Is it Possible to Lose H1B Visa Status?

One of the assumptions that non-immigrant workers make is that once they are in the US with a valid H1B visa, that nothing can interfere with their work visa status.  The cold truth is that one’s visa status can be revoked at any time by immigration or customs authorities, for a variety of reasons.

With the increased focus on ensuring that all H1B visas are issued to qualified workers, and that no US workers are being displaced, it is entirely possible to lose the H1B visa status if all requirements are not met.

Here are the primary ways to lose an H1B visa work permission:

  1. Being terminated from the position and failing to find another job

If you lose your job or quit, you have a 60-day grace period to find another sponsor and position before your H1B visa is no longer valid.  If you overstay beyond the 60 days, you will have to leave the US and find a sponsor from your home country.

If you choose to overstay your visa for 180 days or more, you will be barred for three years from applying for an H1B visa so it is best to go home and start over.

2. Your sponsor does not maintain documentation for all immigration forms

The employer for any non-immigrant worker is responsible for having the I-9 Form and visa documents available and correctly filled out.  If there is a lack of documentation, the worker can be deported if the sponsor cannot correct the I-9 omissions to verify identity.

3. Failure to provide required documents or information during a USCIS site visit

The USCIS has stepped up their site visits to examine H1B visa documents and interview the foreign workers to make sure they are in compliance.  These visits are not a formality and have the purpose of detecting H1B visa abuse or fraud, by the sponsor or worker.

4. Having conflicting documentation, multiple resumes or other inconsistent evidence to support the H1B visa at a border crossing

Whether you are first entering the US on an H1B visa, or returning from a vacation, the immigration and border authorities may examine your phone or other electronic devices to see if there are conflicting documents to support your visa status.  If found, you may be denied re-entry and your visa could be revoked.

5. Working at a location that is not listed on the LCA for the original H1B petition

One of the abuses of the H1B visa is where workers are assigned to locations not listed in the Labor Condition Application for the original petition.  If the LCA is not changed or amended to include secondary employers, the H1B visa may be declared invalid.

6. Any acts or intention to commit H1B visa fraud for yourself or another person

Acting or assisting to commit any fraudulent acts relating to the H1B visa program, will result in immediate revocation of the visa, deportation or even fines and jail time in extreme cases.  This is not as uncommon as you might think, as many foreign workers are looking for short-cuts or ways to profit from the H1B visa program at the expense of others.

Obviously, committing any type of serious crime could also curtail your immigration status, and at the very least you would be deported.

As you can see from this overview, just because you found a sponsor and made it through the lottery that does not mean that your H1B visa is guaranteed for the three-year validity period.  Even after you enter the US and begin work, you and your sponsor must remain in compliance with all immigration rules and procedures.

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  • June 11th, 2018
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