H1B Transfer Options and Scenarious

How to go about H1B transfer ? Various scenarios

In Apply H1B Visa by Saurabh1945 Comments

It is a one of the most common questions for H1-B workers that “Can I transfer my visa to another company?”. This question can arrive after working for a company for several years, or just after landing in US, or even before flying to US. As part of this article, I will try to address this question.

Legally, is there something really called H1B Transfer ? 

First of all, there is nothing called “H1-B transfer” (i.e. legally). It is a term coined for our convenience. H1-B transfer is basically a new H1-B petition which is not counted in the H1B quota because the applicant has already been counted in the quota once in the past 6 years.

What does USCIS Look for when any applicant goes for a H1B Transfer ?

So in order to approve any such petition USCIS considers two things:

  1. Did the applicant maintain the status (US Visa vs Status) before applying for the petition.
  2. Will the applicant be able to maintain the status if the petition is approved

I will now try to tackle different situations by keeping above two conditions in mind. In each of the below scenarios, 2nd consideration can be proved by showing petitioner’s ability to pay the alien once petition has been approved. For consulting companies, this is determined by a client/project letter.

Scenario 1: Applicant has never been to US
In this case, question regarding prior status doesn’t exist because as long as you are outside of US you don’t a legal status.

Scenario 2: Applicant has landed in US and applies for transfer within 15 days of landing
Because the applicant has landed in US, s/he now has a status. However, because it has been less than 15 days, that status is not defined yet (payroll typically starts in 15 days). So one can still dodge the bullet and may not have to prove his/her current legal status.

Scenario 3: Applicant has landed in US and applies for transfer after 15 days of landing
This is the scenario where USCIS definitely wants the alien to prove that s/he maintained his/her status. Some of the documents that can be submitted as valid proof are recent paychecks (3 should be sufficient), bank statements that show salary deposits and W2.

Scenario 4: Applicant worked in US for sometime, then left for India and files the petition while being in India
This is more like scenario 3. The applicant will have to submit most recent US payslips and W2s in order to prove that legal status was maintained while s/he was in US. No proof is required for the period for the time spent in India.

So if a person needs to file a new petition through a new employer (on in raw terms wants to apply for H1 transfer), then s/he needs to think about the above two considerations and see if s/he can satisfy both of them. As long as the person is able to satisfy both requirements, H1 transfer shouldn’t be a problem – it shouldn’t matter whether you are in US or in India.

What has been your experience ?

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Comments ( 1,945 )

  1. kumar

    Dear sir
    I need to know about my H1B cap Exemption -transfer to a new employer.
    * Currently i am in india.
    * My employer A has filed the petition in 2011.
    * I have received the approved petition( feb 2012-Sep 2014)and in 2014 Feb-May I worked in US around 4 months.
    later i resigned from the employer A and currently with Employer B.
    Now i planned to move Employer C who can transfer my Visa to work in USA.
    Question for clarifications:
    1. Is My petition can be transferred to the new employer win CAP EXEMPTION QUOTA.
    2. What is the Process to Transfer my Petition.
    3. How long it will take thru normal process and How long will take thru Premium Process
    4.If premium process , i need to bere from my self, i want to know how much it will cost.
    5.What is the probability of success inthis transfer.
    6.What is the difficulties in this petition case.
    7. With in what period it can be transferred?

    Thanks

  2. Aditya

    Hi,
    Here is the query:
    I have petition valid till May 31st 2016. I have used 1 year of H1 quota and currently in US working for company A. Company A has applied for extension under normal process (which takes 7-8 months).
    Company B has offered for H1 Transfer on premium process.
    So is it ok for H1 transfer when I-94 and VISA is expiring this month?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Aditya,

      Yes, B can file the petition for you. If they file the petition after your current I-94 expires, then its approval will depend upon A’s extension petition. Look-up bridge scenario. If filed before I-94 is expired, then it would be independent of A’s extension petition.

