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L1 to H1B visa conversion Advantages ? L1 to H1B transfer, change of status implications in US

I have seen many of my friends, who come to US on L1 visa from a major Indian IT consulting company like Infosys, Wipro, Cognizant, TCS, etc and convert to H1B visa after one year or even less. I will try to explain some of the advantages of this process.

Job Market myth in US :

One of the biggest myths when you are applying for H1B visa petition is, you do not know how the job market is in US and How everything works down here in US.  People are kind of skeptical about the situation here. I completely agree with perception of situation.  Many of the big IT vendors like CTS, TCS or Infy, etc have implementations in US and they bring in their employees to work on site in US. IT people work very hard in India to get an onsite chance including countless sleepless nights and late night conference calls. The bad part is, L1 visa working employees realize after coming to US, that they are not well compensated when compared to their counterparts working on H1B visa in US.  Guess what, once they get grounded well around here in US, they plan on L1 to H1B conversion. The process of L1 to H1B transfer is not very complicated.

Advantages  of L1 to H1B transfer & implications :

There are many advantages of L1 to H1B visa transfer like below

  • Playing Safe : You are playing it very safe, there is no risk involved. Worst case scenario, you can still stay in US on L1 visa  if you realize the Job market is not improving.
  • Seek Full time Employment with Clients : Your opportunities are not limited to just IT consulting companies. You can start looking full time opportunities with a Client company. Might not be the client company you serve on L1, other similar Clients or American companies who need people with your skills. Your opportunities are in fact, endless.
  • L1 to H1B change of Status : Change of status is very simple from L1 to H1B visa. The transfer process is seamless. You can transfer your status from L1 to H1B visa and start working as soon as your H1B starts in October. You do not need to go to visa stamping, unless you plan to leave the country for some reason and re-enter US.
  • Choosing Good IT consulting company : You can talk to real companies and verify their authenticity. It is easy to find companies information in US, than in India. Your network is much broader. You have good chance of connecting with people in a company and you can make a wise choice for choosing a consulting company if you have to.  For more info, check article : How to Choose your H1B sponsor employer
  • Job search, first consulting project time save : You are not wasting any time for job search. The idea is, you keep working on L1 visa and then look for a Job and then take up an opportunity only when you find a good project, at least the first project. You have an option to choose the project. No time is wasted for break through. Typically, first consulting job is the harder part. Good things is, you do not have to waste time for the first job.
  • Help for projects : The other added advantage is, let’s say you start a project and you need some technical help or need to discuss some things about anything, you have a chosen set of old company friends who can help you to solve the issues.

I can keep on writing… the above listed seem very logical and definitely gives you an advantages. Your strategy for applying for H1B visa should be a safe bet with the current economy and recession. If you come to US on L1 visa and then transfer from L1 to H1B, you are playing a safer bet.  On the other hand, you may have lot of work load and other commitments on L1 visa because you may be the only person on site, but “there is no free lunch, you may have to work double shift to hedge the risk…”

Do you know any other advantages ? Add a comment…


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  1. Hi Saurabh,

    As has been mentioned in your replies to other questions on traveling to India after H1B petition approval with CoS (L1 to H1) and returning before 1st october, one would still be on H1 status from 1 Oct as the new I94 goes into effect from 1st Oct.

    Now, I have the following question with regards to automation of I94 at port of entry.

    Suppose person enters back on 25 Sept, a new paper I94 won’t be issued. An electronic record would be created with the L1 status at port of entry. CBP system wouldn’t have information of the I94 issued with H1b petition (in effect from 1 Oct).

    1) Now will CBP system have to be updated to accurately reflect a person’s status (H1 instead of L1) as both electronic i94 (issued at PoE) and CoS I94( issued by USCIS) would have different number? Which one would take precedence ?
    2)The person’s electronic I94 record on CBP website would still show admission status as L1 even after 1st Oct. So how can one safely assume that status is changed to H1 from L1 ?

    Please let me know your thoughts on this as I think automation of I94 at PoE may cause issues with CoS applicants travelling to India before 1st Oct.

    Appreciate your help.

    Thank you !

    • GJ,
      As the automated system is still new, I don’t know how it will react to such situations. Your concerns are valid. Maybe your employer/attorney should get in touch w/ USCIS and CBP and get clarification on this issue.

  2. Saurabh,

    Can you please respond to my query? I already posted to you on May 7th.

    Currently I am working in the USA on H1 B Visa. I changed on COS from L1 B to H1B last year Nov 2012 and I stayed in the US before on my L1 B for about 1 year and 11 months and then directly got into H1 B without going back to India for stamping and continuing here in the US since Nov 2012 last year on H1 B.

    My question is, will my stayed number of L1 days are going to be used on my 6 year period H1 B days ? Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

  3. I have a valid H1B from company A(not stamped) and I am currently working. My husband is on L1B and may change his status to H1B this Sep. I know that while on H1 you cannot be without pay and that your payroll must be generated at all times.
    My questions are –
    1. I want to quit my current job and take like a time off for few months. Can I do a COS to L2 and later H4 when my husband’s status changes?
    2. What happens to my H1 in that case?
    3. When I want to go back to work, what is the process to change my status back to H1B?

    • Dee,
      1. Yes, you can do that. But be cautious of the timings as you cannot be on L-2 once your husband moves to H-1
      2. It will remain kind of dormant. You can move back to H-1 in future by filing COS to H-1 and another cap-exempt H-1 petition.
      3. Find an employer (old/new). Ask them to file COS along w/ cap-exempt petition.

  4. Hi Saurabh

    I currently hold H4 and i have not used it. My company has filed H1 b for me, and i am selected in the lottery process. Since it is RQ/RP, i guess it will take 3 months for decision. In the interim, i am planning to go on leave on my H4 taking small break from work. Most probably during the same time of my H1 approval. I hope travelling in H4 during my H1 process will not have any impact on its decision. Please clarify.


