While the initial application process for most visas and permits to work in the United States tends to be cumbersome, the same cannot be said of the renewal process, which is far more streamlined. However, this does not mean visa holders should be careless when extending their work permits. A single mistake could significantly delay or even derail the renewal process.
Here are five mistakes you should avoid when renewing your work visa.
1. Being Out of Status
This mistake happens more often than most people assume, and it can have a deeply negative effect not only on the renewal process but also on future immigration prospects. Staying in the U.S. or working after a visa has expired means being out of status. Renewing or extending a visa should be done well within the allotted time, at least 45 days prior to the expiration date on the I-94 or visa paperwork. Attempting to renew a work visa after it has expired is something that should only be done with the assistance of an immigration law firm that can present valid evidence of hardship explaining the delay. Otherwise, it is better to exit the U.S.
2. Expired Passport
Keeping your passport up to date is a condition of your legal stay in the U.S. If your passport is set to expire at some point before or during the extension period being requested, your application may be rejected. You should renew your passport as soon as you are able to and before filing the application.
3. Incorrect Filing Fee
Visa processing centers are very strict about filing fees. If you forget to include the payment or submit the wrong amount, your application will be suspended until the correct fee is received. In some cases, the application may be returned in its entirety.
4. Getting Bogus Advice
When the time comes to renew your work visa, you should only trust the advice of seasoned legal professionals who specialize in immigration matters. If you hold an H-1B visa and plan to stay at the same job, your employer would have ideally retained a law firm to handle renewals. If this is not the case, you can either pursue the renewal process on your own by following instructions or seek an immigration attorney to help you. Following the advice of third parties who are not lawyers and who collect processing fees is too risky.
5. Incorrect Intent to Stay
This mistake is most likely to be made during the initial application process. However, if for some reason your non-immigrant extension request requires an interview, you should only bring up plans to stay in the country for any reason other than working. Although there are circumstances under which you can turn your TN-1, H-1B, or other type of work visa into a green card, this is not the purpose of the extension request. If you are planning on becoming a legal resident, follow the advice of a U.S. immigration lawyer in San Diego on how to convert your non-immigrant status.
Whether you’re interested in renewing your work visa or want to learn about temporary business immigration visas, San Diego immigration lawyers are here to help. At KS Visa Law, we have several years of experience working with small and large businesses to secure temporary employment visas. Give us a call today at 858-874-0711 to learn more.