Running out of visa time in US after layoffs? Switch to business or visitor visa

DailyBiteMar 24, 2023 | 09:59

Running out of visa time in US after layoffs? Switch to business or visitor visa

You can look for jobs on US B1 and B2 visa. Photo: Representative

The latest layoff season has hit Indian employees in the US the most. With no employment, Indians have only 60 days grace period to leave the US or find a job to stay back. But the US Immigration department has clarified a few things, which gives laid-off non-immigrant workers more options for extending their stay. 

What's the latest?

  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) said that foreigners can look for jobs and attend interviews in the US on a B1 business or B2 visitor visa.
  • So, if an H1-B visa holder loses their job, they have 60 days to look for a job or leave the US. But if they change their status from H1-B to B1 or B2 visa, they can extend their period of stay to look for a job. 

How long can you stay in the US on B1/B2 visa?

  • A B1/B2 visa is typically issued for 6 months. Under the B1 visa type, the period of stay can also be extended to another 6 months. 
  • The visa is sometimes also valid for 10 years on a multiple-entry system. 
  • However, before starting work with a new employer, non-immigrant workers need to switch to the appropriate visa. 

The Covid-19 pandemic upended several government systems affecting immigration services as well. This has resulted in a significant backlog of applications. For Indians seeking various visa types to go to the US, the wait time in some places is as long as one or two years or more. 

The US has said they are doing everything in its power to reduce the backlog and speed up the process. They also recently opened up third-country consulates for processing US visas for Indians. Meaning, Indians seeking a visa appointment can book their appointment in cities like Bangkok in Thailand.


For those wishing to go to the US from India for studies, the US has allowed them to apply for the appropriate visa type one year in advance. 

Last updated: March 24, 2023 | 10:00
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