Is it OK to make use of a customer visa whereas holding an H-1B? • TechCrunch

Right here’s one other version of “Pricey Sophie,” the recommendation column that solutions immigration-related questions on working at know-how firms.

“Your questions are very important to the unfold of data that enables individuals everywhere in the world to rise above borders and pursue their desires,” says Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether or not you’re in individuals ops, a founder or in search of a job in Silicon Valley, I’d like to answer your questions in my subsequent column.”

TechCrunch+ members obtain entry to weekly “Pricey Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to purchase a one- or two-year subscription for 50% off.

Pricey Sophie,

I’m in Toronto, Canada, and I used to be accredited for an H-1B, which was just lately stamped in my passport. I plan to maneuver to the U.S. subsequent yr. Can I go to the U.S. on a earlier B-1/B-2 visa this November?

Wouldn’t it increase any purple flags if I have been to go to as a customer whereas holding an accredited/stamped H-1B visa?

— Proficient in Toronto

Pricey Proficient,

Congrats in your H-1B approval and stamp! Earlier than I dive into your questions, let’s cowl some fundamentals on visa sorts.

Visa sorts

Immigration legislation has two broad varieties of visas:

  1. Non-immigrant visas — additionally typically known as work visas, or visas.
  2. Immigrant visas — often known as inexperienced playing cards, or everlasting residence.

But it surely’s somewhat tough as a result of one other consider whether or not any person receives a visa and is admitted for entry is their intention. The federal government officers are evaluating whether or not they suppose you plan to immigrate to the USA.

So, there’s an overlay between what kind of visa or inexperienced card you need, and whether or not you will have non-immigrant or immigrant intent:

Sophie’s matrix of intention

Inexperienced card Visa
Immigrant intent Required1 Trigger for denial3 OR Approvable4
Non-immigrant intent Trigger for denial2 Approvable5


  1. Immigrant intent is the purpose of a inexperienced card, and you could have the intention to completely immigrate to the U.S. if you need one.
  2. You’ve bought to really need to stay within the U.S. to qualify for and keep everlasting residence.
  3. Many visas similar to B for guests, F-1 for college students and J-1 for trade guests clearly require non-immigrant intent, and proof of immigrant intent is trigger for denial.
  4. Sure visas similar to H-1B and L-1 are twin intent, and your intention to remain short- or long-term is irrelevant to the adjudication.
  5. Most non-immigrant visas have been initially designed for individuals with non-immigrant intent.
A composite image of immigration law attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Picture Credit: Joanna Buniak / Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

So for individuals with immigrant intent, the legislation supplies for inexperienced playing cards. The entire level of acquiring everlasting residence is to allow sure individuals to realize their intention of staying completely within the U.S. They will stay and work within the U.S., journey overseas with few restrictions and even apply to turn into U.S. residents after fulfilling sure necessities.

Nevertheless, individuals in search of single-intent visas or entry primarily based on these visas that solely allow non-immigrant intent, similar to B within the state of affairs you describe, should reveal to immigration officers that their keep in the usis solely non permanent and so they intend to finally return to stay of their dwelling nation.

Basically, it may be difficult to shift from a non-immigrant visa to an immigrant visa, often known as a inexperienced card. The overall function of this immigration coverage is so that folks don’t abuse the system by acquiring non-immigrant visas after which overstaying with out authorization.

However there may be an exception: It’s OK for individuals on dual-intent visas (that are usually non-immigrant work visas) to use for inexperienced playing cards.

A number of visas in your passport

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