Do you think I might have an issue of ability of pay when I renew my AP and EAD. Thank you in advance for your help.


Normally, ability to pay is not an issue for AC21 employer. But these are unexplored situations. Tough to predict.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 - 04:36

Changing jobs multiple times after I-485 pending


I have a question regarding changing jobs multiple times after I-485 pending >180 days. Last year I quit from the company that submitted my 140 petition and joined another company. After that move I received RFE from USCIS then submitted AC21. I attended an interview this March and passed; I received a letter afterwards saying my case as "waiting for visa quota". In April I was laid off by the new employer but found another job with similar duties in June. I haven't notified USCIS about this for about 2 months now. Do I need to do that? Please help!


I see no restriction in law preventing multiple job changes. In most cases, I like to inform USCIS, but speak with your lawyers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 - 08:33

Can AC21 be done for a future job?


I was laid off by my last employer in early May. Now I have a question regarding answering for the potential I-485 RFE requesting for employment verification letter. I was told that a future similar position will be enough for satisfying the I-485 employment letter request. Is that true? Can you confirm on that?


That is correct for AC21 portability. But USCIS can ask why you are not working for that employer right now. If you have a good, truthful answer for that question, you should be fine.

Friday, September 4, 2009 - 04:20

I-485 AOS Pending, Employer's Bankruptcy


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?


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.

Monday, August 31, 2009 - 01:35

Important questions on H-1, AP and Travel


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?


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.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 10:15

Working abroad while AOS pending


My self and my wife are on EAD and advance parole. My wife and I are from India.

I have to work in Switzerland on my company business for some time 6 months to a year – would that affect my EAD status in the USA. I would be working for the Swiss branch of my company.The assignment is short term 6-12 months.

This is however not the company with which I started my green card. I changed jobs when I got my EAD.

But I have several questions:
1. Can I even work abroad while on EAD status - short term, i am only talking 6-12 months. if this term is 11 months is that fine? Or do i have to work in the USA only while on EAD?

2. Do I need to maintain substantial presence in the USA while on EAD. And if so what is that term of stay.

3. Updated FAQ: My case is slightly different than the above one. Currently I am on Derivative EAD, which I got through my spouse's company. (I 485 pending and more than 180 days) I was on H1B and I got laid off in March 2009. I am still finding difficult to find a job in the US. I got an offer from a company in Canada. I know that I can work there once I get canadian work permit. My wife (main applicant and EAD holder) will be working for the same company in the US. My question is how often I can come to US with my Advance Parole? will there be any problem if I visit US often? Please advise.


1. An EAD is good to work on US soil only. If you wish to work in a third country, you have to look to their laws for work permissions. You should file an AC21 portability and make sure during your entire stay abroad you have at least your Advance Parole; preferable both your AP and H-1 visa.

2. As long as the permanent job continues to exist, there is no other requirement of presence.

3. I see no problem with visiting USA as often as you like.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 - 09:31

Working for two companies on EAD


1. Wanted to check if on an EAD one could work for 2 companies. One sponsoring the GC (Maybe part time) and other full time.

2. Updated FAQ: I have a question in similar line. Currently I am on derivative EAD. My spouse is the main applicant and I got my EAD thru her company. She still works for the same company.
We (me and my friend) have started a company in India some time back. Now, I want to start our new office in the US. Will there be any legal implications? What kind of company I can start here.. LLC or Inc? Please advise.


1. Theoretically, you can work for as many companies as you like on EAD. My concern would be the implication that you no longer have a full time job with the sponsoring company, which is a requirement for the green card.

2. Since you are on a derivative EAD, you have even more freedom than the primary applicant. Other than an S corporation (I think that requires green card under tax laws), you can form any kind of corporation (LLC, etc.), but do check on the State law.

Friday, August 21, 2009 - 13:38

AC21 - accepting a green card


1) After getting the GC through a sponsoring employer, is there any procedure to indicate that the future job is accepted by the employee. I mean switching from H1B to GC status is just based on letting the employer know about the status or is there any paperwork needed to be sent to USCIS?

2) Also, based on getting a green card, is there a stringent requirement of payroll checks? This is based on the fact that H1B employees have to maintain the payroll constantly (based on my knowledge). I am asking this in case I want to take a vacation for some time in case I get my GC?

3) After joining the sponsoring employer, if on GC, more opportunities come by, is it allright to consider those opportunities? What is the timeframe for USCIS to consider that the employee did have the right intent to join the sponsoring employer?


A1) There is no formal procedure other than joining, preparing a Form I-9, being on the payroll and actually working.

A2) You can behave like you would in any other permanent job - take vacations, etc.

A3) That question has been answered on my blog. See

Tuesday, July 21, 2009 - 03:04

Leave of absence - I-485 pending


a). I am an associate professor at XXX State University. Beginning August, 2009 (in two weeks time), I am planning on going for a one-year unpaid professional leave of absence. During the leave I will be in India. However I would technically still be employed by my University. Meanwhile, I have an approved I-140 (EB-2) - I-485 pending.

b). What happens if I get my green card while I am on leave (I am going to India)? Can I still receive it legally? If I can legally accept the green card, can I change my address on the USCIS web site and give my relative's address? We currently live in California and our case is is handled by Nebraska Center. Given this scenario, should we give the address of our relatives in California, or is it O.K. to give the address of our relative who lives in New Jersey?

c). At the time I filled the I-485 for myself and my wife, my wife was pregnant and could not get one of the immunizations (I think it was MMR). Now I am afraid that when we are out of the country we might get a medical RFE for my wife. Is it possible for us to get the immunizations done by a USCIS authorized doctor, and send the report to the USCIS in anticipation of the RFE? If yes, then which form should be fill/take to the doctor?


