Recording for July 11, 2024 Conference Call with Rajiv S. Khanna

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Rajiv S. Khanna, US Immigration Attorney, hosts a Free Community Conference Call every other Thursday to answer immigration-related questions. Even if you are not a forum member, you can call in and ask questions or listen to the discussion live. Questions marked as FAQs will be addressed first, and these FAQs will be posted in our FAQ section. The recording of what was discussed during the live call will be posted at the end of the day. For previous recordings, click here: YouTube channel
Note: We answer posted questions and follow-ups first.
Call Details:
Next Call Date: July 25, 2024
Start Time: 12:30 PM Eastern Standard Time
End Time: 1:30 PM, EST
Conference Dial-in: : (202)800-8394
Topic: General Immigration-Related Questions

NOTE: This call does not mean that we have agreed to represent you or that there is an attorney-client relationship between us. This is merely a community service. You should discuss the specifics of your case with the attorney representing you.
PLEASE KEEP YOUR QUESTIONS BRIEF. If you need a detailed consultation on elaborate facts, speak with your lawyers or set up a consultation with us:
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FAQ: Eligibility for 1-year H-1B extension under 365-day rule based on PERM filed on November 1, 2023

My perm was filed on November 1, 2023, and my current visa expires on October 10, 2024. Am I eligible to apply for a one-year extension based on the 356-day rule? If so, is July a good month to apply for a one-year extension?

OR do I need to travel back to my Country and apply for an extension after 1st November 2024?
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Transitioning from H-1 cap-exempt to H-4 EAD: Ensuring seamless employment without interruptions

Hi Rajiv

I am employed with a non profit org under H1 cap exempt visa. I want to move to h4 EAD. Can you help me understand how to transition seamlessly?

H4 application’s impact on H1 status: Can you clarify if applying for h4 will terminate my h1b? Can I continue working under h1b until h4 ead comes?

Avoiding Employment Gap: What would be the best approach for timing the applications in a way that we synchronize the approval of H4 and EAD.

My goal is to ensure that my current job can continue without interruption.

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H-4 visa stamping for a spouse based on unstamped H-1B I-797A Approval

Hello Rajiv, I got my H1B picked (but no stamping yet). My spouse is in India, Can she get her H4 stamped based on my I797A?
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H-1B employment gaps, extended unpaid leave, and H-4 visa interview concerns: Ensuring smooth port of entry, H-1B transfer, and green card filing

Hello Rajiv sir,

I am seeking your legal advice regarding my current H1B visa status and some related concerns. Here is a summary of my situation:

I am currently working as a software developer at a small software firm. My name was picked up in the H1B lottery in August 2023, and my employer filed my H1B petition, which was approved. My H1B visa status started on 1st October 2023. However, my employer had earlier (in August 2023, when my name got picked up in the lottery) suggested that I switch to part-time employment while I was on STEM-OPT, and this arrangement continued until December 2023. So, starting from October 2023 to December 2023, I was working part-time and had to take many unpaid leave even though I was on an H-1B visa. I was unaware that my W-2 had to match my LCA.

Starting in January 2024, my employer shifted me back to full-time and started paying me a full-time salary. However, due to personal reasons and health issues, I took around 15 days of leave in January and February 2024. Subsequently, I decided to return to India to take a break from work, and my employer approved my long-term leave starting 1st March 2024. I traveled back to India on 12th March 2024. I am done with visa stamping (which happened in April 2024), and marriage, and also sorted out some health issues. Now, after three months, I am planning to return to the USA. However, my HR has informed me that there is a lack of work, and they can only run 1-2 payrolls because I have some outstanding PTOs. After this, I might be laid off and my 60-day grace period will start, and I have been advised to look for other opportunities from India to buy more time.

My employer is not terminating my job and is willing to provide a supporting letter for my port of entry and an employment verification letter for my wife's H4 visa interview scheduled for September.

I have three major questions:
  1. Duration of Stay Outside the USA: How long can I stay outside the USA on unpaid leave? Finding other alternatives from India is a good option or not? If I stay in India (for around six months), will it cause any issues at the port of entry? What kind of questions and documents might the CBP officer ask?
  2. Irregular Pay in 2023: Due to the irregular pay in 2023, will this cause any issues during an H1B transfer? I understand that USCIS will ask for the last three paystubs, which I have. I will also explain my extended period of unpaid leave due to being out of the country.
  3. Wife’s H4 Visa Interview: My wife has an H4 visa interview in September. Since I am on unpaid leave and do not have any recent paystubs, my employer is willing to provide a letter explaining my leave and the reason for my travel back to my home country. Will this suffice for her interview?
Given the entire case, could you please provide legal advice to ensure there are no issues with my future port of entry, H1B transfer, and green card filing?
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F-1 and F-2 visa options for spouse's master's program amid B-1/B-2 visa considerations

Hi Rajiv

I got my F1 visa approved and joining the university for for MS in Project Management in fall 2024. My wife has valid b1/b2 valid till 2027. She is also planning for her Master's (currently applying for Jan 2025 didn't receive any i-20 so far). I have 2 Questions listed below.

