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Renewing H-IB work visas just got more complex

In the last 10 years or so, millions of people from other countries have received the opportunity to work in the United States, and many of them may reside here in New Orleans. Approximately 2.5 million of them did so by obtaining H-1B work visas. These visas last for approximately three years with a total of six years of potential extensions.

Renewing an H-1B used to be easier since those holding them were given deference when the time came in accordance with a 2004 memo from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. This meant that USCIS would base its decisions to extend such visas (at least in part) on previous eligibility determinations. In essence, this put the responsibility on the agency. 

A recent memo supersedes the 2004 memo. It removes the ability of an H-1B visa holder to rely on prior information regarding eligibility when it comes time to renew the visa. This means that the burden of proof is put back in the hands of the individual seeking to renew. While immigration issues are being hotly contested in the political and public arenas, those who actually live the issues may be at a loss. As the requirements for one visa or another seem to change often these days, many people need help figuring out what to do next.

For those with H-1B work visas, new information and documents will more than likely need to be submitted as if they are applying for the first time. People with these visas here in the New Orleans area may want to consult with an attorney regarding the steps they need to take in order to renew their visas. Having a legal advocate on their side could increase the chances of being able to remain in the country.

Source:, "H-1B visas now harder to renew as Trump admin continues immigration crackdown", Oct. 25, 2017

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