H1B Transfer Options and Scenarious

How to go about H1B transfer ? Various scenarios

In Apply H1B Visa by Saurabh2053 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 ( 2,053 )

  1. Gaurav

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a valid H1B visa till 2018 and I am currently in US from last 3 months with employer A. Now I am planing to go back to india due to personal reasons and quit employer and join employer B for some time and come back to US after may be 8 months so in this case I have below doubts:

    1) Can I transfer my visa to employer B and what are the road blocks in this case?
    2) And how long I can stay in india holding H1B and come to US again..is there any time frame in which I need to come here and I can’t stay in india for long time if I want to come to US again?

    Thanks in Advance 🙂

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Gaurav,

      1. Should be ok as long as you have copy of A’s approval notice and proof of getting paid during these 3 months (pay slips)
      2. B can file a cap-exempt petition within next 6 years. Off late, USCIS has been going easy on this 6 year requirement as well.

  2. Rahul

    Hi Sourabh,

    I am working in company A India, who has sponsored my h1b petition. It got picked in lottery 2016.

    1) May change company after 1st October (once visa will approve) with out going to US?
    2) If yes, Do i need to be in company A for few months to get salary slips of Oct?
    3) Do i need to take any document from my current company(A)?
    4) Is it right thing to do or its very common.
    5) How much will be transfer cost for new company.

    Thanks
    Rahul

  3. Daphne

    Hi Saurabh,

    I’m currently in US under F-1 visa. I got my H1-B visa approved for FY 2017 to start working this October 1st. However, things with my sponsor employer is not working out. I was wondering if I can file for H1-B transfer under cap exempt or do I have to start working in October 1st and then file for H1-B transfer?
    Thank you for your help!
    Regards,
    Daphne

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Daphene,

      I have read mixed experience about this. Some say it is possible to apply for H-1 transfer now w/ a start date of Oct 1. Others say you have to wait until Oct 1. I suggest finding an employer and discussing the case w/ their attorney to see if they will be willing to apply now.

  4. H1 transfer

    Hi Saurabh,

    Am in L2 EAD and working for company A. My H1B got picked in the lottery from a consultancy B this year.

    1)Can I transfer my H1B once it gets approved and after Oct 1 to another company C without working for B(without payslips from B)?
    2)If so, do I need approval notice in my hand or just receipt number is enough to transfer to company C?

    Thanks in advance

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      H1 transfer,

      1. If you are on H-1 for at least 1 pay period after Oct 1 then you may be asked to submit payslips as proof of maintaining legal H-1 status. However, if H-1 is applied within 1st week of Oct 1 or so, then you may get away w/o submitting payslips from B.
      2. Transfer can happen only after the original petition has been approved. You cannot transfer while it is still pending.

  5. Ramesh

    Hi Saurabh,

    I’m currently in US on H1-B visa and I came on Nov 2015. My previous project ended in April end and I have pay stubs till then.

    As I could not get any projects, my employer asked me to submit a letter for Leave of Absence without pay for May and June months and he’ll be starting paying for the month of July which I’ll be getting it on August 1st (June 1st – 15th) and 2nd paystub on August 15th( July 16th – 30th). After August 15th, if I still don’t have a project offer letter, he’ll send me back to India. He said he’ll not cancel my visa and the visa is valid till Dec 31st 2016.

    Now my situation is, I have to go to India for a week in July end and I’m back on 28th July.

    In this situation,

    1. Will there be any issues at the port of entry regarding pay stubs

    2. After I come back to India with the last 2 pay stubs, can I get another employer to transfer my H1-b visa from India and come back again through the new employer.

    Please clarify these 2 questions.

    Thanks

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ramesh,

      1. Usually they don’t ask for payslips but they may ask for it.
      2. You can try to do that. If you have 2 most recent payslips, then it may still work out in your case.

  6. Iten Singh

    Hi Saurabh ,
    I am currently in H1B Visa with Employer A , i have an approved H1B Transfer from Employer B filed through ‘Consular Processing’ and to be able to work for Employer B i need to undergo Stamping from India.

    My concern and query being if i go to India and get Stamped from Employer B’s approved petition, can i still work for Employer A from US before joining Employer B ,Employer A’s petition being still valid but Stamped Visa is from Employer B , this is because my Joining Date in Employer B is 3 months after my stamping date and i want to continue working with Employer A until then …

    Please advice …

    Regards,
    Iten

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Iten Singh,

      When you return to US, you will have to show A or B’s petition at PoE. The petition that you use will determine who you can work for. Just b/c you get stamping through B, doesn’t mean you can work for them even if you enter and show A’s petition at PoE. Your I-94 issued at PoE would be for a specific employer and you can work for them only until another employer gets I-94 endorsed in their name.

      1. Iten Singh

        Thanks Saurabh for the prompt and precise response. So, if i show Employer B’s petition as the same has been stamped on my Passport, my I94 will be issued for Employer B and i won’t be able to work for Employer A with the old Petition even id it;s valid unless they transfer my I94, correct ?

