FAQ » RIF - For Employees

How long can I remain in the U.S. if I am affected by a Reduction in Force (RIF)?



H-1B (as well as H-1B1, L-1, O-1, TN and E) nonimmigrants whose employment is terminated early will be allowed one grace period of up to 60 days during each validity period, to allow them to extend, change, or otherwise maintain status. USCIS will rely on your latest pay-stub to determine how long you have been unemployed. If you are unable to find new H-1B employment or change status during the grace period, you should leave the U.S.

What if I get another H-1B job offer?



The new employer should file an H-1B petition on your behalf within the 60-day grace period. If your H-1B transfer petition is filed outside of the grace period, USCIS will approve the H-1B (assuming it is otherwise approvable) but likely deny the extension of stay request.  This means, after the new H-1B is approved, you will be required to depart the U.S., obtain a new H-1B visa at an U.S. Consulate and return to the U.S. with the new H-1B approval in order to commence employment with the new employer.

Am I still "portable" as an H-1B worker after being laid off?



Yes – if your new employer’s H-1B transfer petition is filed within the 60-day grace period, you may begin working for the new employer once the petition is filed. If it was not filed during the grace period, this a question for your next H-1B employer to answer with advice from its attorney.

Can I change my status to another nonimmigrant category?



Yes, you may submit an application for change of status to another non-immigrant category (e.g., B-2 visitor or F-1 student).

If I was in F-1 status before changing to H-1B and I still have a valid EAD, may I still use the EAD for employment?



You will have to first submit an application for change of status back to F-1, but USCIS processing time is slow and you would not be able to re-commence employment on the basis of practical training until the change of status is granted. You can, however, exit the U.S. and return in F-1 status. To do this, you will need the following:

  • Valid passport with valid F-1 visa;
  • I-20 endorsed within the last 6 months by the Foreign Student Advisor;
  • EAD Card; and
  • Letter from employer regarding practical training employment.
What if I have an approved labor certification when I am laid off?



Unfortunately, the approved Labor Certification is employer-specific and you won't benefit from it if you will no longer be employed by the company.

What if I have an approved I-140 when I am laid off?



If the I-140 has been approved, you can retain your priority date for a future I-140 petition.  Additionally, if the I-140 has been approved for 180-days or more, your next employer can use the I-140 approval to qualify you for H-1B extension beyond your six-year limit.

What if I had filed an I-485 Adjustment of Status application before I am laid off?



If 180 days has elapsed since the filing of your Adjustment of Status (I-485) application, you are allowed to change employers, provided you remain in the same or similar occupation.

If I have obtained an EAD pursuant to an I-485 Adjustment of Status application and I am laid off, can I work for another employer?



Yes, the EAD allows for unrestricted employment authorization.

Can I extend my EAD after I am laid off if my I-485 petition is pending?



Yes. As long as your I-485 is pending, you may continue to request extensions of your EAD.

Can I continue to travel internationally with my H or L visa after I am laid off?



No. Since you are no longer employed with the sponsoring employer, you will not be able to re-enter the U.S. on the H or L visa. You can, however, travel on advance parole (for I-485 applicants). Alternatively, if you find a new job and the new employer files an H petition on your behalf and you provide USCIS at the port of entry a copy of the receipt notice, you can enter the U.S. in H status again.