a). The first issue would be whether or not you still have a "permanent job" that would qualify you for a green card. In situations of long vacation, questions could be raised whether or not the green card job is indeed permanent; if so, who will do it in your absence; what is the reason for your leave; are you terminating your relationship with your employer, etc. If you have good answers to all these questions, you are fine.

b). Getting a green card approval while you are abroad is not a large issue as long as you have advance parole. Giving a relative's address is a bad idea. In the absence of a US address, you do run the risk of the green cards being returned back to USCIS, but we can figure that out.

c). USCIS may not accept medicals from anyone except a USCIS approved physician. But we can double check options on this issue also.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009 - 01:53

Marriage to US Citizen with EB AOS is pending


I am currently on H1B extension (7th year ; with pending I-485 under NIW, and approved Advanced Parole & EAD) dating an American citizen. We want to get married in India. If I were to leave my current job in October 2009, and go to India (for making marriage arrangements), is it advisable to:

1. First get engaged here in the US and file for fiancé Visa while I am in US (and then travel to India) in order to re-enter US on a legal status.
2. Also do we have to get married in US again in order to provide proper legal marriage documentation and to file family based I-485 as spouse.


NIW applicants get their green card based upon an expectation of employment - not employment (unless you are a physician). So, if you have a job offer in your area of expertise, your travel on AP is fairly safe.

A legal marriage in India is fully recognized in USA.

Monday, July 6, 2009 - 09:57

Nufield Memo-Are you deportable even if in valid AOS/I-485 pending?


I have a question on the new very scary and confusing interoffice memo (May 6, 2009) that the acting associate director of USCIS issued regarding unlawful presence. I am currently on EAD/AP since the expiration of my 6 years of H1-b visa on september 3, 2008 with my I-140 approved and my I-485 (PD-october 2, 2004, EB2) pending. According to the example 2 (page 10) of this memo-, anybody with an expired non-immigrant visa is subject to deportation even though his I-485 was filed properly when that person was in proper non-immigrant status and the petition is still pending. My understanding was that once an AOS is filed, I am authorized to stay here and work on EAD and go in and out of USA on AP until that petition is denied. When did this law change?


That example does not make any sense. It appears to be more a clarification of a concept - NOT practice. Do NOT worry. You are fine. If someone has not already done so, I will write USCIS next week after reviewing the entire 51 page memo carefully. Do NOT lose sleep over this.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - 02:59

What does AOS approval mean?


I filed I-130 for my mother. She has received approval letter for adjustment of status saying that your application has been approved . What does this mean . Does she will have interview or she will get green card in mail? She needs to go to india its emergency in india.


Approval of AOS (Form I-485) means she is now a green card holder as of the date of the approval. The only thing she needs is the proof of that fact. You can take the approval notice, make an infopass appointment and ask that her passport be stamped with evidence that her green card has been approved. That stamp is as good as a green card. She can travel using that.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009 - 00:35

Following to join


This is regarding my sister who is going through lot of stress due to visa issues.

She has been on H4 for past 9 years. Her H1 was approved in 2007 with an employer who wanted to hire when she was doing her MBA from a reputed University here in US. They were even willing to hire her once she is done.

3 months back her husband lost his job and had to go on EAD since (My sister could not do it because she was traveling out of US in 2007 when the window opened).

She has decided to go on H1 status. She has to get it stamped outside US as she had lost her H4 status. It has been now more than a month and she is stuck out of US (in UAE). Her employer is a small firm and due to THE bad economy she is very nervous about the future even if she gets H1 B.

Here are our questions/ concerns. Please do answer these:

1. If she gets H1 B could her husband still file for Follow to Join. There is no guarantee in this environment it would give her peace of mind if he could.

2. God forbid - If she doesnot get H1B and her husband files for Follow to Join - would she have to stay out side US to do consulate processing?? How much time it takes?

3. Any advise/ suggestions are welcome.


I am assuming the situation is that the husband's AOS is pending and he is using AC21 portability. That said, she is entitled to follow to join because she was (is) married to him before his green card got approved. There is NO requirement that a spouse must on a derivative visa (like H-4) in order to follow to join. She can follow to join even if she is outside USA, OR on F-1, H-1, L-1 or any independent visa. She will have to stay outside USA if her H-1 is denied, unless he revives his H-1 and brings her back on H-4.

Friday, May 29, 2009 - 01:10

Employment-based out of status protection for AOS - Section 245(K)


My previous employer didn't pay me for 7 continuous months in 2006, Current employer is going to file I-140 and I-485 based on my EB2 PERM. I have all W2 and Pay stubs except that period. will that going to affect my GC application ? Please let me know what are the possible consequences of that. I didn't know about that 180 days rule.


Pursuant to section 245k of INA, an employment-based applicant and their family can file for an AOS (I-485) if they have been out of status or have worked without authorization for less than 180 days. The protection period is counted since the date of your most recent entry into USA. So if before filing I-485, you leave USA and reenter, you should have no issues. There are other ways to fix this also, but this is the most direct.
See attached USCIS Neufield Memo of 14 July 2008.

Monday, May 25, 2009 - 01:58

I-485: pre-adjudication and employment verification letter


1. I see few cases where CIS has sent an RFE to ask for Employment Verification Letter (EVL). When does this typically happen?

2. For cases where in the EVL was already sent along with the I-485 application, what are the reasons usually for CIS asking EVL again?

3. I had taken an Infopass few months ago, and they had said my I-485 application is pre-adjudicated. What does this mean?


1. EVL can be asked for at any stage of AOS/I-485 process. It is REQUIRED when you submit the 485, but thereafter it is discretionary.

2. The main reasons are that USCIS has to make sure you still have a job and the job is "same or similar" to what was described in the labor cert (or I-140 for EB1).

3. This means your application has been reviewed and adjudicated to be approvable. So, USCIS is just waiting for the visa numbers to be current.



