Home » US Immigration - Visas » H1B Visa » Change of Status L1 to H1B Grace Period – Rules, Time after Oct 1st? DOL or USCIS ?

Change of Status L1 to H1B Grace Period – Rules, Time after Oct 1st? DOL or USCIS ?

by Emily Neumann, Attorney at Law

Around October 1st each year, I start receiving calls from individuals in L1 visa status who had been sponsored for an H1B visa with a different employer. They usually want to know if they can keep working for the L1 employer even though they have an H-1B approval. I was asked to answer the following question in this article.

“Can you continue to work on L1 with H1B COS ( change of status) approval after October 1st ? How to continue to work on L1 , without using H1B Visa ?”

To put things in perspective of the exact scenario, let me articulate with an example.

Example of L1B visa holder with Approved H1B Visa  in USA

Mr. Worker was working for ABC International Company abroad for a few years in a specialized knowledge position. Because of Mr. Worker’s special skills, ABC International Company transferred him to their U.S. office on an L1B visa last year. Mr. Worker has been in the U.S. in L1B status for a while and eventually received a job offer from Company X. Since the L1B visa is not transferrable to an unrelated entity, Company X decided to sponsor Mr. Worker for an H1B visa. Company X filed an H-1B petition on behalf of Mr. Worker on April 1st and requested a change of status (COS)  from L1B to H1B to take effect on October 1st.

Mr. Worker’s H1B petition was approved over the summer by USCIS and a new I-94 card was issued for the H1B status starting October 1st. That means, that whether Mr. Worker is ready or not, his status will automatically change to H-1B on October 1st and in order to continue maintaining status, he needs to start working for Company X on October 1st. If he continues working for ABC International Company after September 30th, he will be working without authorization and will be out of status.

Is there a grace period for L1 to H1B Visa Change of Status (COS)?  Any rule by DOL or USCIS?

When I explain this, many people mention that they heard there is a rule about H-1B workers having 60 days to join a new company.  There is no specific USCIS rule regarding this L1 to H1B COS grace period, the rule being referred to is a Department of Labor (DOL) regulation at 20 CFR 655.731(c)(6), which says:

  • “an H1B nonimmigrant shall receive the required pay beginning on the date when the nonimmigrant “enters into employment” with the employer…
  • (ii) Even if the H-1B nonimmigrant has not yet “entered into employment” with the employer…, the employer … shall pay the nonimmigrant the required wage beginning 30 days after the date the nonimmigrant first is admitted into the U.S. pursuant to the petition, or, if the nonimmigrant is present in the United States on the date of the approval of the petition, beginning 60 days after the date the nonimmigrant becomes eligible to work for the employer. “

What does the Department of Labor (DOL) Rule mean to H1B Visa Holders with COS ?

While this regulation does mention a 60 day period, it is important to point out that this provision is from the Department of Labor and is discussing an employer’s obligation to pay wages. It is not an immigration regulation and does not provide any instruction regarding an employee’s immigration status.  Immigration status rules are typically addressed by the USCIS.

There is no grace period for a change of status to take effect. It is immediate and automatic.

What are your options to work on L1 Visa after October 1st and avoid H1B Visa Change of Status?

If Mr. Worker wants to continue to work for ABC International Company after September 30th, he has a few options:

  1. In my example above it is too late for this option, but if the H1B had not yet been filed, Mr. Worker could have requested Company X to file it for consular processing. That means the H-1B petition would be approved, but it would not include a new I-94 card and it would not cause Mr. Worker’s status to change automatically. Whenever Mr. Worker is ready to join Company X, he can either file a new change of status not subject to the cap OR exit the country, apply for an H1B visa stamp and return to work for Company X.
  2. Leave the country and re-enter USA using the valid L1 visa stamp.
  3. Request ABC International Company to file a change of status from H1B to L1 on or after October 1st.

If you are contemplating changing from L1 to H1B visa for next year, then Option 1 is your best option.

If you have already obtained the change of status this year and want to continue working for your L-1 employer, you need to take action quickly to either file a change of status back to L-1 or take a trip and come back using your valid L-1 visa stamp to regain your L-1 status. Continuing to work for the L-1 employer after the change of status (COS) has taken effect can negatively impact a future green card application.

Thanks to Emily for writing the guest article for us. You may reach out to her using her blog ( listed below) for any immigration issue, she is a highly qualified immigration attorney and can help you with your case!

————————————-About the Author————————————–

Emily Neumann practices business immigration law and is a partner in Reddy & Neumann, P.C. in Houston, TX. Neumann writes a blog on immigration law (immigrationgirl.com) and shares updates on Twitter (@immigrationgirl) and her Facebook page to help her clients stay informed of the latest news.


Other Articles


  1. I am on L1a now, and i have applied for h1b through a different employer on 1st apr 2017. Still now i have not received my approval as there were multiple RFE’s.
    I have two questions.
    1. If i am getting approved say on Tuesday(10/17) which i will verify through uscis status check website. Should i have to stop working from next day on wards with the current employer ?. Or should i have wait until the official confirmation letter received by my attorney.
    2. If i am getting rejected, then will there be any impact on my current L1A status. Can i continue working with my current employer ?.

  2. Very good article, Would like to get thoughts in my case…
    1. Entered US on L1B during Dec 2007 with Company A
    2. Company B applied my H1B and COS happened effective 10/1/2008
    3. Continued (without attention) working with Company A until Nov 2008 (roughly stayed 55 days post Oct 1st with same Company A in L1B) – Left the country on Nov 22nd per my H1B attorney’s suggestion.
    4. Came back with L1B on Jan 2009 again.
    5. Left US on July 4th 2009
    6. Company C applied H1B after 3 years (cap exempt, I guess as I see effective from Jun 2012, received approved petition on Nov 2012 though)
    7. Entered US again in H1B in Feb 2013 (after 3 yrs 9 months) and continuing till now. (except a month vacation in between)
    8. My attorney says, as I stayed all 6 years (in TOTAL by this Sep 2017), we cannot apply extension. But, per this blog, I said, I left the country and came again back in L1B during that time (2008). He said, he see some grey area and need to make some arguments in my case.
    9. PERM is currently initiated and hoping for good before Sept
    10. However, Can you please let me know, how good is the extension possibility and if yes, how long can it be extended. Thanks a ton and looking forward for your response.

  3. Hello All,

    I’m still waiting my L1 to H1B COS approval. Any one is still waiting COS Approval or got approvals recently ? Receipt Number series EAC16149XXXXX . please leave message on to connect:
    vihari.vin at gmail dot com

  4. I am on an L1A for employer A which is stamped till March 2018. I got an offer from company B (change of status applied) and they were willing to sponsor my H1B visa, which just got approved (January 2017) till September 2019. Currently, I am not keen to join company B, and intend to continue with company A on the L1A. What should I do?

    • I am also in the same situation.

      My H1 got approved with COS with start date of 1st October 2016. This approval happen on 10 January 2017 and I got the approval letter on 17 Jan.

      So, Ideally i should have started working with H1 employer on 10 Jan. But the approval letter was received only on 17 Jan.

      I am currently with L1 employer. lools like it is not legal. What should I do now. Even if i join H1 employer now, there is still 10 days gap. what to do?

    • Hello All,

      I’m still waiting my L1 to H1B COS approval. Any one is still waiting COS Approval or got approvals recently ? Receipt Number EAC16149XXXXX Could you please leave a message :

      vihari.vin at gmail dot com

  5. I have a question reg my H1 B extension.

    1. I had H1B Visa from 2006-2009 , but I Visited to US in 2007 , stayed for 3 months and went back.
    2. I came to US again on L1B visa in 2010 Oct and stayed till 2012 July, for a period of 1 year 9 months. I went back to India and was at offshore for 2 years
    3. I came to US on H1B , under Cap Exempt Quota again in July 2014 ( because I was holding previous H1 and stayed only for 3 months) .
    4. Currently, My H1B Visa is expiring on June 29th, 2018 ( which is 4 years of Tenure )

    Can I go for H1 Extension again in July 2018 for remaining 2 years or is my 6 years of Tenure completes by June 2018, considering my Previous stay of L1 for 1 year 9 months.

    • Dear Saurabh,

      My H1b got approved as COS on 25 Nov 2013 with employer B.
      Due to project requirement, I worked on L1b visa with employer A till Jan 10, 2014.

      Now, i am going for first time H1b visa stamping in India, will it be an issue?
      What are my options?

      Appreciate your help on this.


  6. Dear Saurabh,

    I need your expert advice on my case…

    I am working with my current employer on L1-A VISA in USA. Due to some family reason i had to come out of country on 8th Oct, 2016. On 14th Oct, 2016 my H1 petition from another employer got approved under consular processing but I want to continue with my current employer on L1 and do not want to move to H1. Next week i will be coming back to USA on my existing valid L1 VISA. Now my question is will there be any issues at Port of Entry because H1 Petition got approved while i was out of country. Basically what i am trying to understand is if approval of H1 B petition invalidates my existing L1 VISA and L1 Petition…

    Please note – I have not done any VISA Stamping through H1 petition got approved under consular processing

    Based on the information in this blog i should not face any challenges but would like to confirm the same to avoid any kind of Issues

    Thanks a lot for your help…

  7. I am currently on L1A which is valid till Dec 2017 (Since Jan 2015). I have an old H1B (ONLY 6 months was used from a total of 6 years) which can be used for a L1A to H1B transfer under cap exempt, so that I can work for another employer doing the transfer. We are planning to file on Nov first week in premium which typically takes 2-3 weeks to get to know the approval status ( God forbids, no RFE, for example). Unlike same year L1 to Fresh H1 COS status picked up through lottery, can in this case, we request for a future COS effective date from the day it is approved?? OR the COS takes effect from the day it is approved??

    Pls advise. Appreciate yr help/suggestions. Thank you

    • A correction…

      ************Unlike same year L1 to Fresh H1 COS status picked up through lottery with Oct 1st being the COS effective date, can in this case, we request for a future COS effective date from the day it is approved?? OR the COS takes effect from the day it is approved??*********

  8. Hi Saurab,

    I was in L1B with X company and i applied H1B with Y company and it got approved on 26th Sept 2016. So now my status has changed to H1B. My company X says to serve period (6weeks), Will that affect my H1 B status and even they are saying we cannot pay during notice period. Need your help and what are the steps i have to follow to overcome from this matter.

    • Bharath Doddamane,

      You are expected to start getting paid through H-1 employer from Oct 1 as your H-1 status starts from that date. If you continue to stay w/ L-1 employer for 6 more weeks, this may or may not cause issue in the future.

      This period may be explored when processing your green card application. It may also be a negative if you plan to appear for stamping in near future or apply for any other application (extension, dependent visa etc). However, as time progresses, chances of this period coming into question will become lower.

      Talk to your H-1 employer’s attorney before deciding to stay w/ L-1 employer for 6 more weeks.

  9. Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently on L1 Visa through company “A”. And company “B” sponsored my H1B(COS) this year and it got approved on 15th Oct 2016 .Not Sure if my New H1B approved with COS or not as i am still waiting for the approval notice.

    If H1B is approved with COS from date 15th Oct 2016 (or Oct 1st?), how long i can I work with Company A? I still need to serve a notice period (15 days) to Company “A” after i receive the approval notice. Not sure how can one avoid this situation if USCIS is late in approving application after Oct 1st. Is 3 weeks acceptable in these cases?

  10. Saurabh,

    I am currently on L1 Extension through company “A” and I94 got Expired on Aug 2016.

    And company “B” sponsored my H1B(COS) this year and it got approved on 17th oct 2016 .

    Now Not Sure is my New H1B approved with COS or not, Until I recive Approval Notice .

    If H1B approved with I94 from Effective date 17th Oct 2016. Can I work with Company “A” untill I recive Approval Notice .

    Also is there any way can we get I94 Status .

    • Cos unkown,

      Ideally, you can work on L-1 only until COS effective date. If you work on L-1 after that, it may impact you in future. If the overlap is just for a week or so, it may still be explained in future. But anything longer should be examined diligently. Talk to your H-1 attorney about the length of overlap period.

  11. Hi Saurabh,

    As I have to leave US as my L1B extension got denied and my H1B is still in RFE stage.
    Once I leave US I will be working for my current company A at offshore. Once my H1B from company B is approved can I transfer my H1B approved petition to my current company A and get stamped and come to US or do I need to get stamped only with company B.


    • Hi Saurabh,

      Could you respond to the query.

      As I have to leave US as my L1B extension got denied and my H1B is still in RFE stage.
      Once I leave US I will be working for my current company A at offshore. Once my H1B from company B is approved can I transfer my H1B approved petition to my current company A and get stamped and come to US or do I need to get stamped only with company B.

  12. Hi Saurab,

    Could you respond to my query as soon as possible.
    My H1B got picked and on oct1st the status changed to RFE. My H1B was applied by a company B. And I am currently working on L1B and working for a company A. My L1B extension was filed in June 2016 and got denied on OCT3 2016. So what are the options for me to stay in USA. MY husband is on H1B in US. And how can I continue to work for company A.


    • Nimi,

      You cannot work for A anymore as your L-1 extension has been denied. Do you know the reason for B’s RFE? Is it related to your L-1 extension denial?

      When does your L-1 I-94 expires?

      • Thanks for the quick response. Still I don’t know the reason for RFE for H1B from B. Already my I94 expired in June. Also Can I change my status to H4 now as my spouse is on H1B. And wait for my H1B approval. And then get my H1B transferred to company A.

        • Nimi,

          As the I-94 has expired no new petition can be filed from inside US. I you want H-4, you have to leave US and return on stamped H-4 visa.

          • Thank you Saurabh for the quick response. So I need to travel back to India and get my H4 stamped and come back to US. Also what about for responding to H1B RFE under premium processing as I filed my H1b with consular processing. Is that company B should not or cannot respond to H1B RFE now.

        • Nimi,

          The situation is complicated. Once you leave US, your H-1B COS is abandoned and H-1 is processed as consular processing. Once you return on H-4 visa, you would remain on H-4 even after H-1 gets approved. To move to H-1, you will have to file separate COS or enter on stamped H-1 visa.

          Talk to your H-1 immigration attorney before leaving US.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            As I have to leave US as my L1B extension got denied and my H1B is still in RFE stage.
            Once I leave US I will be working for my current company A at offshore. Once my H1B from company B is approved can I transfer my H1B approved petition to my current company A and get stamped and come to US or do I need to get stamped only with company B.


