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Expert James
Expert James, Immigration Attorney
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I was in the US on an H3 visa for 2 years. I came back to Europe

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I was in the US on an H3 visa for 2 years. I came back to Europe last August a few days before my visa expired.
Now an American company wants to sponsor me for a work visa (possibly L1)
Can we start the application now or I have to wait 6 months from the day my H3 visa expired?
Hi there! Thank you for using this service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'll be helping you with your questions today.

You must be outside of the US for at least 6 months, before changing that status and entering the US. The only way the US government can control this is for the validity dates on the visa to be limited to dates 6 months after you have returned from the US.

There are two ways to do this: 1) either for you to apply for the visa and for it to be issued for a future date, or 2) for you to wait for 6 months to pass and then apply for the visa and be issued the visa for immediate validity at that time.

The good news is that it could take 3 to 6 months to complete the L1 visa process, including the processing of the petition in the US. So if you start now, by the time it is finished and ready to be issued, the 6 months probably would have passed.

So the short answer to your question is that you can't enter the US on H1 or L1 for at least 6 months from the end of your time on H3, but your employer can start the petition now and request the start date 6 months after you left, and it should be fine.

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