Monday, May 11, 2009 - 02:56

Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence



Status, authorized period of stay and unlawful presence are three VERY important concepts in US immigration laws with far reaching implications. The nuances in these concepts are so intricate that they can trip up even my fellow-lawyers. I see issues in this all the time.

Here is a brief primier to enable you to understand the basics. This is by no means an exhaustive analysis.

Status is the immigration designation what has been given to you by USCIS. For instance, when USCIS approves your H-1 with an I-94 attached to the approval notice, you are in H-1 status.

Status and Visa
The difference between status and visa is important. A visa is a stamp on your passport. This stamp is placed by US consulates outside USA. The system of entry and stay in USA is governed by dual permission (DHS and DOS). When you are outside USA and you wish to enter, you first go to a US consulate (an arm of DOS - Department of State or State Department) for the appropriate visa stamping.

For instance, for a tourist visa, you go the US consulate in your home country, follow their procedures and apply for a "B-2" visa. When you get the B visa stamp you have been permitted by one agency (US State Department) to enter USA. If the visa stamp is valid for 5 years, you may travel to USA any time during those 5 years. This is your first permission in the dual permissioning system.

Now with the B-2 visa, you travel to USA. When you land at the US port, CBP (an arm of DHS - the Department of Homeland Security) decides whether you will be allowed to enter USA and how long you can stay in USA. The permission to stay in USA is given to you in the form of a small card that is put inside your passport. This card is called "Arrival Departure Record" or Form I-94. The I-94 has an expiration date.

Once you are inside USA, you are "in status" only till your I-94 is unexpired. If you wish to seek an extension of of your stay, you must request USCIS (another arm of DHS) for an extension.

Authorized Period of Stay
Authorized period of stay means you are not illegal but you are not in full status. Taking the example of B-2 extension I was discussing above, let us say you want to stay longer than the stay initially given on your I-94. You will need to apply for an extension BEFORE your current status (the termination date on your I-94) expires. Once you have made a timely application for extension or a change of status (for instance you wish to change to H-1B), you can continue to stay in USA till your application is decided (but not past the point you had asked for as an extension). The moment your I-94 expires, you go from being "in status" to being in "authorized period of stay." This is less than full status (for instance you cannot change status within USA when you are in authorized period of stay, but you can do so when you are "in status."

Authorized period of stay also applies to people who have applied for the last step of their green card, "Adjustment of Status" (AOS or I-485). When someone files an appropriate AOS, they are in authorized period of stay until their AOS is adjudicated, no matter how long it takes.

Unlawful Presence
This is the real bad one you have to watch for. If you accrue 180 days of unlawful presence in USA, you are barred from entering USA for 3 years. If you are unlawfully present for one year, you are barred for 10 years. This is referred to as the 3/10 bar. A rule of thumb is, unlawful presence begins to accrue when your I-94 expires and you have done nothing to extend/change your status or when the government says your unlawful presence has begun (typically happens when an extension or change of status is denied.

In AOS (I-485) Context

Quote: Hope you remember me. I am one of your clients and you had represented me for my H1-B. Today I was laid off from my employer who was the H1-B sponsor. I have my AOS EAD as a beneficiery to my husband's PR process. I am concerned about my status in the US. My husband is also on EAD as he recently changed his employer using AC-21. Could you please help me? What status am I on now? Can I stay in the US? I currently have a valid I-94 in my passport. I need to decide the future course of action

Ans. You are now in authorized period of stay and can legally stay in USA. To work, you will need an EAD and to travel an AP.

In Change of Status Context
Updated 11 May 2009

Q. I am currently on H4 visa and the expiration date of my I-94 is May 23, 2009. My spouse had applied for an extension during the last week of April 09. In between, I received an offer for MS course at Penn state University, PA - US. I am planning to join school again on F1 visa since I have received assistantship/ financial aid from my University. I am planning to join for Fall 09 semester which begins in August 09.

Since I have to apply for a change of status from H4- F1 , is it possible to do this having applied for H4 extension now? Is there any way by which I can submit an application for F1 visa directly to USCIS without going for H4 extension?

The rule of thumb is you can always apply for COS when you are in status, but not when you are in authorized period of stay. Upto 23 May, you are still in full H-4 status. After that day you will move to authorized period of stay because your H-4 status would have expired. So, if you file for a COS now, it should be fine. After 5/23 you have two choices. Wait for H-4 to be extended, then apply for COS to F-1 OR go outside USA any time and get F-1 visa stamping.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - 01:00

I-485 interview-- does arrest create a problem



Quote: I just got a letter from USCIS that I need to appear for a I-485 interview. I had applied my green card under the EB-XX. To update you i had an arrest record in 2005 for a domestic violence battery case, which was later dismissed in court. Also you might be aware my wife is currently in india, and we are under separation. She will join me on (XXX date) if she agrees for marriage counseling. Under these circumstances I had some questions which I wanted answers for: Please let me know your response.

Quote: a. What all questions can the officer ask me in the interview?

Ans. No one can reliably predict that. But there is nothing in your background that seems to indicate there will be a problem. You were not convicted. The rules are simple: do not answer what is not being asked, and answer every question truthfully.


Quote: b. My wife is now in our home country. Do i need to have her accompany me?

Ans. Your case is an employment-based case. Unless USCIS specifically asks for her presence (which would be strange), it is not required.


Quote: c. Can the officer ask me for another interview with my wife, if she isn't with me the first time?

Ans. They can, but I do not see why.


Quote: d. What should I say about the DV record?

Ans. The truth and nothing but the truth.

Quote: e. Does the officer approve my green card after the interview or does it
take some more time?

Ans. They have the authority to approve on the spot. Whether or not they will is their discretion. Often, the approval comes a few weeks later.