  13. Hi,

    My H1B got picked and on oct1st the status changed to RFE. My H1B was applied by a company B. And I am currently working on L1B and working for a company A. My L1B extension was filed in June 2016 and got denied on OCT3 2016. So what are the options for me to stay in USA. MY husband is on H1B in US. And how can I continue to work for company A.

  14. Hi Saurabh,

    Applied COS from L to H. received an RFE yesterday!
    Status from May 20 till now was “Case was Transferred and new office has jurisdiction”.
    And the employer (consultancy) who filed H1 will not tell me what the exact reason for RFE is 🙁

    Hoping employer will respond to RFE within Oct. Generally how much time it may take further for USCIS to take decision.

    I want to know the rough timeline, so i can be prepared. please.

    As elections are on Nov 8 & wondering if any progress will be there after Nov 15 as the holiday season kicks in, so wondering by when it can take for this year applications.

    • Vih,

      It could take few months to process the RFE response. No impact of US elections. USCIS processes petitions every day except for mandated federal holidays. They don’t have a shutdown 🙂

  15. Hi,

    I am working with Employer X on L1-B Blanket and working in USA.

    I have applied H1-B through Employer Y(Consultant) on 2016. H1 approved with COS and I-94 for which start date is Oct 1.

    Employer X owner got changed in July 2016 they filed L1B Individual to transfer for New employer. In August 2016 i got RFE on L1B Individual. Employer X is in process of submitting required document related to RFE. 

    Employer Y(H1-B) is consultant and don’t have job for me… they asking for me to search my myself and telling me that once i am on their Payroll i need to maintain my Paystub(tax and evrything)… so basically without earning anything i need to pay so stay  in USA.  

    I wanted to continue for Employer X(L1-B) because i don’t see this employer reliable.. can i continue on Employer X after October 1?

    Please review and reply.. Please help!!!

    • TNA,

      You are now on H-1 and not L-1. H-1 employer needs to pay you irrespective of whether you have a project or not. They cannot ask for that money back. That is illegal.

      If you want to continue on L-1, then leave US immediately and return on your L-1 visa. Unfortunately you have another L-1 petition in play that may get impacted. Maybe make an excuse for an immediate need for personal travel overseas?

  16. Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently working in USA on L1B visa with employer A. I applied for H1B Visa regular processing from another employer B, the case status is ‘case was received’ .
    I want to remain with employer A on L1 B visa.
    I was planning to wait for H1b approval so that I can travel out of US and come back of Oct-1st or after CoS effective date.
    Now it is unlikely that I’ll get approval tomorrow.
    Can you please direct me, on what dates should I plan to go out of country and come back to remain on L1B .
    What if I got out of country for just 1 day (1st oct ) and come back on 2nd oct.. will my CoS will be denied on H1B and I can continue on L1 ?

  17. Hi ,

    My H1 B is filed and picked in lottery but still the status is shown as case received. What would be the dead line for the H1B to get approved or denied as from Oct 1st the validity of H1 starts.

  18. Hi,

    I am currently with company ‘X’ on L1-B status and petition valid till end of Dec-16. I was not sure if my current company ‘X’ would extend my stay in USA, hence applied for H1-B from employer ‘Y’ during Apr-16 . However, During Jun-16 my current company ‘X’ decided to file L1-A due to my current roles and responsibilities. My H1-B from Employer ‘Y’ is in RFE status and would need help in below questions.

    1) If i want to continue on L1-B (as my L1-A petition is in still application received status) – Can i take a visit to india on 09/29 and come back by 2nd week of Oct -16 – by then my H1-B would also be clear if approved/Not and COS would void ?? Did i understand the scenario correctly ??

    2) My current employer ‘X’ also thinking to file GreenCard and would like to know if voiding H1-B would have any negative impact on my GC processing ??

    3) In future if i want to move to employer ‘Y’ – all i need to do is just apply for COS – correct ??

    4) In future Employer ‘Z’ offers me a position which makes more sense to my profile.. i need to apply for H1-B Exempt petition and COS – once approved i can start working for employer ‘Z’ right ??

    5) In future if i decide to move to employer ‘Z’ – Is there any specific timeline by when H1-B Non-Exempt need to be applied ?? Assuming my H1-B is approved by 10/01/2016.

  19. All,

    Here is my case. Request your valuable inputs. Planning to consult with an attorney as well.

    1. Entered US on L1 for Company A
    2. Approved for H1 COS (2015-16) for company B, while still on L1
    3. Dint move to company H1 after oct 15 due to constraint and eventually went to India in Apr-16 got stamping on L1 and continuing with company A

    1. Can another company do a transfer now from L1 to H1 considering cap exemption?
    2. Do i have the option to shift to H1 at all with any company without issues.


  20. Hi,

    I am currently on L1 visa through company “A”. And company “B” sponsored my H1b this year and it got approved. From 3rd Oct I would be joining company “B”. But currently company “B” is giving joining but it does not have client currently for me. So, I am not sure how many days they will keep me on bench. Whereas I am getting offer from company “C”.

    Now I want to know how can I easily and earliest join company “C”.

    As only 5 days are left before my COS to get applicable. I plan to join company “B” on 3rd Oct. And continue with regular H1b transfer.

    As per my knowledge for H1b transfer 3 paystubs are required. As I am already in US and have all paystubs from my L1b sponsor company “A”. Then also I have to wait for transfer until I get 3 pay stubs from H1b sponsor company “B”.

    Based on the above situation let me know what to do.

    • Another thing I want to ask can I avoid joining company “B” on 3rd Oct and wait till company “C” submit H1b transfer application. And join company “C” as soon as it gets transfer receipt.

    • Sarch,

      C can file H-1 transfer position such that it reaches USCIS by Oct 3, and then you can join C the very next day. Legally, you are allowed to join new H-1 employer as soon as the transfer petition is received by USCIS. Do you know if C is ready to have this petition filed by Oct 3? Do they have the LCA certified already?

      As for payslips. The way it is mentioned at most of the places online is incorrect. You need to show that you are in valid status when applying for H-1 transfer. In your case, this means showing L-1 payslips for Aug-Sep and H-1 payslips (if it is filed after Oct 15 and employer pays biweekly).

      • Hi Saurabh, Thanks for replying so quick, and clarifying that they only check valid status.

        Company C has yet not filled LCA. I think this week hopefully by 27th Sep they would release offer and after my acceptance they would file LCA. I think all this would take take 2 weeks. And I may be in position to join company “C” on 10th Oct.

        So, my question is should I join company “B” on 3rd Oct. I can even not continue with company “A” as my contract is getting over on 30th Sep and they are asking to return back to India.
        If I don’t join company B on 3rd and wait for transfer process of company C, then I would go out of status from 1st Oct.

        Thanks for your all help

        • Sarch,

          I would suggest that you join B from Oct 3 and work with C to have their petition filed ASAP. As soon as it is received by USCIS, you can join C and start getting their payslips.

          Do you have confidence that B would pay you for the period you worked for them?

          • I think they would.
            But in case I join and leave them after 2 weeks, and if they don’t pay then I would be in problem or it would be fault at their end.


          • Sarch,

            Both employer and employee will be in violation – employer for not honoring H-1 rules and employee for not maintaining legal status.

  21. Hi

    This is Kumar, currently on L1B and my H1b with another employer got approved today (sept 19, 2016) But as per current employer, I have to give two weeks of notice period.
    As per this page, I can’t serve two weeks of notice period after October 1.
    So, I can assign before October 1 ?

