When does the 60-day grace period start?

The grace period officially starts the day after your last day of full employment, even if your employer continues to pay you after that.

Workers in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1 and TN status who quit or lose their jobs have a 60-day grace period during which they can apply to change employers or switch to a completely different status. The 60-day clock starts ticking immediately after your last day of employment. "Employment" in this context includes:

  1. Performing your job as usual while being paid your full salary and receiving normal benefits;
  2. Using vacation or other types of PTO during which you continue to receive your full salary and 

In an effort to make the transition to a new job easier, many employers are eager to offer creative workarounds that will effectively delay the start of the grace period clock. Unfortunately, however, simply receiving a pay stub or maintaining other benefits will not delay the start of the clock. The following will not stop the 60-day clock from running:

  1. Remaining an official employee and retaining health insurance benefits, but not performing work or receiving full salary;
  2. Receiving severance pay after termination, whether paid in a lump sum or spread out into multiple payments over a period of weeks or months so the appearance of a regular salary is maintained.

This article is designed to give you a general understanding of how the 60-day grace period is triggered. Each situation is unique, however, so it's essential to consult an attorney to discuss the details of your case.