Seattle Indian Community -
| | |
Udemy Black Friday Sale! Top Courses From $9.99  


The Importance of Maintaining Status When Laid Off

Contributed by : Tahmina Watson

Share With Your Friends

Add To My Favorite
The recent economic downturn has resulted in a noticeable increase in the number of people being laid off from work. However difficult such circumstances may be practically and/or emotionally, if you are in the United States on a work visa, particularly on an H1-b visa, there are some important things to know.

Straight to the point, if you are on an H1-b visa and you are terminated from your job, you are immediately out of status. That means you have no legal status in the US. Many people have the misconception that they retain legal status for 10 days after termination.

I am sorry to inform you that this is not true; if you are on an H1-b visa and you are terminated or laid off from your job, your legal immigration status is also terminated immediately.

So, what are the options? Option number one is to leave the US immediately. However, this can be very difficult. Even if reasonable notice is provided, many of my clients have been living in the US for several years, have accumulated assets, have children who attend school, and have other life matters that must be resolved before they can pack up to leave the country.

Therefore, a more viable second option may be to change status. If you are lucky enough to have a spouse on a valid non-immigrant visa then you may be able to change to a dependent status, e.g., an H4 or F2 visa. Granted, you may not be able to work on that visa, but you can continue your life in the US and hopefully find another job soon enough.

But what if you are not so lucky? In that case, you must change to a B1/B2 visitor visa. By doing so, you are essentially buying some time to either wrap up your affairs in the US or to look for another job. Current processing times (as of May 19, 2009) are showing that the government is taking approximately three months to process change of status (COS) petitions. You therefore have at least three months to search for a job and submit a COS petition again to ''''port'''' your original H1-b.
This is a stressful situation. However, in the face of such difficult circumstances, my advice is not to waste any time in applying for COS. It is important to keep your immigration status legal so as not to adversely affect your future immigration status.

The risks are significant. For instance, if you are out of status for 180 days or more, you will face a three-year bar from returning to the US. If you are out of status for a year or more, then you will face a ten-year bar from returning. Therefore, please be mindful about maintaining legal immigration status even under the difficult circumstances that a job loss can bring.

Tahmina Watson is the founder of Watson Immigration Law based in downtown Seattle. She was a practicing barrister in London, UK, before immigrating to the United States herself. Tahmina has been practicing exclusively in the area of US Immigration and Naturalization law since 2006. More information about her can be found at She can be contacted directly at 206-856-3808 or email her at

About Author
Tahmina Watson is an immigration attorney and founder of Watson Immigration Law in Seattle Washington. She was a practicing barrister in London, UK, before immigrating to the United States herself. While her practice includes family-based and employment-based immigration, she has a strong focus on immigrant entrepreneurs and start-up companies. She can be contacted at You can visit to learn about Tahmina and her practice.



Disclaimer: Please use this channel at your own discretion. These articles are contributed by our users. We are not responsible or liable for any problems related to the utilization of information of these articles.


View All Contributions

Premium Advertiser
Attorneys - Watson Immigration Law, LLC, Tahmina Watson

This is an advertisement
My Business:
Watson Immigration Law, LLC

Post an Article
Notify Me of New Articles

Become A Featured Contributor
Add Your Blog | Add Recipe | Add Article

More Article by Tahmina Watson

Tahminas top 6 points about the new H1b policy memo regarding third party sites
EB5 Investor Visa
Immigrant Entrepreneurs Must be Included in Immigration Executive Action
Obama Executive Action on H1b Visas?
Obamas Immigration Delays: What Now?
View All Articles

Featured Contributors

Ananya Kiran

Shruti Sadolkar

Vivek Wadhwa
Vivek Wadhwa

Praveen Nair

Tahmina Watson

Anu Peshawaria
Anu Peshawaria

Rima Arora

Aayushi Manish

Vasudha Sharma
Vasudha Sharma

Latest Articles

Cheat India teaser launched today by Staff
NariTeriYahiKahani to BoreMatKarYaar screenwriting workshop by Paromita Vohra by Staff
Thankful Quote by Staff
Thankful Quote by Staff
Optimism by Staff
View All Articles

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors.
Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker.