H4 visa to H1B visa transfer for 2011. Impact of New H1B rules on H4 to H1B visa conversion 2011 Quota

In H1B Visa by KumarUpdated : 1234 Comments

Wedding H4 VisaI was asked by one of our readers about options for H4 to H1B visa conversion as she was planning on applying for H1B visa petition for 2011 quota.  The impact of new rules with H1B employer-employee relationship have a significant impact on the all those qualified H4 visa  holders who would like to apply for H1B visa for 2011 quota. This article will focus on some of the impact on H4 visa holders. If you do not know new rules. First Read the articles :

H4 Visa holders general situation :

Typically, significant number of the H4 visa holders are well educated with B.Tech degrees and some of them probably would have worked in Indian IT Consulting companies like Infosys, Cognizant, TCS, Wipro, HP, IBM etc. for few years anywhere from 1 to 5 years. Once these well qualified professional women marry H1B visa holders working in US, they come to US on H4 visa and back of their minds, they are thinking : “After I go to US, I am going to apply for H1B visa and work in US along with my husband ”. Also, the guys are thinking too, “I should apply for H1B visa for my wife in the upcoming H1B visa quota”.    Typically, this used to work out very well until recent years where there has been recession hit and significant job losses all over US. In general, it is very hard for someone who used to work full time as a professional to sit at home all day and do nothing. It is just frustrating and in fact waste of time too.

New H1B visa 2011 rules impact on H4 Visa holders:

Well, with the new H1b rules  memorandum and additional requirements for H1B visa petition, there is a big question prevailing among the H4 visa holders, “How to find a good H1B visa sponsor who can fulfill the new rules ? ”. With the new rules  the small desi consultancies who used to H1B visa sponsorship are no longer in good shape to file a valid H1B visa petition.  I have already written a section about this in previous post, where I explain “What does New H1B rules for 2011 Quota mean to all the Small IT Consulting Companies ?” . Anyways, bottom line, your options for finding prospective H1B visa sponsors are very limited.  I am sure the husbands on H1B visa are looking all around for any contacts to find a good employer. Few tips for looking for employers.

What/How to look in an employer to sponsoring H1B visa for 2011 quota:

  • You really want to look for companies of good size, I would say at least 150 or more.
  • The most important thing is to look if they have project implementations in US and they have employees working on site and reporting to the consulting company and not to client. They must have few implementations. It is very important for your Visa approval.
  • As always, you can verify the size of the company and other details like denials, etc. Check the article: Things to verify before you choose employer for H1B visa .
  • One of the avenues is to look at the big outsourcing concept consulting companies like Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, HP, Accenture, etc. There are many outsourced projects and because H4 visa holders have some work experience, they can cash that in and build a strong resume.  It would be an ideal option if you can find a job in the big IT outsourcing Consulting companies.
  • Another option is to look for Full time job at any American company. If you can dictate the start date with the company to have it  from October 1st, then you can adopt this option. It might not be possible. Read the below for more likely situation based on cap numbers.

If H1B quota for 2011 lasts until December 2010 :

Let’s say, hypothetical situation (cannot count on this, but something to think about), the H1B visa quota lasts till December 2010. It does not even be till December, even the H1B quota lasts until October 2010, there is another idea. You can start looking for Job in any American Companies. I mean, look for a FULL Time job in any American company. You are not limited to consulting companies. Based on the cap count, you can see the situation and may be start looking for Job from August and you might get an offer in September, they can apply for Visa.  Ideally, it takes 2 months or so for getting full visa approval. It sometimes comes early too based on how fast USCIS Process the H1B visa petitions. Anyways, you may start looking for job from June too and may get an offer in August and by the time the visa process is done you are already there in October 2010.

It is a very hard situation for all the H4 visa holders and I know quite few of my friends who recently got married and are planning on H1B visa for their wife, but having a hard time with new rules and recession. Well, it is what it is, we cannot change much. Just try harder… Good Luck!

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Comments ( 1,234 )

  1. Thiru

    I am applying H1B this year, I want to bring my family with me also.

    My wife also haveing working experiance in IT,

    If my want to work in US, First get H4 and come to US and try for H4 to H1B is this is good ?

    or both at a time to apply H1B.

    or H4 to H1 converstion.

    Can you please suggest me, which is the best way to apply visa for both of us?

    1. administrator


      If you both can search for H-1 employer, then you both can apply this year. There is a very good chance that lottery will happen this year as well, so it is not a given that you will get your H-1. If both people apply then there is a better chance that one will get H-1 and other can travel on H-4 and try for H-1 in following years.

  2. Chitra


    My husband is holding H1visa and he is currently in US. I have applied H4 visa but still i am in India. My employer is applying for H1 visa in India.
    Did my H1 visa processing affects/reject for holding H4 visa.

  3. nikita doshi

    Hi Saurabh,
    My situation is too complex. Till now, no one gave me solution on my problem. After marriage, I moved to USA. My company filled L1 B for me to continue my job. I was having H4 also as my husband works on H1. At the first time of my travel, I was carrying these two visas. I traveled on Sept, 2013. My company put me on sabbatical as on that time I was not having project. At port of entry, I told to custom person, that I won’t be working for few months, hence I am on sabbatical. But after explaining this also, he stamped on my L1 instead of H4. It was my first travel to USA. I was not at all aware of this process. I didn’t realize too. After 10 months, I got project in USA. I started my job work from home. My company asked me to start work even before joining formalities. After almost a month, they came to me and asked me to submit my documents. On that time one lady from visa team realized that I am in USA from last 10 months on L1. My management team and HR asked me to leave USA as soon as possible as they didn’t submit my I-9 form when I came in USA. Now they are saying, my L1 is violated. I cant work in USA on L1. I asked them for any alternative, but they are not at all helpful. I worked for them for month, they didn’t give me salary also. I am helpless as my company is giant. Your help will be really appreciable. Currently I am in USA on H4 visa.

  4. Kirtika Salhotra

    Hi Saurabh

    My husband is traveling to USA this Dec’2015 with a H1B Visa initiated. Even i am on a H4 Visa right now. I am a Java developer having 3.6 yrs of experience in a reputed MNC. I want to travel along with my husband. What are the best ways for me to get a job in USA. I wish to find a H1B Visa sponsor for myself. What steps shall i follow ??

  5. Renu

    Hi Saurav,

    Here is my situation..I came to US on H4 and converted to H1 and started working till August’14.Then i was on paid maternity till nov’14 and will be on unpaid extended maternity leave till Jan’15. I will be going to India for my stamping in Jan 1st week. Now my questions are:

    a)What are the changes of rejection as i would not have payslips for december and january.
    b)If my H1b gets rejected, within how many days can i apply for H4?
    c)If i come back to US on H4 and try to change to H1b can i start working when my petition is in process or should i wait for approval to start working?


  6. chinnu

    Hi ..I am on h4 visa here..I am have my graduation in computer science & engg , but no work experience.. Can anyone please help me how to get h1b..TIA

  7. Sonali

    Hi Saurav,
    I am on h4 visa and want to convert it to h1. The companies are asking for skill sets and experience but I don’t really have one because I just got out of college and got married and came here. Though I got jobs back in India, but could not join. What should I do? And how can I file my petition?

  8. h4 to h1b

    Hi saurabh.. i want to apply h4 visa to h1b visa. My query is their any rule that you have to stay in usa with h4 visa for atleast some months/days prior inorder to apply h1b visa… because i want to come usa on h4visa in the month of march and apply for h1b visa.
    Kindly guide me.. thanks in advance

    1. Sunatha

      Were you able to find answer to your query. Even I want to apply h4 visa to H1 and I will travel next March2015 on H4, so is it required to be in US for some amt of time before applying for H1?
      Which is better applying H1 directly from India or transferring to H1 from H4? please help.

    2. srivennela

      No there is no such rule like that. But since this is your first H1, it has to be filed on April 1st and you will be start working from Oct 1st after approval. So you need to find employer by April 1st.

  9. Bil

    I want to process H1 visa to my wife but I came to know from my friend if we transfer H4 Visa to H1 then no need to under go Quota or lottery process. Is this information is correct? Please suggest.

  10. sp


    I am working in US on H1B, however my project is coming to an end and I would have to travel back. I am married and my husband is in US and I might give up on my current H1B and go for H4. Incase later I find a job in US, would I again have to goto through the quota system and wait time or would obtaining an H1B would be simple just like switching and applying for an H1B transfer?

    1. Gaurav Kumar


      No, You are not subjected to CAP or QUOTA System. You are cap exempted, it would be better if you can process your H1B transfer through another company. If not possible then don’t worry you can file H1B petition anytime, no need to wait for april 1st week.

      Gaurav Kumar
      Immigration Consultant

  11. mrbarhate

    Hello Saurabh,
    I had an I-94 when I landed in USA on march 6th 2012 which ends in Oct 2014. I got another I-94 along with my H1 transfer from Employer A to Employer B, which ends sometime in 2016.
    a. Am I supposed to return both my I-94s on my way out of the US when im visiting India in Feb 2014?
    b. I am planning to return to US after couple of weeks of vacation in March 2014 and I am not planning to stamp a fresh visa based on the new petition because I have visa from my previous employer valid till Oct 2014. If the officer at POE gives me a newI-94, will the end date be based on my new petition of Oct 2016 or will it be based on my old visa having date of exp as Oct 2014. How do i convince the officer for Oct 2016?


  12. Vidullata

    Hello Saurabh,
    Currently I am in US on H4 Visa. I will be visiting India on Feb 13th 2014, and returning back on May 8th 2014. My question is, if I find an employer who files H1B petition for me this year, @ April 1st, 2014, will I be able to return back to US on May 8th without any troubles? Asking this because I will be entering on H4 status while my H1B petition is pending. In addition, My husband has recently had H1B visa transfered as he switched to new employer. We are not going for a fresh stamping since we both have live visas from previous employer till Oct 2014.
    Thanks in Advance

  13. Neha

    Hi, Saurabh,

    I have recently traveled to the USA on H4. I have a full time 2 year Post Graduate Diploma in Retail Management post which I worked with a management consulting firm for 5 years. I am wondering whether I should approach retailers in USA for filling H1B petition on my behalf or through consultants (who seem to be focused on IT)?

    Can you also let me help me with the timelines I should focus on?

    Thanks, Neha

    1. administrator

      As I am not from this domain, I cannot provide specific guidance. In general, consulting companies are more open to file H-1 for candidates on H-4 as they will have to wait for at least 6 months before the person can start working. Non-consulting companies (like big retailers) may be reluctant to hire someone and then wait for 6 months for that person to join.

      Are there management consulting firm in US? If yes, you can approach them. You can also comb through previous H-1 filers to see if anyone has filed H-1 in retail domain. You can also look for schools that offer courses in retail management. Then see what companies came for placement and approach them.

      Good luck!

  14. Rick

    Got my H1B stamped in home country for a genuine inhouse project.
    Now the employer wants me to start on a different project at client location at a salary MORE that what was mentioned in

    the petition “AFTER I TRAVEL TO THE STATES”. Few Queries

    1. Is this illegal ? If yes, Please let me know the legal way in this case.

    2. Employer plans to file an H1B amendment and LCA with updated details but wants me to start with the client project as soon as ammendement and LCA is filed.
    Should I work for another company when the new LCA and H1B amendment is in process or should I wait ?

    3. My H1B is stamped through company A, Can I join i.e Transfer H1B to company B without even starting working for Company A

    4. Can this cause problem or negative point in my GC filing i.e not working for the project for which I got H1B stamped or transferring/filing new H1B with another company B without working for company A ?

  15. seema

    I recently got my H1B stamped in India. My wife’s H1B petition filed by the “SAME EMPLOYER” has been approved but not stamped. Below are few queries

    1. Should my wife appear for H4 as she would not start working immediatly after travelling to the US. She will take care of setting up the new place and act as a home maker for few months while taking care of some health issues of hers.

    2. She was hired in the US for MNC & worked there till 20-Jul-2013. She opted for an LOA(leave of absence, NOT PAID) while returning back to India. So technically she is an employee of MNC US and opted for international transfer of employement to India which is in process, but not getting paid in India or USA.
    What should she answer the VO if she is appearing for H4 stamping & is asked if she is working now ?

    3. If we decide to appear for H1B stamping (Should we??). Would VO question about the same employer filling H1B for both of us in the same project ? We have exact same skills and same qualifications. This is genuine but we are concerned about VO being suspicious. Her 8+ years of experience may add to the suspicion.

  16. info seeker


    I recently changed my employer from a big Indian IT company to a medium size US based company. My earlier role in H1b was “Computer programmer” and have been working in that role for big “Indian IT company” for nearly 4-5 years in USA. Now, my role is “Computer and Information Systems Manager” for the new medium sized “US based company” ( current employer ). And, i have been working in this role and employer for past 3 months…

    Now, i will be attending the PA in Chennai US Visa consulate. Would there be any challenges to have my visa stamped due to a different role in short period and also any serious questions asked?

    Concern is I am wondering if they would ask, you were developer/programmer all these days, how come you became a manager all of a sudden… Would that be a challenge… If so, Could you please help me how to tackle this.. Any precautions/preparations i should take? I was performing manager activities earlier and have done certifications in it


  17. ethawa

    Hi my name is ethawa
    currently I came to Us on H4 visa in my country I am A pharmacist is their any company who fill for me the H1b petition or return to my country any advise pls 10Q

  18. Contact


    I have 4.5 years with an MNC in India and have to quit job and travel to US on H4 by November end this year post my marriage.

    I dont want to ruin my career .
    Fortunately I came across this website and thought of checking options to have a bright career being on H4 .

    Can you help me?


    1. h1b seeker

      Unde H4, you can never work in usa. If helps for your career, you can only volunteer with no salary. You can try for.any university admission for higher studies. Or you can start preparing to apply for h1b visa for which can be filed earliest April 1 2014 and eligible to work only from Oct 1 2014 provided your petition is approved and your status is changed from h4 to h1. Contact your would be husband he should hav already planned if he.is been Working.in usa for long time. If not, you need to start looking for an employer.in usa. I guess at this stage job consultancies will be responding. Post your resume on monster and dice seeking h1b for April 1 quota. You need to do this at least by nov end or Dec. All the best.

  19. Rohini


    I am currently on H4 and looking for getting H1-B. But unfortunately this year’s (2013) H1 quota is already full and so many consultants told me that it is not possible for me to file H1 this year and I need to wait until next year. But few days back I got a call from one consultancy and they told me that they can file my H1-B after a month probably in Nov this year and they would just need my visa copy and last 4-digits of SSN (which I already have since I was on L1-B previously).
    So my question is when everyone is saying that H1 can’t be filed this year then how this company says to me that just leave it on us and we can file it for you?? Will they be going to file it under any non-profit organization??

    1. h1b seeker

      Interesting! As you don’t hold any existing H1B petition, its impossible to file for a fresh petition for 2014 fiscal year at this stage.

      But, for 2015 fiscal year ( i.e. to start work from oct 1, 2014 ), they can file your petition starting April 1, 2014. Not sure if they actually meant that…

      1. Rohini

        Thanks for your reply.

        No they didn’t mentioned me anything like its for 2015 but instead I was told that the process of job interviews, training and visa will start next month i.e. in Nov. So is it possible that they can file H1 to work for a non-profit organization?? As I have heard that its possible to get H1B to work for a non-profit organization. Not sure though. Also is it a risk to provide with the visa copy and SSN to them??

      2. h1b seeker

        Yeah! If the employer’s client is related to some research based govt organization, then possible. ( You would have to work at “institutions of higher education or related or affiliated nonprofit entities, nonprofit research organizations or governmental research organizations” )

        Thats the ideal case. But, be careful if its not the case. They might be actually planning for fiscal year 2015 and engage you in a “job training” with fees until then. I have often heard that, you will be interviewed by the employer ( not by client ) and then ask you to join their training to be interviewed by Client. This way, they will make some money by offering you training and later file the H1b too. They are not doing anything illegal, but they are smart in their way of work.

        So, you need to research properly and should ask that question directly to them 🙂 . We can only guess.

        1. Rohini

          Thanks much for your clarification! Definitely I will make sure to get all the queries clarified and then move ahead with the decision.

          Thanks again!

  20. Alpha

    I am currently on L1B visa and my visa/I94 got expired on 3rd June. My company filed an extension for me in month of May and I got an RFE in mid July. I have to respond to my RFE questions till 27th Sep ( date given by USCIS ) but I am planning to withdraw my application and go back to India on 14th Sep.
    So I have few questions :

    1) Will I be out of status from 3rd June till 14th Sep in USCIS and will this create problems for me in future. My attorney told me that you will not be out of status till 27th Sep.If I leave the country before that and withdraw my application , I will be good.
    2) I am planning to come back to US on dependent visa (H4) as my wife is here on H1. Is there any desirable time I should appear for the H4 interview.I mean should I wait for L1B visa status to be changed to withdrawn before I appear for H4 interview.
    3) I was planning to go for H4 visa stamping 1 week after I reach India which will be around 20th sep. So will this be problem for me as they will still be seeing my L1 status as RFE because I heard that it takes around 1 month for the status to get change to withdrawn in USCIS system. So can I be bombarded with questions in my H4 stamping and possibly result in a denial.
    4) I can wait for 1 month in India before I go for H4 stamping. Is this preferred approach or it doesn’t matter.

  21. Prakash

    Hi Saurabh,

    My Petition was RFE’d on 11th of July as per the USCIS and I have not yet received any mail from them yet. Is it normal ? how many days it takes to get the mailer document from them ? you have any suggestions for me…..


  22. Rohan

    Hi Saurabh,

    I traveled to US on H4B in June 2013 on leave.My Indian Company had applied an H1B for me this year in April 2013.
    Now when H1B was applied I was not on H4,I traveled after the H1b was filed that is in June.Now my h1b Visa Status is RFE.

    1.Does my company need to file Change of status,If I go back to India in September?
    If not then will after October 1st my status would be automatically changed(H4 to H1) if I get an approval for my Visa.

    1. H1b seeker

      If you are re-entering US after October 1 and intend to work with the employer for whom the petition is approved, then you will show your H1B visa for your i94.

    2. administrator

      They cannot change it from consular processing to COS as you entered after the petition was filed. Once the petition is approved, you can file for COS (if you are still in US), or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.

      1. Rohan

        Thanks Saurabh for the reply..
        How much time does it take for an RFE to resolve and also if I am in USA, how much time will it take for another employer to transfer and file COS for my H1b.
        What will the documents be required to transfer.

        1. administrator

          RFE review can take up to 60 days (*at times longer than that).

          The new employer can file for cap-exempt petition soon after current petition is approved. Regular processing is 2-4 months, while PP is 15 calendar days (assuming no RFE issued).

  23. Amito

    Hi. I have an H-1B visa and my wife is having H4 visa. My wife is working in India in a IT company. Can she come with me to US and do work from home for her company? She will be paid in Indian currency and the salary will be credited in her Indian bank account.

  24. XVZ

    Hi Saurabh,

    Pls relpy urgently

    I have travelled to US on H1 last month and my wife on h4. We got our visa stamped in First week of June,2013 from India. Now we are in US. My wife came to US on leave from her employer. My wife employer has filed h1 for her in this year quota. Recently she got the updated for her status of h1 is “RFE”. Employer is not responding.

    RFE can be, becuase she travel to US on h4??


  25. Roli


    I am on H4 visa and earlier i worked with a pharmaceutical company in India as a analytical method development scientist , now again i want to work to explore my knowledge in any pharmaceutical company or any post doctaral fellowship so could you advise me what is the proper way according to USA labure law so that i can utilize my experiance and server for USA.any information on this regard would be highly apppreciated.

  26. H1B Change

    Hi Saurabh,

    Quick question.

    My employer is a major Indian IT company and currently deputed to USA on H1B and working with Client A. I happen to see a requirement in Client A which matches my profile and interested to apply for it. I reviewed the Master service agreement b/w my employer and Client A and it says, neither the employer , nor the client can solicit or approach the employees of either company. But, if a job opening is made public, then its not a violation. So, can i join Client A as this job is made public and available in their website and other job sites.

    Also, i had signed a deputation letter in India before travelling to USA, which says that i cannot join the Client A until 6 months nor i can quit at USA. I know for h1b, this does not hold good. But, wanted to confirm before i take any step. Could you please confirm?

    1. administrator

      H1B Change,
      You may be able to apply for A’s position as it was publicly published. Have you completed 6 months w/ A?

      Few things:
      – although you may not be impacted by the non-solicitation contract, you should still get it reviewed by a labor attorney to be sure
      – the company cannot do anything to your H-1 w/ regard to leaving them in US, but they can go after you outside US. Does the letter mention what needs to be done in case you resign in US?

  27. H1B Job Query


    I am with Employer A and was looking to change my job and had applied for a job with Employer B, 4 months back. I had not received a call yet and meantime, through another employer ( apparently a Consultancy ) said will arrange an interview with that employer B and will offer a h1b transfer with a position as a contractor with Employer B.

    Later, i received a call from Employer B and after couple of interviews, the HR of Employer B offered a permanent position saying your resume was already in our database as i had applied 4 months back. When i decdied to accept that offer, i was threatened by the consultancy that i cannot accept that offer as he had referred me to that employer B. To this, when i decided to ignore the consultancy and asked them ( consultancy & employer B ) to work out internally, he has been threatening to send a legal notice to me and also cause trouble to my H1b petiton and probably a deport and also any possible problem.

    When i consulted the HR of employer B, they said , i am free to choose any employer and law does not stop me in doing so. But, they will not interfere as it should be my decision.

    Could you please suggest me what should i be doing. My experience with this consultancy defenitely is not fruitful and have no more trust on it. Would there be any impact on my H1b petition or would the consultancy cause any harm to me if i accept the offer of Employer B.

    1. administrator

      H1B Job Query,
      Did you sign any document w/ the consultancy? B has enough documents to show that you were in their system even before consulting company came into picture.

      The consulting company cannot deport you for this. The maximum they can do is sue you for damages but you have a good chance of winning as B’s system will show when you got in touch w/ them. You can also talk to a labor attorney about this.

      1. H1B Job Query

        Hi Saurabh,
        Thanks for the response.

        There has been no document signed so far. Also, during my interviews with Employer B, i had informed the consultancy that Employer B is going to hire me as permanent employee. During that time, they kept on saying you can work with us instead of Employer B. When the offer was finalized by Employer B, now the consultancy is making an issue.

        And, yes Employer B has information that my resume was available in their database before the consultancy had sent my resume to employer B. But, its might also be true that interview was probably scheduled after consultancy forwarded the resume. But, i have not signed any document and i have few email conversations giving status of interview with employer B and consultancy trying to convince me to stay with them. ( it was the first ever interview they had arranged too )

        1. administrator

          H1B Job Query,
          As you didn’t sign any document w/ B, you should be fine. Still I will suggest talking to a labor attorney and discuss the case.

  28. Shaina

    Currently I am working in IT company(INDIA) and have filled H1B Visa for this year.I am waiting for the lottery result.
    I also have an H4 Visa as my husband will be going onsite in June 2014,I am planning to go with him on leave.
    Therefore I will be in USA on H4B and will also be waiting for my H1B Visa approval from my Current company.
    1.If I get reciept number in June and since I will be in USA in June ,can I change my employer in USA with reciept number only.
    and then wait for approval for H1B.

    2.If not then I need to wait for my H1B approval from my Indian Employer ,once approved then change employer .

    1. Ruchi

      Shaina: You will have to wait till the approval of H1B for changing employers… Receipt cannot be taken as approval. You may change employer before Oct without payslips and if in case approval comes late that is after oct you will need payslips for approval then…. Hope this helps…

    2. administrator

      It’s #2. Once approved, you are considered cap-exempt for next 6 years and can transfer to another employer. Until then you are not cap-exempt.

  29. ankur

    Hi saurabh,

    This is ankur,
    I still not received any confirmation after the lottery oh h1 that whether selected or rejected. It is quite late also. Can I say that my case is rejected that’s why my employer didn’t get any info. Please help me

    1. H1b Seeker

      You should check with your Employer. All of us can just guess that it might have not been selected or delay in communication.

    2. ankur

      Yes that’s the confusion. Is there any kind of last date of receiving the approval receipt. I heard that even if get rejected then also we receive rejection letter.
      I don’t know last date of receiving any confirmation.please let me know if anyone aware of it.

        1. tarun

          hi…. even my employer is waiting for the reciept. he is not clearing me on this. plase if anybody know that its already 15 may, can i still hope for the approval in lottery or its clear that i m not selected. pleae help me as i lost all hopes.

  30. tarun

    I am traveling on H1 & my wife on h4.

    Meanwhile her employer has filed h1 for 2014 quota.

    1. Can she change h4 to h1 from US itself once the petition is approved.

    2. Can she change the employer using approved petition with receipt no only.

    1. administrator

      1. Yes
      2. Yes. If she changes employer prior to Oct, then no payslips are required. After Oct, she will require payslips for her H-1 term.

      1. tarun

        Thanks saurabh,

        1. But if her petition is approved after OCT???

        2. She can transfer h1 before OCT without approval notice with receipt no only.

        1. administrator

          1. She can file COS from H-4 to H-1 once the petition is approved. If this is filed prior to Oct, then COS will be approved w/ start date of Oct 1. If this is filed after Oct 1, then COS will be approved w/ actual date of approval.
          2. Its good to have approval notice. If not, she can use the receipt number and print out of online status showing that the status is approved.

  31. Disha

    Hi Saurabh & others,
    I am currrently on H1b which will expire in 6 months. Also, i am looking for another job/employer. Is there a standard to-do list or best practices which will help me on a smooth H1b Transfer from current employer to a possible future Employer??

    1. administrator

      This is what comes to my mind:
      1. Make sure the new employer is a good one
      2. Make sure you are maintaining legal status on your current H-1 and have all payslips, W-2s ready
      3. Keep your resume and experience letters, marksheets, degrees etc up to date
      4. It helps if the new employer has an attorney to guide you through the process

  32. raj

    hi saurabh,

    I am currently holding the h1b visa.. and i want to bring my wife to USA with H4 visa, my wife had 7+ years of experience in MNC companies, will it be possible to apply h1 visa for her.

    please advice?

    1. administrator

      H-1 needs to be applied before the cap get exhausted. Prediction is that it may not survive more than few weeks this time. So H-1 can be applied but you may be out of time if you still haven’t finalized the employer yet. The H-1 can be applied either after she has entered US on H-4, or even before she travels to US on H-4 (in both cases it has to be applied after April 1).

  33. nitu

    Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you are doing well!

    My husband is in US in H1B and I am also planning to go there. I got a consultant who is ready to apply my H1 as I am on H4. He will apply my H1 on April 1st however at that time I will be on India and will reach in May starting.
    Is this fine COS after I reach there, is this create any problem in my H1 approval.

    Please advise me.

    1. administrator

      You can file COS once your H-1 petition gets approved. Another thing your employer can try is to file for COS if RFE is issued (as part of RFE response).

  34. Sonu

    Hi All,

    Need some advise URGENTLY.

    My wife is with me in US on H4. I need to get her H1 filed from here so need some advise.
    I have contacted some consultancy who are ready to sponsor H1B for her but asking for certain amount. I found 5-6 of them and all need Visa filing fee to be paid by us. That’s oK but my problem is:

    Once she has H1B approved, then they will search for some company where they can deploy you. And they will not pay you anything if you are on Bench. Now the question here is suppose she is on Bench for 3 months or so…then also we need to pay tax from our pocket which is again a catch…because you wouldn’t be getting salary for that time.

    So i need your advise / experience on this part like is there any way out of it or something. Should i go ahead for applying her H1B or should i not. I am confused.


    1. administrator

      Once she moves to H-1, she will have to get paid regularly in order to maintain status. Even during the processing phase, USCIS may ask about client/project details and may not approve it w/o it. So its better to go through an employer who can provide all documents required for stamping and hence have better chance of approval.

  35. Ambika


    I have 4.5 years of IT experience in India and I am in H4 VISA rite now with my husband. He is planning to apply H1 for me. I have a question,

    Wat happens once I get started working in H1, and if there is a situation that I couldn’t work for say 3 months. What are the options I have, Can I continue in H4 or shd I move back to India, what will happen to my h1 status ?

    1. administrator

      Your husband cannot apply H-1 for you – only an employer can do that.

      Once you start working on H-1, and want to take a break of few months then you need to file COS from H-1 to H-4. Once approved, you will be on H-4 visa status. You can go back to H-1 by filing H-1 COS. You don’t need to go through the cap again.

      If the few months break is due to pregnancy then you can remain on H-1 and return to join on H-1.

      1. Ambika

        Thanks Saurabh.

        Yes my husband is looking for a consultancy to apply H1 VISA.

        I have another question, what is the maximum period I can continue in H1 without getting payroll generated.


        1. administrator

          A person always need to get paid on H-1. If the person doesn’t get paid then they start accumulating out of status.

          1. prash

            What if the person doesn’t apply for COS from H4 to H1, but applies for H1 independently. In that case, I guess as long as you don’t convert to H1 fully, you may still be ok without payroll. What do you think about this ?

        2. prash

          prash February 15, 2013 at 7:12 pm
          What if the person doesn’t apply for COS from H4 to H1, but applies for H1 independently. In that case, I guess as long as you don’t convert to H1 fully, you may still be ok without payroll. What do you think about this ?

  36. SP

    Hi Saurabh,

    Thank you for sharing information here, I have couple of questions. I am currently working with an MNC in India, I recently got married and my wives H1 is approved in the meantime. I was wondering if it sensible for me to leave my job here and apply for H4 along with her and later convert it into H1. The purpose is to stay together as we are newly married and I wouldn’t want to jepordize her career while I have a flexibility to move.

    Also I have done my MS in USA so does it add to my H1 process or atleast finding a job which would be intrested to process my H1. I would appriciate your responce.


    1. administrator

      You can look at the companies in and around your wife’s location in US to see if there are any suitable openings. If there are, you can see what kind of job requirements they have and if you fulfill them.

      Having done MS adds value to your resume. However, as you don’t have OPT you will still have to go through the consulting company route as major big companies do not prefer to wait for 6 months waiting for you to start employment.

  37. Trupti

    Hi Saurabh:

    I am on an H4 visa in the US currently. I my previous employer in India is ready to file a H1B for me in April 2013 quota. Meanwhile, they want me to work in India for them. So following are my two options. can you please advice, which is better –

    Option 1 –

    I travels to India in Jan on my H4 Visa
    Work for my previous employer in India till March to get the handle of technology they are working on
    Resign the previous employer in India in March and comes back in the US on H4 visa
    My previous employer files a new H1B and a COS from H4 to H1 in April
    We wait for H1 and COS to be approved and once approved I starts working on H1B in October 2013

    Option 2 –

    I travel to India in Jan on my H4 Visa
    Work for her previous employer in India till May – June to get the handle of technology they are working on
    Meanwhile the employer files a fresh H1B in April
    Without resigning from the company, I take leave without pay from them and then I travels to US in May – June on my H4 Visa
    We apply for my COS in June and wait for it to get approved
    Once the COS is approved, I can start working on H1B in October 2013

    Please advice.

    1. administrator

      I don’t see major difference b/w the two options from H-1 perspective. It comes down to how soon you can pick up the technology and how long your employer wants you to work for them before you return to US.

      Although there is not a major difference b/w the two, I personally prefer Option 1 as in this case COS is applied along w/ H-1 petition and you don’t need to wait to file 2 applications like Option 2 (H-1 petition and a separate COS). In addition, you should plan to reach US at least 20-30 days prior to H-1/COS filing date to avoid any possible questions from USCIS about your intent.

      Hope that helps!

  38. priya

    Hi Saurabh,
    Yesterday my H1B moved from RFE review to decision stage and below is the message I am seeing on USCIS website for my application. Can you please tell what does this mean? Is it a positive or negative response or is there any chance of moving it to RFE again. Are they looking for more info from my employer?
    “On December 10, 2012, the review of your I129, PETITION FOR A NONIMMIGRANT WORKER was completed, and a notice informing you of the USCIS’ intended action was mailed. Please check our website at www.uscis.gov for further updates on your case, including when the notice is mailed. If you have not received the notice within 14 days of the date above, please call customer service at 1-800-375-5283 for further assistance. If you move, please use our Change of Address online tool to update your case with your new address.
    During this step the formal decision (approved/denied) is written and the decision notice is mailed and/or emailed to the applicant/petitioner. You can use our current processing time to gauge when you can expect to receive a final decision.”


    1. administrator

      Off late this message has started popping up for lot of people. One wouldn’t know the eventual status until your employer receives the physical copy.

  39. Sam_J

    I am on H4 status want to apply for H1 in April 2013. But as a back up
    I do a COS for F1 status.
    COS takes 4 months(NY). Suppose I find someone to sponsor my H1b in
    April and in the mean time I also applied for Change of Status (COS) from
    H4 to F1 and application is still pending. what will happen then ?

    1. administrator

      It will start a race scenario and petition approved later will determine your final status. Let’s say F-1 is approved first followed by H-1, then final status will be H-1.

      Can’t you enroll in school on H-4 and then apply for COS from H-4 to F-1 if H-1 is met w/ denial?

  40. Anita

    Hi Saurabh / Experts,

    My husband got H1 stamped and along with his H1, mine H4 was stamped and i am planning to move to US in March 2012.

    I want to apply H1 from us and i have some queries regarding H4 to H1 conversion. Please advise.

    1. How to find out the companies who can offer me a job starting with Oct 1st because it would be around 6 months gap if i get any job in April.
    2. Do i need to come to India in case my H1B is approved or the Visa can be stamped from USA itself.
    3. What are the chanrges for H1B 2014 in case i am asked to pay the amount for H1B transfer.

    Any other details if you think is relevant, please provide the same.

    Hoping for your quick and affirmative reply.

    1. KJP

      I guess you meant Mar 2013.

      Your would start your H1B process in April 2013 and charges will be the usual H1B petition amount unless you want to do it premium. Also, regarding the job, you need to find an employer who will sponsor your H1B and process your H4 to H1B conversion. If the employer is kind enough to process your H1B on April 1’2013 for a job to be started in OCt’2013 thats good. Or Else, usually its like you will find a job sometime in Sept / Oct and then an employer sponsor you for a H1b with premium processing.

      And, for H4 to H1B conversion, i guess you can have your Visa stamped later when you visit india.

      Saurabh-Not sure if i am wrong.

          1. Sri

            Hi Anitha, Did you get any help from Hareesh? I am in same boat. I have H1b approval notice which I am lookign for H4 to H1 COS if I can find good job.
            Please update me .I am desperately looking for job. 🙂

      1. Anita

        Hi KJP,

        Yes it was typo mistake and thanks for correcting.

        But as per last year, H1B cap reached in July so in case i find any job in Sep-Oct, it wouldn’t be helpful. Rather it should be applied asap.

        Please advise.

      2. KJP

        In that case, you would need to find an employer(direct client) who is willing to sponsor and wait for 4-6 months. Or, you might have to join an consultancy ( employer ) who will process your H1B and then find a Client(project).

    2. administrator

      KJP is correct. Usually consulting companies are willing to file in April and wait for you to start employment in October. The downside is that lot of them result in denial as they are small companies w/ no direct clients or have unproven track record. So be very careful when going down this path.

  41. shiva


    My husband’s visa changed from L1 to H1 and he started working on H1 from October 1st 2012. I am on L2 EAD and waiting for my H1 which was applied in May 2012 but is in “Request for Evidence Response Review”since September 19th 2012. So right now I think I am out-of-status as my employer earlier said not to apply H4 (along with my husband’s H1 application)when my H1 was already in process.
    What all risks are involved if we(my husband’s employer) apply for H4 when my H1 is in RFE-review phase and what challenges I need to face related to H4 application at this stage (my I-94 is valid till July 2013)?Please advice.


    1. administrator

      USCIS can ask for proof that you were maintaining status. You can try to file COS from L-2 to H-4 and see what happens. The other option is to leave US, go for H-4 visa stamping and then return on stamped H-4 visa.

      It has been around 2 months since your husband moved to H-1 and you stayed back on L-2. Your attorney should have given you a better timely advice.

  42. van

    Hi Suarabh,

    I am having H1 visa and it expired before 4 months (completed years), but my I-94 is till December 15 2012. I have applied fo Green card and my LCA is approved and now applied for I-140. I dont know how much it will take and 16 dec is my last date here. please let me know after I-140 can I saty in US. and how much time I-140 will take as i applied it before 10 days from now.

    1. administrator

      One can apply for 7th year extension based on approved PERM and pending I-140. Talk to your attorney about it and ask them to file H-1 extension ASAP. Also, you can recapture any time you already spent outside US during those 6 years of H-1.

  43. Sonal

    Hi Saurabh,

    My question is related to SEVIS Fee. My aunt in US has paid my Sevis fee on my behalf and she has entered US address. Now in the final receipt that comes has US address so will this create a problem for Visa. Please help me out


  44. shamini mohan

    I have filed my H1B on june 11 th with approved L.C.A in Minneapolis but applied without client letter(employment contract.)Now my husband got a job transfer and we moved to Albany,New York. Since my H1B filed without employment contract I am expecting an RFC.
    Can I submit employment contract/client letter from Albany for my H1b if I am getting an RFC?
    I am worried because in my L.C.A job location is Minneapolis?So I am wondering will USCIS accept client letter from Albany for my H1B Petition.Please give me a reply.


  45. Gia

    Hello Saurabh,

    My visa status got converted from H4 to H1 in 2011. This year, 2012, my spouse’s H1 is going to get extended. Can I file for an H4 extension too? or does the H4 become invalid after conversion to H1.

    1. administrator

      If you are on H-1 visa status right now, then no action is required on your H-4. If you are still on H-4 visa status, then extension needs to be filed.

  46. st003

    Hi Saurabh,

    I have a H1B visa which was first issued to me on Oct 2005. I returned back to India in Oct 2009 and I again came back to US in March 2011 after a gap of more than 1 year. My petition got extended till May 2013 which means I will be completing 6 years on this H1B visa.

    My question is will I be eligible for a new H1B visa starting April 2013 since I already have a break of more than 1 year from 2009 to 2011?

    Or I will have to spend another year away from US before I become eligible for a new H1B visa?


    1. IndiGuy

      Time reset happens with staying 365 days out of the US after 6 years (Including any time spent outside) of H-1B visa. Suppose you leave US on 1st of May 2013, then you are allowed to re-enter US by 2nd May 2014. One can apply H-1B petition only with a date of entry 6 months ahead of time, not any more than that. There are some exception if you are going back on B1 within 365 days, you can search for further details regarding this.

      BTW, if you want to go back again then why not apply for GC, you can stay there if your labor cert. is approved and always have an option of coming back whenever you want.

      1. hemant

        @Indiguy – i guess you misunderstood the question. st003 has already stayed out of US for more than 365 days in 2010-11. His question is has that contributed to reset the 6yrs calcuation? i.e Upon his current H1B and arrival on march 2011, can he stay for 6yrs from march 2011 till march 2017. I believe he can.

        1. IndiGuy

          stoo3 can only extend his current H-1B max upto 6 yrs. He can go for a new H-1B for another 6 years after he has exhausted his current H-1B and stayed outside US for 365 days. The time he spent out side US betwen 2009-11 is already reclaimed by him or he is reclaiming them. He can’t apply for H-1B for another 6yrs while he is in the US. He had to stay out of the US for the time of 365 days to be eligible for it.
          I think someone who has expert knowledge would be better to answer this situation.

          @Stood3, I would recommend you to consult an immigration lawyer in US to get more clarity. It might cost you some money but help you understand your options.

    2. administrator

      Your clock is reset only when you have spent 365 days outside US, and go through the cap again. If you stayed outside US for more than 365 days, but then used a previously approved H-1 petition, then clock is not reset. So your tenure will still end in May 2013.

  47. Arun

    Hi Saurabh,

    I am on H4 Visa. The H1B filing quota is full for this year. Kindly clarify if a company is willing to sponsor me now what are the options available to get work permit other than H1B. Is H1B is the only option to get work permit? What about L1 and whether the same can be filed at any time or like H1B any time duration is there.

    Advance Thanks

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