  5. Hi Saurabh,

    I am on L1B VISA working in NY. My L1 VISA got approved in January 2013 and it is valid till 2016. May i know if it is possible to work for another company in US in H1B VISA this year. I have not approached any employer for the same. I wanted to know if it is still possible year as the H1B has reached cap this year. Thanks in advance

    • Mohana,
      H-1 cap for this year is done. Another employer can file H-1 for you in FY-15 now (earliest filing date is April 1, 2014) and if approved, you can work for that new employer from Oct 1, 2014.

  6. I have a valid H1B from company A(not stamped) and I am currently working. My husband is on L1B and may change his status to H1B this Sep. I know that while on H1 you cannot be without pay and that your payroll must be generated at all times.
    My questions are –
    1. I want to quit my current job and take like a time off for few months. Can I do a COS to L2 and later H4 when my husband’s status changes?
    2. What happens to my H1 in that case?
    3. When I want to go back to work, what is the process to change my status back to H1B?

  7. Saurabh,

    Currently I am working in the USA on H1 B Visa. I changed on COS from L1 B to H1B last year Nov 2012 and I stayed in the US before on my L1 B for about 1 year and 11 months and then directly got into H1 B without going back to India for stamping and continuing here in the US since Nov 2012 last year on H1 B.

    My question is, will my stayed number of L1 days are going to be used on my 6 year period H1 B days ? Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

  8. I have my COS for L1 to H1 (valid till Jun 2015) approved and am due to start with my new employer this October. However, if my current employer has me go back to India for good before October, would I still be able to come back in October after my PA? My L1 is valid till Nov this year

        • InDoubt,
          Yes, a new I-94 (but same number) is issued along w/ H-1 petition when COS is approved. However, if you plan to leave US prior to Oct, and cannot return on L-1 before Oct 1, then COS is irrelevant to you. You can appear for H-1 stamping and return and use the I-94 issued at the airport on this return.

          • Saurabh,
            When you say ‘issued’, does that mean I will get the new I 94 via email? If so, would you happen to have an idea of how long that could take?

          • InDoubt,
            It will come attached to H-1 approval document. So it will take whatever time H-1 takes to get approved.

  9. Currently i am on l1b with comp A. Comp B file h1B with COS. i got receipt and for critical situation in family, i will go to India for 2 weeks and will be back mid of april. My L1b stamped till mar’2014. I will back with l1b. I know my H1B COS will be in initial status untill i will come back again. If i enter US before H1 COS decision then my COS will be abanded? What i need to do if h1 will be approved? What are the chances for rejection because i will be back before any decision.

    • Arnav,
      Yes, COS will be abandoned once you leave US (NOT when you return to US). After the petition gets approved, you can file for separate COS, or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.

  10. Hi Saurabh,
    I have applied for H1B this year and got my receipt number, Currently I’m in US on L1B Visa, How can I know whether my H1B is filed under COS to H1B or a fresh H1B.

    • Ram,
      Check w/ your employer or attorney. Only they can confirm.

      Actually both are fresh H-1B – one being w/ COS while the being w/ consular processing.

  11. I am on L2 and hv appied for H1b..
    1. If my husband leaves US before Oct1, can i stay back in US until Oct1 on l2 EAD and change my Status from L2 to H1B in Oct..
    2. Can my husband come to US after oct1 on h4 and after he gets a job change his status from h4 to H1b?

    • Amandeep,
      1. Legally, you should also leave US if your husband moves back. You are in US on L-2 only b/c your husband is in US on L-1. If you stay behind, then that’s considered as “parking” which is not allowed. When is he planning to leave US?
      2. He can return on H-4 after getting it stamped. Next year, an employer can file H-1 for him along w/ COS from H-4 to H-1.

  12. Hi Saurabh,
    I am on L1b visa in USA for two years and got extension till 2014(stamping pending) with company A. Company B had applied H1B visa for me and it is got selected as well in the lottery and is in RP and in Initial review phase.

    Now i need to go to India now for some emergency and will get my l1b stamped and come back in 3 weeks.

    Now my question is moving out of USA will just cancell the COS and again employer needs to Files COS for me once i came back to USA?

    Do you see any complications in this apart from filing COS again?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Hi,

    I was on L1 for 3 years and went back to India. After 8months I came back to US with fresh H1B, in this case will my spent years of L1 counted against the 6year H1B term?

  14. Hi Saurabh,
    I am working on an L1-B visa right now and have got a change of status done through another company to H1-B. Since I did this through premium, I know already that it has been approved and becomes effective 1st Oct, 2013.

    1) Now that I know my COS has been approved, is it illegal to continue working on L1 starting now or only after 1st Oct, 2013?
    2) Can I travel out of the country between now and October, re-enter on L1 ( without going for H1 stamping ) and still switch to the new company on H1 starting 1st Oct, 2013?

    • InDoubt,
      1. You have to work for L-1 employer until Oct 1 and for H-1 employer thereafter
      2. Yes, this can be done. Your COS was approved for a future date. So you can travel in b/w, return on L-1 prior to Oct 1 and still have that COS go into effect. When leaving US, just submit the I-94 you received when initially entering on L-1, and keep this H-1 COS one. This one will become effective from Oct 1. Also, talk to your H-1 attorney about it.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        In regards with the same question, is it possible that we can go to US on a B1/B2 Visa on say 1st March, file for a H1B on 1st April, and come back to India on 10th April once the application is submitted. So the question is

        1. Is it doable ?, I heard that while filing the H1B candidate has to be in US, Is there any other rules like this until the H1B is approved ?
        2. Consider the H1B approves on 1st July, can the candidate travel to US on 1st September on B1/B2 and then automatically get moved to H1B on 1st Oct? or need to file COS ?

