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Immigration Issues/OPT expiring - my situation and options?

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QUESTION: I'm a Canadian citizen. I've lived in the US since December of 2000. Graduated from a 4-year university with a BSBA in Business Management in last May and my OPT expires at the end of June, 2013.

My employer/company is still in it's infancy stages and I am a first for them when it comes to "sponsorship" - in the event that they don't, can't, or choose not to apply for a H-1B on my behalf... what are my options?

Can you tell me more about an OPT Extension (also, is there a grace period?), a TN Visa, and anything else that may be of assistance?

Additional Info:
I am currently engaged and we have agreed to move up the wedding date if necessary. I also have a 10-year old brother that was born in the States - does marrying a USC and/or being immediate family of a USC help my case?

Thanks in advance for your insight

ANSWER: Hi,

The H1B visa cap has already been reached, and so cannot be filed until April of 2014 with employment start date of Oct. 01, 2014. You may be eligible to extend OPT if you see the DSO (also known as international student advisor) at your university and if you majored in STEM programs: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/stemlist.htm

TN category still requires sponsorship by your employer and, moreover, the list of acceptable jobs is narrower than for H1B: http://www.h1b1.com/lcTNstatus.htm

Bona fide aarriage to a U.S. citizen is very appealing in terms of sponsorship: www.h1b1.com/Uscitizen.htm but sibilings can sponsor only when 21 years of age: http://www.h1b1.com/sponsor.htm

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

QUESTION: Thank you for the prompt response. My next question - could you differentiate between the H-1B & TN Visas? Moreover, what is the commitment from my employer's end?

Thanks again

Answer
Both categories are for 3 years, but TN status can be extended indefinitely while H1B status is limited to 6 years aggregate. On the other hand, unlike the TN category, H1B category allows for intention to immigrate to the U.S. and thus is compatible with immigrating permanently to the U.S.

Another difference is that the TN category is not subject to the visa cap, but the range of occupations is limited compared to H1B. The TN category is less expensive in terms of filing fees, which can be $50 for TN, and easily reach $2,325 for H1B.

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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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