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Can my nonimmigrant work visa be renewed?

Living and working in Riverside and Orange counties in California are possible through a variety of nonimmigrant work visas. If you are in the country legally with one of these documents, and the expiration date on your arrival-departure record is approaching, certain steps are necessary to prevent a change of status that could lead to deportation. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services provides specific guidelines that may allow you to get an extension of stay.

Your employer is responsible for filing the form for your nonimmigration work visa if it is one of the following:

  •          H-1B, H-2A, H-2B or H-3 visas, which are for temporary skilled or unskilled workers
  •          L-1A or B visas for intracompany transferees
  •          Q-1 visas for international cultural exchange visitors
  •          E-3 visas for skilled professionals from Australia

These and other work visas may take 45 days or longer to be processed by USCIS, so the agency recommends filing before this time. If they are unable to complete the processing of your application before the expiration date, you would not typically be deported while waiting for your petition to be adjudicated.

Whether you can continue working during the processing period depends on your classification. In some cases, it is possible to continue working for up to 240 days, as long as the application was filed before your Form I-94 expired.

Filing a new petition does not guarantee you a new nonimmigrant work visa, and if it is denied, you will be in the country illegally unless you leave immediately. If you have been working while waiting for the application to be processed, your status since the expiration date would still be considered illegal. When the application is accepted, the approval date is set at the expiration date of the previous petition.

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