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Coping With Loss of Status in a Crisis

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The Covid-19 crisis has created visa issues for plenty of immigrants. H-1B visa workers have lost jobs along with everyone else. Tourists risk overstaying their visa because they can’t get back into their home country. The undocumented face incredible exposure risks without any safety net, and fear putting themselves on ICE’s radar by seeking medical care despite pledges that ICE won’t raid hospitals during this time. 

It’s a time of deep uncertainty, one which can be incredibly stressful for those who are here attempting to pursue the American dream.

Fortunately, there is some good news.

H-1B Visa Holders Can Apply for Extensions

Normally if you lose your job on an H-1B visa you have 60 days both to get a new job and to transfer the visa. Fortunately, you can now extend your stay for up to 8 months with the appropriate application. You can also apply for a change of status such as a B1 or a B2, which is often the best move. 

In addition, you don’t accrue unlawful presence days while an extension of stay (EOS) or change of status (COS) application is pending.

To give yourself the best chance at a successful application you will want to work closely with your immigration attorney. You will want to start the day you lose your job if possible. Otherwise you’ll have to submit credible evidence explaining the reason for the filing delay. You’ll open the door for immigration authorities to deny your application.

Note: if you are legally authorized to work in the United States you can file for Pennsylvania unemployment, even if you are not a US citizen. It does not count against you as a “public charge.” You will need to provide your A-number when you apply. 

Extensions for Other Visas

The government is offering Covid-based visa extensions for nearly every other kind of status as well. Again, the key will be to file on time and to file thoroughly. 

They’re doing nearly everything on a case-by-case basis, but they’re offering a lot more leeway than usual as a result of this crisis. 

Need help?

We’re working remotely during this crisis. Email info@hykellaw.com or call (215) 246-9400. Working with an immigration attorney is your best chance for resolving your Covid-based immigration status in a favorable way in the long term. 

See also:

Covid-19 Continues to Impact Immigration

Covid-19 Won’t Impact Your Green Card

How to Get a Visitor’s Visa Extension

 

We Help Solve Immigration Challenges

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Employment & Investment Visas

Although it often comes with controversy, immigration into the United States has always played a major role in the strength of its economy. Perhaps no one understands this more than the residents of Philadelphia, where the Liberty Bell still welcomes foreigners to one of the richest historical communities of our country.

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Family Visas

Not knowing or understanding the system and laws of the U.S. can be a disadvantage for many foreign immigrants who wish to obtain permanent residency in the United States, either for themselves or for their loved ones. Hykel Law’s Family-Based Immigration Services can lead you through the complicated process to achieve either temporary or permanent residency, depending on your situation.

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Deportation Defense

Are you afraid of deportation? If you are a foreign national involved in the beginning stages of removal proceedings, the deportation attorney at Hykel Law in Philadelphia can help prevent this unfortunate situation. We can evaluate your immigration case and find the best strategy to defend you from removal proceedings to help you stay in the United States.

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