        Regards,
        Iten Singh

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          Iten Singh,

          That is correct. A will have to apply for transfer/amendment, or you will have to enter US on A’s petition.

  7. H1B TRANSFER Worried

    Hi Sourabh,

    I have a urgent scenario and need your suggestions. Please advice.

    I am with employer A, an MNC and my H1B got picked in the lottery this year in April 2016. Now I got offer through other employer B and I want to accept that offer and file for transfer later as employee A don’t have any onshore position currently.

    I have the following questions.

    1) Can I get it transferred to B while I am in India(Note: My H1B is only picked in lottery with my current employer A and I have the receipt notice ).
    2) Should I wait for my petition to be approved since I need to serve notice period of 90 day and need to resign(Because if I wait I may lose offer from employer B) but if I resign now Employer A may withdraw my petition.
    3) What are the percentage changes of Transfer petition to get approved in this scenario.
    4)Till how long(years) my new employer B can file cap exempt petition from now

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      H1B TRANSFER Worried,

      1. For transfer, the petition needs to be approved first. If yours is pending and you leave A, then A can withdraw the petition and you will be out of lottery.
      2. Yes, wait for approval to come through and get hold of the approval notice or at least the receipt number. Then resign from them and join B or C
      3. No stats available
      4. Usually it is 6 years from original approval date but USCIS seem to be going easy on this rule off late.

  8. Sri

    Hi Sourabh,
    Can you please update on the above doubts of mine when you are free. This is kinda urgent as I am looking out for alternate options.

  9. AK

    Hi Sri,
    I am also in a similar scenario. The only challenge that i have observed is that the employers in US are willing to interview the candidate ONLY if the person is present physically in US.
    Some people have given suggestions which I am NOT willing to follow as they are generated out of points that are NOT true (like telling the employer – I am in US etc.)

    Also haven’t been able to find an employer in India who is willing to do the transfer !!!!

    Thanks
    AK

    1. Sri

      AK,
      Do you have any confirmation on this.
      Can we travel to USA with the stamped VISA(in my case valid till Sep 2018) and approval from new employer or do we need to go for stamping again ?

  10. Sri

    Hi Sourabh,
    I have a similar scenario and need your suggestions. Please advice.
    I am with employer A, an MNC and my H1B got picked in the lottery last year(2015). I got it stamped through my employer A in Dec 2015.
    Now I see that there are no US projects in near future in my company. I don’t want to waste time continuing in this company until I get a US project.

    I would like to travel to USA and am looking for employers who are ready to transfer my H1B.
    I have the following questions.

    1) Can i get it transfered while I am in India(Note: My H1B is already stamped with my current employer A).
    2) If some company B initiates the transfer process, should I go for stamping again ? Or can I travel with the existing stamping for the new employer B ?
    3) If I have to go for stamping again, will there be any risks involved in this ? Will they cross question on why I have shifted and why is this transfer ?
    4) If I have to go for stamping again, what happens if my H1 is rejected at VISA interview for company B ? Will my previous H1 stamped by current employer be valid ?

    Can you please let me know and suggest me on how I should be going with it. I am in a pathetic position at the moment and have no other option apart from going for a VISA transfer. I would want to make sure that it will not create any problems for me.

    Regards,
    Sri

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Sri,
      1. Yes
      2. No new stamping required as long as A’s visa stamp is valid and has not been marked as canceled in the passport
      3. No issues. They would evaluate the case using B’s documents and not worry why you left A
      4. It would remain unimpacted

        1. Neer

          Thanks for your perfect and quick reply, like always Saurabh. I am also on the same boat brother. My transfer case has initiated on 24th November in regular processing only but still till today, status of my case is “Case was Received on 24th of November”

          1. What you think, how much time it take more for H1b transfer? Because it’s already 7 months passed almost.
          2. If it is taking time, is there any chances, coming in RFE?
          3. My employer is also not getting an update on case. Should I expedite my case to Premium or I should wait couple of months more.

          As it’s already getting seven months, now I am loosing my patience.

          Please advice brother.

          Thanks,
          Neer

          1. administrator
            Saurabh

            Neer,

            1. Check for processing time on USCIS site for your center.
            2. Delay doesn’t mean RFE. They are just pretty heavily backlogged.
            3. If you want to get faster result then upgrading to PP is the best option.

      1. srikanth ramineni

        Hi Saurabh,
        One last question with the above H1B transfer proocess.
        As mentioned earlier, my H1B through my current employer is processed and stamped already and I am still in India.
        Now, even if I quit my current company, transfer should not be a problem right ?

        Regards,
        Sri

        1. administrator
          Saurabh

          srikanth ramineni,

          Yes, another employer can file cap-exempt petition for you even if you have not traveled to US or old petition has expired, or you leave them.

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