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buddyeddy

laid off: visa options

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Hello

After completing my PhD over here I joined Company A in July 2011. I was on OPT for a year, the company filed H1B for me this year and it was approved to start from this October (valid till September 2015). I was about to fly to India this December to get the visa stamped.

Out of the blue, the company fired my whole team last week (cost-cutting or 'restructuring' as they would like to put it). My severance package gives a termination date around the end of this year (end-dec). I was allowed 1 free consultation with the company immigration lawyer and these are the options he mentioned:

1) (desirable option) get a new job within these 2 months and get the H1B transfered. Of course, this is what I am trying for.

2) (alternate option) file for a B2 before the termination date which should allow me to continue to legally stay here and sit on interviews. He also mentioned that typically there wouldn't be any issues transferring the visa from B2 to H1B (which the new company would be filing on my behalf)

Some suggestions he gave were

- If you feel that you might be able to get something by say late Dec or mid-to-late Jan then don't file the B2 and instead directly do a H1B transfer once you get the job. He understands that this is not quite as per rules but apparently its a done deal. I am not too comfortable with that and would like to do everything legally.

A 3rd option is - I recently got married and my wife is a PhD student here on F1. I can apply for an F2 as well. I mentioned this to the company lawyer and as per his opinion if it comes to it switching to B2 is better.

So for all the kind folks over here my queries are

- In the worst case scenario where I don't land up anything in these 2 months would it better to go for B2 or for an F2?

- Do I necessarily have to apply for the B2 just before my termination date or can I wait for an additional month if I feel something is just round the corner?

Many thanks.

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Hello buddyeddy! I feel you should go for B2 becaz for F2, onus will be on your wife to show that she can support you financially. She has to show money and stuff like that.

You have to file for B2/F2 before your termination date so that before your termination date, you have applied for visa status change so that you don't fall in 'no status'.

But please consult some attorney and don't go by my words.

Regards.

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- In the worst case scenario where I don't land up anything in these 2 months would it better to go for B2 or for an F2?

B2 or F2, any status doesn't harm as long as you are not out of status in USA.

- Do I necessarily have to apply for the B2 just before my termination date or can I wait for an additional month if I feel something is just round the corner?

Make sure you apply COS for B2 before your termination date so that you will not considered as out of status from the termination date to the COS filed with USCIS. Here you have to make sure your COS filing should be when you are in valid status. When you are out of status you cannot apply for COS which will be risky as it clearly states that you are out of status for certain period after the termination date.

Experts, pls correct me if I'm wrong so that buddyeddy will go in right direction.

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"Do I necessarily have to apply for the B2 just before my termination date or can I wait for an additional month if I feel something is just round the corner?"

The posts made above make sense. But I am trying to answer your question from a different angle. Assume, in your case you had gotten fired on Date X instead of being laid off. In that case, you get one month to get a new job and transfer the H1B. So, if that option holds true when a person is fired, it should hold true when the person is laid off too. So, I think you can use that additional month to look for a job and transfer.

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So, if that option holds true when a person is fired, it should hold true when the person is laid off too. So, I think you can use that additional month to look for a job and transfer.

There is no legal one month of time to find a new job. You get the grace time to pack stuff and leave the country (assuming your I94 is still valid). Out of job on H1b is out of status. Doesn't matter fired, laid off, resigned or whatever.

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Assume, in your case you had gotten fired on Date X instead of being laid off. In that case, you get one month to get a new job and transfer the H1B.

No, you don't.

There is no grace period. Zero, nada, none.

A person on H1 is out of status as soon as the job ends, for whatever reason.

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