I'm a researcher on a J1 visa valid until Dec 31st, 2012. My employer sponsors a H1B and I was told I should apply for it in August 2012 for starting date on January 1st 2013. I was advised not to travel outside the US between August and January, but I have an important work related meeting to attend in October. Would it be safe for me to travel on my J1 visa (which will still be valid) and come back before my H1B visa has started ? Is this going to create problems?
You need to speak to your immigration attorney, or the company's attorney. Unless you are cap except, the August filing and a January start date doesn't seem like a very solid plan. And the travel while on the J should be fine, and not negatively impact the H-1b visa petition.
Don't travel unless you are prepared for complications. The decision to depart will terminate your 'change of status" request. This means that you will be forced to consular process the H1b visa. Consular processing may be unpredictable at times depending upon the situation. You may get confused about your status due to DHS confusion.
If an attorney has represented you and your e-employer, then contact the attorney for more guidance. If you have concerns, I recommendn that you schedule an appointment or teleconference with a competent and experienced immigration for a second opinion.
This is general information, not legal advice, and does not create an attorney client relationship.
The key question is "Are you subject to the two-year home residency requirement?". If so, you would inevitable to obtain an H-1B visa.
(213) 394-4554 x0 Mr. Shusterman is a former INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) with over 35 years of immigration experience. His response to your question is general in nature, as not all the facts are known to him. You should retain an attorney experienced in immigration law to review all the facts in your case in order to receive advice specific to your case. Mr. Shusterman's statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship.
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