Here is another version “Dear Sophie,” an advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at tech companies.
“Your questions are critical to spreading the knowledge that allows people around the world to rise above borders and pursue their dreams,” said Silicon Valley immigration attorney Sophie Alcorn. “Whether you’re looking for a job in Human Ops, as a founder, or in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in the next column.”
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I am currently a software engineer on H-1B. My employer sponsored me for an EB-2 green card, and my application was approved, but I’m still waiting for a decision on my application 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 do I have to wait until I receive my green card at my current location?
If I must post, how long must I stay with my current employer after I receive my green card?
– Desire for change
As my dad (also an immigration attorney) always says, here’s one of those classic lawyer answers: “It depends.
When a company is willing to sponsor you for a green card, things can change quickly, especially in the Valley. The past two years have been a time of self-reflection and evaluation. Thanks for reaching out, and here’s an overview of some of the general options.
Can I transfer my green card?
The American Competitiveness in the Twenty-First Century Act (AC21) allows some professionals to transfer their employment-sponsored green card process from one major employer to another without leaving “places on the line.”
It has various conditions, for example:
- I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Status or Adjust Status), the last step after filing an I-140 green card application, must be pending with US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for at least 180 days from the date of filing.
- The new job is in the “same or similar” field as the original green card application (this involves a complex legal analysis based on various factors).