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[USA] [H1B] After lay-off, I am allowed to stay and look for new job till the expiry of last I-94?

I am in USA, on an H1B visa. I got laid-off today. [Backstory, if you are interested.]

Visa History:

First H1B entry to USA: on November 2011.

That same company had initiated my Green Card petition and I got an approved I-140 during 2017.

I left that company in Jan 2021, and transferred my H1B to this new employer (Intralinks.)

This new visa / I-94 is (was?) valid from 01/12/2021 till 01/03/2024.


I got laid off from this job today. Now I have a lot confusion regarding when the "out of status" starts, when "unauthroized stay" starts and till what time can I search for a new employer etc. Most of Google search results are conflicting with one another. The most beneficial / lenient one I found was from a law firm's blog, which says these -

  1. When H-1B employment ends, the H-1B employee is "out of status" after 60 days. If he/she finds a new employer within this 60 days and the new employer files for a change of employer petition for the H-1B, the employee maintains the status.

  2. If you don't find a new employer within 60 days, you are now "out of status." Even then, you remain in a period of authorized stay in the US until the expiration of your I-94 admission or approval. You have until the end of your I-94 period of authorized stay to find new employment.

  3. During the period of authorized stay, within the validity of the I-94 - a new H-1B employer may file a change of employer petition for the H-1B within the validity of that I-94 and the beneficiary may begin employment with the new employer upon USCIS receipt of the change of employer petition.

  4. If one works without authorization, the person immediately begins to accrue unlawful presence. 180 days of unlawful presence makes the person subject to a 3-year bar from returning to the US and 365 days of unlawful presence makes the person subject to a 10-year bar. If the person does not work without authorization the H-1B beneficiary will be out of status until the end of I-94 validity but does not accrue unlawful presence until after I-94 validity.

  5. After the end of I-94 validity, if the H-1B beneficiary finds employment but departs the US before 180 days, the H-1B beneficiary will not be subject to the 3-year bar and may be granted an H-1B visa for return to the US in H-1B status for H-1B employment.

Are all of these true? If yes, then what's the difference between these -

  1. The person finding a new employer within 60 days of being laid-off.
  2. The person finding a new employer after 60 days but within current I-94 validity.
  3. The person finding a new employer after current I-94 expires, but before 180 days of that expiry.

Also, why do I keep hearing that if you don't find a new employer within 60 days, you should leave USA?

Additionally -

  1. My exit letter says the employment is terminated on 3/12/2021. And on 3/31/2021, I will be receiving 2 weeks of pay in lieu of notice. So, the 60 day grace period that I have - that clock starts from 3/12 or 3/31?
  2. My previous employer had initiated my Green Card process in 2017 and I already have an approved I-140; but have NOT started the I-485 AoS process as my date is not current yet. Does this "I-140 approved" status give me additional relief in any way?

Sorry about the wall of text. But as you can imagine, I'm under lot of stress now and can use any help / guidance I can get.

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