    What if current employer say no need of notice period ? will I go into no-status ?

    • Mahesh,

      First you should confirm that your H-1 was approved w/ COS and not consular processing. My response assumes that your H-1 was approved w/ COS.

      Next you have to gauge your employer to know that if you resign now, whether they would terminate you immediately or let you serve the notice period. If terminated immediately, you may still be ok as a person can enter US at most 10 days prior to H-1 start date. So post Sep 20th you should be fine to be inside US (but check w/ your H-1 attorney also). If you serve 2 week notice period and your end date becomes sometime 1st week of Oct, then also it may be ok as it is not a big overlap.

      • Thank you so much Saurabh that was very for quick response.

        Yes mine is H1B with COS. as per your replay, I will resign on last week of September and it will end 1week of October.

  22. Hi,

    I got the L1B visa last year thru company X but there is no assignment for me in US till mid of current year. In the meantime, I applied for H1 visa thru company Y which picked up in lottery and currently under progress. Now I travel to US on L1 B visa of company X. Will my status automatically change to H1 visa? Since I was in India at the time of filing H1-B visa so not sure visa filed w/COS or consular processing. Can I continue to work with company X on L1 visa?


    • Unknown,

      There won’t be any automatic change. Even after H-1 gets approved, your status will remain L-1 and you need to work for X on L-1.

  23. Hi @All,

    I am having a great confusion regarding my case. Please answer my question below.

    I am on L1 visa from my current employer. A different employer filed my H1b visa which got approved, but the company is in a bad financial situation now and I never changed my status to H1b(in short, I never worked for them). Now, I am getting an offer from a different company C who is ready for doing a change of status(given I have an approved visa, the h1b was picked up in 2015 lottery but was never used).

    Can company C apply for H1b change of status and can I work for them after COS is approved? Do I need to get my Visa stamped by consular process? Can company B later create issues with my employment with company C? Also, can my current employer create any issues going forward?

    • Rajesh,

      C can apply for cap-exempt petition (aka H-1 transfer) along w/ COS for you. Once approved, you can work for C even w/o getting the visa stamped first. L-1 employer has no role to play in this. However, if you have signed any employment contract with them (in US or India), then you would have to go through them as they may sue you.

      • Thanks for your answer Saurabh. I got an offer from company C and they applied for COS which got approved. Now my currently employer is threatening me saying that I will have to travel back to India and complete my exit formalities. AFAIK, there is nothing as such policy or agreement which says I cannot resign while being on L1b and I feel they are mostly doing this because of personal grudge and ego. But said that, what are my option here in case if they try to take any legal action?

        • Rajesh,

          US immigration laws don’t require you to resign from your home country. However, if you and your employer has some sort of employment contract, they may get it enforced here in US or home country.

  24. I am currently on L1-A VISA in USA . As my current employer was not filing my GC so in this year’s quota I filed for H1-B through a different employer. My application got picked up in lottery and current Status of the same is in “My Case Was Received”.

    But in the month of July my current employer agreed and they filed my GC in EB1-C category and is currently under process

    Questions –

    1. Will approval of H1-B have any kind of bearing on my Green Card Processing in EB1-C category?

    2. Second employer is saying that they filed H1-B in counselor processing but was not sure about the same. I have not yet received any decision on my H1-B so i myself is not sure but if it gets approved with COS then will my status change to H1 on 1st Oct 2016? I do not want to change my status from L1 to H1 so what option i am having in this case. Per my understanding USCIS is processing applications slowly what if decision comes after 1st Oct say on 15th Oct then what option i will be having.

    3. I traveled out of country on 9th April 2016 for some official work and came back to USA on 18th April on L1 VISA. I traveled outside country while H1 B application (Received by USCIS on 11th April) is still under processing and came back again on L1 VISA. Now question is, on 1st Oct my status will change to H1 or it still will be L1 because COS will be invalidated as i entered country back on L1 VISA on a date on which decision on H1-B was still in pending status?

    • AR,

      1. No
      2. If you want to invalidate COS, just travel outside of US to get new I-94. If COS is approved, then you have to work on H-1 and not L-1
      3. Then your COS should be invalidated (if applied).

      • Hi Saurabh,

        As of 4th Oct, my H1-B application status on status tracker is still shown as “Case Was Received”.
        I have following questions regarding my case…

        1. Is it possible that USCIS has given the decision but missed to update the status on the tracker? If they have approved the case with COS then i will already be out of status. I also have not heard anything from new employer so not sure what is happening.
        2. As i want to continue with existing employer on L1 A VISA, will it help if i get out of the country this week and come back again on L1 VISA
        3. If USCIS has given the decision as COS effective from 1st Oct and i get out of the country this week end then i will be out of status for almost for a week. Will it have any kind of impact at port of entry while coming back to USA

        I am really nervous. Please advise….

        Thank you…

  25. Hi,

    I am on L1B visa from A company. Company B applied for my H1B with COS and it got approved. My question is what is the process of voiding the COS.

    If I travel outside US and re-enter on L1 will my COS gets void. If I need to re-enter after 1st Oct, or before is also fine.

    Is there a way to revoke COS.

    If once COS is revoked can it re-applied after Oct sometime.

    And how much time does it take for COS to get effect once applied. And if there is fees for COS.

    • Sarch,

      As your COS is already approved, you need to travel outside US before Sep 30 and return to US on L-1 after Oct 1. This way you would remain on L-1 status.

      COS can applied in future. Look-up form I-539 for fees and processing times.

  26. Hi This is is nice article and thanks to all who are responding seriously.

    My Question – I have been to US for 2 times and both times on L1-A visa- Was Manager at India’s top 3 IT company(same company always). When I was on L1-A extension I processed and got my H1b lottery selection and COS along with it from another employer in US. ..but due to some medical emergencies I have to travel back to India even thought my L1 extension was valid till july 2016. Now Another employer from USA asking me to come to US due to good position for my profile. I need to go for H1B stamping ..really challenge is does consular officer approve and stamp my H1B? Because I have been Manager all this while (almost 6.5 yrs in USA). Athough I have completed 1 year of cooling off here in India with old company (L1A). Please let me know if you see any trouble for me in going for H1B stamping and rejection chances? H1B says Software engineer but Company says it is PM position with one of its clients. Really worrying as family dependent on me and if I leave current jobs would be in trouble – 15 yrs experience.
    Pl suggest

    • Sachin tendulkar,

      If you use the previously approved H-1 petition, then your clock is not reset. You get only 6 years minus time already spent inside US on L-1 on this H-1. You can get extensions beyond 6th year if your green card process has initiated and reached a certain stage.

      As for success of visa stamping, if you are qualified for that position, then it should be ok. If the position says Software Engineer, then that’s what you need to be qualified for. It is not advisable that you work as PM when the H-1 was applied for a SW engineer.

      • Thank you very much Saurabh! However I think I made you little confuse on my case
        here is simplified version-

        I was in US on L1A (as manager) almost 4 years. However It was extension ( L1-A extn) of 2 years on which I was staying. Due to personal reason I came back to India. During this time I got my H1B approved peitition with COS but since I was in India from Aug 2015, I have to go for consular interview in india in order to travel on H1B.
        My H1B is as software engineer so my worry was if consular office will stamp me H1B or not as He may ask that – I was manager with company A for almost 4 year and earlier 2 year(in the past) how can I be on H1B now? What are chances?

        • Sachin Tendulkar,

          I don’t think it would be an issue. If asked, you can say that even though you were working a manager, you prefer to work as an IC and hence going for software engineering position. You should be qualified for the position.

  27. Hi,
    I applied for H1B visa through a Consultancy firm this year with Change of Status(COS). The H1B visa petition is already approved with COS on Oct 1st 2016. But, I need to travel India in Oct end for few weeks for a personal reason and hence, want to stay on L1(it is valid through 2017) for sometime and planning to join the new company after the visit. Since COS from L1 to H1 is effective on Oct 1st, I got to know that I can travel out of country (like Canada , Mexico) before 1st Oct and reenter to US after 1st Oct on L1 visa so that I can continue working on L1. I would like to check if this is a fool proof method and what are the chances that I will be denied entry at the Port of entry of US.

    Also, after I return from India, what are the different ways to change from L1 to H1 again in US and join the new company anytime after my return? Is going back to India and getting H1B stamped the only way to start working for the new firm.? Can my new employer file again a new COS here to start working for them? What are the chances of rejection of new COS application? If I have to go to India to get the H1B stamped at all to join the new firm, do I need to resign my current employer first before going to India ? Will US consulate stamp H1 visa while L1B is still valid and active??
    Appreciate your help

    • Kalpana R,

      Yes, you can leave US in Sep end, and then return on L-1 visa after Oct 1. This way you would remain on L-1 and can continue to work on the same.

      When you decide to go to H-1 in future, you will have to file COS from L-1 to H-1, or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Thank you so much for the quick response. I appreciate it.
        I have a couple of follow up questions. Do I need to the file the COS myself or my new employer has to file the COS? Also, since the COS was already approved for 1st Oct ( which I am going to avoid by travelling out of US before Oct 1st), what are the chances of approval for filing again a new COS for later date? Is it approved in most of the cases?

        • Kalpana R,

          Preferably, employer needs to file the COS. Future COS would not be impacted by current COS.

          If it is by a new different employer, then COS would be accompanied w/ H-1 cap-exempt petition. So they would process both, ensure you are cap-exempt, have maintained regular status and the new job is really H-1 eligible.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        I applied for H1B visa through a Consultancy firm this year March 2016 with Change of Status(COS). The H1B visa petition is in RFE now . The RFE is for , 1st time I had to travel to India (Apr 2nd to Apr 10th 2016) to get my Younger daughter who passport was damaged last year (Nov 2015) in flood India. 2nd time I had travel to Canada after obtaining Canadian visa for me & Family to visit Niagara falls which is 3 hrs from Michigan. I had informed about the travel both times to my new employer, In both of the above case my new employer nor my attorney did not caution me that I cannot go out of the country for whatsoever reason until I get the results of H1. Can you please suggest what are my next steps/required document to provide as evidence and how likely I would get my H1B approved.

        • To Add more details, I am in L1A visa valid till March 2017 and during two times going out of USA I am in employment with old/current employer.

        • Naidu,

          Your trips outside US will only impact the COS part of the H-1 and not the petition itself. If the person travels outside US while H-1 w/ COS is pending, they abandon the COS but still process the petition w/ consular processing.

          What is the exact text of the RFE.

          • Here are the exact wording from USCIS, can you please guide me what is the next step and what is way out for this case, this is completely new for me and I did not know it.


            Maintaining Status: Provide the following evidence to establish that the beneficiary has been maintaining his/her nonimmigrant status since filing the present petition:

            Nonimmigrant Status of Beneficiary:- Upon reviewing the Department of Homeland Security record, it appears that the beneficiary departed the United States on April 2, 2016, the date prior to the filing this petition, and re-entered the United States on April 10, 2016. Then the beneficiary departed the United States on July 2, 2016 again, the date subsequent to the filing this petition, and re-entered the U.S. on 4th July, 2016. According to the current regulation, a nonimmigrant who is not physically present in the United States when a petition is filed for him/her, and departing the United States while his/her request for change of nonimmigrant status pending, is considered abandoning such request. Therefore, Provide documentary evidence to establish that the beneficiary is physically present in the United States when this petition is filed, and has not departed the United States since the filing this petition.

          • Naidu,

            The RFE is related to your status. Talk to attorney to frame the response for this. Tell USCIS that yes, you did travel outside of US (personal reasons, emergency etc) and understand that it causes COS to be abandoned. However, you would still want the I-129 to be processed with consular processing option so that you can take visa stamping at a consulate in home country and avail H-1B.

          • Thank you very much Saurabh,

            it gives me hope that my H1 B will be alive till I go and get my H1 B Stamped India.


          • Hi Saurabh,

            I am on L1B visa from A company. Company B applied for my H1B with COS and it got approved. My question is what is the process of voiding the COS.

            If I travel outside US and re-enter on L1 will my COS gets void. If I need to re-enter after 1st Oct, or before is also fine.

            Is there a way to revoke COS.

            If once COS is revoked can it re-applied after Oct sometime.

            And how much time does it take for COS to get effect once applied. And if there is fees for COS.

  28. Hello,

    Mine is a very tricky situation and any suggestions are most welcome.

    1. I am currently on L1B visa in US (visa expired Jul 2016, BUT I-94 valid till July 2017) working with company X.
    2. Company Y applied for my H1B visa with Change of status from L1B–>H1B.
    3. Out of no where, company X (my current company) also applied for H1B (consular processing)
    4. Both H1B applications via X and Y picked up in lottery and in process.


    1. Even though company Y is processing as Change of Status, can this be changed to Consular processing WITHOUT leaving the country as my visa has expired.

    2. Can the change of status application be WITHDRAWN by the employer Y? If yes, what is the process?

    3. I am keen on staying on L1B post October 1st and only want to move to H1B when my Consular application with employer X is approved. What are the best options to get rid of the Change of status application?

    Thanks all for your help. This blog is an eye-opener and Saurabh is doing a fantastic job helping all of us.

    • Suja,

      1. No, you cannot change to CP. Visa expiration doesn’t impact COS outcome; I-94 does, which is still valid in your case
      2. Employer can try, but I don’t think it is possible
      3. The only option I can think of is to leave US and return on your L-1.

  29. Currently on L1, have a H1 picked in lottery. Still waiting for approval. What happens if the approval doesnt come through before October 1st. Can i continue working on L1 till the approval comes through or do i have to go to India. Also can i shift to a new company who is ready to hire me once i have my H1 approved.

    • RJ,

      You can continue to work on L-1 until H-1 COS goes into effect. Once COS becomes effective, you need to stop working on L-1 and start working on H-1.

      Do you know if H-1 is applied w/ COS or consular processing?

  30. hi admin,

    I am in following situation. need your valuable inputs.
    1. I work for company A on L1B, which has expired in May 2016.
    2. L1 B extension has been applied (in premium processing) and RFE was received. Immigration attorneys are preparing additional documents and sending over. As per “240 days rule”, i am still working for company A
    3. My H1B petition was picked in lottery this April and mostly i would be changing my status from October1st.
    4. What are the options that I have if L1B extension is rejected before October 1st?
    5. I might have to go to India, as I cannot stay here. In that case, what happens to the H1B processing? Will that be affected? Will I have to go to consulate in India for H1B interview and then come back and work for company A?
    6. Meanwhile, if I am selected by another company B, will change of status happen automatically?

