What are the requirements to maintain H-1B status?
Maintaining your H-1B status is more complicated when compared to obtaining a H-1B status. In this slow down economy employees working in US on H-1B status specifically in Software Industry have a very tough time to maintain the H-1B status when they get terminated. The H-1B status employees should work legally inside the U.S. to be legal.
Maintaining the H-1B status doesn’t mean just having an unexpired I-94. There are many requirements which an employee has to meet in order to maintain the status. The employee should be in the work which is on the approved H-1B petition. The employee should be working in the address or the geographic location as mentioned in the H-1B petition. The employee should also be working only for the number of hours as mentioned in the H-b petition, and should be receiving the salary as mentioned the petition not less than that. If the employee doesn’t maintain any of these it means that he or she is unlawful status.
If the H-1 B will be expiring soon then the employee needs to apply for an extension before it could expire, if one stays in the United States after the expiration of the H-1B status it means that he is unlawful in the United States. The employee will receive an extension for 240 days of the H-1B visa.
If the employee on the H-1B status is planing to work for a different employer, not the employer through which he got his H-1B status then if the employee switches to the other company before the H-1B status was approved, and later if the petition was denied then the employee either has to go back to the previous employer or should leave the United States, otherwise he will be out of status.
Employees on valid H-1 B status should also have a valid passport, along with this should have an unexpired I-94. If in case of changing address then the employee needs to notify USCIS the change of address within 10 days.
If the H-1 B status employee is on the bench and he is no paid then the H-1B status will become invalid. Any absence should be carefully documented and there should be proof of enough document to support this.
If the H-1 B status expires and the employee continues to stay in the United States it will be an unlawful stay and there are possibilities that the employee will be barred to enter the United States for 3 years or sometimes even 10 years, and later there are possibilities that he may not be able to enjoy any immigration benefits. Its is important the employee should leave the United States 10 days from the date of employment which is mentioned in the visa or the I-797 Notice of Action.
Also if the employee is planning to apply for adjustment of status then one has to be very careful. They should maintain a valid work authorization. If the employee works illegally there are possibilities for the green card to be denied again losing the immigration benefits.