What to do if you lose your job during COVID with H1B

Job losses are running rampant. In the U.S., unemployment rates are at the lowest they have been since the Great Depression. Amongst those losing their jobs have been individuals with H1B visas. If you are simply an American citizen, when you lose your job during COVID the solution is quite straight forward: file for unemployment.

The solution for those on an employment-based visa like an H1B is not as straightforward as this, however. For those of you with an H1B visa who have lost their job due to COVID-19, here are your options:

(1) Find a new employer to sponsor you: simply looking for a new job, where your employer can sponsor you is your best option. Firstly, because you will return to work and secondly because your visa will no longer expire as a result of termination.

(2) Get a spousal support visa: We all know getting a new job in the United States is very difficult. If you lose your job on an H1B visa, you have 60 days to find a new one or else your visa will expire, causing you to lose your legal status, and in turn, put you at risk for deportation. If your spouse is employed, however, you are eligible to apply for a spousal support visa and can stay in the country.

(3) Change status to visitor or student visa: If you are single, or, your spouse does not work, option number 2 might not work for you. However, you can apply or either a visitor’s visa (B-1/B-2 visa) or a student visa (F-1 visa). However, with a student visa, you must also apply for schooling.

In any case, if you have lost your H1B status because of COVID layoffs, you must speak with an immigration attorney. You can reach us anytime at 718-263-5999 or at info@gehilaw.com. Please call or email us for a free consultation.