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Immigration Issues/L1B expired but Extended I-94

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QUESTION: Hi Ajay,

I came to US in Sept 2010 on L1B visa and my petition is valid indefinitely. My Visa expired in July 2013, however when I entered US in May 2013 from vacation in India, I got extended date on my I-94 as May 2016.
Some have told me, that(May 2016) is the date till which I can legally work in US.
Some have told me I cannot stay more than 5 years in any case since I am on L1B, hence I should not stay after Sept 2015 (which completes my 5 years in US).

I would like your expert opinion about the same.

Sincerely appreciate your concern.

ANSWER: Hi,

As L1B status is for a maximum of 5 years, it is USCIS error to have approved the I-94 until May 2016. I recommend that you do not rely on the USCIS to remain in the U.S. beyond September 2015. However, the time that you have spent outside the U.S. is not counted towards the 5 year clock. Thus, if you have spent 3 months outside the U.S., you can remain until Dec. 2015 (September plus 3 months).

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

QUESTION: Hi Ajay,

I have a follow up question on the above thread.
So I have spent about 4 weeks outside US on my L1B and it seems I am good till 15th Oct 2015 to work in US.
Also it seems my company can apply for L1A conversion during this period and in case the petition is accepted I will get 2 more years on L1A, since the span of L1A visa is 7 years. Does this make sense?

My major question is that, is there a minimum time before which you have to apply for this conversion, like 6 months before completing 5 years or so? Or it does not matter and you can apply anytime before the 5 years on L1B is over?

I would like your expert opinion about the same.

Sincerely appreciate your concern about this.

Answer
Hi,

An L1A petition can be filed requesting change of status from L1B to L1A if you have been promoted to a managerial or executive capacity at least six months before completing 5 years in L1B status in the U.S. However, only the promotion need occur at least 6 months prior to completion of 5 years in L1B status in the U.S.

The L1A petition requesting change of status can be filed anytime prior to the end of the 5 year period in L1B status in the U.S. but it is still prudent to file the L1A petition as soon as feasible after the promotion occurs since the USCIS should be notified of a material change in job duties or responsibilities. You can also consider consular processing. Please discuss with the attorney who prepared the L1B petition for the best option, as in any event the employer is the petitioner and you cannot self-petition.

Immigration Issues

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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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