When the United States approved your H1-B work visa, it granted you permission to work for a single U.S. employer for up to six consecutive years. It did not, however, give you immunity to layoffs that are the result of cost cutting, mergers or acquisitions, and nor did it grant you immunity to termination. In the past, if the Georgia company for which you worked terminated your employment for any reason, the government would revoke your work status immediately. However, thanks to a change that went into effect in January of 2017, that is no longer the case.

Due to amended regulations, which you can find on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website, the government may grant H1-B visa holders a 60-day grace period in which they may change visa status or find another job in the event that their employment on their H1-B visa ends for unforeseen reasons. However, for a person to qualify for the 60-day grace period, his or her employer must have terminated employment before the end of his or her H1-B petition validity. You may qualify for a grace period if you work in the U.S. on an H1-B, H1-BI, O1E3, L1 or TN status. You and your employer may only petition for renewal in limited circumstances and in one-year increments.

In addition to granting certain visa holders a 60-day grace period, the reformed law also provides for two grace periods for up to 10 days for L1, TN, E-1, E-2 and E-3 non-immigrant visa holders. The government provides these grace periods to allow individuals to begin to prepare for employment in the U.S., to depart to their home countries upon the expiration of their visas or to take actions to change, extend or otherwise maintain lawful status.

The above information is for educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice.