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Immigration Issues/B1 to H1 having a valid H1B approval

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QUESTION: Hi Ajay,

I have by H1B petition approved on Aug2010 and its valid until Aug2012. I couldn't go for a Visa stamping due to some personal issues and now am having an urgent opportunity to travel for long term to client location within a week. So, my organization has planned me to travel using my B1 visa (since I couldn't get H1B stamped so soon within a week).

I would like to know is it possible to get my H1B stamped in US itself having a proper H1B approved petition. Or else is it possible to change my status from B1 to H1 and continue working for long term at US (onsite) without getting my H1B stamped on my passport.

I would greatly appreciate if you can provide me with an update within 2-3 days since my travel date is nearing.

Thanks in advance,
Sadeesh Kumar.S

ANSWER: Hi,

You can enter the U.S. on B1 visa, but this category does not allow for employment in the U.S.

You cannot obtain an H1B visa stamp within the U.S.

There is an option to change status to H1B within the U.S. if, after your entry in B1 status, an H1B petition is filed by your employer requesting change of status to H1B. I recommend waiting at least 30 to 60 days after entry before the H1B petition is filed again. The H1B petition filing fees, etc. will again apply and be submitted to the USCIS by your employer. It may take about 3 months for approval of the H1B petition after filing, but if filed through premium processing, the USCIS can make a decision within 15 days of filing.

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QUESTION: Hi Ajay,

Thanks for tat!! I would like to knw whether its possible to stay in US for long term with a valid h1b approved petition alone. Do I really need a visa stamp in my passport for long term stay? Is the H1b petition approved by USCIS alone not enough?

Pls let me know on this.

Thanks in advance,
Sadeesh Kumar.S

ANSWER: Hi,

If the H1B petition approval notice indicates that you have been granted either change of status to H1B or extension of status to H1B, you can remain in the U.S. indefinitely as long as you keep extending H1B status prior to expiration.

If you then depart the U.S. for any reason, however, you would require an unexpired H1B visa stamp (normally issued by a U.S. Consulate in the candidate's home country) in order to enter the U.S. again if the purpose of entry is employment with the H1B employer.

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

QUESTION: That answers my question. Thanks Ajay!!

Also, since I already have H1b approved petition (valid until Aug2012) is it an issue if I raise another petition for Change of Status to H1B through premium processing? Does it affect my previous approved H1B petition?

Please let me know. Thanks in advance!!

Sadeesh Kumar.S

Answer
Hi Sadeesh,

There is no problem with requesting change of status to H1B even though you already have H1B approval notice through the same company. If for some reason the H1B petition (or change of status to H1B) is denied, the original H1B approval remains valid, and you therefore always have the option of obtaining H1B visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate based on the original H1B approval notice.

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Ajay K. Arora

Expertise

I can answer your questions on employment and family-based U.S. Immigration Law. Expertise in various immigration categories includes the following: H-1B, L-1, O-1, PERM (labor certification), EB-1 to EB-3 I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions, family or fiance(e) or spousal sponsorship, visa extension or change of status, adjustment of status, naturalization (citizenship), etc.

Experience

Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

Organizations
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) full member since 1995.

Education/Credentials
Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

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