Ten and Sixty Day Grace Periods
Dev Banad Viswanath, Esq.
In January 2017, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) amended two regulations: 8 C.F.R. 214.1(i)(1) and 8 C.F.R. 214.1(i)(2). The new 8 C.F.R. 214.1(i)(1) now allows two 10-day grace periods for E1, E2, E3, L1, and TN nonimmigrants and the new 8 C.F.R. 214.1(i)(2) now allows, under certain circumstances, a 60-day grace period for E1, E2, E3, H1B, H1B1, L1, O1, and TN nonimmigrant visa holders.
10-Day Nonimmigrant Grace Period for Certain Nonimmigrants
The first of the two 10-day grace periods takes effect 10 days immediately preceding the validity period of the petition. The second 10-day grace period takes effect immediately after the validity period of the petition ends. The 10-day grace period also applies to dependents of the principal nonimmigrant. During both of the 10-day grace period the nonimmigrant may not work unless they are authorized to do so.
60-Day Nonimmigrant Grace Period for Certain Nonimmigrants
The 60-day grace period helps prevent a nonimmigrant from falling out of status just because they lost their job or were terminated before their visa status expires. This grace period only applies once during each visa petition validity period. The nonimmigrant has a grace period for up to 60 consecutive days, or until the existing validity period of their visa ends, whichever is shorter. DHS does have the authority to shorten or completely eliminate the 60-day grace period from any nonimmigrant in its discretion in writing, but they are not allowed to extend the grace period past 60 days. During the 60-day grace period the nonimmigrant may not work unless they are authorized to do so but they may apply for an extension of stay or a change of status. The biggest benefit of the 60-day grace period is that it allows the nonimmigrant worker to find a new job and file an extension of change of status under the new employee. However, the grace period does not allow the nonimmigrant to leave the country and reenter to claim the rest of their time.
Both the 10-day grace periods and the 60-day grace period are very helpful for certain nonimmigrants to avoid accruing unlawful status and not worrying about later not being allowed to return. It also allows people to settle their affairs if they intend to return to their home country without the worry of overstay. If during the grace periods, the nonimmigrant is not able to obtain a change of status or find new employment then it would be best to leave the country and return at a later time because since the grace periods are not extendable the nonimmigrant should not take the risk of committing any immigration violations.
Both the 10 day and 60 day grace periods are very useful to know about and gives the intending foreign national a bit of piece of mind.