Legal Question in Immigration Law in New York

Visa conversion from L1B to H1B

hi there,

Letís say company X has filed for my H1B visa this year for converting me from L1B to H1B.

I have following 3 questions.

1) During my H1B decision is pending, can I travel outside US?

2) Let's say my H1B petition is approved on May-15-2009. Can I travel outside US after May 15 till Oct-1st (I assume my H1 will start from OCT 1st?)

3) If answer to question # 2 is YES - letís say; I go on vacation outside US from July-20th till Aug 20th. My current L1B visa has also expired but I do have an L1B extension valid till June 12th 2010. So if I go out of US on July 20th, I need to go for L1B visa stamping and I will re-enter US on Aug 20th on L1B visa valid till June 12th - 2010. (provided my L1B stamping was successful)

But from Oct-1st onwards, I will be on H1B; So do I have to go outside US again and get my H1B stamped and re-enter US with successful H1B stamping after Oct-1st?

Also looking for hiring an immigration lawyer for my green card processing.

Sincerely appreciate any reply...

Asked on 4/13/09, 1:04 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Anthony Siliato Meyner and Landis LLP

Re: Visa conversion from L1B to H1B

Generally, traveling abroad pending adjudication of a change of status application has the effect of abandonment of the change of status aspect of the application. The October 1 effective date of the H-1B does make the overall situation a bit more complex.

Assuming your H-1B is approved prior to your trip abroad, you would still need a valid L-1B visa to return to the U.S. in L-1 status.

In order to then work in H-1B status, I would recommend either filing another change of status from within the U.S. or making a short trip abroad, applying for an H-1B visa and returning in H-1B status.

The information contained herein is intended only for educational or informational purposes and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Responding to this inquiry in no way establishes an attorney client relationship; however, I look forward to exploring these issues with you further by way of telephone or in-person consultation.

Anthony F. Siliato, Esq.


One Gateway Center

Newark, New Jersey 07102

[email protected]

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Answered on 4/13/09, 1:24 pm

Douglas Lightman Lightman Law Firm LLC

Re: Visa conversion from L1B to H1B

If you travel outside of U.S. while H-1B is pending, you will have abandoned the ability to change status from L-1 to H-1B, assuming you elected to change status on your H-1B application. If you abandon the H-1B change of status, you will need to re-enter the country with an H-1B visa in order to be in H-1B status. If you travel out of the country after your H-1B change of status application has been approved, you can re-enter the country in the L-1 status (you'll need to obtain a new L-1 visa) and change status to H-1B on Oct. 1 without re-entering the country with an H-1B visa.

This is a sensitive matter and should be discussed in more detail with an immigration attorney. Feel free to contact me at your convenience.

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Answered on 4/13/09, 1:30 pm
William Frenkel Frenkel Sukhman LLP

Re: Visa conversion from L1B to H1B

In response to your questions,

1) generally yes, if your employer chose not to change your status in its petition on your behalf;

2) if your petition was not filed with premium processing (15 days), your travel close to Oct. 1 (or whatever later date your H-1b employment commences) may be risky as consular processing could entail delays;

3) if you re-enter on an L-1B visa stamp, you will need to exit again to obtain an H-1b visa stamp prior to beginning employment in H-1b status (you may be able to do it in the Western Hemisphere).

You do have to understand the risks involved in such travel as USCIS discourages it and some H-1b visa holders have had difficulty getting admitted into the U.S., sometimes for reasons unrelated to the specific issues raised here.

The above response is in the nature of general information, is not legal advice and does not form an attorney-client relationship.

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Answered on 4/14/09, 12:50 am

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