Quote: f. What if the officer asks me about the status of my marriage, what
should I say?
Should I say yes we are married or should I say that we are separated?

Ans. Married but separated. You tell the truth.

Quote: g. Does my wife need to be in US when the final green card is approved?

Ans. No. Make sure she has her AP.

Quote: h. What happens if the green card is approved while she is in india?

Ans. She can reenter with her AP.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 - 01:00

H-1 Extension based upon spouse's 140; Child born in USA



Quote: 1. Hello Rajiv, my wife and I have been working on H1B for different employers. My employer applied for my GC in 07. I have my I-140 approved, my wife and I have our EAD cards and AP. Thanks to your team! Now my wife's H1B term (6 years) ends on Jan 2010. Does this mean that if she wishes to continue her employment with the same employer after Jan 2010, she "HAS" to use her EAD ?

Ans. Yes. Under the current USCIS policy, they will not extend her H-1, based upon your I-140. They used to do that a few years ago, but not any more, as far as I know.

Quote: 2. If not can her employer file for her H1B extension based on my I-140 application.(Probably not since I-140 is an employer based application,but wanted to know if there is any other way).

Ans. No other way.

Quote: 3.If my wife were to change her employer after Jan 2010, could the new employer file for H1B transfer? If not does this mean that the option of a new employer filing for her H1/green card is completely ruled out?

Ans. She cannot get an H-1 extension beyond 6 years unless her own green card process is started.

Quote: 4. This question is not related to the above, but we are expecting our first baby in the month of August. Are there any applications that need to filed after the kid is born?(I am just glad that USCIS doesnt have any laws regarding making babies during the I-485 pending stage.Or is there...?)

Ans. Congratulations! And no, there are no laws against making babies so far :-). You have to do nothing. The child is born a US citizen if born in USA.

Friday, April 10, 2009 - 01:00

EB-3 "Unavailable"


Here is a question this morning from, our clients' extranet.

The nightmare has once again come true, eb3 would be unavailable until September 09, if I am not wrong?

With this in the background, I am thinking of giving up the hope of getting my green card soon (my pd may 04). If I go back to India, can my GC application still continue to be processed?


Correct. "Unavailable" means that it is the ESTIMATE of the State Department that visa numbers for India are exhausted for this fiscal year which ends on September 30. But the estimate may not always be accurate. DOS may go back and reopen this category if they need to (unlikely, but not impossible). Your green card can go on in your absence. That is no problem as long as we have answers to these questions: 1. Is the job really permanent? 2. Why is the employer accommodating you? 3. Who is performing the job in your absence? While these questions have never been asked, do not be surprised if they are. Our explanation must be truthful and not contrived.

Monday, April 6, 2009 - 01:00

GC future job; H-1 ext. revocation upon 140 denial, etc


I have just been accepted into a residency program here at a university. I am currently working in the same department as a clinical research associate on H1B since april 2006, they have applied for my permanent residency in EB-2 for the same position and I am on 7th year H1B valid till nov 2009. My I-140 is in process and I have responded to RFE on oct 16th and have not got any reply so far. Priority date is oct 2007. The residency starts in july

I think I can continue on H1B till my I-140 is pending and since my green card process is in the same department they have assured me that they will not withdraw my I-140 and that I’ll come back and work in the position of research associate after my residency(4years). Please let me know if this is legally possible as they have the intent to hire and I have the intent to join them when green card is approved.


Ans. Yes. As long as the employer has the intention of keeping the job open for you and you have the intention to join them, the green card process can continue.

Quote: If by any chance they say that I can do it, does it involve just an amendment to my H1b or will it be a fresh H1b? My job responsibilities will change and $8000 change in salary only.( from Research Associate to resident). If yes, can I join residency before the amendment is approved? I heard that INS should receive the petition before the join date and I am fine.

Ans. The petition would need to be amended/extended and you can start residency any time after filing the amendment.

Quote: Worst case scenario my I -140 get’s rejected what are my options to start residency in july? I remember last time you told me that my current H1b will not be revoked, so I can continue for residency till nov 2009 , but what after that?

Ans. I have considered the question of revocation of existing H-1 if the 140 etc is denied. As I see the law, USCIS COULD, some day, start revoking these H-1 extensions already given. Currently, they do not. After Nov 2009, you can still get extensions of H-1 based upon your pending GC. Remember also that if I-140 is rejected, it can be refiled/appealed. You are entitled to H extensions while the refiling/appeal is pending.


Monday, April 6, 2009 - 01:00

Converting from EAD back to H-1--Updated 6 April 2009


Here is a question from our clients-only extranet - I think this question is relevant for a lot of people.



Quote: I am currently on H1b status valid till may-2011 and have a valid EAD card, My I-485 is pending for over 180 days. My company has cut my position and may revoke my H1b. If I transfer my H1b to another company and then work on EAD. Will my H1b remain in the dormant status?

Ans. Yes.

Quote: If yes, can i switch back to my H1b if i wish to? and what would be the process?( go out of country to get stamped?)

Ans. You will need to get an H-1 approval by having your new employer apply to USCIS any time you like (just like a new H-1 or an H-1 transfer. This is, of course, NOT subject to quota). After the approval you need to exit and reenter USA using your H-1 visa. You may use the old visa stamp if it is still valid and you have not been out of status or get a new stamp if you were out of status or the old stamp has expired.

Quote: Rajivji,

If I convert from H1B to EAD with my current sponsoring employer and they revoke the H1B as you have mentioned before being the best thing to do.
1) Does the H1B revocation still mean that my H1 status is dormant?
2) Would I be able to reactivate my H1 again with the current employer?
3) Would my employer have to reapply for the H1 approval or the current approval that I have valid till Apr 2010 enough?
4) I am assuming based on the answer to Q3 above, I will have to go out of the country and come back on my current H1 visa that I have stamped?

