If you’re an H1B visa holder and you’ve recently lost your job or are experiencing difficulty finding employment, you may be wondering how long you can stay in the US without a job. The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows foreign workers to work in the US for up to six years, but this visa also has specific requirements and regulations regarding your stay in the US.
Here’s what you need to know about how long you can stay in the US with an H1B visa without a job, and what you can do to extend your stay or maintain your visa status while unemployed.
How Long Can You Stay in the US Without a Job on an H1B Visa?
According to USCIS regulations, an H1B visa holder can remain in the US for up to 60 days after their employment end date. During this period, you are not authorized to work in the US, but you can use this time to find another job and transfer your H1B visa to a new employer.
If you are unable to find a new employer within 60 days, you may be able to obtain a grace period of up to 60 days. The grace period allows you to remain in the US to prepare for your departure, make arrangements for your household goods, and travel to your home country. Please note that the grace period is not guaranteed and must be confirmed with your employer or an immigration attorney.
If you are unable to find a new employer within the 60-day grace period, you must leave the US immediately. Failure to leave the US within the grace period may result in adverse effects on your ability to obtain future US visas or entry into the US.
How to Maintain Your H1B Visa Status While Unemployed
If you are an H1B visa holder and are unemployed, you must take specific steps to maintain your H1B visa status. Here are some tips to help you maintain your visa status while unemployed:
1. Stay in the US for less than 60 days.
As mentioned earlier, you can stay in the US for up to 60 days after the end of your employment with your H1B visa. If you remain in the US for more than 60 days without a job, you will be considered out of status and will be subject to removal proceedings.
2. Apply for a Change of Status.
You may have the option to apply for a Change of Status to a different visa category. You can apply for a Change of Status to a B-2 tourist visa or F-1 student visa provided you meet the eligibility criteria.
3. Maintain Health Insurance Coverage
As an H1B visa holder, you are required to maintain adequate health insurance coverage throughout your stay in the US. Continuation of health insurance coverage can help you avoid severe migration and health-related issues in the United States.
4. File for H1B Visa Transfer
Finally, if you have not found another job within the 60-day grace period, you may file for an H1B visa transfer. The easiest way to get H1B visa transfer is to find another employer who is willing to sponsor you. Your new employer will need to file a new H1B petition on your behalf, which will allow you to remain in the US legally.
1. Can I extend my stay in the US while unemployed on an H1B visa?
No, you cannot extend your stay in the US on an H1B visa without employment. However, you may be allowed a 60-day grace period to find a new job or make arrangements for your departure.
2. What happens if I remain in the US without a job for more than 60 days?
If you remain in the US without a job for more than 60 days after your employment end date, you will be considered out of status and may be subject to removal proceedings.
3. Can I apply for unemployment benefits as an H1B visa holder?
No, as an H1B visa holder, you are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits. Your employment is tied to a specific employer, and if you lose your job, you must leave the US or find another employer to sponsor your visa.