Following the Administrative Appeal Office’s decision this year in Matter of Simeio Solutions, LLC, H-1B employees are required to file an amended or new H-1B petition when moving to a new work location that is outside of the same Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the work location listed in the most recently approved H-1B petition. To find out whether your new work location is within the same MSA as the one in your previous petition, visit http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oessrcma.htm for a list of MSAs recognized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you are uncertain, please contact an attorney to confirm.
If your new work location is outside the MSA of the work location listed in your most recent approved H-1B petition, your employer will be required to file an amended H-1B petition on your behalf. The amended petition can be filed in one of two ways:
(1) Requesting an amendment only of your currently-approved H-1B validity period, with the amended terms being your new work location and accompanying new project details/documents; OR
(2) The petition can be filed requesting amendment of the remaining time in your H-1B validity period, AND an extension of your current H-1B status at the same time (amendment + extension). This option is particularly advisable if your H-1B status will expire within the next year, as your employer will need to file an extension application for you anyway. By filing an amendment and requesting an extension within the same petition, your employer can fulfill the new amendment requirement from Simeio Solutions, and take care of extending your visa status at the same time.
Please note that filing fees for option 2 could be higher than those for option 1, depending on whether this is your first extension application with the petitioner.
While extension-only applications (that do not request an amendment) may only be filed within the 180-day period preceding the current H-1B expiration date, amendment + extension applications may be filed at any time – your employer does not need to wait for the 6-month mark preceding your current H-1B expiration date. This is because the start date being requested in the petition will be the day the LCA process starts, so that the new terms of employment (i.e., your new work location) will be immediately applicable.
Once again, please be aware of the quickly-approaching August 19 deadline USCIS has implemented for amendment petitions required as a result of Simeio Solutions. If your employer has not started the application process yet, make sure they do so as soon as possible in order to comply with the new policy. Furthermore, beyond August 19, any work location changes will need to be documented to USCIS via an amended petition that must be filed prior to the start of work at the new location, similar to the timing of filing a change of employer/transfer H-1B petition. This means your employer should begin planning for amendment filings once they become aware that your work location may change soon.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers in Houston & Dallas advises clients throughout the H-1B visa application process, including responding to various requests for evidence and consular processing issues. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.
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