H-1B 60 Days Grace Period:
US Allows grace time of 60 days to H-1B visa holders. The H-1B Visa employees who are laid-off, terminated, or resign from their position to find a new job or have a change in status are eligible for grace period. H-1B workers should note that they cannot travel internationally during their grace period. The H-1B grace period is up to sixty (60) consecutive days or until the end of the validity period listed on the I-797 approval notice, whichever is shorter. A grace period is provided for faculty who are terminated, resigned, or whose employment ends before the validity period expires.
How Does the H-1B Grace Period Work if You Lose Your Job?
The United States immigration law states that you must be in a valid status in order to request a change of status, extension, or other related privileges. Due to the grace period rule, you have the legal right to change your status to another nonimmigrant or find another H-1B employer.
However, that approval for the grace period is not automatic. It depends on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Under the rule, the DHS must determine whether facts and circumstances warrant shortening or denying the 60-day period on a case-by-case basis. In other words, you will need to show convincing evidence to DHS. The adjudicating officer will use this to approve, shorten or reject the case.
Here’s more information on H-1B visa blogs:
Reasons for the 60-Day Grace Period Refusal:
In many cases, the grace period is fully granted by the DHS through the USCIS, but certain circumstances may affect immigration’s long-standing policies and shorten or deny your grace period. In addition, it’s important to avoid accruing any illegal presence in the country since this can lead to serious consequences. If, for example, you leave the country and attempt to return after 180 to 365 days, you are barred for three years from entering the country. If you’ve remained unlawfully in the country for more than 365 days, you’re barred for 10 years. Fraud, unlawful employment, and criminal accusations are among the other reasons for a grace period denial.
How Long an H-1B Worker Can Stay in the United States:
The H-1B visa is a temporary visa that allows you to work in the United States. It does not permit the holder to remain in the United States indefinitely like an immigrant, but rather expires after a set length of time. When an H-1B worker’s status expires, he or she must either leave the country, seek for an extension, or apply for a new status. If a worker just continues in the United States past the expiration of his or her H-1B visa, he or she loses legal status in the country and may be deported. A foreign worker with an H-1B visa is allowed to stay in the United States for a maximum of six years under US law. The H-1B visa and status are valid for three years at a time and can be renewed for another three years. When the maximum duration of stay expires, the foreign worker must either depart the United States or get a new status (such as an F-1 student or O-1 “extraordinary ability” worker). A new six-year clock starts after spending a full year overseas.
What Time Does the H-1B Six-Year Maximum Apply To?
It’s crucial to know which time periods count toward the six-year cap when calculating how much time an H-1B worker has left. Your grace period begins the day after your last day of work. To avoid losing your status and having to leave the United States, it’s critical to use it wisely. To begin, only the time spent in the United States in H-1B status counts toward the six-year limit. Even if the person leaves and returns to the United States on an H-1B visa, any time spent outside the country is not counted. Another key aspect to remember is that any time spent in the United States as a “dependent” spouse or child of someone in H or L status does not count toward the six-year limit if you apply for your own H-1B visa. Let’s imagine a worker is in the United States on an H-1B visa and his wife is in the country on an H-4 visa (available to spouses of H-1B workers). The pair spends four years in the United States. If the wife wishes to change status to H-1B after four years, she is eligible to the entire six years of H-1B status. Her H-4 status has no bearing on her H-1B maximum.
Here’s more information on H-1B visa blogs:
H-1B Exceptions to the Six-Year Maximum Stay:
Two kinds of H-1B visa holders are eligible to have their visas extended beyond the standard six-year limit. The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act, sometimes known as AC21, lays forth these requirements. First, if an H-1B worker is the beneficiary of an authorized immigrant worker petition (I-140) but is unable to file a green card application because his or her “priority date” is not current, the worker can extend his or her H-1B status. Second, an H-1B worker can extend his or her H-1B status if a U.S. employer files a Labor Certification application (a PERM or ETA 9089) or an I-140 petition on his or her behalf before the start of the worker’s sixth year in H-1B status, as long as the application or petition is not denied (it may have been approved or still be pending).
Importantly, an H-1B worker can use these AC21 provisions to extend their visa an unlimited number of times. You could remain in H-1B status for ten, fifteen, or twenty years while waiting for your priority date to become current, due to a significant backlog in priority dates for specific categories.
Please keep in mind that if a worker is a beneficiary of a family-based immigrant petition, AC21 will not allow them to extend their H-1B visa. Only H-1B workers who are the recipients of employment-based petitions are allowed to renew their visas under AC21.
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