Yova Borovska, Counsel in the firm's Immigration section, comments on considerations for student visa holders transitioning to employer-sponsored visas when traveling abroad between the date their student visa expires and October 1, when professional visas take effect. Read the full article, "Caution Student-Employees Against Travel Abroad During ‘Cap-Gap’ Period" in SHRM.
Graduates in the cap-gap period "should not travel abroad during the change-of-status request pendency unless there is an emergency, and they should be fully prepared to wait outside of the U.S. until they can return on the H-1B visa," said Yova Borovska, an attorney with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in Tampa, Fla.
HR should ask employees with pending immigration status about any international travel plans far in advance, to confirm the worker's ability to travel and so the employer can explain the risks, Borovska recommended. "If an employee in his or her cap-gap period departs during the change-of-status pendency, he or she would be stuck abroad for some time before being able to return, and that may disrupt the employer's operations," she noted.
Foreign national employees should always double-check their ability to travel internationally before scheduling any travel plans, she added. "They should not rely on the ability to travel in the past or on outdated advice related to travel, as a small change in circumstances may prevent them from returning to the U.S., sometimes for an extended period of time," Borovska said.