Change of Status in Unforeseen Circumstances

Expert Legal Guidance on Change of Status and Employment Authorization in Unforeseen Circumstances with a San Jose Bay Area Immigration Attorney

Navigating U.S. immigration laws can be challenging, especially for H-1B holders facing layoffs or unforeseen circumstances. Maintaining your legal status during such times is crucial. The Ahluwalia Firm, based in the San Jose Bay Area, specializes in these intricate situations, providing strategic advice and comprehensive legal services.

Evaluating Change of Status and Employment Authorization Options

For H-1B visa holders facing layoffs, maintaining legal status in the U.S. is a top priority. One option is changing status to a B-2 (Visitor for Pleasure) visa, allowing a stay of up to six months. However, a more advantageous option for many may be applying for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) based on compelling circumstances. An EAD under compelling circumstances allows authorization to work in the U.S. for up to one year, with the possibility of extension if compelling circumstances continue.

Understanding the Limitations of Change of Status

Changing to a B-2 visa or any other status might not be the ideal solution for everyone, particularly for H-1B visa holders who have reached the maximum allowed six-year stay under U.S. immigration laws and have an approved I-140 petition.

The Risk with Change of Status for H-1B Holders with an Approved I-140

For H-1B holders who have utilized their six-year limit but have an approved I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers), seeking change of status can introduce significant legal risks. One primary concern is the potential impact on their ability to utilize provisions under the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21), which allows certain H-1B workers to extend their stay beyond the typical six-year cap, provided specific conditions are met.

Why Change of Status Might Jeopardize Future Extensions

Filing for a change of status in these situations might jeopardize the ability to extend the H-1B status under AC21. This is because AC21 extensions are contingent upon the continuation of the H-1B status, which could be interrupted by a switch to a non-work authorized status like B-2. Such a change could potentially reset the conditions under which the AC21 extensions apply, leading to complications with future status extensions.

Strategic Considerations

It is crucial for H-1B visa holders, especially those with an approved I-140 and who are reliant on AC21 extensions, to carefully consider their options. Consulting with an experienced immigration attorney becomes indispensable in these cases. An attorney can provide guidance tailored to the individual’s specific circumstances, helping to navigate the complex interplay of visa statuses, potential status changes, and strategic decisions about future residency and employment in the U.S.

Case-by-Case Evaluation is Crucial

Every immigration case carries its own set of merits and limitations. Effective legal strategy involves a thorough evaluation of the individual’s current status, future aspirations, and the specific circumstances leading to their need for a status change or employment authorization. At The Ahluwalia Firm, our approach is to closely analyze each case, ensuring that our clients receive tailored advice that best fits their situation and maximizes their chances of achieving a favorable outcome.

Why Choose The Ahluwalia Firm?

With a profound understanding of immigration law and a deep commitment to our clients, The Ahluwalia Firm stands out as a leader in immigration legal services in the San Jose Bay Area. Our experienced attorneys not only understand the law but also empathize with the challenges faced by immigrants. We pride ourselves on providing compassionate, comprehensive legal representation, ensuring that each client navigates the immigration process with confidence and clarity.

For those facing layoffs or other changes that impact your immigration status, making informed decisions is key. Whether it’s transitioning to a B-2 visa, applying for an EAD based on compelling reasons, or exploring other legal avenues, The Ahluwalia Firm is here to guide you through every step of the process.

Contact us today to discuss your situation and explore your options. Let us help you maintain your status and plan your future in the United States with certainty and security.


Dear Mr. Ahluwalia, I would like to thank you for all your help with Dr. xxx case. She and I were very impressed with your services and the professionalism that you showed both of us. I am referring you to a very good friend of mine who is opening a manufacturing plant and wants to bring his brother in as a partner/investor/employee from Italy. I am forwarding your information for xxxx to contact you and make arrangements accordingly. Thank you for all your help.

Dr. F.

Inderjit, thank you so very much. I sincerely appreciate all the effort you took to get this approved and your incredible patience. As xxx mentioned, we will only work with you for all our future H1's. Thanks once again.


Inderjit handled our immigration matter in reference to my parents. We approached him and found him extremely pleasant to work with. In addition to his knowledge of the law, he guided us very well throughout the process. I would recommend him very strongly to anyone in matter of immigration.

Ajay (Avvo Reviewer)


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