Arthur Lee, Esq. Q&As published on the World Journal Weekly on June 16, 2024: 1. You may be able to switch to the new job after 180 days of concurrently filing your I-140/I-485 2. If you are uncertain about your ability to obtain a renewed H-1B visa at your home consulate, having Advance Parole as a contingency plan could help

1. You may be able to switch to the new job after 180 days of concurrently filing your I-140/I-485

A reader asks:
Currently, I have been in this company for many years and am somewhat underpaid. The salary is about 80% of the market rate. Fortunately, there is no risk of layoffs. I found a FAANG (5 high-tech companies – Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google) job some time ago, and my salary was about 30% higher than my current salary. Should I submit the I-140 to this company first? How long does it take from application to approval?

Arthur Lee Esq. answers:
In this answer, I assume that your current company has a certified PERM labor certification application for you, and that it is eligible to submit an I-140 on your behalf. Since you are considering this FAANG position, I further assume that you have discussed the position with your prospective employer, and that it is willing to possibly sponsor you for PERM labor certification. A final assumption is that you will not be filing any employer-flexible employment-based petition such as EB-2 NIW or EB-1A. In your situation, you have a few options. First, you can ask your current employer file an I-140 for you and wait for it to be approved prior to transferring to the FAANG company. Of course, the caveat here is that the FAANG company may not still be willing to hire you after the time that the I-140 is approved or your employer may attempt to revoke the approval if it feel victimized by you. Additionally, in order to have employer-flexibility and “port” your job after filing your I-140, more conditions must be met. The I-140 must be approved or pending, and you must have an I-485 application that has been pending for at least 180 days. So for this to work ideally, your priority date should be current so that you can concurrently file the I-140 and the I-485. After this, you would be able to “port” your job after 180 days of filing your I-485 application to a same or similar job at the FAANG company. To complement this strategy, if your current employer agrees, you can file premium processing on your I-140 for an additional $2,805 so that you can be potentially have an approved I-140 after 15 business days. Without premium processing, an I-140 petition typically takes somewhere from 6 months to a year to adjudicate. In sum, under this strategy, you may be able to switch to the FAANG job after 180 days of concurrently filing your I-140/I-485, and not have to have the FAANG company do another PERM labor certification application on your behalf. Of course, if your priority date is not current, you will need to wait for it to become current until filing the I-485, and then wait 180 days thereafter to change jobs to the FAANG company via H-1B transfer or another legal mechanism. If your employer files an I-140 that is ultimately approved, but you are not able to file an I-485, you may at least be able to retain your priority date for a second employment-based immigrant petition.

Your second option is to just accept the FAANG offer, and do a work visa transfer to them without your current employer filing an I-140 on your behalf. The upside to this is that you will be able to accept the FAANG offer while it is still fresh and not risk that ship sailing. The downside is that you will forgo the PERM labor certification that your current employer has done for you, and have to redo the labor certification process with the FAANG company which will add approximately 2 years to your process (ETA 9141 currently taking 6-7 months to adjudicate and ETA 9089 over a year at this time). Unless you have an approved I-140 that has not been revoked by your previous employer, you will not be able to retain your old priority date either. Therefore, if you are willing to wait longer for your permanent residence while maintaining nonimmigrant status in the US and make more money in exchange, then this could be a viable option for you. 

2. If you are uncertain about your ability to obtain a renewed H-1B visa at your home consulate, having Advance Parole as a contingency plan could help

A reader asks:
I am EB-3, Form B is current this month, but Form A is not yet available. The lawyer now plans to submit I-485 and combo card applications at the same time, but I just returned to China last month to renew my H-1B stamp, and my H-1B visa (I-797) has also just been renewed for three years. I originally planned to go to Costarica for a vacation at the end of this year and return to China to visit my family in May next year, but now once the AP card application is submitted, I cannot leave the country. The lawyer said that it now takes about 12 to 15 months to get the AP card, which means that all overseas travel plans for next year (and maybe the year after) will be cancelled. Now, I want to tell the lawyer to only submit the I-485 and not submit the EAD and AP card applications, because considering that my H-1B stamp has one year to expire, the AP card will only be valid for 1 year even if I get it, and H- 1B visa stamp has about the same length of effect. In this case, I can return to my country with a valid visa next spring and wait until the visa stamp expires before applying for an AP card. Is it okay for me to think about it this way? My job is relatively stable. Although the salary is not high, I am not particularly worried about being laid off suddenly. If I don’t apply for an AP card now, will there be any other risks?

Arthur Lee Esq. answers,
While this is up to you, there is still some value in applying for the EAD & AP in your situation. The fact that you have fresh H-1B status with close to 3 years of validity is great in that it reduces the urgency in your situation to apply for an EAD and AP. You can freely travel back and forth on your H-1B visa as long as you are still employed at your H-1B sponsoring company or have a valid H-1B transfer petition approved. After your H-1B visa expires, you can renew at your home consulate when you return next Spring by applying for a DS-160 and having all necessary evidence available including your valid LCA, job letter from the company, and H-1B approval. Having an advance parole approved does not negate your H-1B visa. You can just use your H-1B visa to come in and out of the United States. Where the advance parole may benefit you is if your I-485 case takes more time to approve than the validity of your H-1B status. Of course, the advance parole is only valid for periods of to one year if not renewed. So you could consider applying for EAD & Advance Parole closer to the expiration of your H-1B if you so desire. If you wish to coordinate the advance parole with your H-1B status expiry, you could apply for the benefits about 12 months before the date of your H-1B expiration. Your I-485 case could possibly take longer to adjudicate than the validity of your H-1B status as employment-based cases in some jurisdictions are taking long to adjudicate—you can see the USCIS processing time charts for an approximate waiting time on your type of case—and because your priority date is not current with respect to the Final Action Dates (“Chart A”) yet. If your green card case is not approved yet, and you have an advance parole, you would generally be able to depart and enter the United States without needing to extend your H-1B status. Also, if you are for any reason uncertain about your ability to obtain a renewed H-1B visa at your home consulate, having Advance Parole as a contingency plan could help. While applying for I-485 without EAD or Advance Parole may work for you especially as you have nearly 3 years of H-1B validity, you may want to consider the above benefits and decide whether they are worth the extra applications to you. But aside from the costs, there are no perceptible downsides to applying for EAD and AP.