Sat. Apr 17th, 2021

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Maintaining H-1B and L Status While Waiting for a Green Card

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When the Visa Bulletin advances and green card availability opens up after years of backlogs, serval people in the U.S. On H or L Visas status become eligible to file Form I-485, and along with it, Form I-131, Application for Travel Document, and Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

While the I-485 or application for a green card (permanent residence) is pending. Then it is feasible for people to maintain both their nonimmigrant H or L status and their “pending I-485” status. This also gives the ability to apply for Advance Parole (AP) with Form I-131 and an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) with Form I-765.

Many ask: should I maintain my H-1B status after getting an EAD/AP during the I-485 cycle? Normally, the appropriate response is yes! The H-1B or L-1 visas give some extra travel flexibility when Form I-131 is taking a very long time for processing.

Changing Employers & Traveling

A few employees might be waiting for an EAD so they can change employers. However, if you work for another entity other than your current H-1B employer, then you would violate your H-1B status, invalidating the H-1B and the dependent H-4.

Normally, if an individual has a pending I-485, then he/she must apply for Advance Parole. Which when approved grants the individual permission to leave the U.S. for international travel without abandoning their green card application. If in case any individual starts using their EAD and departs the nation without AP approval, then they will probably be viewed as abandoning their I-485 application.

H or L Visas Status

However, if the individual is keeping up their underlying H-1B status through the entirety of the pendency of the I-485, then he/she might have the option to travel using the nonimmigrant visa. On the off chance that the following conditions are met, the adjustment of status (I-485) won’t be deemed abandoned:

  • The employee is in a lawful H-1 or L-1 status upon departure from the U.S. and
  • If, upon returning to the U.S. the alien remains eligible for H or L status, and
  • The employee is coming to resume employment with the same employer. For whom he or she had previously been authorized to work as an H-1 or L-1 nonimmigrant, and
  • The employee is in possession of a valid H or L visa.

[Indians jittery over EB5 program as extension hangs on US government move]

If you start using your I-485 EAD to work for another employer, then you must wait for Advance Parole approval. To prevent the abandonment of the I-485 because you would never again be invalid H or L status.

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