Can I change from a B2 visa to a H1 whilst in the states or do I have to return to the UK? 3 Answers as of November 10, 2010

Hi there. I hope you can be of help. I currently hold a B1/B2 visa and my 1-94 card is stamped B2 as the purpose of my trip is to travel as a tourist. Although I am traveling I have been asked whether I would be interested in undertaking a position but it would mean applying for a H1 visa. As I understand it I cannot apply for a change of status under my current visa because it is B2 as opposed to B1 which is business related. If the sponsor was to apply for a work visa on my behalf would a change of status be considered or do I have to return to the UK and apply for a H1 visa from there? I do not want to jeopardize my B2 visa, different forums suggest different things.

Finally if I successfully receive a H1 visa is my B2 visa no longer valid?

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Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny
Law Offices of Svetlana Boukhny | Svetlana Boukhny
You can apply for a change of status from B-2 to H-1B within the US. You would not be getting a new visa (that can only be done at the US Embassy/Consulate abroad) but you would not need a new visa as long as you remained in the US if the H-1B visa petition would be approved. Your status would then change to H-1B status and you can remain in the US in that status for the validity period of the H-1B visa approval. However, the first time you travel outside the US, you would need to get a valid H-1B visa in your passport on the basis of the approved H-1B visa petition in order to be able to return to the US in H-1B status.

Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any additional questions or if I can be of further assistance to you in this matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/10/2010
Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
The safest route to take is to apply for the H-1B, but return to the UK before getting an I-797C Notice of Action by the CIS, presumably granting you your H-1B. That way you have no suspicion of committing fraud to gain an immigration benefit, which may very well be raised by the consular official you will meet with in London at the U.S. Embassy to obtain your I-94 travel entry stamp with an H-1B. For if you have already received the H-1B grant while in the U.S., the official may turn you down for a companion entry visa at the Embassy. Worse, you could then be subject to a bar to applying for a visa for anywhere from 3-10 years, or even permanently. I would take the safe course, and so advise your future employer. An 8-12 week delay, which is what we're dealing with here, is not too much of a problem with an employer worth his salt. If you have other questions, e-mail or call to set up an in-person or phone consultation. Best to you.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/10/2010
JCS Immigration & Visa Law Office
JCS Immigration & Visa Law Office | Jack C. Sung
You can change from B2 to H1 without going back to the UK, but you must file all necessary paperwork before the expiration of your B2 I-94 card.

For more information, please contact my office.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/9/2010
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