Easy Guide to Changing Jobs on an H-1B Visa

Changing jobs while working on an H-1B visa is legal as long as your new employer is ready to sponsor your visa. The process of changing employers is called an H-1B Change of Employer petition, commonly referred to as an “H-1B Transfer”. While the name may imply that it is just a transfer, the process involves your new employer petitioning for a new H1-B visa on your behalf.

Easy Guide to Changing Jobs on an H-1B Visa

H-1B Change of Employer (or “H-1B Transfer”) Process for the new employer

To enable the visa transfer, your future employer has to file a petition with USCIS. The standard processing time for a petition is somewhere around two to six months unless you want premium processing for which the turnaround time is fifteen calendar days.

  1. The new employer has to start the process by submitting the Labor Conditions Approval (LCA) to the Department of Labor (DOL).
  2. After receiving a Certified LCA from DOL, the employer proceeds to submit the I-129 form and petition with the requisite document. Instructions to fill the I-129 petition form are listed by uscis.gov.

    Here is the Optional Checklist for Form I-129 H-1B Filings.

Documents required for H-1B Transfer

To Be Submitted by H1B Visa Holder (employee)-

  • ​​Copy of current H-1B visa, passport, social security card, I-797 and I-94 
  • Updated resume
  • Recent payslips/pay stubs (most recent three months)
  • Copy of University degrees, transcripts, and translations/evaluations (as necessary)

To Be Submitted by New Employer-

  • A letter stating your title and salary jointly signed by your company and you
  • A job description detailing your responsibilities 
  • The company's financial statements or Annual Report

H-1B Transfer FAQs

Do I need to notify my current employer about the Visa Transfer?

No, you don't need to inform your current employer about the visa petition filed by your future employer. However, switching employers may get complicated if you have signed a non-compete agreement. Consult a qualified attorney in such a case.

What to do if your current H-1B visa is nearing expiry?

You could ask your future employer to file for an extension. However, you would still be able to work for 240 days in the US from the day of the visa expiration even if an extension is not filed. 

What if my H-1B transfer petition is denied? Would I have to leave the US? 

Yes. But, once outside of the United States, you could re-file the H-1B as a Cap Exempt New Employment petition. Before entry, you would have to get a new H-1B Visa placed in your passport, eleven if you already had a valid H-1B in your passport. This is because the H-1B visa in your passport lists your prior employer.

How soon can I start working for my new company? 

Your future employer can initiate the porting process, which would allow you to start working for them before the extension of your H-1B status is approved. Your new employer would need to kick start the process by submitting the I-129 form. Once you receive a receipt from USCIS confirming that the visa transfer petition is received, you can start your new job. 

Would I be deported from the US if fired or laid off?

You will get a 60-day grace period to find a new employer, counted from your last day at the old company. However, if the expiration date on the I-94 comes before the 60 days could finish, you would have to leave by the stated date. It is also important to remember that your new employer must file the petition before this 60-day grace period.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice. Please consult with a qualified attorney.