  3. Anand

    Hi,

    I work for company A and H1B was applied for me in Apr 2015 and it was approved in Feb 2016(there are no stamping done). I do not have any receipt no with me. I am planning to switch to another company. Is there a way to get the receipt no of my application as my company will not provide me the receipt no. Also, please suggest if I can go for stamping on the same visa if i get an opportunity to travel from the new company which i am planning to join.

    Thanks!

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Anand,

      In order to file cap-exempt petition through new employer, you should know at least the receipt number. Once this is known, new employer can file the petition for you, which will not be subjected to lottery.

      Also, when going for stamping use the petition of the employer you intend to work for and who is supporting your employment. In other words, old employer’s petition cannot be used for stamping if you plan to work for new employer. However, once visa has been stamped, you can use it to travel for any employer as long as you have approved petition for them. Makes sense, or did I confuse you?

      1. Anand Kumar

        Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for your response, it is really helpful. The only thing i am confused is the “cap-exempt petition”, it is new term for me. If you do not mind, could you please explain the difference between cap-exempt and normal visa petition.

        This is the first time that the visa has been applied for me, will my new employer be able to file cap-exempt petition for me?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Anand Kumar,

          Petitions that are filed in April and are subject to lottery are cap-subject petitions as only 1st 65K + 20K are selected. However, once the petition has been approved, future petitions for that employee will be cap-exempt as they are not subject to lottery. They can be filed anytime and by any employer (new or old one).

          So it is cap-exempt vs cap-subject petition and not cap-exempt vs normal.

  4. Pradeep

    Hi Saurabh

    My H1b got approved and stamped in 2012 by Company A. However I did not travel to USA and visa got expired. Again extension petition was approved and it got expired in 2015 without me travelling to USA. Now I am with company B. Can company B get H1b transferred along with new validity dates?

  5. kumar

    Hi
    I havd my H1B approved was valid upto Sep 2011-2014.
    IN this period i worked for 4 months at USA.
    after i came back to india. I resigned from this company .
    Currently i am in the new company. Now i would like to transfer my H1B Visa.
    Please suggest me, wether i have the eligibility to transfer my visa witout CAP exemption.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Ramakrishna

      Can someone reply to my question please,

      I got my h1b visa last year and my employer has filed amendment bcos of location change and is still in pending status,now i got an new offer and my new employer is filing h1 transfer. Can my new employer file h1 and should i notify my mew employer about my amendment pending status?

      1. administrator
        Saurabh

        Ramakrishna,

        If you have started working at the new location, then it is better to send copy of original approval notice and copy of amendment receipt notice.

        1. Ramakrishna

          Thanks Saurabh, I have not started working with new employer yet, still with my current employer. I dont have amendment receipt notice copy but i have receipt no. Can you please advise for smooth h1 transfer?

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            Ramakrishna,

            Your amendment was filed for location change, right? That’s what I said in my reply. If you are already working at new location … Not new employer but new location.

          2. Ramakrishna

            Saurabh,

            Yes i am working at new client location from past 2 months with my current employer for which my amendment is pending, should i need to submit amendment receipt copy for h1 transfer for new job.( I dont have receipt copy ) that is why i am asking

          3. administrator
            Saurabh

            Ramakrishna,

            Your current status is based on pending amendment as current petition is approved for old location. That’s why it is best to submit amendment receipt as well.

            If you don’t have it, then let new employer’s attorney know about it and see what they suggest. Do not hide from them, for if RFE is issued for this it may create an environment of distrust b/w you and new employer.

  6. Dhada

    I have h1b visa approved with employer A, he has filed amendment 3 months ago which is pending staus with uscis, now i got an offer with employer B , can i file my h1b transfer while amendment is pending , also should i notify my mew employer about my pending amendment?

    1. Ramakrishna

      Thanks Saurabh for your time to respond, one last thing, i checked with new employer this morning and they have filed my h1 transfer yesterday . Now what is the chance of getting an RFE, if so is it answerable if its regarding amendment pending?

