AM22 Tech Visa, Immigration and Money Thu, 13 Dec 2018 16:50:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AM22 Tech 32 32 Change in Appearance Form for Indian Passport Renewal USA Tue, 11 Dec 2018 14:57:14 +0000 Change in Appearance Form required if you have beard, moutache, wear glasses, turban, gained / lost weight and aged. CKGS may reject application if change found.

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Change in appearance could be due to any of the below scenarios. You should click ‘YES’ if one or more scenarios apply to you.

CKGS will reject the application if they find any difference in your current photo vs old passport photo.

1. Photo with beard on the current passport and photo without beard on the passport application

2. Photo with moustache on the current passport and photo without moustache on the passport application

3. Photo with glasses on the current passport and photo without glasses on the passport application

4. Photo with turban on the current passport and photo without turban on the passport application

5. Difference in physique in between the photo of current passport and photo on the passport application

6. Difference in appearance due to aging in between the photo of current passport and photo on the passport application

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USCIS My case status does not recognize receipt number Entered 2018 Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:38:56 +0000 USCIS My case status does not recognize receipt number - don't worry. Check on DHS website or use browswer private mode. Technical problem on USCIS server.

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Receipt number is not working on USCIS website or you receive the error saying your receipt number is not recognized.

There is no need to worry or panic.

This could be an error on USCIS website if you have thoroughly verified your receipt number on i797C notice of receipt and everything matches correctly.

Check Case Status on DHS website

The first step to try is registering on DHS website here:

Then, use your receipt number to check status. This works for most of the people.

USCIS case status validation error receipt number not recognized
USCIS case status validation error receipt number not recognized

Many times, the USCIS website may not work correctly due to browser’s cookie (technical term). Just open your browser’s private mode (Chrome – ‘In-cognitio mode’), launch USCIS case status website and now use your receipt number to check.

If it works, then you need to clear your ‘browsing history’ and cookies from normal window to make USCIS website work correctly.

USCIS receipt not recognized validation Error

Validation Error(s) You must correct the following error(s) before proceeding:

My Case Status does not recognize the receipt number entered. Please check your receipt number and try again. If you need further assistance, please call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.

If you are still not able to check your case status, it is a good idea to call the USCIS number mentioned (1-800-375-5283) and check what could be wrong with your receipt number.

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USCIS Receipt Number Format Explained Mon, 10 Dec 2018 16:25:38 +0000 USCIS receipt number WAC / CSC - California, LIN / NSC - Nebraska, EAC / VSC - Vermont on i797C notice received in 1-3 weeks by mail. Check case staus online.

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USCIS Receipt Number Format

Each USCIS application like H1B or L visa is issued a receipt number within 1-3 days of receiving.

USCIS Receipt number status i797 notice
USCIS Receipt number status i797 notice

USCIS Service Center Code

CodeService Center Name / Location
CSC / WACCalifornia Service Center
formerly known as Western Adjudication Center
VSC / EACVermont Service Center
formerly known as Eastern Adjudication Center
MSC / NBCNational Benefits Center
LIN / NSCNebraska Service Center
TSC / SRCTexas Service Center
formerly known as Southern Regional Center
YSCPotomac Service Center
IOEELIS (E-Filing). Applications filed online.


The two digits are the fiscal year (starts on Oct 1, ends on Sep 30) in which USCIS received the petition. 

Example: “18″ means that the petition was received between Oct 1, 2017 to Sep 30, 2018.   Note that the government fiscal year runs from October 1st until September 30th.

Working Day Number

The three digits represent the working day during the current fiscal year on which the receipt was processed and the fee was taken. 

Example: Above application was received on 249th working day of the fiscal year starting counting from October 1st. Check yourself on time and date calculator.

USCIS Case Number

The last five digits are unique sequential number (kind of counter). if you file two applications like H1B and H4 together, you might see these 5 numbers in sequence.

i-797 Receipt Number

How long it takes to get USCIS receipt number: 1-3 weeks

You can expect to receive i-797C Notice of receipt with receipt number printed on it within 1-3 weeks after USCIS received your application.

If you had attached a form G-1145 with your application, you will receive an email and SMS (text message – free of cost) with your receipt number automatically after its generated in USCIS system. 

