Earlier this week, USCIS posted a reminder to foreign nationals to consult the detailed guidance it has made available on its website. USCIS lists options available for nonimmigrant workers who have been laid off, clarifying that leaving the country within 60 days is not the only recourse.

Key Points:

  • If a nonimmigrant worker pursues one of the following actions within the 60-day grace period following termination, their authorized stay can exceed 60 days — even if they lose their previous nonimmigrant status:
    • Files an application for a change of nonimmigrant status
    • Files an application for adjustment of status
    • Files an application for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorization document
    • Is the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employer
  • If none of the above actions are taken within the 60-day grace period, the nonimmigrant worker and their dependents may need to depart the U.S. within 60 days or when their authorized validity period ends, whichever is shorter.

Additional Information: Nonimmigrant status is typically based on an approved Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, or after admission, a subsequently approved Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. A period of authorized stay typically includes the period when a timely filed nonfrivolous petition or application requesting an extension of stay or change of status is pending with USCIS.

BAL Analysis: For foreign nationals who are laid off in the U.S. and want to stay, the “alphabet soup” of visa options might appear daunting. But solutions, whether temporary or permanent, may be possible. It is important for them to seek counsel and learn about eligibility requirements to help tailor their search. Both employers and employees should be sure to consult the most recent guidance from USCIS.

Read more insights on options for nonimmigrant workers experiencing layoffs here.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice Group.

Copyright © 2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries, please contact copyright@bal.com.