Change of Non-Immigrant Status
Nonimmigrant visas allow foreign nationals to reside in the U.S. temporarily. There are over 40 nonimmigrant visa categories, each used for a specific purpose. If you decide to change your current nonimmigrant status to another temporary visa, such as H-1B, there are important issues that you need to understand before starting the process.
If you need assistance with a change of nonimmigrant status to an H-1B specialty occupation visa, or an immigration issue that is beyond the scope of this guide, contact the H-1B Visa immigration lawyer at Porter Law Office, LLC in Columbus, Ohio today.
Status Change to H-1B
If you are in J status and are subject to the two-year home residency requirement, you will need a waiver to change nonimmigrant status to H-1B status. The U.S. Department of State has more information regarding the waiver of the two-year home residency requirement.
If you are currently working in OPT on F-1, you may also be eligible for additional time on your OPT if you are in one of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. Your change of status to H-1B cannot occur until the H-1B cap season, which begins on April 1.
H-1B Visa Extension
Individuals who are currently in H-1B status have it easier. If they want to continue working at their current employer beyond the expiration date of their current H-1B visa status need to submitted another H-1B petition to USCIS to extend their H-1B status. The maximum period for H-1B status is six years unless an individual is currently in the permanent residency process. See H-1B Visa: Terms of Admission for more details.
An H-1B extension requires the filing of an entire H-1B petition and takes anywhere from three to six months to process. You are strongly encouraged to begin the process at least six months prior to the expiration of your H-1B visa. You will be considered in valid H-1B status so long as USCIS receives your petition before your current H-1B status expires.
Practice Pointer: The official H-1B approval notice is required for re-entry after travel outside the U.S. and is needed for applying for an H-1B visa stamp at a consulate abroad.
Changes in H-1B Visa Position
The H-1B visa is specific to employer, job position, and location. Therefore, when H-1B employees change their place of employment to a worksite outside of the MSA covered by the original LCA, or if there is a material change in any of the terms and conditions of employment, a new H-1B petition would need to be filed.
Once the employer files the amended petition, the H-1B employee can immediately begin to work at the new location. You do not have to wait for a final decision on the amended petition for the H-1B employee to start work at the new location.
H-1B Portability – Change of Employers
If an H-1B worker wants to change from one employer to another, again a new H-1B petition must be submitted to USCIS. Fortunately, the H-1B visa regulations allow the H-1B worker to start working at the new employer when the receipt notice is received assuming the start date is on or after the requested start date of the H-1B petition.
Immigration Attorney Columbus, Ohio
H-1B Visa Representation
Porter Law Office, LLC has experience in securing H-1B visas. The federal immigration rules and regulations regarding H-1B visas and change of nonimmigrant status are complex. The Columbus, Ohio immigration lawyer at Porter Law Office, LLC assists employers in complying with the H-1B visa regulations. We can help your organization file H-1B visa petitions and remain in compliance. If your organization is considering sponsoring a foreign national on an H-1B visa, contact Columbus, Ohio H-1B visa attorney Matthew R. Porter today to discuss your H-1B visa options.