USCIS receipt number on i797c notice
USCIS receipt number on i797c notice

The date written on i797C notice of receipt as “Received Date” should be used for tracking processing time.

Form i797C will still be sent by formal USPS mail either to you or your employer or attorney as mentioned on your application’s mailing address.

USCIS my case status does not recognize receipt number Entered

Don’t worry. This error might be temporary. Try other solutions if the error does not go away for your case.

USCIS Case Processing Times

You can track your case processing time by using our daily tracker for H1B, H4, H4/L2 EAD (i765), i140, I130 (Green card for relatives), i485 (Adjustment of Status) that’s updated with real time data from various user driven forums.

You can also checl processing time on official USCIS website.

USCIS Case Status with Receipt Number

You need your USCIS case receipt number from i797 notice of receipt to check current case status online on USCIS website. Just enter your receipt number and you will be shown the status.

Check USCIS case status online with receipt number
Check USCIS case status online with receipt number

USCIS Case Status Approved

Case status ‘Approved‘ means that your application has been approved by USCIS and you can expect to receive form i797A notice of action within 1-3 weeks by USPS mail.

USCIS status ‘Name was updated’ has nothing to worry including the address was updated.

USCIS Case Status Login

You can even register for a free account on USCIS website and add your receipt number for easy tracking.

You will automatically receive an email as and when there is an update on your receipt number. 

Account creation is recommended as you can track multiple cases in your account and it shows you complete case history too.

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Sample NRI Passport Form – India Government Mon, 03 Dec 2018 16:42:33 +0000 Digital photo upload optional. Write Q7 to 29 with blue or black ink pen. Amount paid = $77, Mode = Online, Shipping = $15. Information should match CKGS data.

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Sample NRI Online Passport Form – Indian Govt Form

At step 6 in CKGS Indian passport renewal application, you have to fill Indian passport renewal USA application form, separately on Indian government website.

NRI passsport online application has a application ID
NRI passsport online application has a application ID

CKGS creates a unique web reference ID to link to this govt. application form and provides you a link on Step 6. Click this link to fill the form.

If you fill the government’s form before CKGS step 6, then CKGS has a separate process and is NOT recommended. You will find it on CKGS home page. We are assuming you started with CKGS.

First fill questions/fields online on the form and then take a print for rest. Online form will guide you. Printed online NRI form has 3 pages in total with about 29 questions/points. Q 7 to 29 need to be filled manually with hand using BLUE or BLACK ink pen only.

Digital photo upload in NRI Passport Form – Optional

Online NRI passport application upload image is optional at this time. NO option to upload it later if you have moved past the upload photo step.

How to edit online NRI passport application is a common question and remember that No editing allowed on CKGS form once you have clicked the NRI form link at Step 6.

Mistake in Govt Online Passport Application Form

DO NOT try to fill out another new “Online Passport Application Form” online if you made a mistake since both CKGS and Online Passport Application Web Reference numbers are linked together.

Instead, start all over again and follow the process (CKGS -> Online Passport Application -> CKGS) if you have not yet paid the fees.

If you have already paid the fees and made a mistake (which cannot be edited), then cancel your CKGS application with refund and RESTART the CKGS process.

You can change the values written in printed form though. Only the values written online (Q 1 to 6) should not be changed.

Amount Paid in NRI online Form

The usual fees for passport renewal with CKGS is:

Passport Fee $75
CKGS Service Fee $19.95
ICWF Fee $2.00
SHIPPING From CKGS to You $15.00
Text Message $5.00
Convenience Fee $4.09
TOTAL COST $121.04


Payment of Fee (to be filled by Applicant) – Enter Amount of Fees excluding the CKGS fees

Amount paid $/E …”???”… $75 + $2 = $77
by …“???”… Mode of payment Online Credit/Debit card
For delivery by mail $/E …”???”…extra to be paid as postal charges for each passport $15 or $30 as the case may be (Shipping fees)

Q3 Permanent address

Permanent address (a) and (b) must be different from each other. You must provide both India and USA addresses. So, use either Option 1 or Option 2.

