Tag Archives: b2

Are you on a H-1B Visa or E-3 Visa and now Laid Off?

I wrote earlier in February about this very issue and the main ideas I had to help you find new employment so the posts I recommend reading are;

Laid Off on an E-3 or H-1B Visa where I talk about the situation and idea where you can get your current employer to help and also an option in Canada
Extending, Renewing or Changing Employers on your E-3 Visa this is also  helpul to H-1B holders or applicants as the process is very similar
Information about the Top 100 Companies that sponsored H-1B visas last year where we discuss how this may help you and the genesis of the list which we made FREE for you
The Top 200 List of US Visa Employers Last Year is a raw list of the companies that is beneficial to E-3 visa applicants as much as H-1B and even J-1.

Now I have received a lot of emails in recent times about;
How long people have?
How can they extend their time to look for a job?
Is the transfer process easy and not too costly?
Can you transfer to B1/B2 status to allow you more time to find a position?
Do I have access to any unemployment benefits since I pay Social Security/Payroll/FICA Taxes?
Can I work while the transfer process is underway?

I will try and document the answers to these questions briefly on one page, although a lot of these answers are in more detail elsewhere in the blog in other posts and you can go the All Posts List which documents all entries and visa information by title.

1. How long do I have?
Technically you only have 10 days to find a new employer once your current employer notifies USCIS of your termination date. We explain in the above post more fully how you can ask you employer to delay this notification to give you more time.
NB: Over time through guidance and enforcement changes, and post the financial crisis, the e-3 visa rules continued to more resemble the h-1b visa rules. So the 10 days have become more like 60 days. However always be cautious as you never know what might be enforced especially in the post 2016-era of US immigration.

2. How can you extend your time to find a job?
Will this really follows on from question 1, so the delay in notification is one option. Leaving and re-entering the US on the visa-waiver program is another option. Transferring to a B1/B2 visa or even another category (although you have to meet their individual requirements) can also potentially extend your time.

3. Is the transfer process easy and not too costly?
It certainly could be easier, I mention in the above linked post the entire process and forms involved. Eassentially it involves getting a new LCA form and a filing form for transfer of employer to USCIS which I think costs around $300 although this constantly changes. It can be relatively straightforward in what you do but it can be a long process.
Of course if travel is involed if you plan to get a new visa outside the country this of course will amplify costs.

4. Can you transfer to B1/B2 status to allow you more time to find an employer?
You certainly can trasnfer to B1/B2 if you do this application to USCIS. Visapro states USCIS officers have been allowed to exercise their discretion to grant you another nonimmigrant status, if you apply for change of status within 10 days after you are laid off.

5. Do you have access to any unemployment benefits as you pay Social Security taxes?
No you don’t in any shape or form if you are on any non-immigrant visa. Yes this is completely unfair given you are forced to pay these taxes just like a US worker but you have no claim to any benefits.

6. Can I work while the transfer process is underway?
For H-1B visa holders you can given the application has been filed and you have your approved LCA from the Department of Labor. However your transfer application could still be denied potentially by the USCIS.

For E-3 visa holders the answer is a little more strange as it is largely undocumented. So some USCIS officers will say the rules are the same as H-1B as they are for most other things when not fully documented as seems to be the general direction of the visa. However other officers say this is not the case and you have to wait for your transfer. This combined with the transfer visa application cost has caused many of E-3 to just go to Canada and apply for a new visa with their new employer instead.

Good luck if this is your predicament…I wish you all the best ūüôā

CJ

**look I should say again I am not a lawyer but I answer these questions to the best of my ability having gone through the visa process many times and having shared experiences with many others so I want to save you guys as much money as I can with potential legal costs. Some of the policies change a lot and I try to keep us as much as I can but I do miss a few changes.

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Transfer to an H1B or E3 Work Visa From…

Ok this has to be one of the most common questions I get asked by everyone on this blog and is also in many of the comments I see so I thought it important to cover.

Now there are many issues with transferring and depending on the visa you want to transfer to there are different qualifying criteria so it is important to be aware  of those. I will cover this topic more in depth for specific visa classifications, particular cases like the F1 Student, J1 or H1B/E3 work visas as they tend to be the most common that people want to transfer too while still in the country.

