How long should I stay in my current job after getting my green card?  – TechCrunch

How long should I stay in my current job after getting my green card? – TechCrunch

How long should I stay in my current job after getting my green card?  – TechCrunch

Here’s another edit of “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.

“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that allows people around the world to cross borders and pursue their dreams,” says Sophie Alcorn, an immigration attorney in Silicon Valley. “If you’re in people operations, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”

TechCrunch+ members receive access to the weekly “Dear Sophie” columns; use promo code ALCORN to buy a one or two year subscription at 50% off.

Dear Sofia,

I’m a software engineer currently on an H-1B. My employer sponsored me for an EB-2 green card and my application was approved, but I am still awaiting a decision on my application to register for permanent residency.

I want to leave my employer and do something completely different. Can I transfer my green card to another employer in a different field and position, or should I keep it in my current position until I receive my green card?

If I continue, how long should I stay with my current employer after receiving my green card?

– Desire for Change

dear wish,

As my dad (also an immigration attorney) always said, here’s one of those classic lawyer responses: “It depends.”

It’s so exciting when a company is willing to sponsor you for a green card, but things can change quickly, especially in the Valley. The last two years have been a period of self-reflection and reassessment. Thanks for getting in touch, and here’s an overview of some of the general options.

Can I transfer my green card?

A composite image of immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn in front of a background with a TechCrunch logo.

Image credits: Joanna Buniak/Sophie Alcorn (opens in a new window)

The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) makes it possible for some professionals to transfer their employment-sponsored green card process from one original employer to another without giving up their “place in line”.

It has several conditions such as:

  • The I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Status or Adjust Status), the final step after filing the I-140 green card application, must be pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for at least 180 days since the deposit.
  • The new work is in the “same or similar” field as the work for which the original green card application was filed (this involves complicated legal analysis based on a number of factors).

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