Option 1 Option 2
(a) To be printed on passport USA – Current address India – parents address works. Do not give Hostel address.
(b) Other address India – parents address works. Do not give Hostel address. USA – Current address

Period of stay abroad in NRI online form

Q 11: When did applicant first leave India?
There is no hard and fast rule about this question. We have seen passport renewals even when people visited USA multiple times and just used the most recent entry date here.
So, you can also use the MOST recent entry date to USA here OR Enter the approximate date when you left India for the first time to go to USA. Your choice.

Q 12: How long has applicant continuously resided abroad?
Enter the total duration (months/ years) you have lived continuously in USA. If you have visited/resided in India (or any non-US country), then you can exclude that period.

Calculate the time period using the date you chose in Q 11.

Example – If you have stayed in US for 3 years and visited India twice for 1 month each, then enter duration as 2 years 10 months.

Q13 ECR/ECNR check required?

Present Emigration Status ECR or ECNR is written on your current passport. Check 2nd or 3rd page of the passport.

ECR means Emigration check is required. Select ECR if it says ECR.
ECNR means Emigration check Not required. Select ECNR if it says ECNR.

If you have passed 10th grade in India, your passport will have NO STAMP i.e. neither ECR nor ECNR.
If there is no STAMP, then your status is ENCR automatically and you should choose ECNR.

Documentary evidence for ECR or ECNR is your highest qualification degree copy.

Place of Birth should match passport

If your Place of Birth in the NRI Form does not match the place of birth mentioned in the Indian Passport, CKGS will REJECT your application.

If your place of birth has city and state mentioned, then write the same in NRI form without the special characters like ‘[‘, ‘]’ etc.

Place of birth in current passport CHENNAI [TAMIL NADU]
WRONG, application will be rejected CHENNAI
CORRECT (special characters such as square brackets are not allowed) CHENNAI TAMIL NADU
Will be PRINTED in new passport CHENNAI TAMIL NADU

NRI form double side print

Only print NRI form on 1 side of the page. Double-sided printouts are not allowed.

NRI application form Links

Government form online link – New Form Direct link We recommend you use the link given in Step 6 of CKGS application.
Government form online link – Edit your form – Re-visiting to complete partially filled form. Temporary Application Id required (This is different than CKGS’s own application web reference ID).
Print application form, after ‘saved and exit’ application – Government site’s Web file number (shown to you on LAST page when you are done filling the form) required. This is different than ‘Temporary application ID’ and ‘CKGS web application reference’ ID.

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H1B Transfer Before or After i94 Expiry Fri, 30 Nov 2018 21:06:54 +0000 H1B transfer can start working on receipt with no 240 day limit. Unlawful presence starts on denial after i94 expiry. Go back to old employer if H1B valid.

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H1B Transfer USCIS

H1B transfer is a new petition to change your H1B employer. Once approved, you will receive a new i797 notice of approval with a new i94 attached to paper i797.

The answer to “Can H1 transfer be rejected” is Yes, it can be rejected.

File H1B Transfer Before i94 expiry

You can start working for new employer based on H1B transfer receipt immediately if your i94 has not yet expired.

Once your i94 expires your status will be counted as “period of authorized stay” based on your pending H1B transfer with USCIS.

We recommend to start working for new employer only after approval.

File H1B Transfer After i94 expiry

You CAN file H1B transfer after i94 expiry and start working for new employer too.

But we strongly recommend to NOT start working for H1B transfer until it has been approved.

H1B Transfer 240 day limit after i94 expiry

There is no 240 day limit applicable for H1B transfer cases if filed before i94 expiry with USCIS.

You can keep working for new employer even after 240 days if the petition is still pending with USCIS.

H1B Transfer Denied after i94 expiry

If you had already started working for new H1B transfer employer, you are immediately OUT OF STATUS from the denial date.

Your period of authorized stay starting from your i94 expiry date to denial date ends too.

You will start adding “Unlawful presence” to your name after the denial.

Also, you cannot file another extension, or transfer, or change of status to some other visa category as your are currently “Out of Status“.
Even if you file an H1b extension or transfer now, it will be rejected as you filed it on the day when your status was “Out of status”.

H1B Transfer Denied – i94 still Valid

If you started working for new employer on receipt, you are still out of status and the period of authorized stay ends after denial.

But, unlawful presence will not start as the I-94 has not expired.

If your old employer has not withdrawn your H1B yet, you can go back into H-1B status by starting work for your old employer again.

H1B Transfer Denied – i94 expired, Old H1B expired

You can re-file h1B transfer but, you cannot start working as your current status is “Out of status’ after denial.

H1B transfer refile, if approved, will be approved with consular processing meaning that you will have to go out of US and get H1B stamped in passport to re-enter.

File Second H1B Transfer before First H1B transfer Denial – i94 expired, Old H1B expired

If you file second H1B transfer before the first one reaches a result, you can start and keep working for new employer.

If the first H1B transfer is denied, the bridge between first H1B transfer and second one is broken and hence your second H1B transfer will also be denied ultimately.

Your “Unlawful presence” begins on the day of first H1B transfer denial in this case.

H1B Transfer USCIS TimeLine

With Premium Processing, H1B transfer application will get result within 15 calendar days.

With Regular processing, there is no fixed timeline. The result timeline will depend on USCIS service center’s workload.

H1B Transfer Processing Time

We track H1B Transfer processing time for All USCIS service centers.

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New Card is Being Produced Meaning – USCIS Case Status Fri, 30 Nov 2018 16:34:50 +0000 USCIS status update New Card is Being Produced means your EAD is approved. Get EAD card by USPS mail in 7-10 working days. SSN card will arrive in 4-5 weeks.

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New card is being produced meaning – EAD

New card is being produced USCIS status means that your EAD application has been approved and the card has been sent for printing.

New card is being produced EAD - USCIS status update
New card is being produced EAD – USCIS status update

New card is being produced – EAD processing time

You will receive the new EAD card (i-485 EAD, F1 OPT-EAD, L2 EAD, H4 EAD or other) by mail within 5-10 working days now after this USCIS update.

You can track the current processing time for EAD applications. The EAD (Employment Authorization Document) is filed using USCIS form I-765. Sample form for H4EAD application.

SSN card with EAD

The SSN request is sent to SSN office after your EAD has been approved. It will take about 4-5 weeks for SSN card to arrive by USPS mail.

There is no biometric required for H4-EAD and SSN.

No need to worry. It is not a false update!

EAD USCIS Case History

Other status updates for EAD i765 application may look like this:

Status Date USCIS EAD Case Status
08/09/2018 We mailed your new card to the address you gave us.
08/04/2018 New card is being produced.
08/04/2018 We approved your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.
05/26/2018 We received your Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization.

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H1B LCA – New Form Requires End Client Name Thu, 29 Nov 2018 20:51:13 +0000 H1B LCA New form mandates end client name. Employer need to pay 60k+ salary for Masters Degree. US Mark sheet transcript or evaluation required for foreign Degree.

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New LCA form For H1B applications Requires End Client Name

DOL (Department of Labor) has issued a new LCA (Labor Condition Application) form 9035 on Nov 19, 2018 for H1B, H1-B1 and E-3 work permits.

New LCA mandates employers to disclose whether the worker will be placed at a secondary entity (or end-client) and the full legal business name of the third party work location.

Forbes reports that Trump Administration wants to discourage employers from contracting H1B workers. As LCA’s are publicly available online, the end client information can be used by media or anti-immigrant groups to target US employers!

A new question has been added in Part F of LCA application form to specify if the H1B employee is going to work in EVC (Employer Vendor Client) model or not.

New H1b LCA form requires End Client Name and Address
New H1b LCA form requires End Client Name and Address

This means that if you are working for a consultancy company like TCS, HCL, Wipro, Cognizant, Infosys or similar, you need to explicitly declare your end-client name and job location now.

LCA for H1B – Is Salary 60k+ or Masters Degree?

New questions have been added in Part H (Q 4 & 5) to explain the reason for selecting an H1B employee. H-1B dependent employers are now required to select the reason for the selection of H1B worker:

  • If H1B worker’s salary is $60,000 or higher, OR
  • If the worker has a Master’s degree or higher in a related specialty,
  • or both. 

H1B LCA form basis of exemption
H1B LCA form basis of exemption

If the basis for an exemption is Master’s degree or higher only, then employer will have to attach additional documents proof like Masters degree evaluation if its a foreign university degree or Transcripts if its USA degree in an Appendix A with LCA form.