Ans. Once revoked, the H-1 will have to be reapplied, will not be subject to the quota and will be valid for 1 or 3 years depeneding upon your situation. And, yes, you will need a visa stamping to activate the H-1.

Thursday, April 2, 2009 - 01:00

Employers and Employees -- H-1 or EAD?


Considering that the economy is not doing that good and sometimes projects get over and consultants go on "bench" without any clients kinda situation, this is something not that uncommon. Related to this, as being on a H1B requires me to maintain the LCA salary as mentioned on my W2, would switching to EAD with my sponsoring employer help with getting away from this restriction?

Does that also mean that if I don't get paid by my employer for a certain period and I am on an EAD, there is no issue with my GC/status at all as there is no H1B.

Just trying to find out what the possible advantages would be at this time with EAD.


 There are two situations to analyze here: being benched and getting paid a lower salary. Both of them have problematic implications for employers and employees.

Here is what concerns me. As far as I know, it has never been done so far, but the possible consequences of being benched are that the I-485 can be denied and (POSSIBLY, but there are strong arguments against it) I-140 could be revoked if already approved. If I-140 is not approved, USCIS could easily deny the I-140.

 Additionally, I suspect there could be exposure to charges of discrimination if one set of workers is getting paid less than another in the same job categories.

The best solution for most companies is NOT to bench employees whether on H-1 or on EAD. Salary reductions are permissible if they are across the board and still comply with the prevailing wages. The workers on non-immigrant visas will probably need amendments. Watch out for the I-140/I-485 issue though.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 - 01:00

H-1 and EAD



Qo. I plan to be on EAD after my 6th year of H1-B expires on September 23, 2008. If I decide to be back on H1-B then is there any time limit within we have to file for H1B extension after its expiration on September 23, 2008 while I am working on EAD?
Ans. Generally speaking there is no time limit as long as you are entitled to the extension.

Qo. For example, will we have to file within 6 months or 1 year after September 23, 2008 while I-185 is still pending?
Ans. If it is an extension beyond six years, you will need to have 485 or 140 pending and meet other related requirements for the extension.

Qo. After USCIS approves H1-B extension in this case, are we required to go immediately to India to get visa stamped or can we keep working on EAD and get the H1-B visa stamped when we like. My I-140 is approved and I-485 pending.
Ans. You can go when you like.

Follow up Qos/Ans

Qo. Thanks a lot, Rajiv. Just one clarification related to H1-B visa stamping in the above case. Do you think the US embassy will ask me why I want to come back to H1-B after having worked on EAD for say 6 months or 1 year after 6 years of H1-B expiration at the time of applying for H1-B visa?
Ans. It should not be any of their concern.

Qo. what should be the response to their question?
Ans. The truth.

Qo. Also, God forbid, in a worse case scenario, if my I-485 is denied after my H1-B extension has been approved in the above case and then I go for H1-B visa stamping, w'd they still give me visa?
Ans. That is legally uncertain. So it is wise to get stamping while the 485 is still "alive."

Qo. On a different note, is there any basis other than a crime, misrepresentation, public health, or revocation of approved I-140 on which the I-485 can be denied?
Ans. Sure. AOS is a discretionary process. It can denied for many reasons (but usually is not).

Qo. If not, then will it still be more advantageous to work on H1-B instead of EAD? I am just trying to evaluate the benefit of coming back to H1-B as opposed to keep working on EAD. Your answers to the above questions will help me greatly in that direction.
Ans. As I have commented several times, I like to keep both options open. So, work on H-1 while keeping your EAD in hand.

Further Questions 

Quote: Me and my spouse are working on H1B for two different companies. My spouse company is processing the green card and the process started in 2005 in EB2. We got married in 2006 and I-140 got approved before our marriage. We filed together for I-485 after marriage in August 2007. We got our EAD card in Nov 2007. We also got our second EAD card in Nov 2008 and it will be valid till Nov 2010.
Though we had EAD card, we are using our H1B. Now, I got laid off from my company last week. I am looking for opportunities. I hope I could find one in a week or two. My questions are
1. When I join my new company should I use EAD card or I do H1B transfer? Please advise.

Ans. H-1 is the best option usually. You can try for a transfer. Usually, CIS declines transfer within USA (requiring you to go outside USA for a visa stamping) if there is any gap in status. But, it is in their discretion to permit it. Joining on EAD is no end of the world. You can start work on EAD and file an H-1. Gert stamping done whenever it is convenient. When you reenter on H-1 visa, you are back on H-1.

Quote: 2. Also, if the market goes further bad and my spouse also got laid off, what will happen to me if I am using my EAD?

Ans. If she uses AC21, you should be fine. Otherwise, if her 485 is void, so is yours. 

Monday, March 30, 2009 - 01:00

I-485 Priority Dates and Processing Dates


One of our community members had asked a questing regarding the processing dates of 485.


In a pending AOS (I-485), unless your PD is current, USCIS will not touch your application. Only when the PD becomes current, they start processing applications ROUGHLY in the order received.

Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 01:00

GC Compliance for Employers


Some of our employees' Green cards
have been filed. There projects have ended. They are working on H-1 but possess EAD and have 140 approved and 485 pending more than 180 days.


Quote: (1) If we revoke their H-1, are we still required to pay full wages if our clients say they do not currently have a project for our employees?

Ans. You are not required to pay "bench salaries" for employees whose H-1 are revoked (remember you must inform CIS and offer employee a one-way ticket home). But we then have exposure to the questions, "do you still have a "permanent" job for them?" If the answer is no, then their GC processing can be interrupted unless they use AC21 portability.

Quote: (2) Do we need to notify anyone about their GC process and let them know that they are no longer working for us?