      1. administrator
        Saurabh

        Ramakrishna,

        It is not possible to comment on the probability of getting RFE. If it is regarding amendment petition, then it can definitely be addressed using amendment receipt.

  7. tej

    I’m currently in US on H4 visa. Company A has applied for my H1B(on April 2016) and its picked in the lottery(can start working from Oct 2017). If I want to quit company A and join company B, what is the earliest time I can do so? Do I need atleast 2 months paystubs to change my job?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Tej,

      I think you meant Oct 2016 and not Oct 2017 as earliest date to work for A.

      IMO, B can file for cap-exempt H-1 petition (aka H-1 transfer) as soon as A’s petition has been approved. Obviously B’s petition cannot have a start date prior to Oct 1.

      If B files for transfer in late Oct, then you need pay slips for Oct for this. If B files for transfer in Jan, then you need at least 3 most recent pay slips.

      In other words, if you have worked for A for at least 3 pay periods, then 3 most recent pay slips are required. If you have worked for A for less than 3 pay periods, then all the pay slips for that period are required.

      1. tej

        Thank you Saurabh. I had misconception that this was possible only before 2014. My understanding was I should work for company A for atleast 2 months before joining company B. This reply clarified it.

  8. Navi

    Admin,

    One of my friend filed through 2 different employers for this year’s lottery FY 2017. He got picked in one and now he is saying if he can transfer this h1B from different company (which is new) to current company where he is employed?
    Will there be any issue from USCIS? or the transfer will be smooth?

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Navin,

      Once the person has an approved petition, any other employer can file a cap-exempt petition for him. No issues from USCIS side.

  9. Ak

    Hi ,
    I have valid H1B application which was picked up in lottery in the year 2015. But to some reason I have resigned from my current organisations who has filed H1B. I have only valid and lottery picked case no with me.
    Can any other employer can use this approved case.

    Regards
    Ak

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          AK,

          Yes, they can use the EAC number for the cap-exempt filing. The employer will have to put trust in you, that receipt number belongs to you and was indeed approved. You can also include print out of online statement showing it as approved.

          When the petition is submitted, USCIS can look-up in their system to confirm that old petition was indeed approved for you.

  10. Kaustubh

    Hi,

    My Query regarding H1B transfer process when candidate is in India.

    A candidate is having valid h1b stamped for company A. He has never traveled using existing h1b visa filled by Company A.Now candidate is working for company B since 3-4 months.

    * If candidate re-joins Company A then does he need to follow transfer H1B again?If yes, can he use payslips of Company B for transfer process?
    * Considering that candidate has not traveled to US through Company A, will there be any issue while transfer process?
    * Usually how much time will it takes?

    Thanks in advance…

  11. A.S.Kumar

    I have an offer from new employer and they filed petition in 2015. My H1B Approved on Apr 6 2016 and valid till 30 Jul 2018 (with my new employer). I am still in India and still working with my old employer. I never visited US on any visa.

    My Current employer wants to transfer my H1B and I am ok with it.
    Q1) Is it possible to my current employer to transfer without travelling to US with current approved H1B with new employer?

    But, I have a bond with my new employer for one year.
    Q2) If my new employer does not accepts my transfer and if I still do transfer, do I need to face any legal issues? Will my new employer (who filed petition) create any issues legally?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      A.S.Kumar,

      1. Yes

      2. Typically employment is at will in US and your employer cannot bound you for a set tenure. They can still go after you in India, or in US for liquidated damages. BTW, your H-1 employer plays no part in this H-1 transfer. They don’t need to be informed about it. In addition, technically you are not their employee yet, and agreements go into effect only after employment starts.

  12. Divya

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am having valid H1B visa till September 2016 from Company A but till now i didn’t get opportunities. and I am still in my home country.

    1) If suppose i got job in company B after my visa is expired, then is it possible to transfer my petition to company B? or again i need to file my H1B petition like new H1B petition from picking process in company B?

    2) Does petition withdrawal by employer “A” affect transfer process?

