Losing your job is challenging in any situation, but it carries significantly more weight when you depend on a work visa. Understanding what happens to your legal status if you lose your job is the first step toward protecting yourself and your position in the country.
There are a few things to know about your work visa status if you lose your job.
The impact on your status
Your work visa’s status depends upon your employment because your employer sponsors that visa. When you lose your job with the sponsoring company, your work visa becomes invalid. In most cases, you have a short period of time to resolve your status before you must leave the country.
Your options to stay in the country
The United States immigration regulations permit a 60-day grace period for work visa holders to protect their status in the country after job loss. During that grace period, you can find another job with an employer willing to sponsor you.
You might also consider pursuing a change of status. Instead of remaining here on a work visa, consider going back to school and staying on a student visa. There are several other options, including a tourist visa or dependent spouse status. Check the restrictions of each option carefully as some preclude you from working while you are in the country.
Sometimes, a hardship application leads to a change in your visa status. For example, individuals on a work visa with a child who is a citizen or legal resident of the U.S. can petition for a stay based on their dependent child’s needs.
Losing your job on a work visa might leave you feeling uncertain about your future. Use the opportunity to revisit your long-term goals and pursue the status that fits your plans.