Ans. There is no such requirement, but the better practice is to write to CIS revoking the I-140.

Quote: (3) Can we re-hire them on their EAD after few (or several) months once they get a project on their EAD?

Ans. Yes, but the question about "permanent job" remains.

Quote: (4) Can we continue their Medical Insurance (and our company pays for it) even if they are NOT employed with us.

Ans. I can see that as objectionable on several grounds.

Quote: (5) Can they stay in USA if I cancel there H-1 and they have a valid EAD but they are NOT employed by anyone.

Ans. Yes. Have them review the entries on my blog under I-485. You will still have unanswered questions about "permanent job."

Quote: (6) Is there an alternative for them to apply for Consular Processing, under what circumstances should they do so, what are the benefits / disadvantages

Ans. I see no advantage in CP. The basic question about a permanent job remains unanswered.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 - 01:00

Starting business while in AOS/I-485/H-1/H-4


1. Hi Rajiv I have a few questions about starting business in partnership.

I am currently on H-1B , my I-140 is cleared and priority date is not current. My wife is on H-4 visa and she is interested in starting her own business with some one who has I-485 pending and has EAD.

I will be the one who will be investing in this business but I won't be employed with that business.

- Is this legal ?

2. Can you be a passive investor on H-1?


1. She can NOT do this on H-4. Once you folks file 485 and get EAD, things will be different.

You can then be a passive investor (performing no work type activity for the company) even while on H-1. You can also be an active investor if you wish to move to EAD as long as you maintain your intention to work full time for the GC sponsoring employer. Your wife can work for the company, own it, be partners, etc. as long as she has the EAD.

2. I think that should be fine. But passive means performing no work. Think of it as investing in IBM on the stock market. Just because you purchase a few shares, you do not get a seat at the Board of Directors of IBM. That is passive investing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 01:00

Am I obliged to join my sponsoring employer after GC approval?


For past 7 years I work for company ‘A’ on their H1B visa (EB3). I had a I-140 cleared in 1998 from my previous company ‘B’ under EB2. Company ‘B’ filed for my I-485 in 2004 and I finally got my green card.


Quote: 1) Do I need to inform company ‘B’ and be in their payroll with immediate effect?
2) If company ‘B’ cannot provide me a job in my location and offer the salary I demand, is it a valid reason for me not to join ‘B’?
3) How should I inform company ‘A’ about my green card and what is the best reason to justify my case to continue work with company ‘A’?
or Should I inform company ‘A’ only when I fill the I-9 form next year Jan 2010.
4) If I inform company ‘A’ now about the green card, is there any legal basis for company ‘A’ to take any action on me and terminate me?
6) If I am impacted in any way, will my spouse and daughter loose their green card status.

Ans. Your basic question revolves around one issue. "Am I obliged to join my sponsoring employer after GC approval?"

This is a tough question to answer with so many shades of gray that I am venturing into conjecture rather than well-founded legal opinion. But I must try, because this situation does come up a lot.

First, we all the know GC is for a future position but you must have an honest intent ("good faith") to join the employer and they to hire you.

Quote: Practical hint 1. Document as best as you can that you had a good faith intent to join the employer and they to hire you, but due to the economy or whatever other reason they do not have a job for you. You can get a letter from the employer and some evidence that shows they have lost business and have had employee lay offs. You are also not obliged to take a pay cut over the labor cert salary or join in a location other that that mentioned in the labor cert.

Ans. Second, in my opinion, if you will join them, you should do so within a reasonable period. There is no definition of that either. May be a few months delay is justifiable.

Quote: Practical hint 2. If the job you are doing now and the job under the GC are same or similar, make sure you document that. Keep copies of your labor cert and of your current job description. This gives an additional argument to protect your GC under AC21.

Ans. The reason I am asking you to document all this is that when you apply for naturalization, these issues may and often do come up. I am thinking of the defense you will need 5 years from now and if we end up taking the govt. to court, we can have good chances of success.

Company A should have no reason to let you go but you should update your I-9 now. If your GC is revoked so will that of your family.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009 - 01:00

Does chargeability change with citizenship change?


I have attained Canadian Citizenship but a born Indian citizen, when I am applying for 485 which priority dates do I need to consider, General or India. I do not have Indian passport.


Still, India. Your chargeability follows the place of birth, not your citizenship.

Friday, November 28, 2008 - 01:00

Start-up applying for H-1 and AC21 for employees


If a new start-up IT consulting company wants to transfer H1 of a prospective employee who is already on H1 and working for his current H1 sponsor, what are the issues and feasibility for such a transfer?

How can such a start-up IT consulting company go about hiring AC21 eligible folks on EAD? May this is the safest route in the beginning until the company gets more employees and grows revenue?

Will the AOS of the prospective employee be safe if he is the only employee of this company in the beginning. Of course the company wants to expand in the future but has to start somewhere.


 H-1 by Start-up Companies

It can be really difficult for start up (or very small) companies to obtain H-1 visas. Doubly so, if people are being hired outside the U.S. Normally CIS asks you to prove:
1. You are capable of paying wages
2. You have sufficient amount of work
3. You are a reliable company with proper staff, offices and equipment.
4. If providing consulting services, you are able to procure a letter from your end-client showing the terms of engagement including what the H-1 holder will do and who will supervise them.
We have advised people to try to get a line of credit from a bank. That works sort of like a credit card. Unless you use the money, you pay no interest on it. Contact any local bank for more details. It is difficult to put down exact numbers, but $250,000 line of credit is a healthy number. Please note, merely having money in the bank may not be sufficient. Also, those companies that are starting with a promised Venture Capital of more than $500,000 should be OK.

Having a solid, detailed business plan can help. There is mush software out on the shelves that can help you put together a good business plan.
This will also help show how you have enough work for employees.
If personnel are being outsourced, contracts from clients will help.