        • Abhinav M,
          1. What purpose does it solve? One still needs to go for H-1 stamping as they would have left US. In addition, there will be a misuse of B-1 visa. H-1 applicants can be outside US at the time of filing. They will have to appear for H-1 visa stamping (after petition gets approved) and can then travel to US.
          2. No. The candidate needs to appear for H-1 visa stamping and can then enter US on or after H-1 start date (i.e. Oct 1).

          B-1/2 visas should be used very wisely as any possible misuse can cause immigration problems.

  15. One more quick question uscis website says
    “On March 19, 2008, USCIS announced a regulatory change to prohibit employers from filing multiple or duplicative H-1B petitions for the same employee. To ensure fair and orderly distribution of available H-1Bs, USCIS will deny or revoke multiple or duplicative petitions filed by an employer for the same H-1B worker and will not refund the filing fees submitted with multiple or duplicative petitions.”
    this holds good if same employer files mutiple petiton for same employee right??

    but is if diffrent employer files petiton for the same person then it is fine??

  16. Hi saurabh,

    Hope you are doing good. I am planning to apply three H1B petiton just to make sure it reaches on time in uscis and get approved .

    Is this ok??


    • AKS,

      I had two sponsors and I yest only I told one to withdraw my petition.
      It is perfectly legal, but not sure, I got negative feedback about multiple h1b petition for one person by multiple sponsor. You can’t work full time in to companies!

      I ran in sum issue(1st sponsor asking 1k USD for withdrawal), posted here and waiting for response!

    • AKS,

      I had two sponsors and yest only I told one to withdraw my petition.
      It is perfectly legal, but not sure, I got negative feedback about multiple h1b petition for one person by multiple sponsor. You can’t work full time in to companies!

      I ran in sum issue(1st sponsor asking 1k USD for withdrawal), posted here and waiting for response!

    • Aks/abc,
      It is legal to have different employers file petition for you. However, in the end you will be working for 1 employer only. So its unethical and unprofessional in that respect. You knew all along that you will join only 1 employer, but still you asked multiple employers to invest money in the filing.

  17. HI,

    I am getting married in April2013 and working in India. My would be husband is in US on L1b visa,he is coming for 1 week and I will apply for L2 after marriage, but now he is getting option for filing H1 visa in this march2013 and he will get to know his H1 approval in OCT 2013,I have few questions regarding it

    1) can he travel to India as he is changing his visa status from L1B to H1
    2) As I will apply for L2 in May2013 and he will not be with me, so what will be my status in between, I cant apply for H4 as I am not yet married and my L2 will be of no use….
    3) and if his H1 is not approved then can he continue with L1B
    4) On H1 he will be a consultant, what you suggest L1B – permanent position is good or H1-consultant Position

  18. 1. Can I have my H1B filed through 2 consultants ??
    2. Will there be any legal issue during H1B approval? Does this decreases the chances of approving H1B ?
    3. What if my H1b is approved from both the employer ? Can i join employer of my choice ?
    4. Can any of the emplyer (whom i do not join) can take a legal action on me as i didnt join them and filed it thorugh 2 employers?
    4. Would you recommend filing it through 2 employers ?

  19. I am a permanent employee of a company but have joined last week only. I plan to ask them to file my H1B.
    1. What would be the process of transferring me from L2 to H1B ? Will it be like filing new petition or just COS is required ?
    2. If my employer denies to file H1B for me, Can i file it from some consultant and when H1B is approved but COS is pending, can i approach some employer and transfer my H1B ?
    3. If H1B is approved and COS is done, can i approach some employer and transfer my H1B ?
    3. Once H1B is approved but COS is pending, Can the consultant withdraw my H1B ?
    4. Once H1B is approved and COS is done, Can the consultant withdraw my H1B ?

  20. Hi Saurabh
    I am on L2 and working as a full time employee in a firm. They have filed for my COS to H1B.My spouse’s L1 is getting over in August, 2013(She had a 3 year visa). Our I-94’s are valid till March, 2015. Her project is getting over in May and she may need to return(If she doesn’t get a project in time). I have following questions on that:
    1> Her employer(Incidentally, both of us have same employer) said that extension was not needed for her and she can legally continue working for them in US as long as her I-94 is valid. Is this true?(This was before she came to know about her project ending in May).
    2> If she needs to return, I am assuming that I cannot stay legally in US as I am her dependant. Is this assumption right?
    3> What will happen to my COS if pt. 2 is right?
    4> If she also applies for H1 now, will we become illegal after August?
    5> Do you see any alternatives for us to stay back in US.

    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Saurabh
      2 more related queries:
      6> As I mentioned my spouse’s visa is getting expired on August, 2013 and the employer has asked her to continue on I-94 basis(If she gets a project after May). In this scenario, is my L2-EAD status still valid and can I continue to work after August, 2013?
      7> My spouse’s visa was stamped in August, 2010 for 3 years. She came to US in July, 2011. My L2 visa was stamped in Jan, 2012 and I came to US in March, 2012. I got EAD and started working in July, 2012. Now, if I get H1 COS, how much of this time will be counted towards the 6 years of US prescence on H1B?


    • Pravs,
      1. Yes, she can work on the basis of I-94 in case f L-1.
      2. If she has to leave, and then so do you. You can return once you have your own H-1
      3. If you leave US while COS is pending, then the same is abandoned. You can return after getting H-1 visa stamped in the passport
      4. If she continues her L-1 employment then she is fine on the basis of I-94. She will have to start working on H-1 once that COS goes into effect.
      5. Get your H-1s or continue working on L-1/2
      6. You can continue working as long as your own I-94 is valid and have unexpired EAD. You can file for EAD extension on the basis of your and her I-94s.
      7. You will be eligible for 6 years of H-1. Time spent on L-2 doesn’t count against H-1 clock (however, in case of your wife time spent on L-1 is counted towards H-1 clock).

  21. Hi saurabh
    can you explain me the process of l2 to h1 conversion ?
    Can you explain me employer sponsorship and visa stamping whether in u.s. Or india etc?

