13 May 2019

My H1B cap case was selected in this year’s lottery and it is still pending. My OPT will expire soon. If I apply for a STEM OPT extension, will this impact my pending H1B change-of-status request?

Answer In general, no, this would not impact the H1B change-of-status request because OPT is not a status - one's status during OPT would still be F-1. Once an H1B change-of-status is approved, the F-1 status and corresponding OPT are terminated as of October 1st (or...

13 May 2019

My H-4 I-94 is valid for two more years, but my H-4 visa has expired. If I go to Canada for a few days, do I need to get a new visa “stamp” before I can return to the U.S.?

Answer Under the contiguous territory rule, one generally can go to Canada or Mexico using automatic visa revalidation ("AVR") for up to 30 days if one's I-94 is unexpired. A valid visa stamp is NOT required to reenter the U.S. However, one cannot use "AVR" if...

07 May 2019

Serious Immigration Consequences for Marijuana, Despite State Law Changes

Legalization or decriminalization of marijuana at the state level can mislead noncitizens into thinking using marijuana in accordance with state law is legal. Marijuana, however, is a controlled substance under federal law. Therefore, the use, sale, purchase, or even the mere possession of marijuana, in...

06 May 2019

I am on H1B and lost my job a few weeks ago. If I cannot find employment within 60 days of my last paycheck, do I need to go out of the country for visa stamping before I can join a new employer?

Answer If an H1B petition is filed within the 60-day grace period (i.e., 60 days of the last date of employment, not the last date of a paycheck), then it generally is treated as a timely filing and the individual is permitted to work based on...

06 May 2019

My I-140 is approved, my I-485 is pending, and my priority date is current. How long does it normally take to get called in for the in-person interview?

Answer The National Benefits Center (NBC) takes care of scheduling all interviews, however the timing of that appointment is based on availability at the specific office that has jurisdiction for where you live. Every office is different. There is some general processing information on the USCIS...

06 May 2019

Several years ago, the USCIS approved my H1B petition, which is still valid for a few more months. We recently filed an H1B extension for me to continue working in the same position. The USCIS denied my H1B extension, indicating that the position was not a specialty occupation. Can I continue working based on my previous petition until the I-94 expires?

Answer If the original petition is still valid, then yes, you should be able to keep working pursuant to that petition. In the meantime, your employer may wish to challenge the H1B denial, and/or consider refiling the H1B extension, providing additional evidence to support the argument...