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The entire process of acquiring an H1B visa is no walk-in-the-park. From start to finish, it is a nerve-wracking journey for aspiring graduates who dream of working in the USA. Applicants have to find a US-based employer willing to sponsor their H1-B visa. And then comes the process of filing the H1B petition (which is the employer's responsibility), waiting for the selection, attending the interview, and finally getting the visa approved. Getting your visa revoked or cancelled can be devastating with so much at stake. A revocation is just as difficult or even tougher to overcome than a rejection or visa denial.
Let's first deal with the million-dollar question:
The NOIR, or Notice of Intent to Revoke, is the USCIS’s notification showing their intent to deny an H1B petition. A NOIR can be issued even in cases of people who have H1B applications that were previously approved. Invalidity of the H1B job is a typical reason for a NOIR notification.
Before we read in detail about the H1B Visa revocation, let us know about the H1B visa process.
The authority to revoke an applicant's H1B visa lies solely with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services or USCIS. Contrary to what you may have heard, no employer in the US has the right to revoke their foreign employees' visas. However, the USCIS will revoke your visa if your employer goes out of business or if the employer recommends the revocation. Unfortunately, this can happen even before you receive your H1B status or while you are on it.
As per USCIS rules, all employers must inform the immigration services as soon as their foreign employees' work duration ceases. There are other unfortunate circumstances when an employer may abandon the H1B process before it is completed. This is also another reason for revocation. Besides, the USCIS will revoke the petition if you are fired.
Generally, H1B visa revocation has serious consequences. The only silver lining here is that the revocation does not happen overnight. The process takes several months, which gives you a window of opportunity to begin looking for a new employer to sponsor your H1B visa if there is a risk of your visa being revoked.
Any applicant who stands the risk of facing a revocation will have multiple queries in their minds. Here we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about H1B visa cancellation or revocation.
Also Read : H1B Grace Period Insights
You can easily check your status to know whether your H1B has been revoked. To initiate the process of revoking the H1B, your employer has to submit a written request to have the H1B petition withdrawn. The following procedures are almost instantaneous - USCIS will process the revocation immediately. Here’s how to use the USCIS website to verify your H1B status:
Your case status and the status of your visa will appear on a new webpage.
1. Can the employer revoke H1B after it is approved?
Yes, they can. Your employer can revoke an already approved H-1B petition. However, once you receive the receipt notice, you can try joining a new company. Even if your employer revokes an H-1B petition, it will not affect the H-1B transfer process.
2. Can a revoked H1B be used by future employers?
No, a revoked H1B cannot be used by a future employer. Existing H1Bs get non-cap petition benefits, but revoked H1Bs release those benefits if they fall into the cap-exempted quota.
3. Is it possible to reinstate a revoked H-1B?
If the USCIS successfully revokes your H-1B, you no longer have an approved and valid Form I-129 for that employer. It will be up to your employer to re-file for you to reinstate your H-1B status.
However, your employer will have to wait until the next filing season, which is the beginning of April the following year. Furthermore, you will have to wait until October 1st of the following year to begin working as an H-1B employee. If your employer is cap-exempt, you can file your H1B visa and commence your job anytime.
4. During the revocation process of an H-1B petition, is it possible to look for another employer?
If you are laid off or have your H-1, B revoked, your H-1B status ends when your employment ends, not when the visa is revoked. This gives you a 60-day grace period activated once you are terminated from your job. You can use this grace period to find a new employer who sponsors your visa. This new rule from USCIS has been effective since January 2017.
You may also opt for an H1B Extension of Status. To request this status, you will have to submit your payslips and other proof listed by the USCIS.
5. What steps should you take if you're about to lose your job?
As soon as you are warned about your job termination, you should start hunting for a new job because, without a job, it officially means that you have lost your H1B visa status. Therefore, the wisest option is to apply for a Change of Status or initiate your H1B transfer through a new employer. Such efforts will not affect any of your applications, even when your employer informs the USCIS of your job termination.
6. What are your options if you cannot find a job after revocation, when in the grace period, or H1B status?
If you cannot find a new job, one option is to change your visa into another visa type, such as an H4 or an F1. You should file either petition before your H1B status is revoked. If this option does not work, the other solution is to leave the country while seeking another job. Since you are out of the US, your new employer can file your H1B petition. However, you will not be subject to quota since you were previously counted.
At this point, it would be best to ask your immigration attorney for guidance to confirm if you are subject to the cap or not.
7. What options do you have if your employer fires you without notice?
Once you lose your H1B job, you are officially out of status in the US and lose the ability to put in an H1B transfer application. If you can act quickly, you have a few options to pursue to continue staying in the US.
Try finding a new H1B job within a short period after your layoff, and you can apply for an H1B transfer. You can apply for the transfer through premium processing for quick action once you pay the fees, include an explanation of your circumstances, and include a ‘now and later’ mark on your petition. This option will open a chance for you to get your request before the USCIS, and they will consider the option to review your submitted documents and issue an updated I-94 card.
8. Is it possible to apply for a change status if you are laid off?
Yes, absolutely. An H1B holder who has lost their job has the option to apply for a change in status. If you have a spouse working in the country, your best option is to change to dependent status until you find a new job and remain in the country on H4 or L2 status. The L2 gives you the advantage of applying for employment authorization. If you wish to return to your home country, your best option may be to apply for a tourist visa - the B2. This gives you time to complete all the pending work in the U.S.
9. How is the current H1B status affected once you get a NOIR - H1B revoked by USCIS notice?
Your H1B will be in ‘revoked’ status as soon as USCIS approves the NOIR.
10. How long can you stay legally in the US if you get laid off or get an H1B revocation notice?
There are no laws that dictate how long the H1B holder can stay in the country once they lose their job or status is revoked, but it is always in the candidate’s best interests to act quickly. The USCIS may grant a 10-day grace period to the applicant once the visa validation period is over. But, if the revoking of the H1B or the H1B job layoff occurs before the validation period ends, the grace period will not apply.
In this circumstance, you can count on the Federal Register’s H1B 60-day grace period given to H1B holders who have faced a revocation or a layoff. This is the ultimate time granted to bring a change to your circumstance. If you cannot act within these 60 days, you will be in an ‘out of status’ circumstance.
It is best not to squander the time and the options given to you after being informed of your revocation. You should immediately start looking for a job as soon as you receive the revocation notice. Do not forget that your H1 status ends when you stop working.
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**Disclaimer: All information regarding the H1B visa is subject to change. Please refer to the USCIS official website for the latest updates.**