    • Venkata Reddy,
      The process is not very different from any other H-1 petition. Find an employer and have them file H-1 for you. Ask them to file it w/ the option of COS (change of status). In your case it will be COS from L-2 to H-1. They will need your spouse’s payslips, copy of your recent I-94, visa stamp and passport for this COS processing.

  22. Hi
    iam on L1 B currently in US and my VISA is expiring in May 13.
    My employer have offered to convert to H1-B but asking me to retrun back before May 13.

    If I do not apply for an L1 extension and apply for H1 Can i stay in US until my H1 processing is done ?

    What are my options ?

    • Nitin,
      If your employer wants you to return to home country, then you will have to do that. You cannot stay on the basis of pending H-1 petition. Once H-1 is approved, you can appear for stamping and then travel to US on H-1 once it commences.

  23. Hey Saurabh,

    Good Job answering so my visa related questions :). I have a query for you as well

    I will be goin to new york on L1 in May 2013. I have a 3 yr valid L1 B ( valid til Feb 2016) and 10 yr B1 / B2.
    2 questions for you
    1. Can I apply for L2 for my spouse, after landing in usa ( if yes in how many months)
    2. If I happen to find a job opportunity, what are the minimum creteria for tranfering your L1 B to H1 B ? Minimum time frame, other requirements

    • Mili,
      1. L-2 can be applied even when you are outside of US. Your spouse can appear for L-2 visa stamping and then travel w/ you to US. If the spouse doesn’t want to go for stamping now, then the dependent can go for stamping once you reach US. You can send the necessary documents and the dependent can appear for L-2 visa stamping and then travel to US to join you.
      2. There is no min/max time frame. H-1 can be applied only when the cap is open. The new cap opens in April and may get over in few weeks. So either you need to apply within that cap open time period, or wait till next cap in April 2014. Other H-1 requirements include education at par w/ US Bachelors degree, qualified and specialized position, qualified employer etc.

  24. Hi Saurabh – This query is regards to my L1 A blanket to H1B

    I have a valid L1A blanket visa till middle of 2014. I am currently in India. I am filing H1 for this year. My questions are :

    1. Will my H1 petition get approve if i am having valid L1 Blanket on hand ?
    2. What is the challenging part in the above question to be noted?
    2. Can i move to other company from my existing company during my H1 filing process.

    Please advise.


    • Rasheeda,
      1. Holding L-1B doesn’t improve or deteriorate your H-1 chances. However, if you have traveled to US on L-1, then they will like to ascertain that you maintained legal status in US when on L-1 and didn’t break any rules.
      2. Chances of approval in general depend upon your employer’s profile, your expertise, offered position etc
      3. You can, but then your current employer can withdraw the H-1 petition and you will be out of cap. If the H-1 gets approved (and you know the receipt number or have approval copy) and then you change employers, then the new employer can file cap-exempt H-1 petition for you (i.e. not subject to annual cap).

  25. I’m on L1 B, Valid till Aug 2014.

    If I apply for H1B wihtout COS.

    1) What happens if I go for an India Vacation between April – October 2013? Can I re-enter & continue to work on L1B?
    2) What happens if I go for an India Vacation after October 2013. Can I re-enter & continue to work on L1B?
    3) Can I apply for COS in 2014 and switch to the new company, without going for stamping?


    • Bibin,
      1. Yes
      2. Yes
      3. You can apply for COS anytime after your H-1 petition has been approved but before H-1 petition’s expiration date. If you change H-1 employer, then new employer can file for cap-exempt petition along w/ COS.

  26. I came in July 2012 on L2 with my husband and am working for Comapny A. I got an offer from company B and planning to join it.
    My husband assignment is ending in July. Below are my queries
    1. By any chance, can company B file my L1? I understand that L1 is intra company transfer and since I am in US can they file L1 from US
    2. When can they file my GC. Since I am on L2, will they file GC for me
    3. Got to know that the company B’s H1 filing date has passed, but April is yet to start can they still file H1b for me upon request
    4. When does Client letter come into picture of H1B filing
    5. If client letter is required during stamping only, then can i go ahead and with the help of some consultant get H1B approved, go back to India, find an employer who can give me client letter and then do the samping in India and come back. Can this work?
    6. My husband and I are desparate to stay back, but his assignment is ending in Jul, Can you please suggest some way where in we can try getting any type of visa and start working

    Thanks in advnace.

    • Payal,
      1. L-1 can be filed only if you have worked for them for at least 1 year outside US in the past 3 years. Then the job also needs to be on employer proprietary tools/skills etc
      2. Yes, they can file GC for you even when you are on L-2. They can file whenever they are ready, but lot of companies wait for 6 months of employment before filing.
      3. Yes, they can still file for it. When they say their filing date has passed, it might be some deadline internal to the company
      4. At the time of filing or when RFE is issued. If no RFE is issued, then no client letter is required. Most companies prefer to have it upfront as they can set the LCA accordingly as per client location.
      5. It can be asked during petition processing as well
      6. Both of you can search for employers and get your own H-1s filed. That’s the only way I can think of.

  27. Saurabh,

    It seems you’re well versed with visa conversion process. I’m seeking guidance to carry this out for me. Can I pick your brains and get the knowledge required to execute the process [l1 to h1]. Please provide your email ID and I’ll get in touch with you.

    Thanks in advance.

  28. Hi,

    I was on L1 visa and got converted to H1 and working on H1 from last October 2012.

    I am planning to go for stamping this year.

    My question is : Can I go to Canada for stamping? or Should I only go to India to get my H1 visa stamping?

    Please let me know .

    • Mahesh,
      You can go to CA, but it recommended to go to home country for first stamping especially when you have not done your Masters in US.

      If you do decide to go to CA, then be prepared and have back-up plans for the scenario when 221g is issued, or they decide not to interview you (as you haven’t done Masters in US).

    • Mahesh,
      Can you please give me your email ID. I am new here and need some guidance for executing conversion from L1 to H1. I’ll appreciate any help you can provide.

  29. Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you are doing good.

    I am on L1B visa in USA and vaild till 2014 for compaby A. Can company B can apply my H1B and B1 also same time so that i can go back to india in may and then resign from A and then come back on B1.

    will B1 will get approved for comapany B although i am with company A now?


    • Aks,
      They can do that, but your B-1 visa stamp may get denied unless you have strong reasons to travel on B-1. Why do they want to file for both?

      Do you plan to resign from A only if B’s B-1 gets approved?

      • Actually i will resign A and join B on May after my H1B get’s approved.
        So i will go back to india and then comeback on B1 to USA in june and will be there in USA till aug then go back to india and get H1B stamp and then come back.

        Is that sound ok?

  30. Hi Saurabh

    I came to US last year October on L1 and i am planning to have my H1 this year . Is it true that i am not supposed to leave the country till i get my h1? Because i may complete my current assignment on July or may be extended not sure. So my question here is if get H1B filled and go back to India and come back on L1 will they reject my H1 saying that you are currently in L1.? and also cant i have both H1 and L1 with me? so that when ever i feel comfortable i will search and switch the job.

    • Kavya,
      You can leave US while H-1 is in process. They will continue to process the H-1 but will abandon the COS from L-1 to H-1 as soon as you leave US. You will get H-1 visa stamped from India and then return to work on H-1 from Oct 1 or later. The other option is to return on L-1, and then file separate COS from L-1 to H-1 once the petition has been approved.

      • Thanks Saurabh . Suppose if i don’t use My H1 (means i don’t go stamping or I don’t want to leave my current organisation which i am working on L1 and may continue next 2 years) and use my L1 and keep travelling with the same L1. Will they reject my H1 which i will be applying it from other company?

        Lets assume i got my petition approved and i travel to India from June to October (or just a week break and come back with my current organisation (l1) and i decided to continue with L1 for next years . at the time of entry in USA will they question me on my H1 and reject that?

        • Kavya,
          If your H-1 is filed and approved w/ COS, then you will be on H-1 status from COS effective date and will have to use the H-1. If you want to continue working on L-1, then either don’t file H-1 w/ COS (but w/ consular processing), or leave US while H-1 is under process to abandon the COS.

          Then, you can continue to remain on L-1 until L-1 I-94 expiration date. Your H-1 will not be denied/abandoned, but will become kind of dormant. H-1 employer or a different employer can put you back in H-1 status through a COS or new petition (cap-exempt) filing.

          • Presently i am on L1 with Validity till May 2015 (including I 94), This year i am planning to Apply H1 from ABC company.

            What will happen if i don’t use the H1 and continue to work on the L1 from my current organisation.

            My plan is to Move on H1 whenever i feel i got the right Job … moreover will this impact my travel ? I understand till you are in US no need to go for stamping and if i travel out side US i need to have the stamping done.

            Lets assume i go to India/other country after my petition approves and travel back to US without getting stamp is that OK?

            So once i am back to US without Visa stamp can i move to ABC company later who made H1 for me.?

            this is somewhat similar to my case.. my this is posted for my friend.

          • Kavya,
            If you want to work on L-1 as long as you want, then have H-1 filed w/o COS. This way your H-1 will remain dormant and you can continue working on L-1. You can travel out of US and return on L-1 w/o any issues.

            When you want to move to H-1, you will either have to file a separate COS or enter US on stamped H-1 visa. So if you return on L-1, and want to move to ABC then COS needs to be filed.

  31. Hi Saurabh,
    My case is little different.I work for IBM.some how its started rotation plan suddenly,which we never expected.I am on L1 visa…its expiring on July 2013 and company doesnot want to do L1 extension and earlier I was expecting ,company will do H1 for me.but with sudden change of plans ,company has dropped to do H1 for me…what are the possible options if I want to stay back in US and doing H1 from other company.

    • Shiva,
      Another employer can file H-1 for you, but you cannot stay beyond your current I-94 expiration date unless your L-1 extension is filed. So your H-1 petition will continue to be processed, while you leave US as per your L-1 assignment. Later, you can get H-1 visa stamped and return on stamped H-1 visa to work for that H-1 employer from Oct 1.

  32. Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you are doing well.

    I am on a L-1B visa since October 2010, and my firm is applying for a H-1B this April. I have a few questions regarding this. Your reply would be highly appreciated!

    1) Even if I am approved for H-1B earlier than October, 2013, I would still need to wait till October 1st for it to be active, correct?

    2) If I intend to move to a different firm on or after October, what is the earliest date I can make such a move, assuming October 1st, 2013 is the effective date of H-1B?

    3) Could you pls give me some ballpark estimate of how much it costs for an employer to fund for an employee’s (i) brand new H-1B visa, (ii) transferring of existing H-1B with a different firm to a new firm, (iii) greencard based on H-1B.

    4) Do you think employers favor greencard holders over H-1B holders, based on empirical observations? I am assuming if one has a H-1B, transferring that to a new firm is not costly, so the employer shouldn’t be too bothered by someone not having a greencard. The question is subjective, but your personal opinion would be valuable, thanks.

    5) If there is a small change (say 30% of job functions being different) in the type of job role between what I am doing right now (and getting H-1B for) and one I would pursue in the new firm, would I still be able to use the same H-1B or some changes would be needed?

    6) After getting an H-1B “approval”, I assume I still won’t have a “stamped visa” on my passport yet. Is it risky to go to India to get the visa stamped, and better to go to Canada for a few days to get the stamp and come back. I have heard of a few stories in this regard, and not sure about the validity of it. What is the best course to take?

    7) Will I have restrictions on doing international travel after April, 2013? If yes, what precautions should I take?

