Workers with an approved employment-based immigrant visa petition (Form I-140) facing specific circumstances may qualify for a Compelling Circumstances Employment Authorization Document (EAD) for up to one year. This provision applies when individuals lack an available immigrant visa in the Department of State's Visa Bulletin and encounter compelling circumstances. The Compelling Circumstances EAD is a discretionary measure designed to aid those progressing towards lawful permanent residence, allowing them to avoid abrupt departure from the United States.
Individuals working under a Compelling Circumstances EAD transition from maintaining nonimmigrant status to a period of authorized stay, preventing the accrual of unlawful presence during the EAD's validity. Details on eligibility and the application process are outlined on the USCIS Employment Authorization in Compelling Circumstances page.
Expedited adjudication may be applicable in certain circumstances, such as expedited processing for status change applications to a dependent status with employment authorization eligibility. For instance, an application changing status from H-1B to L-2 may qualify for expedited adjudication to prevent significant financial loss. Additional information on making an expedite request is available on the How to Make an Expedite Request page.
Alternatively, workers facing termination may choose to depart the United States. In cases of involuntary job cessation for H-1B and O workers, the reasonable transportation costs to the worker's last place of foreign residence must be covered by the respective H-1B or O employer and petitioner.
When abroad, H-1B holders can pursue U.S. employment and seek readmission for the remaining period of their H-1B status. Those eligible for another classification can complete the application or petition process abroad, followed by seeking readmission to the United States.
This information is now consolidated on the new Options for Nonimmigrant Workers Following Termination of Employment page.