Sunday, February 25, 2024

US allows tourists to apply for jobs, give interviews while on tourist visa

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Washington: 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.

“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 (USCIS) said in a series of tweets.


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, USCIS noted.

When a nonimmigrant worker’s employment is terminated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, they typically may take one of the following actions, if eligible, to remain in a period of authorized stay in the United States:

-File an application for a change of nonimmigrant status;

-File an application for adjustment of status;

-File an application for a “compelling circumstances” employment authorization 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 authorized stay in the United States can exceed 60 days, even if they lose their previous nonimmigrant status. 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 authorized validity period ends, whichever is shorter,” the USCIS said.

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-authorized 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-authorized classification before beginning the new employment,” the USCIS said.

Flow of visas ‘not required’ in certain employment-based categories

Congress has established statutory provisions that allow for the flow of visas “not required” in certain employment-based categories to be made available to applicants in other employment-based categories. These are commonly referred to as the “fall up/fall down” provisions. Under INA 203(b), visas not required in EB-4 and unreserved visas not required in EB-5 are made available in EB-1. Visas not required in EB-1 are made available in EB-2, and visas not required in EB-2 are made available in EB-3.

Congress did not create a pathway in the statute for visas not required in EB-3 to be made available in another employment-based category. Please note that with the enactment of the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022 on March 15, 2022, Congress established special rules for the carryover of certain unused EB-5 visas from one fiscal year to the next. As a result, not all EB-5 visas that are “not required” in that category can be made available in EB-1.


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