Can an H-1B Holder Vote While in the US?

The H-1B visa is a highly sought-after document because it affords foreign workers many benefits. But the beneficiary remains a citizen of their home country, even though they’re working and living in the United States. As such, certain rights, such as the right to vote, isn’t cut-and-dried for H-1B holders. Are you allowed to vote, and how does it work? We have the answers to your questions right here.

Voting in the United States

The system of voting in the United States is established as both a right and a privilege. Americans have a right to vote once they meet certain pre-determined standards, such as age and citizenship. However, it’s a privilege that not everyone is allowed to partake in, and it can be taken away. 

Eligibility is based on age (at least 18 years old on election day) and state requirements. You may not vote if you have a felony conviction or are declared legally mentally incapacitated.

Eligible citizens can register to vote in their county of residency. If you’re a US citizen, you can vote in local, state, and federal elections. In fact, it’s considered your civic duty to do so and make your voice heard. 

As an H-1B visa holder, you are a lawful permanent resident, but you’re not a naturalized US citizen, which means you technically don’t have the right to vote. However, there are some exceptions.

State and Local Elections

Depending on which state you live in, you may be allowed to vote in local and state elections. Certain states have provisions to include H-1B visa holders, green card holders, and non-immigrants under other work visas in their election processes.

The most popular example of this is the new City Council bill introduced in New York City in 2020. The bill allowed over one million tax-paying residents in the city — who were there lawfully but not as citizens — the ability to vote.

Federal Elections

On the other hand, you must be a US citizen to vote in a federal election. This should be apparent when you attempt to register to vote. Yet, if you somehow slip by and try to use your visa or green card as your right, you can be deported. USCIS takes this extremely seriously, and ignorance of the law does not work as an excuse. 

Before you try to vote in any election, talk to your immigration attorney to ensure you have the right and that it won’t impact your legal status. Even if you aren’t deported, this major infraction of the rules can be enough to ensure you are never allowed to become a citizen of the US in the future.

What’s Next?

Dealing with anything related to the government when you’re an H-1B visa holder should give you pause. Never try to tackle these issues yourself. Instead, contact Visa2US to find out the laws surrounding what you’re trying to do, especially if it relates to voting.

Something as innocent as trying to register to vote can have serious consequences. At Visa2US, we’re here to answer your questions and help you get and stay in the US under your H-1B visa without trouble.

If you would like to know your rights while you’re in the US, whether it’s about voting or something else, or you want to apply for an H-1B visa, contact us online or over the phone. Our legal experts are ready all day, every day, to help you!

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H-1B Visa

H-1B Visa

H-1B visa is used by businesses and organizations in the United States to employ foreign nationals with the preferred qualifications, knowledge, and expertise in a role.

I-485 Adjustment of Status

I-485 Adjustment of Status

Submit a form I-485 application to apply for lawful permanent resident status.

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

National Interest Waiver (NIW)

An applicant must either hold an advanced degree or have an exceptional ability in their field that would substantially benefit the U.S. to be qualified.