What If You Lose Your Job While Your Green Card Is Processing?

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What If You Lose Your Job While Your Green Card Is Processing?

Although losing your job can have serious consequences for your personal finance and immigration status, there is a specific law known as AC21, which provides several options for maintaining your status and continuing with your green card processing.

Losing your job just when you were about to be approved for an employment-based green card can be devastating and bring about uncertainty-based anxiety. There is nothing one can do when this happens to force the employer to complete the process. This is because most employment is at will, meaning the employer can terminate you for any reason and at any time.

However, the AC21 law provides options you can pursue to maintain lawful status in the U.S. as you try and find a solution to your situation.

Can I Continue with My U.S. Green Card Processing After Losing My Job?

If you have already submitted your green card application Form I-485 by the time you lose your job, then it may be possible to get a green card despite losing your job. That is the good news. The bad news is that you may have to start all over from square one by finding another employer willing to sponsor you for a green card. 

The new employer may have to go through the whole labor certification process and file a new I-140 for you. You will then file a new I-485 application after the I-140 is approved or concurrently with the I-140 petition.

The other good news here is you will be able to keep your previous priority date for the purposes of your new I-140 petition. For example, if your prior I-485 application was based upon an I-140 with a priority date of December 1, 2020, you will be able to keep that priority date with your new I-140 petition, even if your new petition is not filed until December 1, 2022 (or any other date in the future).

However, there is an important subgroup of applicants who need not go back to square one and start the process over. If your original I-485 application has been pending for longer than 180 days, and you are able to find a job with another employer that’s like the position described in your previous I-140, you will be able to utilize the AC21 law.

Under AC21, an employee whose I-485 application has been pending with USCIS for at least 180 days may change jobs and move to a different employer to work in a position that is similar to the position in the previous I-140 petition. These 180 days are counted from the receipt date of your I-485 application. 

This change in jobs is what is referred to as “porting.” Porting is very simple, and foreign workers port to different employers all the time. All that is required is to notify USCIS by filing a Form I-485 Supplement J to provide details about the new job and employer.

Our Chicago Immigration Attorneys Can Help

If you have lost your job during the processing of your employment-based green card in the Chicago area, contact Kriezelman Burton & Associates, LLC today and schedule an appointment to discuss your options. We are based in Chicago but also take cases in Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan.