Navigating Your Visa Status in a Global Pandemic

With new policy changes, the coronavirus, and remote working, it’s a confusing time for students and working professionals trying to navigate their nonimmigration status. 

“If you are affected by these changes, it is probably the most discomforting time of your life,” says P.K. Agarwal, UCSC Silicon Valley Extension dean. “We want to try and help you sort this out.”

Recently we invited immigration law experts from Chugh LLP to help sort through some of the challenges people are facing. In an online webinar addressing questions about F-1 and H1-B visas, we welcomed an exceptional panel.

  • Gladys Gervacio, Attorney, Immigration Lead, The Chugh Firm
  • Kirti Kalra, Partner/Attorney, The Chugh Firm
  • Carmen Lopez, Executive Manager and Immigration Team Lead, The Chugh Firm
  • Deepika Singh, Immigration Manager and Executive Director, The Chugh Firm

We are thankful to Chugh LLP for sharing their expertise and commitment with us.

They address the impact of suddenly remote work and school environments, how education can be part of the visa tool kit, and actions people can take to minimize problems and get help. Specific questions addressed include:

  • How is immigration status impacted if one is laid off or furloughed?
  • Can nonimmigrants take advantage of COVID-19 stimulus benefits or unemployment benefits?
  • Is it legal for nonimmigrants to work or intern remotely?
  • Are F-1 students in violation if there is no on-campus learning?
  • What is the status of the FY2021 H-1B cap season?
  • What options do F-1 students have if they were not selected in the H-1B lottery?

“Sometimes I feel like America has pulled out the welcome mat from under your feet,” Agarwal says. “In these trying times, sometimes you have to take things one day at a time and hope this too shall pass.”

Job Market Insights

This video is part of a weekly community discussion providing strategies for professional success in this crazy job market. It is hosted by UCSC Silicon Valley Extension, the professional development arm of UC Santa Cruz.

The UCSC Silicon Valley Extension international team is happy to help answer your questions. Please reach out to us at

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