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Immigration Issues/Change of Status from L-1 to H-1

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Question
QUESTION: I am currently in the US on L-1A visa. If I wish to change my job and get an H-1B sponsored by a new employer, do I need to wait for the H1B quota window to open for next year?

ANSWER: Yes, as the cap has been reached on June 11, 2012, the H1B employer cannot file its H1B petition until April 01, 2013 with employment start date of Oct. 01, 2013.

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

QUESTION: Thanks for a prompt response. I have a follow up question on this. I was in US on H-1B visa from Dec 2004 to July 2009 (4 years 8 months). I then moved to India for 3 years (Aug 2009 to Sept 2012) and came back to US on L-1A visa now in Sept 2012. Can I still use the period (1 year 4 months)left on my earlier H-1B visa to get a new employment and then file for a renewal once the window opens again in April 2013?

Answer
Hi,

As you held H1B status within the past 6 years, you can use the remaining period of 1 year and 4 months, as there is generally an aggregate of six years allowed in H1B status. However, the amount of time spent in L1A status is counted towards the aggregate of six years. Thus, if a company files an H1B petition for you in November, it can ask for only 1 year and 2 months, as you have already been in L1A status for 2 months.

Further extension of H1B status cannot be filed without departing the U.S. for one year. There may be an exception if the green card process through PERM is started on a timely basis: www.h1b1.com/laborcert.htm  

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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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