A change of status is not automatically granted even if you qualify and the USCIS will also determine on your unique case how long to extend your visa period for even if it is granted. It is all very arbitrary sometimes but generally you will be successful if they deem your intentions to be genuine and you have not done anything wrong under your current status.

You should not that there are certain visa categories you cannot transfer from while in the US so you have no choice under these visas to leave the US to apply for a new visa.

This includes;
C Visa (aliens in transit)
D Visa (usually for flight/ship staff, etc.)
K1/K2 (fiancee visa and dependent of fiancee)
S Visa (witness or informant)
TWOV (transit without visa)
Tourist under waiver program classified when you receive GREEN I-94W form when you enter US
Also; to note;
J1 visa can’t transfer/extend if they are subject to the 2 year residency rule (unless they have followed the long government channels to get this condition revoked)
M1 vocational visa can’t transfer to F1 student visa. They also can’t transfer to H visa category where the training helped them qualify for the H visa.¬† ( the M visa is used for things like pilot training, etc.)

Essentially there are some other basic requirements you must meet to also change your status such as;
– Have entered the US legally
– Not have done anything in the US to immediately disqualify you from consideration
– No factor requiring you to leave the US prior to re-entry and admission under your new status (often determined by USCIS)
– You have submitted your application prior to the expiration date recorded on your I-94 form given to you and stamped/dated when you entered the US (usually stapled inside you passport near you current visa)

NB: Your passport must be valid for your entire stay of applied period for your new visa

TO BEGIN TRANSFER

You have to file form I-129 to the USCIS for the categories below and this approval for the change of status has to be approved before you can begin peforming the activities under your new non-immigrant visa category.
If you have a spouse/dependents they need to file form I-539 to change their status. It is a good idea if this is your case to file all together so they are judged at the same time. All dependents can be filed on the same I-539 form.

The is the list requiring the I-129 form filing:
E1/E2 (Treaty Traders and Investors)
E3 (Australian temporary worker)
H1B/H2A/H2B/H3 (Temporary Workers)
L1A/L1B (Intracompany Transferee)
O1/O2 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability)
P1/P2/P3 (Athletes & Entertainers)
Q1 (International Cultural Exchange)
R1 (Religious Workers)
TN1/TN-2 (Canadians & Mexicans covered under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA))

To qualify for the visa categories below you have to file form I-539.

A (Diplomatic & Other Government   Officials, Immediate Family members, Employees)
B1/B2 (Visitors for Business or Pleasure)
E (Treaty Traders & Investors Dependents Only)
F (Academic Students & Dependents)
G (Foreign Government Officials & Certain Immediate Family Members)
H4 (Temporary Worker Dependents Only)
K3/K4 (Spouse of U.S. Citizen & Minor Child Accompanying)
L2 (Intracompany Transferee Dependents Only)
M (Vocational & Language Students and Dependents)
N (Parents & Children of Certain People  Who Have Been Granted Special   Immigrant Status)
NATO (NATO Representatives, Officials,  Employees, and Immediate Family Members)
O3 (Aliens with Extraordinary Ability Dependents Only)
P4 (Athletes and Entertainer Dependents Only)
R2 (Religious Worker Dependents Only)
TD (TN Dependents Only)

It is recommended by the USCIS to file about 60 days prior to your date on your I-94 expiring. You can still stay in the US while your case is pending even if this is beyond your expiration date on your I-94. However during this time you will be considered not under any non-immigrant status and not be able to perform any activities (i.e. study, work. etc.) until your case is approved.

To check the status of your case, you will be mailed a receipt with a number on it which you can input on the uscis.gov website to see what is happening with your application. There is a part on the website regarding how long each of the various centers take to process these applications but generally if everything is in order it can often be done in less than a few weeks.
For students there is usually some sort of early inital approval you can receive so you can begin studies at the start of a semester.

In your application you will send your current I-94 form and be mailed a new one with a new date if you are approved under your new status. If you are denied you immediately considered ‘out of status’ and legally are required to leave … although many of course decide now to illegally stay longer.

It can always be good (and at time frustrating but necessary ūüôā ) to call the USCIS in these situation so there number if you are calling within the US is 1800-375-5283

I hope this helped provide information helpful to you and let me know if you want to cover other general parts of the process.

CJ

Facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail