Covid-19 has changed the rules for travel, engagement and employment. Many companies have started to reduce wages and put staff on leave, and some companies have terminated employees.
If you are in the U.S. on an L-1 visa and you have been terminated, the first thing you should do is check your I-94. Your I-94 may be available online, or if you entered the U.S. and changed or extended your status, your I-94 may be available on your most recent I-797A. If your I-94 is valid for 60 days or longer, you are permitted to stay in the U.S. for the entirety of the 60-day grace period. If your I-94 is valid for less than 60 days, your grace period will only last until the end date on the I-94, as opposed to the full 60-day period.
Since January 2017, certain nonimmigrant categories, including L-1s, are granted a 60-day grace period if their employment ends earlier than expected. It does not matter under what circumstances the employment ended, meaning the grace period is available to people who quit their jobs and also to people who are terminated. During this 60-day period, you are permitted to look for other work, change status or make plans to depart the U.S. You are not permitted to work during the grace period.
If you find another employer and you are eligible for another employment visa, your new employer can file a petition to change your status. However, since March 20, 2020, the government is not providing premium processing services for I-129 petitions and the Consulates abroad are closed for nonimmigrant visa processing due to concerns over COVID-19, so it may be several months before you can commence working again, although you will be permitted to remain in the U.S. in a period of authorized stay for as long as the change of status petition is pending.
If you are not able to find a new employer and you do not want to depart the U.S. at the end of the 60-day grace period, you may be able to switch to another temporary status. For example, if you would like to remain in the U.S. as a tourist, you could change to B-2 status, if you want to go back to school you could switch to F-1 status or if you had some business purpose to remain, such as investigating E-2 opportunities, you could switch to B-1, business visitor status. It is very important to file any change of status request prior to the end of your grace period.
You can find key immigration information related to the Corona Virus below.
- Top 10 Covid-19 Immigration Questions
- Implications of Layoffs for employers who have employees on H-1B and/or E-3 Visas
- USCIS announces flexibility for request for evidence (RFE) and Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)
- Information on Consular closures during Covid-19
- USCIS issues guidance on Remote 1-9 verification during Covid-19
- USCIS office closures due to Covid-19
- Can I apply for Unemployment Insurance Benefits while on a Visa?
- Canada/U.S. Border Closures
- USCIS announces temporary suspension of premium processing
- What can you do if your ESTA is running out?
- Travel Ban for Europe
- Stimulus Bill (All 800 pages)
- Information on Small Business Loans related to the Stimulus package
- USCIS to accept scanned/reproduced signatures instead of “wet” signatures on immigration petitions and forms
- Implications of furlough or termination if you are on a TN visa
- Does the Stimulus Bill impact my immigration status? Is there a public charge concern?
- Understanding the Stimulus Package for Small Businesses and the Paycheck Protection Program
- Small Business Administration COVID-19 Loans
- USCIS to Reuse Previously Submitted Biometrics to Process Work Permit Applications
- USCIS Temporary Office Closure Extended Until at least May 3
- SBA Loans and Public Charge Rules – Paychecks Loan Program and Economic Injury Disaster Relief Loan Program
- I am in the U.S. on H-1B visa and my employment was terminated due to the Corona virus outbreak.
- I am in the U.S. on an E-2 visa, can I apply for loans under the Stimulus Bill?
- Does Covid-19 impact my obligations as an H-1B or E-3 Employer?
- I am in the U.S. on E-2 employee visa. Can I apply for unemployment benefits due to the Coronavirus?
- I want to decrease the salary of my H-1B employee, what is the process?
- I am in the U.S. on a non-immigrant visa and my employment was terminated due to the Corona virus outbreak.
- I am on an E-2 visa but cannot go back to my Consulate to Renew, what can I do?
- I had to terminate the employment of an H-1B employee due to the Corona virus outbreak. What are my obligations as an H-1B Employer?
- If I get laid off or furloughed am I still eligible to get a green card?
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