    8) I plan to ask the new intaking firm to sponsor my greencard as a part of the job offer? Is this a legally valid negotiation to do? I heard somewhere that a firm might need 3 months or so to know that a person is competent enough for the firm to be willing to sponsor a greencard. Is there a hard and fast rule like that, or a firm can make such promises in written form or take such greencard-sponsoring action before actually hiring the employee?

    I’m afraid I’ve asked so many questions…
    Thanks again for maintaining this awesome website, your help has tremendously helped myself and countless others.

    Best, Abhishek

    • Abhishek,
      1. Yes
      2. 1st Oct 2013. Another employer can file a cap-exempt petition for you as soon as your H-1 petition gets approved. You can then join them from Oct 1 – if transfer is still pending then on the basis of transfer receipt, or if it’s approved then on it.
      3. Cost of new H-1 and H-1 transfer is the same. There are articles on this blog explaining the cost. Go to Archives and then search for “filing fees”. I don’t know the cost for GC
      4. Big companies are often open to H-1 holders especially the tech companies. However, small companies or other non-tech companies may prefer GC holders as they know they don’t have to go through immigration issues (petitions, visa stamping, GC processing).
      5. As long as you are genuinely qualified for the new position, it should be fine
      6. For 1st time stamping, it is always recommended to go to home country. Chances of approval vary from case to case, but it is easy when working as full-time employee for US companies. With small-medium size consulting companies, it is riskier
      7. You should not travel while COS from L-1 to H-1 is in process (it is filed along w/ H-1 petition). If you travel while COS is pending, then COS will be abandoned and your status will not change to H-1 from Oct 1
      8. You can ask them how soon they can file GC for you. Lot of firms prefer to wait for 6-12 months to evaluate your performance before spending those dollars on your GC. But I have seen people openly discussing the GC timelines as part of job offer.

  33. Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you are doing good.
    I am in USA for almost 2 years now and this year i want to do my H1B . Also i am trying for my masters .Let’s say my H1B gets approved in May and then i changes status to F1 in december timeframe then what will happen to my 6 years count?

    will it get stop till the time i am on F1 or it get reset or it keeps running??


    • Abhay,
      Your 6 year count will include only the time spent inside US on H-1 and L-1 while your status is H-1. I assume you will be going to have H-1 filed in new cap. So H-1 will commence from Oct even if it gets approved in May. This means you will be spending 2 months on H-1 before moving to F-1 in December.

  34. Hello Saurabh

    If the employees are working very hard and having sleepless night at offshore…..why can’t they come on H1 from the India itself??

    Are they having fear that if they planned to come on H1 then they will not qualified????
    Why are you having a webstie where you are providing the information which is against Professionalism??….like do lot of hardwork…buttering….and begging for onsite…come here on company’s expense…getting settled down and when little bit valuable to client change the employer…..

    • PadmaLatha,
      Is changing employers unprofessional? No one wants to change employer as long as they feel they are getting competitive salary and the employer has their career and immigration needs in their mind. Lot of employees want to return to India after their term and do not move to H-1. However, others feel that they are getting underpaid and want to move to H-1 to get better salaries, have GC filed etc. This page tells them the comparison b/w the 2 visas and how to make the move legally. I don’t see how that is unprofessional.

      If the employer is afraid that their employees will change employment in US, then they should not file the visas. See that’s why only employers can file the visa and hold the key to entry to US. Filing visa fees, moving expenses etc – that’s all cost of doing business.

  35. Hi Saurabh,
    Hope you are doing well. I am working for Company A in H1B and my visa is valid till Sep-2015, Company B wants to file H1 transfer for me. Now I am pretty anxious that my visa may be allowed to one year only (I heard lot of cases where only 1 yr had been alloted for extensions/transfers). I had stated company B that I will join them if and only if my visa is approved for atlease 2 years.

    Say hypothetically my H1B with company B is approved for 1 year and due to that, I plan to continue with Company A only, till 2015, may I be in trouble if Company B try to take any action against me. Is it some kind of violation of rule?

    Please advice.


    • SD,
      The term of new H-1 petition depends upon lot of factors including what your employer has requested and what USCIS determines your employer is eligible for (for e.g. based on submitted project/contract etc).

      You can legally continue to work for A even after the petition for B has been approved. They can ask for reasonable business losses, but it will not impact your immigration status. You and B will have to figure out how to tackle the situation.

  36. Hi Saurabh,

    Hope you are doing good.my question is:
    Let’s say i ha applied H1B on 1st april in premium processing and it got approved by april end or may in between(worst casr if we get RFE). then what is the earliest time i can schedule my H1B stamping? Can i schedule it in May only?


    • Abhay,
      Visa interview can be scheduled at most 90 days prior to H-1 start date. So if the start date is Oct 1, then you can appear for stamping after July 1.

  37. Hi Saurabh,

    I came to US in 2010 on L1B and currently filed for extension for Company A,Would like to move to CompanyB in new H1 quota,Since i can’t work until Oct’13 and my current L1B extension may not be apprvoed(with the current aprroval rate) would like to go to india in the month of Jun/July if the Comany B agrees to do CP of new H1 instead of COS,If my H1 is approvedsometime around Sep/oct and would like to attend the visa in Nov/Dec/Jan month.
    My question is

    1)After getting the new H1 visa if i travel to USA in the month Jul/Aug will my 6 year clock will be reset?

    2)If not please let me know in what way i can reset my clock using my new H1.


    • Mprc22,
      1. No it will be not as your H-1 was applied before you stayed outside US for more than 1 year
      2. You have to stay outside US for 1 year before applying for H-1 and this H-1 should be subject to cap. In other words, travel outside US before April 2013, and then apply for H-1 in April 2014. I am not 100% sure if you need to leave prior to April 2013 or Oct 2013 for this, and you can check w/ an attorney about it.

