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All You Need to Get H1 to B2 Change of Status Done
May 10, 2022
4 mins
Covered in the flag of the United States is a document with the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services logo and the Department of Homeland Security address

In this article, you will find information about:

  • Eligibility for B2 visa
  • Outcome of I-94 and B2 expiry
  • Process of getting change of status H1B to B2

Before you start reading about the change of status from H1B to B2, read about the change of status process first.

The H1B visa is an employment-based visa that enables foreign talent to come to the US and engage in 'specialty occupation' positions for a short period.

There are many advantages that the H1B holds for non-immigrants. You are given a sixty-day grace period, or as long as the I-94 form is valid, to legally stay in the US and look for other options in the instance that you have an H1B visa and you’re terminated. This extends to dependents on the H4 visa as well. Your smartest move in this scenario would be to opt for a visa transfer to the B2 visa so that you can continue staying in the US.

The B2 Visitor Visa is a non-immigrant visa for those who wish to travel to the US and stay for a short duration for pleasure or medical treatment. It is mandatory for all non-immigrants who do not participate in the visa waiver program. The validity period of the B2 visa will be shown in the I-94 issued at the US port of entry, usually six months. People who might opt for a B2 status include:

  • People who wish to remain in the US for more than the ninety-day period
  • People who hope for a change of visa status after they have arrived
  • People who plan to become permanent residents through the green card program

Eligibility Requirements for Getting the B2 Visa

If you want to acquire a B2, you have to show proof that:

  • You are a resident of a different country
  • You will not stay in the country once the period of stay comes to an end
  • You have means of supporting your expenses during your US visit

These may be difficult to prove if you have stayed as an H1B holder in the country for any period of time. Providing residence proof in your home country and giving evidence of your intent to leave after your stay if you have an I-129 petition in progress may be a little difficult to put together in this situation.

What Happens When I-94 Card Expires

When your the I-94 has reached the end of its validity, you have an option to set in motion an NPT - Nunc Pro Tunc. You will be eligible if you can prove that:

  • You are a certified non-immigrant
  • You have always maintained your visa status without any violations
  • You are not the subject of any removal or deportation proceedings

When NPT kicks in, you can petition for a B2 change of status with the USCIS with an I-94 that is backdated to show validity. USCIS officers use their discretion to approve these requests according to the case situation. As you wait for approval on a different job visa or wait for other status updates, it is wise to file the B2 visa to stay in the United States legally.

Outcome of B2 Visa Validity Expiry

Once you have received an approved B2 visa, your best course of action is to accelerate reversion to H1B as soon as possible. The B2 may have very limited validity, and you may face dire consequences if you overstay. It may result in the barring of any further applications for immigration visas for many years if you stay in the US for 180 days or more beyond your B2 expiration date.

Also Read: B1/B2 to H1 change of status

How to Switch Your B2 Visa Back to H1B

Once your B2 stay period kicks in, you can use the following information to help switch back from a temporary B2 visa to H1B visa:

  • You can petition for the H1B Change of Status if the I-94 connected to the B2 visa is still valid.
  • If your B2 status is still pending, there will be a long process adjudicating the B2 petition before the H1B petition can be approved.
  • If the H1B petition was filed through consular notification and approved, the applicant will have to leave the US and return with their H1B visa stamped into the passport from a consular office outside the US.

It is strongly recommended that a person who has applied for COS processing will not leave the US while the application is pending. If you are found to travel abroad when your COS petition is still pending, it will be considered 'abandoned.'

Try to file the I-539 while your status is still valid. This will allow you to stay even if the I-94 expires since you can show that your I-539 approval is still pending. In this situation, your stay will be valid.

In conclusion

A non-immigrant is put into a difficult situation when they lose their job. The best action plan will be a change of status and get the B2 visa while the I-94 is still valid. You can thus stay legally in the US for a period and attempt to get a new job and visa to continue your stay.

Check out Techfetch H1B to get more updated and correct information on H1B visa processes.

**Disclaimer: Immigration regulations keep changing from time to time. For updated information, always refer to the USCIS official website.

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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