    • Uday,

      4. You have to leave US as your I-94 would have expired
      5. H-1B will continue to be processed as consular processing and not COS. Once approved, you can appear for H-1B stamping and then return to US to work on H-1
      6. Is B the employer who filed H-1B for you?

      • hi Saurabh,

        No, company A has filed H1B for me. However, i am getting few offers from other companies. I haven’t attended any interviews as I am not sure on my visa status. But, if eventually, i get selected in company B, how would the scenario be?

        Thanks for the reply.

        • Uday,

          Your H-1 needs to be approved through A before another employer can make use of it. Once your H-1 is approved and assuming you are outside of US, B can file a cap-exempt petition for you. Once approved, you can appear for stamping (unless already stamped through A) and then travel to work for B. They would need A’s approval notice or at least the receipt number + print out of online status showing it as approved for this.

    • Hi Admin,

      wish I came across this before Apr this year!

      I’m on L1B for Company A. Filed H1B through Comp B – through COS. Its picked and still in process.

      I want to continue on L1B for now.
      Can I exit US and re-enter on L1B to keep the status.

      1. If I exit & re-enter US now (before H1B approval) – will my COS gets cancelled ?
      Do i need to be out of US only on Oct 1 ? hoping my H1B will be effective form Oct1.

      2. What in case my H1B gets approved after Oct1? In that case I think – I will be not be able to suddenly go out of US as I would not know when exactly the H1 will be approved. Am I right ?

      3. Lets say If H1B is approved and my COS is cancelled (if i could exit in right time). Later, Can i transfer H1 to any other company ? Do i need to go for stamping?
      What if the Comp B with draws the H1 application ?

      4. As its already Jul end. Is it good option to apply for PP. to know approval early 🙁

      1. Can I exit now (i.e) before H1B is approved ? Or Do i need to wait until its approved

      • Vihar,

        1. If you leave US now and return, COS would be abandoned. H-1 if approved, would be w/ consular processing and not COS.

        2. Yes, it would be difficult to time that. You would have to book tickets on short notice etc. (1) is the preferred way to remain on L-1

        3. In future, new employer can file cap-exempt petition along w/ COS. If COS is approved, no need to get visa stamped immediately.

        4. If your intent is to abandon COS, then don’t upgrade to PP.

        • Saurabh – I can’t Thank you enough for your prompt response. Thank You.

          My intent is to abandon the COS and avoid going out-of-status:

          1. Can I leave US alone or do i need to take even my dependents ?
          because my H1B Comp B might have applied L2 to H4 COS (or) will those be cancelled automatically as my H1B COS will be cancelled.

          2. While leaving US (to keep my L1B) do I need to do anything else – like “surrendering” my existing I-94 to USCIS. I’m not sure what it is but read on a forum. (or) will it be like normal visit out of US. Any particular while entering at POE (other than making sure he stamps on L1B).

          3. Will the Comp B (who filed H1B COS) come to know that COS its cancelled ? Can I join same Comp B later ? (through Consular Process)

          4. In case I don’t join Comp B, if he withdraws the H1B application after its approved (before Oct1 or after Oct1). Then will I be able to still transfer it to other Company later ?

          • Vihar,

            1. Only you need to travel. Once your COS is abandoned, dependents COS should be automatically canceled.

            2. Its a normal travel like you were going to home country. Nothing different required.

            3. Yes, B would know about COS abandonment when they receive H-1 approval notice w/ no I-94 attached.

            4. Yes, you should still be able to do that provided you have copy of the approval notice, or at least know the receipt number.

  31. Hi,

    I am working on L1B and it is valid till Jun 2016and extension is filed by company A and my H1B got approved for 2017fro cpmpany B . my H1B is processed under consular processing. So what is my status of visa after H1B. Can I continue to work on L1B for company A and can company A get a H1B transfer from company B. Can I do COS to H1B when ever I want? or it would be effective from oct1.


    • Nimi,

      if H-1 is approved w/ consular processing, then your status remains L-1 and will not change to H-1. So you can continue to work on L-1.

      Yes, another employer can file cap-exempt petition (aka H-1 transfer) for you in future. COS can be applied anytime, or you can enter on stamped H-1 visa to work on H-1.

  32. Currently i am on L1 Visa and picked the lottery for 2017. However my assignment is ending in June. I need to go back. what the next step to get the visa.

    • L1 to H1B,

      Your H-1 will continue to process. Once approved, you can go for H-1 visa stamping and then travel to US to work for the H-1 employer.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        I am currently on L1B visa living in US. Below is my situation:

        1. Current L1B visa expiration date is in Aug 2016
        2. I-94 Validity till Aug 2017.
        3. My current employer say X is applying L1B renewal for which I will have to travel to Canada.
        4. Meanwhile, another employer say Y has applied for H1B and got picked up in lottery this year (CHANGE OF STATUS) and currently under process.

        My questions below are:

        1. Is it a good option to leave country and go to Canada for L1B renewal while H1B COS is under process?
        2. Lets assume that L1B renewal gets rejected, will my I94 date change back to Aug 2016 (visa expiration date)?
        3. If answer to point 2 is YES, then I may have to leave country? If I leave the country, will my H1B COS change directly to Consular processing?
        4. Is it a good idea to speak to employer Y and get the H1B COS changed from Regular to Premium processing so that I can get the approval soon and then proceed with my L1B renewal?

        Thanks for your help.

        • James Peterson,

          1. If possible avoid it for it will cause COS to be abandoned. However, if you still have to travel then there are other options available like filing separate COS after H-1 approval or entering US on stamped H-1 visa.

          2. You will receive a new I-94 when entering US. That would determine how long you can stay in US.

          3. Yes, COS is abandoned and it becomes consular processing.

          4. If Y is willing to spend money on PP (you can also pay for PP legally), then go for it. In this case H-1 will get approved w/ COS prior to your departure. Even when you return on L-1, you will still be on H-1 from Oct 1 based on H-1 COS approval.

  33. Hi,

    Thank you for this article, its really helpful. I am looking for some information and it would be great if someone can shed some light on this.

    I am currently working for a multi-national company A in UK office. My H-1B got selected and approved this year and start date would be Oct 1st as expected. Due to business reasons, my company wants me in US office before Oct 1st and is planning to file L1 for that though I would prefer to be on H-1B. Any implications of doing this process ? If everything goes as expected, I am wondering what would be my status after Oct 1st given that H-1B is already approved and its the same company/job for both the visa? .

    • JT,

      They can apply for L-1 while H-1 is under process. Once approved, you can travel to US to work on L-1 even if H-1 is still pending or approved. Once H-1 is approved, you can move to H-1 either by filing COS from L-1 to H-1, or by entering US on stamped H-1 visa. BTW, it is rarely possible that a job that qualifies for H-1, also qualifies for L-1.

  34. Hello everyone,

    im in need of your valuable advise.
    Got my H1b approved from 2015 oct, COS from L1 to H1. I been looking out for job with my H1b employer since then but not able to get anything yet due to demand in market. I dint wanted to quit my L1 job without getting a job in H1.
    I know now its feb end and my h1 visa was valid only until sep 30 2016.
    What are my options here,
    1) can i go out of USA and get L1 stamping and come back and continue to work in L1 and then transfer to H1 when i find any new employer who is ready to transfer from L1 to H1? Guess i won’t need to go through Lottery again.
    2) Can i put down papers and try searching for job seriously, but sure with the months remaining on H1 will there be a problem during extension if i get my job in mar or april.

