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What is the Grace Period for an H-1B Visa if I Quit, Get Laid Off, or am Terminated?

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Workers lawfully in the US on an H-1B visa are required to be employed. Of course, there are many reasons that an H-1B visa worker might lose their job. Depending on the circumstances, there are grace periods with respect to visa status. Here are the grace periods for typical reasons for employment termination:

  • You quit your job: The USCIS regulations are unclear; likely, the grace period is 60 days or to the expiration of your H-1B visa validity period, whichever is lesser; but the grace period is discretionary, which means it could be eliminated for an H-1B visa holder who quits
  • You are laid off: 60 days or to the expiration of your H-1B visa validity period, whichever is lesser
  • You are terminated for cause: 60 days or to the expiration of your H-1B visa validity period, whichever is lesser

A "grace period" means that an H-1B worker can lawfully remain in the US for no more than 60 days while the visa holder attempts to find another employer to sponsor the H-1B visa status or to apply for a Change of Status. An H-1B worker who has lost his or her job must leave the US if he or she fails to find alternative qualifying employment or fails to be approved for a Change of Status.

How Long Before the USCIS Learns That I Lost My Job?

When an H-1B visa worker is terminated, the employer must immediately notify the US Citizenship & Immigration Service ("USCIS") of the change in employment status. Thus, the USCIS will learn almost immediately that you have lost your job.

The USCIS Can Shorten the Grace Period

As noted, the USCIS has the discretion to provide a grace period and the USCIS can shorten the grace period. The grace period might be shortened for those who quit or resign their jobs. The grace period can also be shortened if the visa holder is not actively attempting to maintain their visa status. This means that, to avoid having your grace period shortened, you must be actively searching for a new employer willing and able to sponsor you for H-1B visa status (or doing what is necessary to seek a change of status).

For this reason, if you lose your H-1B employment, you should immediately begin searching for a new qualifying job. To ensure that you can prove to USCIS that you are actively attempting to maintain your H-1B status, you should keep good records of your efforts to find new employment. You will need this documentation when you apply for another grant of H-1B visa status.

What About Other Options?

Experienced immigration attorneys like the ones at Yekrangi & Associates can explore and explain options related to changing your visa status. Options include trying to change ones visa status to:

  • F-1 (academic study visa)
  • M-1 (vocational school visa)
  • L-1 (within-company transferee visa)
  • H-4 (family member of an H-1B visa holder status)
  • And more

Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today

For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.


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