    Please update me on this

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Divya,

      1. Yes, it it possible to file cap-exempt petition aka H-1 transfer. No need to go through the lottery again.

      2. It doesn’t

  13. Eric

    Hi:

    My visa stamped is expired. I renewed my H-1B in Sep 2014, but since, we stayed in the US. Now, I change job, but my new I-797A has not arrived yet. I have to travel outside the USA. Can I get a new visa stamp using the I-797A form I had with my previous employer?

    Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Eric,

      Do not appear for stamping using old petition if you are no longer working for them. You should carry petition of your current employer, so that when they look-up the petition they know its current employer. If the petition is still pending, then you can upgrade to PP also.

      1. Eric

        Thank you. In fact, it was PP, but since the company also moved recently, their IRS files aren’t matching the USCIS H-1B sponsor address, and the approval is “pending”. waiting for new documents.

        Alternatively, do you know how long it takes to get the USCIS once the case is “fully” approved?

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Eric,

          Once approved, confirmation is sent over email within a day. However, the paper notice may take 1-2 weeks to arrive.

  14. Sarika

    Hello ,

    My husband is on H1B and my son is on H4 (as my husband’s dependant visa). I am also on H1B . How can I transfer my son’s H4 from my husband H1B to my H1B dependant visa.Kindly let me know the process and also if that is possible and will I need to get my son’s visa stamped again?

    Thanks!
    Sarika

      1. Sarika

        Thanks for responding Saurabh. Yes me , my husband and our son , we all are in US. My son’s H4 will expire this December and my H1B is until 2018, so wanted to know as if in case of emergency if I need to travel , so to avoid my son having issues wanted to have his H4 with my H1 so that he gets more validity.

        Thanks,
        Sarika

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Sarika,

          I am not 100% sure, but I think you would have to file I-539. Docs required would be your husband’s current H-1 proof of status (797, payslips) and your H-1 proof of status (797, payslips) and kid’s birth certificate to show relationship.

          No new visa stamping is required until current visa stamp is valid.

          Do you have plans to travel outside US b/w now and December? Do you want him to move to your H-1 ASAP or can it wait until your trip to home country?

  15. Hari Prakask

    Hi All,
    I came to Us on Jan 22nd 2016 on h1b but my employer unable to find me a project but they are generating my payslips for only 15 days in a month

    1 st payslip i have only for 15 days i.e from feb 1st 2016 to 15 feb 2016
    2nd payslip i have only for 15 days i.e from mar 1st 2016 to 15 mar 2016.

    If i apply for H1b transfer to other employer do i face any issues

    can you please advise me on this situation

    Thank you

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Hari Prakask,

      Your employer (and may be you) are trying to be innovative to circumvent the law. In the end, all that matters is that you are not maintaining status. Your employer should pay you the salary in full as per LCA.

      If you go for H-1 transfer, it may run into issues as you are being paid less than LCA. The H-1 transfer may still get approved, but w/ consular processing i.e. you would have to leave US and return on new employer’s petition (and old stamp, if still unexpired) and then work for the new employer.

      Take an action quickly as you are digging a hole for yourself by staying on such an arrangement.

  16. Ramya Shri

    Hi

    I am in H4 status and my H1b is approved(counselor process) initially upto dec 2016 but my employer could not find me a client and I am thinking of h1b transfer.

    1.Will I face any issue if go for h1b transfer.?
    2.Can my new employer apply for change of status.
    3.If it goes successfully from when can I start working?

    Please give me some guidance.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ramya Shri,

      1. No additional issues as it was approved w/ consular processing. So you were not on bench, and should be ok. Processing is still subject to scrutiny of the new employer’s job.

      2. Yes, they can apply for H-1 transfer along w/ COS

      3. From the COS approval date. Typical processing time is 2-6 months unless applied w/ PP.

  17. Nita

    My H1B got approved from employer “A” in July-2015, stamping done in Oct-2015. Visa/petition valid until Sep-2016. So far I have not traveled to USA on this Visa and I am still in my home country.

