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

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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156 Comments

  1. I have a question related to h1b transfer.

    I am currently working with company A since 6 years at India branch. Company A has headquarter in USA. I have approved H1B petition and I797 for company B but I have not gone for Visa Stamping yet.

    Due to some reasons, I do not want to join company B. I want to work for my current employer A in US branch. Can my current employer A apply h1b transfer now considering I am still in India and my passport is not stamped yet? Is there any risk involved? Is my presence necessary in US for H1B transfer process ?

    I know there might be some settlement I have to pay to company B but that is ok.

    Reply
  2. Hi,
    I have valid H1B with employer A, stamping is done but unable to travel due to covid and now employer A is not providing job, my visa will expire by Jul 2021, can i transfer my visa to employer B now or even after July 2021 ?

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
  3. One of my friend is india and he had a H1B approved visa with one of the employer A which is valid till next year Aug 2021 but recently there is a site visit from USCIS to employer A and the officer requested the employer to revoke the visa due to business discontinuation effected by covid. So here my question is now my friend can transfer his visa to another employer B or not and his visa is not yet stamped in india. Will that be possible to transfer the petition or not.

    Reply
  4. Hi Kumar,

    My previous employer filed for H1B in April 2016 and my case was approved in Nov 2016. I was in India at that time and I did not get my H1B Visa stamped at all. In June 2017, I moved to US on F-1 visa. Since, I have an approved i-797B petition from my previous employer, does it make me cap exempt. I am currently working on F1-OPT with a different employer in US. Can this new employer use the unused petition to file Change of Status?

    Just to reiterate, I did not get my passport stamped for H1B and never traveled to US on H1B status. thank you.

    Reply
    • Bhargav,
      This is grey area, hard to say…If you were to have stamping, it has better chances… If you have an employer willing to take the chance, give it a shot…

      Reply
  5. Hi All,
    I need help and clarification regarding my H1-B petition,

    My H1-B petition was applied in Apr-2017 and was approved in Nov-2017 through Employer-A. I did not travel to US.
    I did NOT go for stamping through Employer-A and I am not sure about the expiry of my petition.
    I have joined a Employer-B in India and I would like to know whether Employer-B can transfer my petition and I can get my visa stamping done.
    Kindly let me know,

    If my petition is not expired, Can the employer transfer the petition through premium processing and get my visa through employer-B.
    If petition is expired, Am I eligible for Cap-exempt petition through premium processing?
    Thank you very much,
    Sats.

    Reply
  6. Hi,
    My initial h1b transfer with employer A to B got denied. Employer A h1b was expired. So I had to leave the country and move to India. Now Employer C applied for new visa, it got approved and stamped on Sept end 2019. Unfortunately, Employer C doesn’t have any project for me, so I didn’t travel to US yet.

    I found another employer D. He wants to do transfer my visa now. But I haven’t told that I’m in India.

    My idea:
    I will travel to US without telling to Employer C, because I have job offer letter from them saying my job starts on Oct 14,2019. I will join this Employer D as soon as they receive the transfer receipt notice.

    My question:
    1. Can Employer D transfer my visa without my paystub (because I didn’t work for last 6 months)?
    2. Is it advisable to travel like I planned before the joining date? (I planned this travel because I don’t want to lose this Employer D job and I don’t want to wait till my visa transfer completes and go through all stamping)
    3. Should I need to be in US before the Employer D file LCA ?

    Thank you for answering in advance.

    Reply
  7. Hi Kumar,

    My H1B will be effective in OCT.1.2019. I didn’t go back to my country to get the new visa stamp.
    Can I transfer to a new company at Nov.1.2019? They will set up a transfer case for me.
    Please let me know.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Hi Saurabh,

    Is it possible to transfer an expired Visa from one employer to another ?
    1) I have done the stamping with first employer but never traveled.
    2) My visa expired June 2018.

    I want to know whether the Petition can be used.

    Thanks and Regards
    AV

    Reply
    • There is nothing called transfer of visa. You can only renew visa, if expired. You can file a transfer using that petition as cap exempt. You will need new employer to file for h1B, get all the approval, then go for stamping to re-enter US.

      Reply
  9. Hi,

    My H1b is approved this year 2019 and valid is next year, i have case Number and LCA . Can it is possible my H1B transfer B company. if yes how much sucess rate. can Company A have right to revoke and cancel my H1b if i apply H1B transfer company B. My visa is not stamp only i have H1B approval

    Reply
    • You may not be able to transfer, if you do not have H1B stamp as you may not be considered as having H1B status. This is a grey area…if you have it stamped, then you can apply for transfer.

      Reply
  10. HI,
    Firstly i would like to appreciate for your effort in replying to Queries which ppl have/had,

    I am in a situation, where i unable to decide what to do with my h1.

    Scenario :: I am working in an Indian MNC named “INDCompany” and one of my close friend who works for a consultancy in US named “USConsul”, two years back, he applied my h1 through his consultancy(“USConsul”) and luckily it got picked and last year it got approved, till that time all went smoothly now becoz of some issues, later they are not sharing any documents to me in-order to go for visa stamping and saying that the client letter got expired. Now my friend is suggesting me to transfer my h1 to current company(INDCompany) or to new company as my h1 is about to expire in 6 months,

    my Question here is , Is it possible to transfer my h1 to current company or new company as i am working in one company and my h1 is from another company, will any company accepts my experience for one company and transfer of h1 from another consultancy.

    Reply
    • Well, this is slightly a grey area…there were some successes, some did not go through. USICS asks that the candidate never had H1B status because they did not get stamped or was in US on H1B status. But, if you have someone willing to take the chance, you should go for it and apply for transfer. Do keep the community posted, on how it goes.

      Reply
  11. Hi,

    I am working in India. I got H1B in 2015 from employer A and visa was expired in Sept 2016. I didn’t get a chance to travel USA through Employer A. Now is it possible to transfer to another employer B while I am in India? is there any risks? How long it will take for transfer process?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • If you have stamping done, you may be eligible to apply for Cap exempt petition. You can find a H1B sponsor and try to apply for H1B using your old petition details. There are no risks. Transfer will take normal time as regular petition.

      Reply
  12. 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?

    Reply
  13. 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

    Reply
  14. 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?

    Reply
  15. 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?

    Reply
  16. 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

    Reply

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