Its not clear if DOL will reject any H1B LCA’s for Bachelor degree holders or people with salary less than 60 USD at this time.

Any LCAs filed before Nov 19, 2018 are still valid as per old norms.

LCA Processing Time

LCA’s normal processing time is 7-14 working days. Your sponsoring employer can file LCA with DOL’s iCert electronic filing system.

How to Check LCA status Online

Go to DOL iCert website. Enter your case number in Search iCert section and click Search.

H1B Amendment LCA within same MSA?

A new LCA posting (and not the LCA approval from DOL) is required if you change your end-client or work location within same MSA.

If your job location change falls outside of current MSA, a new LCA (with approval from DOL) and an H1B Amendment is required.

Related: How can I work from home on H1B visa?

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USCIS L1 One Year Foreign Employment Policy Changes Thu, 29 Nov 2018 17:56:40 +0000 USCIS L1 One Year Foreign Employment outside USA in last 3 years. H1B COS to L-1 visa counts H1-B time. L2, F1-OPT, H4 EAD work time not counted. B1/B2 time excluded.

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L1 One-year Foreign Employment Requirement

USCIS has published a policy memorandum for employing L-1 worker outside USA for one continuous year out of the 3 years before the time of filing L1 visa.

  1. Spend 1 year Outside USA as full-time employee
    The L-1 employee must be physically outside the United States during the required one continuous year of full-time employment.
  2. Short Business trips cannot be counted for 1 year
    Any short trips to the USA for business (B1 visa) or pleasure (B2 Visa) cannot be counted in this 1 year (365 days) period even if the L1 employee was still on employer’s payroll while visiting USA.

    If the employer hired employee on Jan 1, 2018, and then employee traveled to US in 2018 for a total of 60 days (could be multiple trips) on business during 2018, the L-1 applicant would need to spend at least an additional 60 days outside USA after Jan 1, 2019 to qualify for L1 visa.

  3. 1 year work should be in Managerial role
    The L1 employee should have been working for 1 year in the managerial, executive, or specialized knowledge role.
  4.  One year of foreign employment must occur within the 3-year period preceding the L-1 petition filing date
      USCIS will calculate the 3-year period during which the L1 worker must meet the one-year foreign employment requirement. Examples given below.

The changes are being made following the Buy American and Hire American Executive Order by Trump administration and make L1 visas stricter than ever.

How USCIS calculates L1 Eligibility 1 Year foreign employment?

Start looking back 3 years from the date the initial L-1 petition is filed and then:

  1. Find the dates you worked for the employer outside USA.
  2. Find the lengths of any breaks in your employment during the 3 years before the L-1 petition. If you worked for same employer in US as H1B worker earlier, adjust the 3-year period accordingly. Example given below.
  3. Subtract the total length of all the breaks found in Step 2 from the relevant three-year period.
    If the result is a continuous 1-year period within the relevant 3-year period, then you have met the one-year foreign employment requirement.

H1B Change of Status to L1 within USA

If you were working in the US “for” the same employer (who is sponsoring L1 now) with some other visa like H1B, your time in USA does not count towards the one-year foreign employment requirement.

But, this time does result in an adjustment of the three-year period (required for L-1 Petition) if you are working with work permit like H-1B or E-2 executive, supervisory, or essential employee.

If you worked in the USA with valid H-1B status for your employer from Jan 2, 2017 to Jan 2, 2018, and then filed for L-1 status on Jan 2, 2018, the L1 three-year period requirement will be counted from Jan 1, 2014, to Jan 1, 2017.

L-2, H4, H4 EAD, F1 Change of Status to L1 within USA

The time spent working while in a dependent or student status will not result in an adjustment of the three-year period.

Your stay in L-2 status will not affect the L1 3-year period, because you entered US as an L-2 dependent to join the L-1 principal and not to work “for” the employer (who is sponsoring your L1 now).

Similarly, If you entered US as F-1 student and later applied for optional practical training (OPT) employment with the employer (now sponsoring L1), the time spent in F1 status will not result in an adjustment to the three-year period, because your purpose was study and not to work “for” the L1 employer. This would not change even if the L1 employer financed the F-1’s studies.

On the same lines, H4 EAD worker’s time with employer sponsoring L1 now will not be counted towards L-1 three year requirement.

L1 Extension, L1A to L1B COS, L1B to L1A COS

In case of change of status to L-1 status or L1 extensions, the 1 year foreign employment requirement should have been MET at the time of filing initial (first) L-1 petition.

Not working in USA for L1 employer – 3 Year requirement

Your time spent in US without working (except for short visits for business or pleasure in B-1 or B-2 status), or while working for an unrelated employer, do break the one continuous year foreign employment requirement, but should not affect the three-year period.

The relevant point in time to satisfy the 1-year foreign employment requirement is the date on which the initial L-1 petition was filed, regardless of when the worker was, or will be, admitted to US.

Employment Breaks more than 2 years

If you take a break in employment or stop working for L1 sponsor for a period of more than 2 years during the 3 years preceding the L1 filing, then you cannot meet the 1-year foreign employment requirement.
You can again qualify for the L-1 after a new one-year period though.

USCIS L1 one year foreign employment policy
USCIS L1 one year foreign employment policy

L1 visa exploited for EB1-Manager category for fast Green Card

USCIS has changed the policy possibly to check the high rate of EB1 green card applicants who come to US on L1 visa and immediately file Green card application with the IT consultancy firms.

The L-1 visa allows a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager (L-1A) or an employee with specialized knowledge (L-1B) from its foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.

The EB1-C international manager is the easiest to exploit out of the 3 EB1s that probably only allow an Einstein to be granted a Green card.

Source: USCIS L1 policy

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Travel outside USA while EAD/AP, Green Card i485 is pending Wed, 28 Nov 2018 21:59:08 +0000 Travel while EAD/AP is pending is not recommended. USCIS will deny I-131 Advance parole with international travel as reason. H1B, L can re-enter without AP.

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Travel outside USA while i485 Green Card is pending?

Can you travel while I-485 is pending is a common question and the simple answer is NO unless you have any other visa like H1B that can help you re-enter USA.

Advance Parole is the I-131 form that allows those without valid visas to come back to the country after travelling out of USA. 

USCIS denies pending advance parole applications (I-131) based on overseas travel. If you do not have a way to re-enter USA without AP, USCIS may also deny your pending i-485 AOS (Adjustment of status) application if you leave USA.

I-131 Denied Reason = International Travel

You can find many forums filled with I-131 denial discussions. Normally, you are allowed to travel while your other visa like  L-1, L-2, H1B, H-4, K-3, K-4 or V is still valid and can be used to re-enter USA.

But, USCIS can deny your pending i-131 advance parole application irrespective of your visa on your exit from USA.

Advance Parole Denial at Port of Entry

If your Advance Parole is approved, you will receive an I-512 which can be used to re-enter USA. Your entry can still be denied at US port of entry after inspection by immigration officer though. 

H1-B holders traveling outside United States with Pending AOS?

H1B holder should NOT travel outside USA while i485 AOS is pending without getting an approved AP (I-131) if you intend to re-enter using AP.

If you plan to return to USA using your valid H1B, then you can safely travel without AP as well.

These days, USCIS issues a combo card for both i485 EAD and AP. So, you need to wait for this card to be approved and receive it before travel.

H 1B holder Re-Enter USA with AP status

If you use AP to re-enter USA, your status on i94 will show as “Parolee” and i94 will be valid on for 1 year. You can ONLY work for the same H1B employer with which you had an H1B approval prior to leaving USA. 

You can change your i94 status again to H1B by filing H1B extension, Amendment or Transfer after entering on AP. Once H1B is approved, you will get a new i94 with status =”H1B Admitted“.

If you plan to re-enter USA using AP and directly want to work for NEW employer (which does not hold your H1B currently) on Day 1, then you need to use your i485 EAD. Note that if you decide to use EAD, you CANNOT return to H1B status again. You cannot file H1B extension, amendment or transfer once you have switched to i485 EAD.

Travel outside USA while EAD/AP i485 Green card is pending
Travel outside USA while EAD/AP i485 Green card is pending

H1B entered US on AP, i485 AOS denied

If you returned to US using AP and have not filed H1B yet i.e. your status is still parolee and your i485 is denied, you will be immediately “Out of Status“.