    Please help me with your inputs

    • Ram,

      You are on tricky grounds. Your immigration status is H-1 (based on COS approval), but you are still working for L-1 employer. In addition, your L-1 employer is unknowingly hiring an employee who is not authorized to work for them. Your H-1 employer is unknowingly (or knowingly) not paying to an employee who is required to work for them.

      1. Yes, you can leave US and return on L-1 visa. In future, you can go for H-1 transfer (no lottery), but it may run into issues as you didn’t maintain legal H-1 status. So they would deny COS from L-1 to H-1 (but still approve H-1 petition w/ consular processing).

      2. You have other issues to worry about like what I described in opening response. Talk to an immigration lawyer ASAP.

      • Thanks Saurabh, really grateful.

        My L1 petition is valid until 2017, while H1 is until sep 2016. So im planning to go out of USA and come back with stamping on my L1. I read in other forums and few folks were able to get the stamping as long as the L1 petition is valid. Im hoping the same as i dint not work on H1 yet and no documentation/amendment was done for H1.

        I will consult with an attorney too before i confirm this decision. If this option is not possible the i will put papers in L1 and i have very little time to file H1 extension as well.

    • Hi,

      I am on L1A currently and applying for this year’s quota as COS. What happens if I change to another status(H4) before Oct 1st? Can I apply for COS after my H1 is picked based on what ever status I am at that point of time? Does this cost me more? Please guide.

      • Mandy,

        You have to submit proof that you are maintaining current visa status when applying for COS. When your COS from L-1A to H-1 is applied, you will be submitting L-1A docs. Assuming COS to H-4 is approved while H-1 COS is still pending, USCIS may issue RFE asking for H-4 proof of status. If not, they will just process it.

        L-1A to H-4 COS petition costs money, and H-1 petition costs money. That’s all that needs to be paid.

        You also need to watch out to ensure your eventual status is what you want it to be. This is where “Last Action Rule” will come into picture.

        • Hi Saurabh,

          I am currently on L1A with my petition ending in Nov 2016.

          My company may file for a Green Card but unsure. Given the frustrated situation, I am going to file for a H1B through a consulting company.

          If the H1B gets selected in the lottery, then can I have it cancelled before Oct 1 2016, if my current company decides to file my Green Card under L1A EB1 ?

          If my company does not go for a Green Card then I would quit the company and join the consulting company on H1B on Oct 1 2016. Please advise and provide your inputs.

          In the below posts I read about existing USA and coming back. So in my situation, if H1B gets approved and if my current company files for Green Card then I will go with my current company. In this situation, do I need to go out of USA and come on my L1A visa and if I do that will the H1B will go to dormant state? Also, when should I travel on L1A Visa – believe it would be after Oct 1 2015.

          • NRookie,

            You have two options:
            1. Your employer applies for H-1 along w/ COS. In this case, you need to travel out of US and return on L-1A visa in order to invalidate the COS. This way you will remain on L-1 even after Oct 1. Your H-1 will become dormant.

            2. Your employer applies for H-1 w/ consular processing. You don’t need to take any action if you plan to remain on L-1. However, if you plan to move to H-1, then either you should enter US on stamped H-1 visa, or file separate COS from L-1 to H-1.

  35. Hi ,

    I am in USA from company A on L1B individual and my visa is valid till mid June 2016. Company B is filing for H1B for 2016 year quota. And also company A is filing for extension of L1B in May . If both L1B extension and H1B are approved how can I continue working for company A.


    • Nithi,

      You will end-up in a race situation. If the intent is to continue working for A after Oct, then have H-1 filed w/ consular processing i.e. w/o COS. You can tell H-1 employer as your I-94 is expiring in Jun 2016, you prefer to get consular processing done as you don’t know what will happen to your L-1 extension. If L-1 is not extended and H-1 is filed w/ COS, then it could result in RFE asking for proof of L-1 extension. So better to go w/ consular processing. This way eventually you will remain on L-1 w/ A and can then decide to move to H-1 at a more convenient date.

  36. Hi,

    I have a couple of question on L1 B visa.
    1. My visa will expire by July 15 2016 (so as my I 94) and my company is applying for H1 for 2016, if my H1 application get picked up in lottery (even though my visa expires) Can I stay here in US with that H1 pending status? Please let me know.
    2. My spouse L2 visa expires on same day but her I 94 status is still Sep 24 2016 : when is the correct time to apply for H4 dependent ? Should I wait for my H1 approval.

    Can someone please reply me back.


    • Hi Ragu,

      You can’t stay at us when H1 petition is pending, it is not renewing process and you are applying a different visa H1 . From my understanding , you must to go back to your country when your L1 visa completes. there are couple of reasons, H1 visa period starts only by Oct’16 which means that you can start working in US from October. Next you need a visa to stay at US since you are applying for H1 B, then you need to travel back and attend the visa interview at your place to come back to US. As soon as you get a petition approved for H1, you can apply a dependent visa for your spouse too.

      • Thanks Mani,

        1 more question:

        If I apply for L1 extension ( and it’s still in pending status till Oct 2016) and my H1 got approved by that time, Can I stay here is US and work on H1 from Oct 2016?


        • Yes, it’s only way to apply L1 extension and wait for both L1 and H1 approval. If H1 gets through, then you can make change of status (COS) from L1 to H1 by Octobor’15 (by that time you might got extension approval). If this case you may not to hurry to go back to your country. But if you are planning to go to your country after H1 approval. You need to plan to get visa and interview stuff. Best of
          Luck. But try to extent your L1 by the time you are applying H1. Then you will have buffer in place

    • Ragu,

      I agree w/ Mani’s response. If you want to continue to stay inside US, then L-1 extension needs to be filed by your L-1 employer.

  37. Hi,
    I know this might have been answered already numerous time, but i would be greatefull if someone confirm it for me.

    1. Company A -L1 visa expired on Jul-15. Applied for extension and was approved until 2017
    2. Applied for H1b through company B and was approved and valid from Oct 1st 2015 to Sep 30 2016
    3. As of today (Nov-15) im still working with company A as i dint get a good job through company B.
    4. Company B wants to run a payroll from November for audit purpose
    4. Now Company A is ready to process green card now.

    Im looking at options now. Any inputs will be appreciated.

    1. If i go out of USA and get a stamping and reenter to process green card through company A? Is this open available?
    2. Or i have to put papers and join company b? is that the only option?


    • Ajai,
      Was your COS approved? If yes, then you need to work for H-1 employer and not L-1 employer.

      If you want to work for L-1 employer, then leave US and return on stamped L-1 visa. You can then continue to work on L-1. You will have the option to file COS to H-1 in future.

      • Thanks Saurabh.
        Yes my H1b COS is approved,
        How long can i continue to work with L1 employer without stamping?
        If i get the stamping and enter US again with L1A visa my H1 will be cancelled?
        In that if i want to shift to H1b next year should it go through the lottery again?
        Thanks again

        • Ajai,
          Your COS was approved so you are no longer in L-1 status but in H-1 status. STOP working on L-1 immediately and start working on H-1. Let your H-1 attorney know about this (he should have told you this in first place). If you continue to work on L-1, then you may run into immigration problems in future.

          • Thanks for clarifying. Do i still have the option to go out of USA and return back with L1 stamping or is H1 is the only valid visa i have now?

          • Ajaikrish,
            Yes, you can leave US and return on L-1 visa provided that visa stamp has not expired. Your H-1 will go into dormant state and can be reinstated either by filing COS to H-1 or entering US on stamped H-1 visa.

  38. I am on L2-EAD valid till Oct’16 .My H1B approved on Oct 29’15. My COS is not yet Filled. Is there any grace period for filling my COS or it has to be done immediately after H1 Approval.

  39. Hi,

    Im on L1A for company ABC, which was expired in Jun 2015. Filed my extension and got the I94 extended. I also applie for H1b for 2015 and was approved for ‘X’ company.
    If i went out of US and come back with L1A stamping, will the H1b visa will still be valid if i have to switch over later in 2016?


  40. Hi,
    I am currently on L1B visa through ABC company. XYZ company filled my H1B (COS) application , and fortunately I got selected in lottery. And still waiting for approval.
    My question is if in case I get approval after 30th Sep 2015, then in that case how much time I would get to change the employer. Is it like that as soon as I get approval I have to change the employer.
    As with in a day to change the employer is practically impossible.

      • Guys can you share your experience with COS from L1 to H1 post Oct 1. Were you able to serve notice period to previous employe as you said practically won’t be able to join on H1 next day…. Mine got picked in third round Nov 19, 2021. So looking for answer about notice period

  41. Currently I am in L1 visa and working as a contractor for company x through my parent company A. Company x decided to terminate the contract but ready to absorb me as a an employee.
    However I can’t join company x as L1B doesntl allow me to change the job, however, company A is ready for sponsoring my H1B visa right now.
    I understand that the 2015 65,000 limit is over, can I legally work for company x once they file my H1B application? The moment my company A knows that there are efforts getting H1B through company X, they are going to throw me out. Can I continue stay in US? I have a valid B1 visa, but my dependents who are currently on L2 do not have any other visa.

    What should I do now?

  42. Hi,

    It would be appreciated if anyone support on my case.

    I have personally done a H1B visa in 2013 cap and my visa got approved in April’2014 and have validity until 2016. I was told to my present employer in India with my interest. They accepted my request and they have transferred me to US with L1B visa Dec’14. Because my present company didn’t like to transfer H1B visa and they are not doing at all. they wanted to go with legally as a specialist knowledge. But I had a discussion with attorney about my case and he has confirmed that both visa should be valid. but 6 year CAP will count even though i am with L1B. Due to my personal reason and happening with my present company, I am thinking to do COS to my H1 when i find a another job. Important think is that, I have a valid H1B stamping in my pass until 2016 end. I need to get the COS and new i-94 based on my H1B with new employment. My question is, Do i really need to go out of US to change my status? or I can do the COS even in US? also correct me if my understanding is wrong.


  43. Hi, I am currently working for company X on L1B visa which is due to expire on 15th March 2015. My I-94 is valid until 15th March 2015. My L1B extension is in process. If my L1B extension gets through, it should take somewhere around 3-4 months so I should be good to continue working on L1B. But in case it gets rejected, I will have to leave USA. To reduce the risk, my company is planning to file my H1B this year so that in case its gets through i will have my H1B starting 1st October 2015. Now I have 2 questions. 1. If my L1B extension and H1B both gets approved, will it be a problem? Can I continue to work for the same company legally between the time my L1B to H1B is approved and October 1? 2. In case my L1B extension is rejected for which the final result comes out to be say, August 15. And my H1B gets approved. Will I be able to work for same company between August 15 and October 1? 3. Is there any way I can continue working for the same company without leaving the country in case 2 between the intermediate period?

    • Hi vikash,
      I was in same situation as yours.
      1. If your L1B extension reject you can`t work until Oct 1 i.e until H1B kicks in. In your case expecting H1B approved. And change of status happen only in Oct 1.
      Work around: Apply L1B extension In home country like India. even if it’s rejects you can reapply L1B extension in US. And if it’s again reject you get a grace period of 180-240 days to say in US.
      chances are getting L1B extension in Home country are high, then in US.

  44. Dear admin and other experts,
    Please help me with the below query.

    My company has offered L1 and my passport is due to expire in October, 2015. I would like to any precautions, tips that i should take care of.
    I have never been to US in the past but had been to UK, BELGIUM and CHINA on business trips. My current passport address is in CHENNAI and am living in BANGALORE for last 4 years. Could you please let me should i need to change my address or directly renew my passport now itself? Also, the general trend is who ever gets relocated to US on L1, company will H1 in the next available H1 quota. Please let me know the pros and cons.

    Thanks in advance.

  45. Hello,
    Thanks a lot for the awesome article. This has answered many of my questions.
    I believe my case is little bit different as:
    I am working on L1B visa extension with company ABC and applied for H1B from Company X. My H1B COS is approved but I haven’t received any communication from company X regarding that. I went to DMV for renewal of my driving license there they mentioned that your visa status has been changed so bring new i94.
    Please suggest me
    1. What all documents I need from Company X to renew my driving license?

    2. How long I can work on L1B with my current employer? Do I need to apply for COS from H1B to L1B, if I need to continue work with Company ABC?

    3. Which company will file COS from H1B to L1B?

    4. I am planning to back to my own country due to family reason. What are the things I need to take care of before leaving US?

    5. What all documents I need from Company X if I have to come to US again?

    • As much as I know, you are already working illegally – you are in H1B status as per your new I-94, but you are serving your L1 employer.

      You have to consult with an attorney immediately, otherwise you can never enter into US again.

      • Thanks for the reply.
        If I leave US by or before Nov’14 end, will my H1B still be valid? I know to enter again in US I need to get it stamped, but can I change the employer after that? If yes, what are the steps?

  46. Hi,

    My visa is got approved and stamping done in Sep,2014 from employer A (consultancy)and validity is 3 years. I do not want to travel to US in next 2 years due to family constraints. My current company B wants to apply L1 in another 6 months. I would want your assistance for the below queries.

    1) Can employer A can cancel my H1B visa any time before 3 years?
    2) Can I apply L1 visa on top of H1B visa in my passport? Will I get any queries from US Embassy about this?
    3) If I get L1 visa stamped from employer B, my H1B will be still valid to travel from other companies?


    • Answers for your questions:
      1. Your petition can be revoked by employer A any time. If it is the case, you cannot work employer A until he files H1B again. He cannot revoke H1B visa.
      2. No, you can apply for L1 even though you have H1B visa. However, when you go for L1 stamping, your H1 visa will be cancelled by US consulate officer – simply because you cannot have 2 NIVs at the same time.
      3. No, this question is already answered.

  47. Hello,
    Thanks for this article and this is really helpful.

    I was in L-1B status since 2010 and from this October 1st I got the status changed to H-1B, and I’m working for the same employer.
    They missed to file COS for my spouse from L-2 to H-4, we have applied I-539 for her COS, and the case is pending.

    We are planning on travelling to India in December, and I think I’ll need to apply for a new H-1B visa stamp at the US consulate in India before re-entering to US.
    My question is – do we see any rejection in the L-1B to H-1B COS visa stamping? And if they do, which will be unfortunate, but what would be the way to re-enter the US?
    I think my previous L-1B is no more valid since I got a new status, H-1B starting from October 1st.

    Any information/experience anybody could share will be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you very much in advance.


Leave a Comment