Saurav Mazumdar was in India to renew his H-1B visa.
Saurav Mazumdar and his wife, Ishita Menon, came to the United States 19 years ago to get their master’s degrees. Mazumdar has an H-1B visa, designed for skilled workers, and Menon has a H4 visa, the spousal companion to an H1B.
With their son, Sameer, 6, and daughter, Sitara, 11, the family has to return to India every three years to have his passport re-stamped and the visa renewed, so the family can continue to live and work here. For kids, it is a vacation to see their grandparents and other relatives.
But their latest trip to India turned out to be a nightmare, reports the Washington Post. Soon after reaching New Delhi in July, Mazumdar submitted his passport at the US Embassy for paper work and proceeded to his hometown. When he returned to pick up the passport, after he received an email that his passport was ready, there was no stamp.
Later, he was asked to come in for an interview, where he had a straightforward interview, got fingerprinted and got a document telling him that his visa papers are being held up. Taken aback, the family canceled their August 13 plane tickets back to Washington and hired an immigration lawyer to pursue their case.
The long gap is affecting their children’s school, not to mention Mazumdar’s work.
His emails to the State Department were returned with a standard caution that “before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants should wait at least 180 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.”
“I guess we were naive enough to think this couldn’t happen to us,” Isheeta Menon, 41, who holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University and serves on the special events committee at her son’s DC elementary school, told the Post.
Despite being highly skilled and one of the top scientists in his field — data engineering and artificial intelligence — two fast-developing areas of expertise and the kind of immigrants President Donald Trump wants, Majumdar is stranded in India unable to return to Washington, DC.
“It’s really hard to explain to a 6-year-old why he can’t go back home,” Mazumdar told the Post. His son, Sameer, is keen to return and keeps in touch with friend Owen once a week, while his teacher sends him pictures from the class and tells him how much he was missed in the class room.
Though they have applied for green card, the backlog of highly educated, highly skilled people from India is way too long to say anywhere from 75 to 115 years. For now, Mazumdar and Menon are stuck in limbo unable to determine when they will be able return home to America.
Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)
Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)