Start up Companies Doing AC21
There is no law on this issue. The current thinking of CIS appears to be that there is no problem in doing AC21 for a start up, as long as the job offered to the employee is similar to their labor cert job. In the past, CIS had tried to question the start up on ability to pay wages. But Yates memo of May 2005 (posted on my blog under AOS/485 section) shut that down stating that is not relevant.

Start up companies starting new green cards
This would be difficult because you have to demonstrate the ability to pay wages from the day you file the labor cert on to the time an employee actually receives the green card approval. This ability is usually shown through a profitable tax history. But if you are consistently paying an employee the wage he/she is supposed to be paid under the labor cert, you are in a good position to get your GC through.

Monday, November 24, 2008 - 01:00

AC21 Portability and Related Issues




Both me & my wife have EAD and have our full time job. My question is , it is possible for us to start a new LLC ??

Ans. On an EAD, you can start a company and do everything that a green card holder can do including opening and owning your company as an active participant/owner. Your spouse has larger freedom than you do. You have to be in a job "similar" to your labor certification job. In the May 2005 Yates Memo (Posted under AOS discussions in my blog), Yates said you can port to your own company, but I recommend that only as the last option, because there are some troublesome issues that are still unsettled in self porting.


Can I hire few more peoples on H1B ??

Ans. Yes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 - 01:00

Filing EB1 while EB2 AOS is pending



I am thinking about applying for green card under EB-1A or EB-1B. Currently I have an approved I-140 (2005, EB2). I have a few questions:
Q.a) Is the EB1A or EB1-B I-140 premium processed?

Q.b) Do I need to submit another set of I-485 with the EB-1 application even though the EB-2 I-485 are pending with USCIS?

Q.c) Which option would be better for me - EB-1A or EB-1B? I am currently an associate professor at XXX University.

Ans.a) Currently, there is no premium processing for this type of cases.

Ans.b) No. We should be able to use the same 485.

Ans.c) The answer to that depends upon two main factors: whether or not you have a "permanent" job and whether or not we have a strong enough resume for the higher category. Generally speaking, if we have a permanent job, I shoot for the lower category where the approval is more likely. Just send an email to Leslie for us to talk more about this issue. Email her your resume also.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008 - 01:00

Further questions on AC21


I got laid off from work from my present employer on October 31, 2008 and I have 3 questions.

Presently, my employer has sponsored both my H1B (completed initial period of 6 years) and Green Card (EB-2, with priority date 2006). I have filled my I-485 in July 2007 and is currently pending. My I-140 has been approved 2 years ago and my employer promised that he will not revoke it. I have approved EAD & AP both for the primary and dependent.



 I would like to be on my H1B even with the new employer. To my knowledge we should file a new H1B within a month but due to the market situation if I have to get on to EAD then can I get back to H1B? If yes then with in how many days should I apply for H1B?

Ans. If you do go on EAD, you can get back on H-1 provided you are willing to get a visa stamp from outside USA. There is no limit on the number of days.

I also think you can try filing for an H-1 transfer and ask to be "forgiven" the 30 days gap in the H-1 transfer.

Further, per Yates memo (posted above in another note on AC21), even if the employer revokes I-140, you still keep your right to AC21.


If I move from VA to MD the prevailing wages is changing. So should we file for a new LC?

Ans. No. That is the whole point of AC21. You should not have to file a new labor certification or green card as long as the job and salaries are similar.


Within how many days should I file for AC21?

Ans. No limit. But in my view, ASAP.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 01:00

Supervisory review


Filed I-130 and I-485 oct 29/07,went for interview feb/08 and have not heard anything from immigration.Is this normal for USCIS.When I did infopass was told that case is under supervisory review,what does this mean.


Pretty much anything can be within the context of a case. Supervisory review means just that - a review by a senior level adjudicator. Usually, that means there is some unusual procedural or legal issue involved. The good news is that, means your case is being reviewed, the bad, we don't know for what. You can try to go through a Congressman's office to find out more if you like.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 - 01:00

AOS Pending, Should H-1 be Renewed


Should H-1 be renewed while the AOS is pending?


Bottomline - I think H-1 should be renewed.

A little more info: A few months ago, I used to feel strongly that AOS applicants should keep their H-1 active for several reasons. Two of these are:

One, EAD issuance was erratic and CIS had discontinued issuance of interim EAD's (that is, if in 90 days your EAD is not issued, you could walk with a infopass appointment to your local CIS office and get an EAD). Thus, EAD's were unreliable and given for only a year. You could have interruptions in your work.

Two, if your AOS were to be denied (even in error), you would have no way to work, because the EAD goes with the AOS. And since there is no appeal against AOS denial, only an MTR can be filed. While the MTR is pending, you are not given a work authorization (as of now, July 2008). In addition, you would not be able to get n H-1 extension beyond the original six years because nothing is pending and "final action" has been taken on your green card. This could result in a situation that can be very dangerous. You do not have an H-1, a pending MTR gives you no legal status to sty in the US. Not only can you not work, you are deportable and you are accruing illegal presence even though the MTR is pending.

While CIS has done well to eliminate the first concern by reinstating the interim EAD issuance policy, the second concern still bothers me. While erroneous denials are few an far between (thank heavens), they do, nevertheless, occur. So, just maintain your peace of mind by keeping your H-1 active. That is my opinion. Reasonable people can easily argue against this and perhaps, their points of view may be just as valid.

All the above holds true, whether or not you intend to use AC21 portability.

Monday, July 14, 2008 - 01:00

Priority Date and AOS (Form I-485) Processing


Rajiv, this month’s visa bulletin shows our category is current. What does this mean for people who have already applied for 485. Have AP and EAD. And now their dates are current again? Does it mean they will get a GC via mail? What if I haven’t had my FP done yet?


