Is There an H-1B Grace Period?

Throughout my years of practicing immigration law, one of the most common client questions has been “Is there an H-1B grace period?” and “Is there a grace period if I am laid off while on H-1B?” For all these years, I have had to respond that sadly there is no such thing. However, that has changed recently! As of January 2017, there is a new regulation (8 CFR §214.1(l)(2)), which provides for a 60 day grace period for foreign nationals in H-1B, E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B1, L-1, O-1, and TN status. The regulation also applies to the dependents of foreign nationals holding one of these classifications.

The regulation states that a foreign national holding H-1B status (or one of the other classifications listed above) will not be considered to have failed to maintain nonimmigrant status based solely on his/her termination of employment, for up to 60 days or until the end of the authorized validity period, whichever is shorter.

What does this mean?

  1. First, keep in mind that the “grace period” is up to 60 days, or the end of the current period of stay, whichever is shorter. So if the foreign national’s I-94 will expire in 40 days, that is the maximum duration of the grace period, not the full 60 days (the 40 days plus an additional 20 days).
  2. During the grace period, the foreign national may change employers, file a change of status to another classification, or prepare to leave the US. The foreign national is not authorized to work during the grace period.
  3. The grace period can be used one time per validity period.
  4. This benefit is at the discretion of USCIS – they can deny or shorten the grace period on a case-by-case basis.

While this H-1B (or other nonimmigrant visa classification) grace period is not guaranteed, it does provide at least the possibility of more flexibility for H-1B holders who need or want to change jobs, and may have a temporary gap in employment. This is a welcome change indeed!

Do you need assistance with a family-based or employment-based immigration matter? Are your looking for an immigration lawyer? Please contact our Richmond, VA-based office at 804-396-3412 or at info@sumnerimmigration.com to learn how we can assist. We look forward to hearing from you!

Recent blog posts

Mar
1
2021
Great news for those applying for naturalization to become a US citizen! USCIS will now continue to use the 2008 version of the civics test. In the last days of the Trump administration, USCIS announced that they would use a longer and harder version… Read More
Feb
6
2021
By Nikita Hernandez, Sumner Immigration Law Paralegal It’s official! You’ve become Mr. or Mrs. and want to take on your spouse’s name while getting your US permanent residence situated, but when is the best time to do that? APPLYING FOR A NAME… Read More
Feb
2
2021
One of the most common questions that we receive from our clients is about case processing time. The USCIS and DOL estimated case processing times are available online, but that source can be frustrating as they sometimes give a wide range of timefra… Read More

Read More Blog Posts

“I have been thru various immigration processes with several attorneys and finally got under the valuable umbrella of Emily, she represented my H1 transfer, 7th year H1 extension, Perm Process & I-140. Through all these process she was informative… Read More"
– Kumar S.
“I met (virtually) Emily when she was handling my EB-1 petition and then later my I-485 at Challa Law Offices. She was of great help. Extremely timely. She drafted my petition and put my packages together. The biggest help was with letters of recommen… Read More"
– Leena N

More Client Reviews