To add salt to injury, your time from the day you entered on AP to the date of i485 denial will also be counted as “Unlawful Presence“!!

If you changed to H1B after entering on AP, your time will NOT be counted as unlawful presence though on I-485 green card denial.

F1 Visa, AP pending, Travel and re-enter using F1 visa?

If you are on F1 visa where dual intent (immigrant intent + non-immigrant intent) is not allowed, we suggest to NOT travel unless your AP is approved.

You may be denied re-entry to US at port of entry based on your valid F1 visa since you showed an immigrant intent by filing i485 application. This is highly dependent on the immigration officer you see but is a high risk proposition.

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New H1B Lottery System in April 2019 – H1B 2020 season Sat, 17 Nov 2018 14:47:16 +0000 H1B lottery system change in April 2019. Electronic filing, selection. US masters degree holder more chance of selection over Indian or Chinese degree. 60 day to submit.

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H1B Lottery – DHS Proposes New System starting April 2019

DHS is running fast to make winning H1B April 2019 lottery “Merit based” with a new electronic registration process.

USCIS has submitted a proposed rule of electronic “Registration Requirement” to OMB with 30 day comment period to change the cap filing and selection process beginning from FY 2020 H-1B cap season.

  1. Online H1B registration 14 days before April 1
    Registration will be open for at-least 14 days. There is NO Fees (Zero) at this time for registration. Employers will file request (starting 18 March) with basic information:

    1. Employer name and EIN
    2. H1B Worker Educational Degree Details
  2. H1B Lottery Draw
    USCIS would run a random lottery selection after April 1 of the year to select “H1B Registrants” from step 1.
  3. 60 days to submit H1B application
    All the selected “Registrants (employers)” would be invited to file the H-1B cap petitions. No grace period after 60 days lapse.
    Different employers may receive different filing period of 60 days.
    Example: Employer A may receive 60 day filing period between April 1 and May 31, while other selected employers may be get a filing window between May 1 and June 30.

H1B Lottery favors US Master Degree in April 2019

As per USCIS testing, the proposed process would result in an estimated increase of up to 16 percent (or 5,340 workers) in the number of selected H-1B with a master’s degree or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education.

H1B lottery changes
H1B lottery changes

To achieve this, USCIS plans to reverse the order of lottery draw:

  1. First run the lottery for 65K from the entire pool of H1B applications and then run it for 20k US degree holders.
  2. Then, those applicants with advanced degrees that did not get selected in the first round would move into a second round, where 20k additional visas would be awarded.

Indian Masters Degree H1B Lottery

H1B applicants, who are primarily from India and China should be aware of this change in H-1B cap rule system which would potentially reduce chances of selection for people with non-“U.S.” Master or Higher Degrees in FY 2020 cap season.

As per QZ analysis, new proposed H1B Lottery does favor US masters degree holders. The effect has been tested on last couple of years H1B lottery too.
This proposed system will further reduce the chances of Bachelor degree holders for a selection in lottery.

Year / Chances of Selection in H1B Lottery US Masters degree holders Others (Like India / China Degree holders)
2018 51% (current system) → 55% (proposed system) 38% → 34%
2017 41% → 43% 30% → 28%
2016 42% → 45% 31% → 28%
2015 56% → 61% 43% → 38%
2014 74% → 84% 63% → 52%

The proposed rule is still not finalized and hence, may or may not be implemented in April 2019 for H1B season starting Oct 1, 2019 (H1B 2020 season).

The USCIS director Cissna has given interviews at various occasions to signal that they indeed want this new system to be used starting April 2019.

UnSelected H1B Applicants Can Get Second Chance

Un-selected H1B applications would remain on waiting list in the same H1b season. If USCIS needs to increase the number of registrations projected to meet the regular cap or advanced degree exemption, USCIS would select from waiting list. USCIS may also re-open the registration period (will be announced separately) if additional registrations are needed to meet the new projected amount.

Submit Multiple Registration for Same H1B worker?

DHS is prohibiting employers from submitting more than one registration for the same person during the same H1B fiscal year. Also, if the employer registers and then wins the lottery and subsequently does not really file any H1B application, the case might be referred for fraud investigation.

Source: Federal Register Proposed Rule

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