    1) If I join employer “B” in my home country , will they be able to transfer (technically file new H1B Cap-exempt petition) current H1B? Employer “B” has offices in US and many other countries.

    2) Does petition withdrawal by employer “A” affect transfer process?

    Kindly let me know.

  18. Bharath

    My previous petition is in revoked status and my Visa is valid till July 2017. I have changed my organization. Please let me know if my new organization can transfer the Visa.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suraj,

      IMO, your time ran out in 2014 (6 years from original approval date). However, there are few who say that you have until 2017 (6 years from expiration date) for this. And there is murthy.com lawyers who claim to have experience in doing this even after both above options have exhausted. Make your pick.

    2. Manoj K

      Suraj

      My old petition is of same date. A quota (cap) when un-utilized (petition approved/ stamping done/ not travelled) can be claimed any time later.

      Now I have valid petition for 3 years on cap-exempt.

      Thanks
      Manoj

  19. Naresh Kumar

    Hi Saurabh / anyone ,

    I got my H1B stamped last year, but not traveled yet to US and visa is valid until July 2017. My petition got approved from Nov 2014 to July 2017. I have the receipt number of my petition filed by Company A. I have resigned from Company A and they have taken back all the documents. Now I’m planning to transfer my H1B visa to Company B with receipt number under cap-exempt petition. Please clarify below questions.
    1. Is there any deadline for doing H1B transfer from new company B ?
    2. Is it possible to use the same petition number after the expiry date ( in my case after July 2017) under cap-exempt petition for H1B transfer?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Naresh Kumar,

      1. It should be done within 6 years of original approval date – so by 2020.
      2. Yes, this can be done even after the petition has expired.

      1. Naresh Kumar

        Will there by any problem if company A withdraws / revoke petition before i go for transfer? I have taken a screenshot from USCIS website ( https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do ) which shows petition approved . Will that be suffice for H1B transfer ?
        Also i could see the same petition number on my stamped visa which will confirm that petition number was raised for me.

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Naresh Kumar,

          You can go cap-exempt route even if old petition has been withdrawn. Having that visa stamp and screenshot will come in handy when the new employer files it for you.

  20. Anonymous for reasons ofcourse.

    Hi,
    I belong to scenaio 1 mentioned above, but i am not able to get/understand the exact answers.
    I have an H1b visa stamped on my passport. Stamping took place in February but I have not yet traveled once. My company does not have immediate requirements/positions in USA so I am not sure about my travel prospects. Is it possible to change the employer now and travel with Employer B. What are the further process if this is possible like, does employer B needs to file a fresh Petition and wait for approval. What about the visa stamping that indicated my employer A. Does fresh visa stamping is required.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Anonymous for reasons ofcourse.,

      You need to find another employer who will file a cap-exempt petition for you. You need to submit copy of current approval notice or at least the receipt number for this. In addition other docs required are similar to what your current employer had required for their filing. No new visa stamping is required as long the current visa stamp has not been canceled.

  21. Vijay

    Hi All,

    My H1 application was filed by A and it has been transferred from A to B after a year. I am planning to back India for a month. Shall i need to go for stamping again or not required? Can anyone please let me know about my situation?

    Regards,
    Vijay

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Vijay,

      If the previous visa stamp has not expired and still valid, then you can use it to return to US along w/ B’s approved petition.

  22. Divya

    Hi,

    I am having a H1B valid till September 2016 from Company A. From Company A till now i didn’t get opportunity to travel. so i am searching for a job. Once get the job, planning to transfer my visa to new employer.

    1. Will it possible to do the transfer to any company ?
    2. If yes, will it any risks from company A or board of entry in US ?
    3. Will it possible to do the transfer to any company after my visa is expires?
    4. Is it require to go for stamping again after my petition is approved with new employee?
    5. How many days will take for transfer to any company?

    Thanks for your help.

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Divya,

      1. Yes
      2. No risks. You can enter US using new employer’s petition and an approved unexpired visa stamp.
      3. Yes, you are cap-exempted for 6 years from original approval date
      4. No need to get new visa stamped as long as the previous visa stamp is valid
      5. 2-6 months under normal processing. PP option available.