  38. My friend came on L1 and she has a valid L1. Last Nov 2012 she got H1 and change of status happened but she didn’t realize. She continued working on L1. Yesterday she got to know that this has caused her in illegal status. Any suggestion or what can happen. Currently She has a valid L1 with stamped till Dec 2013 and H1 approved and change o status from Nov 2012.
    1. Do you think she is in illegal status?
    2. Can she leave her L1 and start working on H1?
    3. Does she have to leave country and get it stamped on H1 again?

    Any suggestions/ideas will be of great help as this family is in uncertainty.

    • Vikash Gupta,
      1. Yes she is in illegal status.
      2. Yes, she should do that immediately
      3. Talk to an attorney about it. Usually travelling out of US and returning flips one back into correct status. But she will have to appear for H-1 stamping (unless she plans to return and work on L-1) and that can run into issues if they ask for H-1 employment proof of status.

  39. Hello Saurabh.,

    I have valid H1 ( not yet get stamped., have I797 approval notice)
    I am visiting India in mid of April for stamping., suppose if any new employer offered me a job and ready for H1 transfer , what are the chances if I ask them to file for H1 transfer while I am on my India trip??? Shall I visit India while in H1 transfer being processed???

    Pls help me

    • Roopa,
      They can file H-1 transfer for you while you are in India. However, the approved petition will not be accompanied w/ an I-94 as you were outside US. This means, your 797 term will be determined by the new petition, but your I-94 will be determined by your previous petition’s validity (you will receive an I-94 when returning to US after showing the old petition).

      If the H-1 transfer gets approved while you are in India, then you can show the new petition at the PoE and get I-94 in sync w/ new petition.

  40. Hi Saurabh,

    Thank s for your help with this forum.

    I am on L1 VISA and my VISA going to expire in June, My employer is going to apply L1 to H1 outside quota since I was holding H1 in last 6 years, I want to apply visitor VISA for my parents, is there a condition I need to have minimum 6 months valid VISA to apply visiting VISA for my parents?

    Thanks & regards,

  41. Hi Subhash,

    Its really good see your response for everyone queries. I am currently on L1 since Sep 2011. My L1 visa will get expire on Jul 2014. I am not sure my employer will apply for my L1 extension (Also, not sure will it approve since high volume of rejection) next year. Now, I am planning to apply for H1 with employer B. So, in this case
    1. If my H1 approved will it also expire on Jul 2014 ?
    2. If so, what are the chances of H1 extension rejection compare to L1 extension rejection?
    I am little confused. Please suggest.

    • harishankar,
      I assume you meant Saurabh and not Subhash 🙂

      1. Your H-1 employer will request H-1 term which can vary anywhere from 1 to 3 years based on USCIS’ review of submitted documents.
      2. Depends upon the case and submitted documents. BTW, this will not be an H-1 extension but a brand new H-1 petition

  42. I came to US on L-1b (jan 2006 to March 2008) then my company filed L-1A blanket ( Jan 2009 to till date) my L-1A visa is going to expire in october 2013, my present company will file another 2 yr extension against my L1A on Aug,2013.. but am planning to move to another employer through H-1b (COS)
    My question is

    1) Am planning for vacation in august 2013 so you want me to file COS now or once i am back to US which one is better

    2) if they file COS (Approved) can i work from day one or i have to wait till October

    3) COS will cone under CAP or NON CAP

    • Carthik,
      1. If you file it w/ COS and leave US while it is still pending, then COS will be abandoned. So file it w/ COS if you can make sure that it gets approved prior to leaving US. You can file it premium processing to get an early result.
      2. You can only work from COS effective date (Oct 1 or later)
      3. It will be subject to cap. Irrespective of COS or no COS, all petitions are subject to cap unless the person has held H-1 in the past.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks for your advice..

        I have one more questions

        I have already completed my six plus years (L-1) in USA, so can file H-1B for Coming CAP (for 3 years )

        • Carthik,
          If you have already spent 6 years inside US on L-1, then you are not eligible for H-1 until you have spent 1 year outside US. The 6 year clock includes both H-1 and L-1 and you need to reset it before applying for H-1.

  43. Hi Saurabh,
    Please advise me here. I am still waiting for my stamped passport from US embassy, because it is in 221-g processing, Its almost 3.5 months over after attended personal interview at chennai location. US embassy only having my passport now. Currently i am in a critical situation to travel to my client place in US. If this is getting delayed, is there any possibility of travelling to canada/near shore location after taking canada visa and once my background check is finished in chennai then can i get stamped in any nearshore location embassy like canada or mexico or any countries where we are in? please advice. Thank you very much.

    • Mohamed,
      Yes this can be done. You can request the consulate to return the passport w/ reason that you have to travel to another country. You can then get Canadian visa, travel to Canada, do your work and return to India. Once here, you can submit the passport again to US consulate for processing. You cannot get is stamped in CA/MX or any other countries as this is your first H-1 stamping, and have not done Masters in US (plus you have a pending 221g in India).

      • Thank you Saurabh,
        Still waiting for 221-g to be finish… Positively very soon…
        Suppose, If i travel to other countries like Canada by got the passport from US embassy. After 221-g is done, Suppose if they asked me to Submit PP for get it stamped, with in how many days i need to submit my passport for get it stamped. If we are in long distance, possibly minimum 6-9 months required for coming back atleast as a vacation. Could you please advise here. Thanks a lot.

        • Mohamed,
          Is your question how long you can delay submission of passport once consulate asks for it again? I don’t think there is an exact deadline but you should try to submit it within few week up to 1-2 months.

          • Dear Saurabh,
            Still waiting for 221g to be done, This is 7th month running… Very disturbed and lots of challenges i faced here inorder to personal and official etc… I got my passport from US embassy for another country travel in my company. But, Saurabh, Due to some internal challenges, now i have quit that company. What will happen about my H1-B visa? Still it is showing pending admin processing in website. If once 221-g is cleared, then how that visa can be used for that? Can i travel to US through another company in this same visa. or how the possibility works…

            Please advise saurabh! Tons of Thanks!

