Renewing an H-1B or upgrading your visa by visiting Canada or Mexico

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U.S. immigration law requires that foreign nationals seeking to get a first-time H-1B visa or renew a current visa get it stamped at an overseas U.S. consulate. Changing visa status from a H-4 to a H1-B or a F1 to a H-1B also requires stamping at an overseas consulate. In some cases, getting your visa stamped in Canada or Mexico may be quicker and more convenient than returning to your home country for visa stamping. Other times it may not.

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Renewing an H-1B or upgrading your visa by visiting Canada or Mexico

  1. 1. Renewing An H-1B Or Upgrading Your Visa By Visiting Canada Or Mexico
  2. 2. Overview U.S. immigration law requires that foreign nationals seeking to get a first-time H-1B visa or renew a current visa get it stamped at an overseas U.S. consulate. Changing visa status from a H-4 to a H1-B or a F1 to a H1B also requires stamping at an overseas consulate. In some cases, getting your visa stamped in Canada or Mexico may be quicker and more convenient than returning to your home country for visa stamping. Other times it may not.
  3. 3. What Is An H-1B Visa? An H1-B visa is a work visa that allows foreign nationals with specialized skills to work in the U.S. Some common features of the H-1B visa are: • Good for up to three years. Extendable for up to six years. • Dual intent. Holders of H-1B visas can apply for a green card. • Dependent on employment. Should the employer of the H-1B holder terminate or lay off the holder, or should the holder quit his or her job, the holder must find another job or leave the U.S. • Subject to yearly caps. • Capped. U.S. law sets a limit on the number of H-1B visas issued annually. • Required to be stamped at an overseas consulate before entry into the U.S.
  4. 4. Why Should I Get My Visa Stamped In Canada Or Mexico? In some cases, foreign nationals can get their H-1B visas stamped in Canada or Mexico. This may be preferable to getting the visa stamped in your home country because: • There may be less hassle getting the visa stamped in Canada or Mexico than your home country. • If you’re already in the U.S. or away from your home country, traveling to Canada or Mexico may be less expensive than returning home for a visa stamp. • Unrest in your home country may make returning their unfeasible.
  5. 5. What Do I Need To Bring? Bringing the right paperwork is essential to ensuring the visa re-stamping or stamping process goes as smoothly as possible. Documents foreign nationals will need to bring include: • • • • • Valid passport Letter of Employment LCA, I-129 Petition, Cover letter Current visa. If in the U.S. bring all documents to show you have maintained status Past visas and passports More documentation may also be required. Consulting with an immigration attorney will help you ensure you have all the right papers for convenient processing.
  6. 6. Why Hire An Immigration Attorney To Help? Foreign nationals seeking to renew a visa or change status by visiting Mexico or Canada are advised to hire an immigration attorney to help with the process. An immigration attorney can help: • Advise you on whether getting your visa stamped in Canada or Mexico or going home to get it stamped is your best option. • Handle any discrepancies between paperwork used in your home country and the country where you’re getting your visa re-stamped. • Handle any questions or issues consular officials may have with your paperwork. • Ensure all paperwork is in order and that you are properly prepared for an interview by officials. Hiring an attorney is especially recommended if you are trying to change your immigration status from an H-4 or F-1 visa to an H-1B visa.
  7. 7. Where Can I Go To Get My Visa Stamped In Mexico? • • • • • Juarez Nogales Matamoros Tijuana Nuevo Laredo
  8. 8. Where Can I Go To Get My Visa Stamped In Canada? • • • • • • • Vancouver Quebec City Halifax Calgary Toronto Montreal Ottawa
  9. 9. Who Can’t Get A Visa Renewed In Canada Or Mexico? In general, U.S. officials encourage getting your visa re-stamped in your home country. However, third country nationals can and do get visas re-stamped in Canada or Mexico. People who definitely cannot get visas re-stamped in Canada or Mexico include: • Residents of nations designated as state sponsors of terror. • Foreign nationals whose visas have expired, placing them out of status. • In most cases, foreign nationals seeking E visas.
  10. 10. About The Law Office of Samira Recob Samira Recob is a Denver, Colorado based attorney specializing in immigration law. Recob can help companies trying to establish residency for their foreign workers, U.S. citizens trying to bring fiancées and spouses from overseas and resident aliens trying to change their immigration status, among other needs. Recob’s experience helps ensure clients’ quickly and effectively navigate the bureaucracy surrounding immigration law. For more information visit: http://www.recoblaw.com.

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