Staying After an H-1B Visa Expiration

One of the most common questions related to H-1B visas is “how long after I am no longer employed can I stay in the U.S.?”

There is not a definitive 100% certain answer that can be provided, but there are a few guidelines, such as:

  • An individual is technically considered illegal the very next day after resigning or being laid off from an employer, and will be expected to leave
  • USCIS usually allows for a grace period before an individual will be forced to leave, but even during this grace period, an individual is considered in illegal status
  • There is no rule related to the grace period. It is merely up to USCIS’ discretion
  • While in the grace period, an individual is allowed to request their H-1B visa be extended if they obtained other employment, or to have their visa transferred to a different type if their status changed
  • USCIS will review your application, take your fee, and make a decision based on a few factors

Further complicating issues is whether or not the USCIS will accept the application, and allow your H-1B visa to be extended or transferred while you are in the U.S. Sometimes they will do so, allowing you to remain in the U.S. the whole time, and other times they will approve the visa change request, but require that you not be in the U.S. during the filing, which will require you to quickly return to your country and obtain a new visa stamp.

Regardless of what the USCIS does, it is important that you take immediate action if your H-1B visa is no longer valid.

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