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Do I need to file for a B2 visa if I lost my job while on H1B for me and/or spouse?

I lost my job in November and had 60 days to find another employer. Since Nov 28 was the last date of employment, Jan 12 would be the 45th day of the 60 day period.

Currently, I have verbal offers from 2 companies, but nothing on paper.

Visa Status: H1B valid until 2025. I 140 with a priority date of 2018. The old visa stamp on my (H1B) and my spouse's (H4) passports have expired. My 2 toddlers are US citizens. Do I need to file for a B2 visa if I lost my job while on H1B for me and/or spouse?

I lost my job in November and had 60 days to find another employer. Since Nov 28 was the last date of employment, Jan 12 would be the 45th day of the 60 day period.

Currently, I have verbal offers from 2 companies, but nothing on paper.

Visa Status: H1B valid until 2025. I 140 with a priority date of 2018. The old visa stamp on my (H1B) and my spouse's (H4) passports have expired. My 2 toddlers are US citizens.

Is it enough to get the package delivered to USCIS or receipt before the 60-day period and start the job later ( after 60th day)? In case I go over 60 days (without getting the package delivered to USCIS or receipt) , are these 2 scenarios valid:

1: I step out of the country to Canada/Mexico before the 61st day and my wife stays in the US with the kids. Does applying (filing a petition) for a B1/B2 visa for my wife suffice? If this is a valid scenario, does Canada/Mexico work or should I better go to my home country (India)?

  1. My wife and I both apply for a B1/B2 visa and stay in the USA. Where do I need to go for a visa stamp Is it enough to get the package delivered to USCIS or receipt before the 60-day period and start the job later ( after 60th day)? In case I go over 60 days (without getting the package delivered to USCIS or receipt) , are these 2 scenarios valid:

1: I step out of the country to Canada/Mexico before the 61st day and my wife stays in the US with the kids. Does applying (filing a petition) for a B1/B2 visa for my wife suffice? If this is a valid scenario, does Canada/Mexico work or should I better go to my home country (India)?

  1. My wife and I both apply for a B1/B2 visa and stay in the USA. Where do I need to go for a visa stamp
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    "Is it enough to get the package delivered to USCIS or receipt before the 60-day period and start the job later" What "package"? Are you talking about your employer's new H1b petition and extension of stay application?
    – user102008
    Jan 9, 2023 at 19:43
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    "and my wife stays in the US with the kids. Does applying (filing a petition) for a B1/B2 visa for my wife suffice?" US visas can only be applied for at US consulates outside the US (which is fine because US visas are only for entry, and you only need to enter if you are already outside).
    – user102008
    Jan 9, 2023 at 19:44

2 Answers 2

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Do I need to file for a B2 visa if I lost my job while on H1B for me and/or spouse?

You don't need to file for a visa, you need to file for a change of status. Use form I-539. Note: this is different from adjustment of status to permanent residency, and is a different form. More information on the USCIS site here.

You don't have to leave the country while the I-539 is pending, but you're not allowed to work unless your H1B transfer is filed. You may need to file I-539 again to transfer back from B2 to H1b before you can start working. Check with the new employer's lawyers on how to proceed

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The other answer is basically correct except for a couple of details. In particular, to change back to H-1B status, you cannot use form I-539. From How do I change to another nonimmigrant status? (PDF):

If you want to change your status to one of the following employment-based nonimmigrant categories, your prospective employer should file a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, before your Form I-94 expires. The Form I-129 serves two purposes to establish that:

  • You will be performing the type of work covered by the new nonimmigrant classification for the petitioner; and
  • You personally meet the requirements for changing your status. You cannot begin work in the new classification until we approve the change of status.

...

Please note: If your prospective employer files a Form I-129 to change your status, and your spouse or unmarried children under age 21 also want to change status to remain as your dependents, they need to file a Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Note that they can all be included on one I-539. It is best to file the I-129 and I-539 forms together so that they can be adjudicated about the same time. Remember, though, that they are separate applications. Therefore, you and your family members (and your employer) must follow the instructions and file all supporting documents with each application, even when filing forms together.

(Formatting removed)

You also ask "Where do I need to go for a visa stamp?" You do not need a visa in your passport if you remain in the US. If you leave the US while you are ineligible for H-1B status, however, you will need a B-2 visa to return in B-2 status. You will have to apply for this visa at a US consulate outside the US. Wait times at most consulates are currently on the order of one year, so you should probably avoid doing this if at all possible.

Another point to consider: it is possible that you should apply for B-1 status for yourself and B-2 status for your family, because B-1 status ("visitor for business") is the status contemplated for people who are attending meetings, negotiating and signing contracts, and that sort of thing, which surely describes you in your search for a new job.

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