Understanding the H-1B Visa Grace Period: Can It Be Used Again?

Understanding the H-1B Visa Grace Period: Can It Be Used Again?

With a fresh wave of layoffs impacting the United States, especially in Silicon Valley, foreign workers navigate uncertainties related to their work permits and H-1B visas. As job losses mount in the tech sector, nearly 32,000 tech workers have faced unemployment in 2024, according to Layoffs.ai.

For non-immigrant workers facing termination, options for remaining in the United States exist under existing rules. Individuals under E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1, or TN classifications, along with their dependents, can maintain their status for up to 60 consecutive calendar days or until the end of the authorized validity period after job termination.

The regulations allow for a discretionary grace period.

Immigration attorney Tahmina Watson sheds light on a commonly asked question: Can a visa holder receive another 60-day grace period after a recent layoff? Watson affirms, “The answer is yes.”

Eligibility for the 60-day grace period resets with each authorized employer petition validity period. For instance, if terminated by Employer A, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may grant a grace period, allowing the individual to maintain status for up to 60 days. Suppose subsequent employment with Employer B results in termination. In that case, another 60-day grace period may be available during the validity period of the petition with Employer B.

Watson offers valuable tips for foreign workers navigating layoffs in the United States:
Accurately calendar the 60th day from the last work date and refer to USCIS resources.

A new I-94 may provide another 60-day grace period after a layoff, especially if a new H1B approval occurs.

Act before the 60-day grace period expires, whether applying for a change of status or extension.

If seeking a new H-1B sponsor, filing a change of status to a B-1/B-2 visa is an option.

Entrepreneurship is an avenue – consider starting a company to sponsor your H-1B visas.

Explore green card options, particularly for STEM degree holders, under EB-1 or National Interest Waiver categories.

Source: MSN