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Immigration Issues/L2 to H1B visa status change

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QUESTION: Hi Ajay,

Here is some background info before I go ahead with my questions:

1. I am on L2 visa which is expiring in July 2012. I came to US in July 2010.
2. My husband is trying to get his L1 transferred to H1 this year. He has already spent more than 4 years on L1 now, and will be required to leave US in 2012 if he is not on H1.
3. I am working on L2-EAD as an IT consultant for an American Company - A through a consultancy B.
4. A has a branch in Chennai, India.

My questions are:

1. Does my status change from L2 to H4 as soon as my husband get H1 approval? or that comes in effect only after H1 stamping?

2. Even after his H1 and my H4 gets stamped, can I continue working on L2-EAD until expiry of L2 visa - July 2012? Can I choose not to apply for H4 and stay on L2? I dont think its possible because of L1 changing to H1, still want to confirm with you.

3. B doesnt do any visa transfers. So if A wants to sponsor my H1 visa, how should I go about it?

4. My client wants me to continue working for them, but if my H1 gets approved and my husband's H1 doesn't, for how much time he can stay with me on H4 since he will already be completing his 5 years stay in America in 2012?

If you could help me with the answers, it would be a great help to me. Thanks!

Aarti

ANSWER: Hi,

Your H4 application should be filed along with your husband's H1B petition, so that when the H1B petition is approved granting him change of status to H1B, you will automatically be in H4 status. (You cannot remain in L2 status once your husband is in H1B status, and therefore cannot avail the EAD when your husband no longer has L1 status).

You should talk with Co. A about filing an H1B petition. However, A and B may have an agreement that A cannot file an H1B petition for employees of B.

Your husband can remain for six years either in H1B status. However, the amount of time spent in L1 status counts towards the six years allowed in H1B. He can remain an additional 6 years in H4 status.


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

QUESTION: Hi,

Thanks for the quick response. You have answered all of my above queries, I still have a question:

Is there a way we both could continue to stay and work in US for another say a couple of years? Is it possible for company A's India branch to file an L1 for me, without having me to travel to India for the stamping?

Appreciate your help.

Thanks,
Aarti

ANSWER: Hi,

Unfortunately, you do not qualify for L1, as you have not been employed physically outside the U.S. for a branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of the U.S. company for at least one year during the past 3 years: www.h1b1.com/L1visa.htm

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

QUESTION: Hello,

Is it possible for my husband to specify start date in his H1B visa to be 6 months later (sometime in March 2012), so that he can maintain L1 till then which will have me be on L2 by that time?

Thanks,
Aarti

Answer
Yes, H1B petition can be filed requesting start date to take effect up to 6 months from date of filing H1B petition. This way your husband will maintain his underlying L1 status (and you will maintain L2 status) until his H1B status takes effect (ex: March, 2012).

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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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