An individual travelling to the United States on a business or tourist visa – B-1, B-2, can apply for new jobs and even appear in interviews, a federal agency said Wednesday but asked prospective employees to ensure the applicants have changed their visa status before starting the new role.
In a note, and a series of tweets, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said when nonimmigrant workers are laid off, they may not be aware of their options and may, in some instances, wrongly assume that they have no option but to leave the country within 60 days.
The maximum 60-day grace period starts the day after termination of employment, which is typically determined based on the last day for which a salary or wage is paid.
When a nonimmigrant worker’s employment is terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, they typically may take one of the several actions, if eligible, to remain in a period of authorised stay in the United States.
These include filing an application for a change of nonimmigrant status; filing an application for adjustment of status; filing an application for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorisation document; or be the beneficiary of a nonfrivolous petition to change employer.
“If one of these actions occurs within the up to 60-day grace period, the nonimmigrant’s period of authorised stay in the United States can exceed 60 days, even if they lose their previous nonimmigrant status,” the USCIS said.
If the worker takes no action within the grace period, they and their dependents may then need to depart the United States within 60 days, or when their authorised validity period ends, whichever is shorter, it said.
“Many people have asked if they can look for a new job while in B-1 or B-2 status. The answer is, yes. Searching for employment and interviewing for a position are permissible B-1 or B-2 activities,” the US Citizenship and Immigration Services said in a series of tweets.
At the same time, the USCIS said that before beginning any new employment, a petition and request for a change of status from B-1 or B-2 to an employment-authorised status must be approved, and the new status must take effect.
“Alternatively, if the change of status request is denied or the petition for new employment requested consular or port of entry notification, the individual must depart the U.S. and be admitted in an employment-authorised classification before beginning the new employment,” the USCIS said.