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Immigration Issues/H-1b Visa -return home?


QUESTION: I am currently on an F-1 visa as a PhD student. My F-1 visa expires in May but my I20 has been extended until the end of this year. I have a postdoctoral position at an american university starting in August and they are sponsoring me for an H-1b visa. I am a UK citizen. Once I am approved, I was wondering whether I would have to return to the US consulate in the UK to get my visa, and if not where I would have to go. The person in charge of my H-1b visa application doesn't know and has told me to find out for myself which I have been unable to do. Many thanks,

ANSWER: Graham,
You do not need to leave the country to work with an H1B.  However, if you wish to go to the UK for any reason, to reenter the US you need to get an H1B visa.  This process is similar to your getting the F1 visa you received when you entered as a student.  

As a Ph.D. Student, you should also consider a green card application under a NIW category so you could dispense with the H1B requirments and move toward a green card.  I would be happy to evaluate your case if you would forward me a copy of your CV with a list of your publications and presentations.  You can forward to:

Good Luck
Mark Ashley

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------


Thanks so much for your message. I was hoping to go traveling outside of the US later this summer. When I got my F1, I had to go the US Embassy in London. If I want to leave the US, will I have to obtain my H1b visa from London, or from another US consulate in another foreign country, or would it be possible to get it all sorted out in the US before I left?

Many thanks,


I do not know the answer to your question.  It depends upon when the H1B is approved and when you leave the US and for what period of time.  If you leave after the H1B is approved and do not plan of coming back to the US until 10 days prior to the start date of the H1b then everything should be fine.
Good Luck
Mark Ashley

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Mark Ashley


Business Immigration. My practice focuses on representing researchers, scholars, and other advanced degree professionals with filing NIW, EB-1,O-1, H-1, L-1 petitions. I am a founding partner in the immigration law firm Ashley & Krishnan,


18 years as a practicing attorney.

Member of AILA

JD from St. Mary's University, Texas.

Awards and Honors
American Jurisprudence Award recipient

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