Q. My employer sponsored me for my green card. Am I stuck working for the employer who sponsored me? I recently became a permanent resident through employer sponsorship. I had been working for the company for many years in H-1B temporary professional worker status. Can I leave this company for a better opportunity? Can I work in a different field?
- N., White Plains
A. You are free to quit your job and keep your permanent residence. You can work in a different field or not work at all. The rule is based on the concept that no one in the U.S. can be forced to work against his or her will.
If you leave the sponsoring employer shortly after getting permanent residence, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services might someday ask you to prove that yours was a real job offer, not just a plot to get you a green card. That might happen if you apply for citizenship.
Because you have been working for your employer for many years, you shouldn’t have a problem. Still, it’s best to keep records of your present employment in case the USCIS ever questions you about it.
Sponsored workers often ask me how long they must stay with the employer. The law doesn’t require any particular amount of time. However, to avoid hassles, I generally recommend that a sponsored employee work with the sponsoring employer at least three months after getting permanent residence.
Will I lose my U.S. citizenship if I become a Belgian?
Q. If I become a Belgian citizen, will I lose my U.S. citizenship? I’m a naturalized U.S. citizen. I’m from Albania. My parents immigrated to Belgium in 1998 and became Belgian citizens in 2008.
- Aldi, Staten Island
A. You will not lose your U.S. citizenship if you become a Belgian citizen. U.S. law does state that a U.S. citizen can lose his or her nationality if he or she voluntarily “obtains naturalization in a foreign state.” However, federal court decisions have made it almost impossible for the U.S. government to take away a person’s U.S. citizenship just because he or she naturalized in another country.
Tourist visa query
Q. How can I help my friend in a foreign country get a tourist visa?
- Mason, N.Y.
A. Let’s start by recognizing that getting a tourist or visitor’s visa can be difficult for some applicants.
I am assuming your friend is from a developing country. If he were in a developed country, he likely wouldn’t need your help to get the visa. The problem for visitors from developing countries is that they sometimes have a hard time proving that they will return after their visit, a requirement for getting a visitor’s visa.
Visitor visa applicants in developing countries need to make an extra effort to provide consuls with proof they have ties to their place of residence.
If your friend is working, he should provide an employer’s letter and tax returns. If your friend has close family in his country, he should bring proof of those relationships. If your friend owns a house or an apartment, he should bring the title. Students should bring a letter from their school and a copy of their transcript.
If your friend doesn’t have much money, you should send an invitation letter that says you will cover all his expenses. You might also send an affidavit of support with a bank account report and/or income tax return attached.
You can use USCIS form I-134, Affidavit of Support. If your friend will be staying with you, mention that in the letter, and explain what accommodations you have available.
Also helpful in applying for a visitor’s visa is a clear and detailed itinerary for the visit. The consular officer will want to know what plans your friend has while in the U.S.
A consular officer will often be more sympathetic to a visitor’s application if the visitor is coming for a specific event, such as a wedding or college graduation. If your friend is coming for such an event, he should bring a printed invitation.
Allan Wernick is a lawyer and director of the City University of New York Citizenship and Immigration Project. He is the author of “U.S. Immigration and Citizenship - Your Complete Guide, Revised 4th Edition.” Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, Daily News, 450 West 33rd Street, New York, N.Y. 10001. Professor Wernick’s web site is www.allanwernick.com.
Allan Wernick’s Immigration column is reprinted from the Thursday, January 8 edition of The New York Daily News.