Memphis immigration lawyer Ari Sauer provides news and information on US immigration law.
QUESTION: After receiving my green card through my employer, how long do I have to stay with my employer before I can look for a new job? Will my leaving affect my chances of getting citizenship?
ANSWER: There is no set amount of time that someone must stay with their employer after receiving their green card. You must have had the intention to work for your employer in the sponsored position. Your employer must have had the intention to employ you in the sponsored position. If you do not work for your employer at all, or only work for a short period of time, this could cause USCIS to question whether you actually intended to work for the employer. Therefore it is recommended that you work for the employer for at least a while. Some attorneys recommend that you work for the employer for at least 3 months, while some attorneys recommend that you work for the employer for at least 6 months. However, there is no set amount.
Normally this question will not come up until the employee applies for citizenship. USCIS can look to see if you worked for the employer in order to determine whether you committed fraud in your green card application. however, as long as you worked for the employer for some period and can give a reasonable explanation for leaving the position, the fact that you did not stay with the employer long should not be a bar to receiving citizenship.
You should also keep in mind that, in certain circumstances, the green card application is portable to a new employer. Therefore, when the application is portable, you can start working for the new employer as your new petitioner before the green card application is approved. For more information on this, please listen to the podcast that we recently posted on the subject at visalaw.podbean.com. However, before you move to a new employer under the portability regulations, I would recommend that you consult with an immigration law attorney to ensure that your application is truly portable.