Question 1 (i)- She visit to USA on b2 visa and change her status from b2 to f1. In that case how much time it takes (just the near about)
(II) Now I have valid F1 so she should go for F2 dependent and after couple of months change her status from F2 to F1?.
(iiI) or she should apply for F1 visa from India?

Question 2
if her F1 gets approved, she will have B1/B2 visa active or it gets expired after F1 visa approval.

The reason I have asked because I consulted locally in India and they said her chances of getting F1 is 50/50 as husband will be in USA already and now wife along with kid is planning for Master's program. I have 7 month baby.

Our Background

My wife has worked between 2015 to 2023 as a Dental Surgeon, and planning for Masters in Public Health (STEM courses)
I have 11 years of experience in management.
We both travelled USA on b2 vis in the past and came back to India in a month.
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FAQ: Assessing eligibility and strengthening profile for EB2-NIW application without a research background

Greetings Rajiv ji!

I'm from Bangladesh and am pursuing a non-thesis Master’s degree in Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University. My area of specialization is Geotechnical Engineering. I’ll graduate with my degree in May 2025 after completing a co-op with one of the top Engineering and construction companies in the United States. The company also offered me a full-time position after my graduation so that I could continue my work with them. Many PhD candidates from my country with a master's degree are applying for EB2-NIW using their citations and research experience.

1. Since I lack a prominent research background (basically, I have no experience at all in terms of publication/citation), do I have a chance of getting approval for EB2-NIW?

2. Is citation/research compulsory for EB2-NIW to get approved?

3. If I want to apply in the future, how should I prepare my profile to increase my chances? I’m more interested in working in the industry than in research and academia.

4. I want to mention that, from my experience, there is a huge demand for geotechnical engineers in the civil engineering industry, but not many people, especially Americans, are pursuing this major. Can I use this fact to show national interest?

I’d truly appreciate it if you could provide me with some insights or advice on this matter.

Eligibility for EB2-NIW in the U.S. as a junior geotechnical engineer with a postgraduate work permit in Canada


I’m Arjav. I am currently employed in Canada with a US based firm called Tetra Tech as a Junior Geotechnical Engineer/ Lab Technologist for about a year now. I completed my master of Engineering from the University of Calgary in 2023 in the field of Civil Engineering. My current status in Canada is Postgraduate Work Permit.

I have 1 year of experience in the field as I mentioned. Am I eligible for EB2-NIW category in the US?

Also, if not, when will I become eligible?

Your guidance and advice will be appreciated.

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F-1 and F-2 visa options for spouse’s master's program: Timing, status changes, and visa interview considerations

Hi Rajiv Sir,

I wanted few guidelines or suggestions based on my current scenario.

I am married in February 2024 and currently on F1 STEM OPT. My wife has applied for Masters in US for Spring 2025 semester. Now i have 2 options

1. Wait for her admit and proceed with F1 Visa
2. Go ahead with F2 and change the status later to F1 (either in US or while in India itself)

Since change of status (in US) is a tenuous process personally i preferred waiting for F1 visa. But now im slightly concerned about the timeline she might get admit and also my uncertainty is subject to the visa slot availability in India.

Irrespective of the type of visa she doesn’t plan to fly before Jan 2025. My question is if i apply for F2 i20 right now. There is possibility of her getting admit in 2 cases. One before F2 visa interview and second after F2 visa interview. In first case can she simply apply for an F1 i20 in which case her previous F2 i20 will go void ? In second case would she be eligible for an F1 visa interview waiver because she already has an F2 visa stamped ?
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Income opportunities: H-1B to H-4 EAD transition and H-1B concurrent employment for short-term rental arbitrage businesses

I am a H1-B visa holder with approved I-140. My husband is on H1-B too but has not started his PERM process yet ( his first 3 years end sometime in August 2025). I come from a tech background and did my Masters in Management here in the US while my husband did his Masters in Computer Science from here. We are looking for additional sources of income and exploring legal ways of pursuing those.

We are most interested in the Short Term Rental Arbitrage business where one works with the landlord to rent their place and then put it up for short/medium term rentals. This process involves finding such properties, furnishing them, creating short term rental accounts and running them regularly with the help of cleaners, movers etc. 95% of the job can be automated using existing systems and paying for labor. So, this will be a maximum of 1-2 hours of work/ week for us once the place is set. Based on our research, we found 2 options but we are open to other options as well.

1) H4 - EAD for my husband but we don't understand if there is a way for us to get him back to H1-B in case my job/ visa is at stake. How easy is it to move from H1-B to H4-B and what does that process look like? Also, if he transfers to to H4 right now will his remaining 3 years carry forward to when he transfers back to H1b?

2) H1-B concurrent for me if we can somehow tie it to my Management degree since this will include operations, handling supply chain, stakeholder management, managing accounts and finance, marketing of the place etc. However, I don't know if we can prove it or whether I can be employed under an LLC on our names. The LLC will be in the name of my husband and me.

Thank you!
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