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.
My I-94 expires before the 60-day grace period. When do I have to leave the U.S.?
The H-1B grace period lasts for up to 60 consecutive days, or until your I-94 expires. If your employment was terminated on April 6, 2020 and your I-94 expires on May 1, 2020, you will have to leave the U.S. by May 1, 2020 and you would not get the full 60-day grace period.
Can I look for a new job during the H-1B Grace Period?
Yes. You may look for a new job during the grace period. If you do not find a new job within the 60 days (or before your I-94 expires), you will have to leave the U.S.
I found a new employer. What does the employer have to do to sponsor me for an H-1B visa?
If you find a new employer who is willing to sponsor you for an H-1B visa, the employer will have to file a Labor Condition Application and Form I-129 to USCIS along with all supporting documentation demonstrating that you are eligible for the H-1B visa. While this type of petition is often called a “transfer” it is really a brand-new application.
USCIS suspended Premium Processing for I-129 applications, and this means it could take weeks or months for USCIS to adjudicate the H-1B petition.
When can I start working for the new employer? Do I have to wait until USCIS adjudicates the new H-1B petition?
You may start working for the new employer as soon as the employer files a non-frivolous petition, if the following requirements are met:
- You were lawfully admitted to the U.S. in H-1B status;
- A non-frivolous petition for a new employment was filed before your period of authorized stay expires (60 consecutive days after your employment was terminated or before your I-94 expires, whichever is shorter);
- You have not been employed without authorization since your lawful admission to the U.S. and before filing of the non-frivolous petition.
My employment was terminated but I did not find a new job within the 60-day grace period. Can I return to the U.S. and start working once a non-frivolous petition is filed with USCIS?
If your H-1B employment was terminated and you do not find a new employer who would file a new H-1B petition within the grace period (60 days from the date your employment terminated or your I-94 expiration date, whichever is shorter), you will have to leave the U.S. If you later find an employer in the U.S. who is willing to sponsor you for an H-1B visa, the employer will have to file a new H-1B petition. You will only be allowed to enter the U.S. and start working for the new employer once the H-1B petition has been approved by USCIS and after you get an H-1B visa at a Consulate abroad. It could take months for USCIS to adjudicate the petition and because many U.S. Consulates all over the world are currently not process non-immigrant visa applications due to the Corona virus outbreak, it could take some time for you to be able to schedule an interview at a Consulate.
Please click here if you want to read more how Covid-19 impacts your visa.
Please click here if you want to find out how Covid-19 impacts the obligations of an H-1B or E-3 employee.
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
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