Ma’s employer filed for an extension of his H-1B visa, but it was denied, and his employer failed to file an application for status adjustment within 180 days of the expiration of his H-1B visa. Because the application to extend the H-1B visa was denied, Ma was without lawful status in this country for 331 days before he applied to adjust his status—well over the 180 days permitted by 8 U.S.C. § 1255(k)(2)(A), which would have otherwise protected him from removal. He was, however, legally authorized to work in the country during the months between the expiration of his H-1B visa and the denial of his application for an H-1B extension pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(20). Nonetheless, because 8 C.F.R. § 1245.1(d) does not recognize regulatory employment authorization as conferring lawful immigration status for purposes of status adjustment under 8 U.S.C. § 1255(k)(2)(A), the court concluded that Ma is ineligible for status adjustment.

“While nonimmigrant workers like Ma may legally continue working in this country for up to 240 days while they wait to hear back from the USCIS on their extension applications, they do not have lawful status during this period of time for purposes of status adjustment.

The full text of Ma v. Sessions can be found here: