H1B Transfer without traveling to US in India, No Approval Notice – Experience

In Visa Experiences by KumarUpdated : 137 Comments

One of our readers, Amit, was in a very interesting situation, where an employer filed H1B visa  for him 3 years ago, got it approved, but never gave the approval notice ( I-797) to him.  Amit’s new company applied for a H1B Visa transfer after 3 years, which was cap exempt, and got it approved. He never traveled to USA at least once before this visa transfer on H1B visa. Many of our readers have asked similar questions on the blog.  This is a real experience shared by Amit, which helps you all clarify the situation. Congrats to Amit as he is in US now! Thanks to him for taking time to write the article for us and helping many of our readers. We really appreciate his time. You can share your experience with our readers as well here or email to [email protected]

Background Info :

My first employer applied for H1B Visa about 3 years ago and got it was approved. I never traveled to USA on H1B Visa with that first H1B Visa approval. The first employer never gave me the H1B approval Notice, which is I-797 form.  I only knew my H1B Application Case number that was shared by my employer 3 years ago, I only had used that number to check my case status online at USCIS website.  I had to trust in good faith that the case number was mine and my previous employer did not cheat me.   I never traveled to US to work for that first employer before on H1B Visa and always stayed in India.

What is the H1B Visa Transfer Process from India with only Petition Number ?

All of the below process was done by my new employer’s attorney. You would have to work with attorney for this.

  • A new H1B Cap-Exempt petition needs to be filed by the prospective employer for the same person, requesting USCIS to approve this Cap Exempt petition.
  • A Letter to be directed to USCIS with below details.
    • Proper explanation of why we don’t have the old petition’s copy and approval notice (I-797 copy).
      • We mentioned the reason that previous employer did not provide these documents even after numerous follow-ups with them.
    • Requesting USCIS to use the receipt number to validate the date in their database.
  • One can provide the affidavit mentioning whatever information provided is the best to the knowledge of the person for which petition was filed.

(Affidavit is very important as you are trying to file the petition with the best knowledge you have in good faith and not trying to cheat )

What are the Documents required for H1B Visa Transfer from India ?

  • Copy of the H1B visa approval status of the old petition from USCIS website.
  • Affidavit with the details mentioned in Process section.
  • Copy of any documents with the previous employer that has any relevance with the H1B petition.
    • I had provided the first employer’s offer letter that had the mention of H1B visa.
    • Any additional documents, emails from the official email ID of the employer would be of good supporting documentation.

What are the Risks involved with H1B Transfer without Approval Notice copy ?

As receipt number of the old petition is the most critical information in the whole process, and as far as I know there is no way (known to me) to validate the receipt number relevance to any person. Hence, one needs to be pretty sure about the receipt number (provided by the ex- employer) of the old petition that it belongs to the same person, so that USCIS should get an impression of any wrongdoing in this processing.

How did I file  : Regular or Premium ? How many days ?

  •  I went to the USCIS Case Status Online portal and used the original receipt number of approved H1B petition, which was filed by my first employer on behalf of me and downloaded the approved petition result as PDF. It was attached as part of my new H1B Transfer application.
  • It was a premium processing for my case, and USCIS approved the petition within a week or so without any RFE or other communication. It was very straightforward.
  •  All this happened when I was in India.

What Happened at H1B Visa Stamping ? US Port of Entry (PoE) ?

  • No special questions during H1B Visa stamping. Person asked me about the salary and work location.
  • No questions at US Port of entry (PoE).
  • I successfully entered USA on new H1B visa approval notice filed by my new employer

Were you in similar situation ?  What was your experience ?

Share your thoughts ? Any other advice that I missed ?

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Comments ( 137 )

  1. H1B Aspirant

    Hi ,
    I got a H1B stamped in FEB 2017 and valid till SEP 2019. I didn’t travel US till now as the employer A couldn’t provide job after stamping. So if I try for the job with employer B and file H1B transfer will the validity date change(increase or decrease or remains the same.) . If it doesn’t change will there be a problem in extension?

  2. Naval

    I have H1B visa initiated by my current employer and picked up in lottery (in 2014).
    I only have the LCA number.

    There was no stamping done till now and petition will expire soon.

    So In my case , can it be extended without going to lottery process ?

    How do i get the receipt number?

    Thanks,
    Naval

  3. Deepak

    Hi,

    This article is really helpful in my scenario. Thanks for sharing it.
    I have only receipt number and do not have any supporting document from my previous employer where H1B is mentioned like you have mentioned in your post:

    Copy of any documents with the previous employer that has any relevance with the H1B petition.
    I had provided the first employer’s offer letter that had the mention of H1B visa.
    Any additional documents, emails from the official email ID of the employer would be of good supporting documentation.

    Will it create any issue for transfer processing?

  4. Suhail Anand

    Hi Saurabh,

    I was in USA on L1B Visa and came back to India on June 2016 after my L1B visa extension got denied.

    My H1b is approved on Sept-2016 and i got it stamped on Nov 2016. Stamping and validity is valid till July 2019.

    I am still in India and never traveled on H1B (But traveled on L1B only as mentioned above). Now i got one of the company who is ready to transfer the H1B. My question is after the approved transfer with the new employer do i need to go for Visa Stamping again as the stamping with previous employer is valid till July 2019?

    Also is there is more rejection while transfering the H1B from India?

  5. Naz

    I have got my H1 visa stamped in Jan 2016 and about to expire in Dec 2017, I haven’t travelled once to US as of now. In this scenario If I want to extend my visa validity Is that possible to go for an amendment with same client & project and different work location.. Please provide your valuable suggestion on this

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