06 Aug 2020

My parents are in the U.S. in B-2 status, and their I-94s are scheduled to expire in two weeks. Their flight back to India was cancelled and it may be a month or two before they can leave. Do we have to pay the fees to file an extension of status, even though this is out of their control? Are there any automatic extensions being provided due to the pandemic?

Answer Even though this is out of their control, if they do not leave the U.S. or apply for an extension of status prior to the expiration date on their I-94s, they will fall out of status and begin to accrue unlawful presence. There have not...

23 Jul 2020

I had been working in H1B status, but I came to India in February, and I have been stuck here for months due to the pandemic. My H1B employer has now laid me off, but my H1B visa and petition are still valid. Can I travel to the U.S. in H1B to look for a new employer?

Answer No, generally speaking, a person may not enter the U.S. in H1B status unless that person is coming to work for the H1B petitioning employer. (20.Jul.2020)Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide guidance that clarifies the law. For information on our FREE online services, click...

20 Jul 2020

NewsFlash! Some Consulates Demanding I-20s Showing In-Person Classes, Despite Reversal of Executive Order

As previously reported, on July 14, 2020, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reinstated the March 2020 policy, allowing F-1 and M-1 students to temporarily take all courses online during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following this announcement, however, numerous designated school officials (DSOs) have reported hearing...

15 Jul 2020

My H1B cap case was filed for consular processing, and it was approved last week. My F-1 OPT expires next month. Is there a way to move to H1B status without having to leave the U.S.?

Answer One in this situation could attempt to have the company file an H1B petition, requesting a change of status to H1B. However, there are some legal issues to this strategy that first should be discussed with a qualified attorney. (13.Jul.2020)Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys...

13 Jul 2020

NewsFlash! Consulates May Begin Phased Resumption of Visa Services, Effective July 15th

The U.S. Department of State (DOS) has announced via Twitter that "[b]eginning July 15, US Embassies and Consulates may begin the phased resumption of routine visa services depending on local conditions." No further details have been provided.As previously reported, the consulates are not expected to...

08 Jul 2020

My mother’s I-94 is expiring July 14, 2020. Due to the uncertainty of COVID, I have applied for her extension and have received the receipt notice from the USCIS. Does this mean she can stay here until it is safe for her to return home or we hear the result?

Answer In general, when one has timely filed for an extension of status, one is permitted to remain in the United States until a decision is received from USCIS. This is considered to be a period of "lawful" stay. (06.Jun.2020)Sheela Murthy and other senior attorneys provide...

01 Jul 2020

Prior to issuance of the executive order, I scheduled an appointment to get my H1B visa stamp at a consulate in September. Can I still proceed to the appointment?

Answer If one was outside of the U.S. as of June 24th and does not presently have a valid H1B visa or travel document (e.g., advance parole), then the executive order likely prevents one in this situation from being issued an H1B visa. (01.Jul.2020)Sheela Murthy and...