I-94 Expiry And Fresh H1 Stamping Options
Q: Would be thankful if you can give me clarifications on my situation: The Chronological Events are as follows: Working in Kuwait since May 95. Staying there with Family (Wife and daughter) May 98: Received H1 Approval Notice from Company A. (for Kuwait Consulate) June 98: Stamped H1 Visa on my passport (Valid till 4th Mar 2000) June 98: stamp H4 visa for wife and daughter (after a week) Continue to work in Kuwait till Feb 99. Feb 99: Receive H1 Approval notice from Company B (It is sent at Kuwait address, consulate shown on Petition is that of New Delhi) March 99: Leave Kuwait and goto India May 99: Leave for USA on 24th May (alone) Port of entry is Newark, NJ At port of entry show H1 of Company B to Immigration officer. I-94 Date is 4th Mar 2000. 25th May 99: Join Company B at New Jersey 27th May 99:apply for SSN with Company B's H1 approval notice 7th Jun 99: Get SSN Sept 99: Wife and Daughter come to USA. Port of entry is Detroit Wife had Shown Company B's H1 Petition to Immigration. I-94 date is 10th Nov 2001 (This was the date on Company B's H1 approval Notice) Nov, 2000: Talk to my company lawyer n Telephone and present my situation to him and about the I-94 date He says to remind him one month before expiry and he will do the needful. 3rd Mar 2000: consult the lawyer of Company B. Advices * I have been illegal so far (since passport carries stamp of Company A). * I should goto Delhi, India with Family * stamp H1 again with Company B's H1 notice * To tell the consulate that I have been working with Company A so far and their project is over and now I would be working for Company B. * He doesn't remember the telephonic conversation of Nov 99. 3rd Mar 2000: Tickets are purchased the same day for travel on 7th March. return date as 21st March. (My employer was not reimbursing the tickets) 5th March 2000: Meet another lawyer. He advices * I am not illegal * I am not out of status * He can file for a modified petition that would have corrected I-94 information 6th March, 2000: Tell My lawyer about the new situation. He says that it is risky as most probably the other lawyer would take it up as a H1 transfer case and if the INS asks for Company A's payslips then it would be a problem. He tried to contact other lawyers from a directory but culd not get hold of them. I do not get a final answer from him. I go and pay 500$ as fees to the other lawyer. I come back to my office. My manager (who was in touch throughout) says that the company lawyer should certify that it would be legal for Company B to keep me on Payroll till any results are confirmed. Our company lawyer says it may not be legal to keep me on payroll. I ask my manager to give a call to the other lawyer and get confirmation about legality. After a long discussion my manager asks him if he can give something in writing which states that I am legal in this country and his company (B) can keep me on payroll. The lawyer says that he can respond to a specific queries that are presented in writing and he would charge a further 1100$ for that service. My manager expressed doubts to me (after the telephonic conversation) that the wordings used by this attorney may not satisfy their requirements and may be written in an evasive manner (to escape responsibility). I goto the office of the external lawyer and express my intention that I would be travelling to Delhi as my employer is not comfortable with his approach. I inform my decision to my employer also. Our Compnay (B) lawyer says that it may not be necessary for my wife and daughter also to goto Delhi and stamp the Visa again. Their matter can be handled in USA. 7th March 2000: I Travel to Delhi along with my family (It was too late to cancel their tickets) 9th March 2000: I Goto Consulate with my family. No questions are asked at the consulate and H1 Visa is stamped. 21st Mar 2000: Return to US with Wife and daughter I 94 Date is Nov 2001 Petition Shown is that Company B My Questions are : Was my status illegal from 24th May, 1999 till 7th march 2000? Could the problem have been resolved without anyone going to Delhi? Was it necessary for my family to travel to Delhi? My I-94 date was 4th Mar 2000. Could I have continued in USA after that also ? Also, what kind of petition did the lawyer have to file for any change in my status?
A: -You are perfectly legal. I don't know what the company's lawyer was talking about, maybe he misunderstood and thought you were talking about working on A's *petition* as opposed to *I-94* or *visa*. The trip to India was entirely unnecessary. -The way to fix that would have been to leave the US (for Canada or Mexico, or anywhere in the world) and come back no later than 4th Mar 2000 - while the visa is still valid. Show B's petition, and you should have been admitted for the remaining period. Of course, going to India and getting a new stamp was also perfectly legal. A new H-1B. By the way, it would not be a change of status since you already were in H-1B status. But it would be a transfer of employer.