  23. Ajit

    Hi,
    I am holding H1B Visa stamped on my passport. The Visa is valid till Mar 2017.
    I have traveled to USA and working in India. Employer “A” sponsored my VISA when i was employed with “A”.
    Now i am working for another employer. Looking for H1B transfer. Please advise on how to get this done.

    Regards
    AK

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ajit,

      Find a new employer and ask them to file a cap-exempt petition for you. You would need copy of previous 797 or at least the receipt number for this. Rest of the docs required are similar to what were needed for original petition.

      1. AK

        Thanks Saurabh,
        Somehow and very strangely, I am NOT able to any employer who is willing to offer H1 transfer / cap-exempt.

        Not sure what is the reason.!!!!!!
        Does anyone know such employer’s ?

        Thanks

  24. Ravisankar

    Hi,

    I am having a H1B valid till October 2017. I was in USA for around 3 years and returned back to India few weeks back for a personal reason. I am currently working for the same employer in India.

    I am searching for a Job and would like to transfer my visa to new employer. Is it possible to do this? Do I need to go for stamping again after my petition approved with the new employer?

    Please let me know if any risk in this. Thanks for your help.

  25. sunil

    i have a H1B approved petition from employer A. currently i am in USA on L2 dependent visa and I am planning to resign from company A from US. Will the employer A revoke my H1B approved petition once i resign from employer A. Can i get the H1B transferred with CoS by employer B in case my petition is not revoked by employer A

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      sunil,
      A can revoke/withdraw the petition once you leave them. You are still eligible for cap-exempt petition even after it has been withdrawn.

  26. Naga

    Hello,

    I have a question here. My H1B term ends (got for only 1 year) on Sep 30 2016 from my current employer. I recently got another job and they are filing for my H1B transfer. Should I also ask them to file for H1B extension also?

    If yes, then how many days before should I have to ask them to file H1B extension ?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Naga,

      There is no separate extension required. The new employer will file a petition with its own validity dates (up to 3 years) and USCIS will approve it on its own merit.

  27. Suresh

    Hi All,
    I had applied my h1b via consultancy and is approved about 5 months back from USICS , they had not yet initiated any process after that ( no Stamping etc..) up on contacting they say it will take time. I have only my approved receipt no with me . Never traveled to USA on h1b, at this stage can i approach another consultancy for transfer of my H1b .

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Suresh,

      Yes another employer can file cap-exempt petition for you using the current approved petition. You can then appear for stamping through new employer.

      1. Suresh

        Thanks Saurabh . What are documents required to move to a another employer as i have only the receipt no .
        Will my petition will flow the same way as new H1b picked up appliation ( validation –> Applroval/Rejection )etc from USICS .

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Suresh,

          It is best to have copy of the approval notice. If not, you can use the receipt number and print out of online status showing it as approved.

          Yes, the process is same as before.

  28. Rampal

    I got a H1 Visa in November 2015. My H1 petition was filed by a small company with Indian employers. When I went to board the plane for travel to USA last week, I was denied a boarding pass with the advice from the airlines to contact the embassy. But I saw that I cannot schedule an interview in the embassy except for VISA and I already have a VISA stamped and in a fix what to do. My employer in US also has no clue of why this happened but another employee sponsored by the company who travelled a week before also was denied boarding pass . Can you advise what to do. I am really devastated

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Rampal,

      Your employer should ask their attorney to contact USCIS to know what is happening. What’s the current online status of your petition? It is possible that consulate has withdrawn the visa stamp w/o any intimation based upon newly discovered information.

      1. tej

        Hi Admin,

        I’m currently in US on H4 visa. Company A has applied for my H1B(on April 2016) and its picked in the lottery(can start working from Oct 2017). If I want to quit company A and join company B, what is the earliest time I can do so? Do I need atleast 2 months paystubs to change my job?

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