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So far so good, but what next?

So far so good, but what next?

Old Jun 7th 2004, 7:36 pm
  #1  
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Default So far so good, but what next?

We've been in the US since September 2003 on my H1B visa, which is for 3 years. My wife has a non-work H4.

My work is going well and I could see myself staying with this employer for a while. We had our first child in November (so he's a US citizen) and we are now seriously thinking about staying longer, buying a house etc.

Obviously, we just want to make sure our long-term future is as secure as it can be, before making large new financial commitments.

I am sure many other forum members have been in the same situation and my questions really are...

a) should I attempt to get my visa extended by my current employer. If so, when can that be done and would it automatically be for 3 years?

b) can I try for a green card instead?

c) how can my wife change her visa to allow her to work?

As always, advice/answers/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old Jun 7th 2004, 11:42 pm
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Default

OK. I don't mean to be rude, I really don't, but I find it quite amazing that you went through the whole process of coming here on an H1B without finding out answers to these questions first!

When we were preparing to up-sticks and move the family over here, these questions were right at the top of our list (well they were 90% of the list actually).

a) Yes! Unless you plan on leaving the US at the end of 3 years, you MUST get your employer to sponsor your extended H1B.

b) Yes! And you should have negotiated that as part of your contract, in my opinion. You need an employer to sponsor you for a Green Card, and an immigration lawyer is expensive, so in your position I would want to be talking to my employer RIGHT NOW about starting a GC application. Given that GCs from H1B visas are typically taking around 4 years right now, you'll need to extend your H1B at the end of 3 years even if you start the GC application today.

c) She can't, or at least not easily. If you had worked for your employer in the UK, and then transferred to the US on an L visa, she could work. On an H4 she can't... unless she can find an employer who will sponsor her for an H1B visa too.

As for buying a house etc., we went ahead and bought a house after less than 9 months here on an H1B. We have no more certainty than you do about whether we'll be able to stay beyond an extended H1B, although we do have an immigration lawyer working for us on a GC application, and we've at least started on the road towards becoming permanent residents.

If my employer was not sponsoring my GC application I think I'd think twice about buying a house here... but I'd still do it. It all depends on how much certainty and risk your happy with. Given that you've taken the leap and made it over here on an H1B, I imagine you can accept some risk, so I'd say go for it!

Good luck, and talk to your company tomorrow about sponsoring your GC
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Old Jun 7th 2004, 11:47 pm
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Default Re: So far so good, but what next?

Originally posted by ireland132
We've been in the US since September 2003 on my H1B visa, which is for 3 years. My wife has a non-work H4.

My work is going well and I could see myself staying with this employer for a while. We had our first child in November (so he's a US citizen) and we are now seriously thinking about staying longer, buying a house etc.

Obviously, we just want to make sure our long-term future is as secure as it can be, before making large new financial commitments.

I am sure many other forum members have been in the same situation and my questions really are...

a) should I attempt to get my visa extended by my current employer. If so, when can that be done and would it automatically be for 3 years?

b) can I try for a green card instead?

c) how can my wife change her visa to allow her to work?

As always, advice/answers/suggestions greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
Ireland,
Welcome to the forum and the USA!

a) Your current H1B is valid until, I guess, January 2006. You don't need to apply for the renewal (which is automatically another 3 years) until lat in 2005. If you are happy with yourcurrent employer and they will go for the renewal then, sure, stick with them!

b) There's nothing stopping you (and it would be a good idea to) apply for the greencard before the expiry of the first H1B. SInce this process now takes AGES the sooner you start, the better. Applying for the greencard (through one of several avenues) has no effect and is not really connected to the H1B.

c) Not a chance! Unless your wife qualifies for a visa (h1B etc) in her own right then she cannot 'change' her H4 to a work-enabled visa. The DHS veiwpoint is that they are giving you a 'gift' by 'allowing' her to accompany you here in the US.

There are immigration or visa forums on this board (although theses are public to the newsgroups, so generally not as friendly and Brit-oriented) that have much more info. on all the procedures, options etc. I'm going through one of the avenues to Greencard at the moment (NIW) and would be happy to chat about my experiences... let me know if you are interested...

All the best,
Andy.

www.andy.smithers.name
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