As of July 2008, this is how the system works.

First, let me provide a little background. Priority Date is the date your PERM is filed (in Case of EB-1 or NIW – the date your I-140 is filed; in case of Family-based petitions – the date your I-130 is filed.).

When the Visa bulletin shows a category is current, the I-485 (AOS) can be filed in the month the PD is current. Once AOS is filed, if the PD stays current, CIS continues to process the case. They call you for FP, put you through security checks and if no further evidence or questions are raised – approve the case. Upon approval, they seek a Visa Number from the State Department. Once that visa number is received (by fax or electronically), they approve your AOS. Eventfully, your GC is produced and mailed to you.

If the PD does not stay current, CIS puts the adjudication on hold till the PD is current again. When the PD is current, again AOS processing is resumed. This part makes no sense to me, but that is how, I believe they generally do it. Now, if you are fortunate enough to have already been assigned a visa number, your case may be approved even if the PD’s slide back again. But if your fingerprinting has not been done, you cannot get a green card approval.

Do feel free to correct me if my understanding is incorrect.

Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 01:00

EAD and H-1 Conversions for Derivatives


I have applied for 485 as the primary applicant and my wife is the secondary applicant. Right now both of us are on H1 visa. We had applied for EAD and AP and intend to apply for renewal soon as we near 120 days.
I am on my 7th year of H1 and my wife is on 2nd year of H1 and 3 year of (H1 and H4 combine). Her current H1 expires on April 2010.
I intend to remain on H1 itself and have no intentions of using my EAD.
Can you please clarify these questions.


Qo1. Would it be advisable for my wife(secondary applicant) to change to EAD in case she gets a better employment with another employer? This employer is not willing to transfer H1.
Ans. That should be fine.

Qo2. All that is required to work on EAD is fill in form I-9 and submit a copy of EAD with it. Does the employer have to do anything like notifying USCIS etc?
Ans2. The employer has to do nothing more than prepare the I-9 and keep updating it every time new EAD is issued.


Qo1. Would it be advisable for my wife(secondary applicant) to change to EAD in case she gets a better employment with another another employer? This employer is not willing to transfer H1.
Ans. That should be fine.

Qo2. All that is required to work on EAD is fill in form I-9 and submit a copy of EAD with it. Does the employer have to do anything like notifying USCIS etc?
Ans2. The employer has to do nothing more than prepare the I-9 and keep updating it every time new EAD is issued.

Qo3. From what I have read on if she joins on EAD now she can come back later on H1 but will have to travel out of the country and get her H1 stamping done. Is this right(just confirming it)?
Ans3. Correct.

Qo4. When she comes back on H1 she will be using the current H1 itself? It will not be a new H1 and we will not have any issues of new H1 quota right?
Ans4. Correct.

Qo5. If she decides to come back to H1 should it be before April 2010(when current H1 expires) or it can be after that also?
Ans5. Any time.

Qo6. What happens if her current employer reinvokes her H1 after she quits them. Can she still come back on H1?
Ans6. When she leaves, they should revoke her H-1. If she wishes to rejoin them, they can reapply the H-1.

Monday, June 23, 2008 - 01:00

Gap in Employment during AOS


My friend lost his job on Friday when he was working on EAD (this is not the employer who has applied for GC). His i-140 was approved last year in May. He is looking for new job which would take couple of weeks. I have following question for the situation:


Q1. Is there any limit or restriction for number of days without work between changing job?
Ans. No. I do not believe a few weeks should make a difference.

Q2. Will this impact his GC process?
Ans. Not as long as he is eligible for AC21 portability.

Thursday, June 19, 2008 - 01:00

AOS Denial – Consequences for H-1



Qo. If an AOS (adjustment of status or I-485) applicant has already used up six years on H1 and is currently in 8th year of H1, what are his/her options if AOS gets denied before the 8th year on H1 expires?
Ans. A lot depends upon the grounds of denial and whether they are likely to be overturned on a Motion to Reopen/Reconsider. Do note, there is no appeal against a 485 denial.
Technically, as I see the law, if CIS denies the AOS, they can also revoke the H-1 given beyond six years. As a practical matter, they do not. So, even after denial, you should be able to stay in USA to the end of the already granted H-1. You can start a new PERM application and eventually, get H-1 extensions based upon that.
Also, just because AOS is denied, may not mean the CP is not an option. Depending upon the facts of the case, consular processing for green card may still be an option.

Qo. So, would it not be better that a person who applies for AOS should NOT insist on maintaining H1 because he will use up the six years sooner. He should use Advance Parole and EAD to stop the H1 clock because H1 will give him/her more options ONLY IF six years are not up. Your thoughts?
Ans. That may be a good option if there is over one year left on the original H-1 AND the beneficiary is not entitled to three-year H-1 extensions. I get very nervous when your entire work options are based upon an EAD whose renewal time is left in the hands of CIS.

Qo. In your practice, have you encountered similar scenario where I-485 was denied but H1 was not canceled?
Ans. Yes. Several times.

Qo. I was given a three year H1 extension in my 8th year on H1 based on pending I-485 application and approved I-140. Please note that at the time of requesting H1 extension, my employer requested 3 year extension which I thought I wasn't eligible for as visa dates had not retrogressed for my category so I should have been given one year extension.
My three year H1 extension is valid until 2011(8th, 9th, 10th year on H1), in case of AOS denial in the 8 th year, do I have two more years to sort it out?
The maximum time one can stay in H status is 6 year unless the AOS is pending. If AOS is denied and CIS DOES NOT cancel H1 with AOS denial, does such a person start to accrue unlawful presence in US?
Ans. If you have been given an extension mistakenly, that can be taken away and you can have other issues as well. And, I don’t want to us to digress into unlawful presence. That is a whole new topic.