H1 status during unpaid maternity leave


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This is the first time I am posting on this forum and hope to get some advice regarding my problem.


I am currently on H1B working for company A. I am planning to take maternity leave starting from March 1st 2014. My company provides me the option of 8 weeks of paid maternity leave and then further 6 months of unpaid extended maternity leave. The maternity leave policy of the company states that in case the employee decides not to join back to work from after the paid / unpaid maternity leave, the termination date will be the later of (I) the last day worked, (II) the last day for which you were paid salary or (III) last day for which payment was based upon under a disability plan or policy maintained by the company.


This would mean that if I resign from the company during the extended maternity leave, my termination date would be the last date of the 8 weeks of paid leave.


I have the following queries with respect to this:


1. If I resign from the current employer and take up a job with another employer during the unpaid leave, will this mean I had been out of status during this unpaid leave?


2. If yes to point 1, I think the safe option would be apply a COS to H4 (my husband is on H1). When should I apply for this COS - at the end of the 8 weeks when I submit my resignation / now itself as I understand that COS approval takes about 2 months.


3. If at a later date I plan to start work, can another employer hire me by just applying for a COS to H1 based on my current petition (which is valid till end of 2015) or will I need to find an employer who would be ready to file a new H1 for me?


Thanks a lot in advance. Hope to get some advice.

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You do not mention whether your company will let you join back after your leave. You do not mention whether you want to return after your leave.


1. You can only work for a H1 sponsor with a H1 petition approval with the I94.

2. Without reference to 1. you can file your COS before your 8 weeks are up and get the receipt. Then you can stay till the COS is approved.

3. It is ALWAYS a new non cap H1 petition based on being capped once and getting a total of 6 years and has no connection to the existing H1 petition per se.

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