HORITSU.COM :: The US Immigration Laws


Common Questions from Change of Status to Green Card Sponsorship

Q. I am in the US on an F-1 visa. My practical training expires on June 15, 2000. My company filed papers for me with the INS last week for an H-1B visa.
  1. When is the H-1B cap expected to be reached?
  2. If the cap is reached before the INS decides my case, can I remain in the US?
  3. Can I work after my practical training expires?


  1. The H-1B cap is expected to be reached in March. If the cap is reached before your case is decided, the law prevents the INS from approving employment until October 1, 2000.
  2. People in F-1 status who are requesting a "change of status" from F to H-1B were permitted last year to remain in the US after the cap was reached if their case was filed with the INS prior to the cap being reached. Similar action is expected from the INS this year too.
  3. You can't work after your practical training expires.

Q. I am working for a company in Los Angeles and my H-1B visa expires in May 2001. I just married a US citizen. I was told it takes approximately 2 years to get a green card interview in Los Angeles. Can I apply for a green card interview in Tokyo while I work in the US?

A. Yes. The total processing time is approximately 6 months. You will be required to return to Japan a few days before the interview. On the day of the interview the Embassy will give you a "green card" visa to allow you to return to the US. Your US citizen husband does not need to attend that interview.

Q. My wife and I just had a baby in the United States. We are here on E visas. When can our baby sponsor us for green cards?

A. A US citizen (by birth or naturalization) can sponsor his parents for green cards once they are 21 years old. It then takes approximately 6 months to set up the interview in Tokyo, Japan.

Q. I have been working for 1 year as a manager or executive at a company in Japan. My company wants to establish a branch office in the US and transfer me here to manage it. Is it possible?

A. Yes. The L-1A visa for new offices is the visa you need. It is valid initially for 1 year. You can remain in L-1A status for up to 7 continuous years. You can also apply for a green card once your US company is at least 1 year old.

Q. Is it possible to get a visitor visa if I am Japanese?

A. Most Japanese nationals can visit the United States without a visa under the VISA WAIVER PROGRAM. This allows visitors to come for up to 90 days. If you need to remain longer you can apply for a B-1/2 visa, but you will have to convince the US Embassy that 90 days is not long enough.