          • Mohamed,
            Another employer can file a cap-exempt petition for you. You can then appear for stamping through that new employer w/ new petition. If the current visa gets approved meanwhile, then you can travel to US using new petition and this visa stamp.

  44. Hi Saurabh, I posted the below question in the Q&A Section (I have added one more question below)…Could you please respond.

    Hi, I’m working on L1 Visa for Employer A.

    H1-B without COS was applied by Employer B and was approved on Jan 12 2013.

    I have(want) to continue with my current employment with A and cannot shift to B right away (Though B is insisting and speaking about running Payroll).

    I heard that Employer B cannot run Payroll unless COS to H1 is applied and approved. Is this true?

    What are chances of Employer B still running Payroll without applying for COS while I’m on L1 and working for A?

    Would be even be able to run Payroll without COS while I’m on L1 and working for A?

  45. Hi,
    My company is applying L1 to H1 COS for this year H1 Quota, I heared that if we travel to india while approval is pending COS will be cancelled, if I need to get the approval soon by April 2103 itself, is it possible if I do premium processing so that approval will come in 2 weeks then I can travel to India and come to US after stamping in Ott 13, pls clarify.

    • Ram,
      That is a correct understanding – COS is abandoned if you leave US while it is still under processing. However, the benefit of filing w/ PP to get COS approved in April itself is only when you plan to return to US on L-1 visa stamp prior to Oct 1. If you cannot return on L-1 (your L-1 employer should be willing to call you back to USCIS on L-1 visa), then you will have to return after getting H-1 visa stamped which will invalidate the purpose of getting the COS.

  46. Hi Saurabh,
    I am with company A and have come to USA on L1B applied by this company and working for the same company. I came to USA 2 months back only.

    When I was in India I applied for H1 through company B and got H1 Visa for 3 years from Oct 2012.

    My questions are:

    1. Can I continue with comapany A on L1B for 1 year and after that can I try to apply for some other company using my H1?
    2. I was told by company B that They have to run a payroll using my H1 with in 3 months from the issue of H1 Visa (Oct 2012). Otherwise my H1 might be cancelled by USCIS, is it correct!
    3. I am planing to apply for EAD for my wife as she is on L2, if she gets EAD and after that if I move from L1 to H1, did her EAD will cancel immedialty?

    Please answer to my questions.


    • Yogi,
      1. Yes
      2. They may withdraw the petition after 3 months. However, you will still be considered cap-exempt for next 6 years. B or C can file a cap-exempt petition for you in future even after this petition has been withdrawn. Do not let them run the payroll as long as your status is L-1.
      3. Yes, she will have to move from L-2 to H-4 once you move to H-1. Usually her COS needs to be filed along w/ yours. Once H-4 is approved, she will have to stop working.

  47. Hi Saurabh,

    I moved here from H1B transfer to ask the similar question, I am on L1B now and have a valid H1B approved on Oct 2011, so, do I need to go back home country then re-enter US if I resign from the L1B sponsoring company as my case is an intra-company transfer not final hired by US employer, that is why currently my payroll is left behind in the home country; and I am entitled with international assignment allowances in the US paid by parent company in the US, can that be considered as payslips if a COS is needed?


    • David Jiang,
      There are 2 options:
      1. The H-1 employer files the petition along w/ COS and you submit your payslips (from US or home country) to show that you are maintaining legal status. You continue to work on L-1 until COS gets approved, and then start working on H-1.
      2. The H-1 employer files the petition w/o COS. You leave country as per your will, go for H-1 stamping once the petition is approved and then return to work on H-1.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        Appreciate your response above, just have one more tough question, someone is asking when I can be available for next position, normally I say I need 3 weeks as notification period once the COS is done, but can you help me to figure out the time frame for the transfer fom L1B to H1B, for example, if COS is approved on 02/20 filed for employer B, then may I continue to work for the employer A holding my L1B till 03/10 as handover is needed for few weeks, or I cannot work for A immediately once the COS is approved? I need to figure out when the B is to submit the COS and when I can tell A that I am going to leave as soon as COS approval is done.

        Thanks a lot!

        • David Jiang,
          There are 2 school of thoughts – one says that you should start working for H-1 employer from COS approval date (and I belong to this opinion), and another says that you have up to 60 days to join H-1 employer.

          You plan to work for 2 more weeks for your L-1 employer post approval. I think it may still be ok in the long run. Going by former school of thought, this falls into gray area. USCIS may not question about it future, but even if they do then they may be more willing to hear your reasonable explanation (serving notice period etc). You can talk to your H-1 attorney to know more specifics.

          Another thing you can do is file H-1 w/ COS and PP and give employment start date of 3/5. So if the petition gets approved on 2/20, you give the notice to your L-1 employer and work for them until 3/5. From that date you join H-1 employer based on COS going into effect. Things to watch out for is timing of H-1 approval, and whether L-1 employer will terminate your employment as soon as you put in your papers (will give you no status b/w 2/20 and 3/5).

  48. Hi,
    My question is regading the L1 to H1 COS.

    I got my H1 applied with COS and got approved in July 2012.Later in August i travelled to India and my employer mentioned that COS will get cancelled because i am travelling after my H1 with COS got approved. So after i returned form India employer re applied for COS.

    My question is what will be the cost of COS when my employer applied for second time.From the UCIS website i got that it would cost around 300$, but my employer is saying much more than this.

    Please let me know what would be the cost of COS when he re applied.


    • Ravi,
      COS is around 300$ (I-539). Your employer may be adding attorney fees to it. You can show them the link on USCIS site, and ask them for a break-up if they don’t agree.

  49. Hi,

    Thanks for helping out. My situation is bit different. I am in the US on L1B & want to change employer. So I understand that I can apply for H1B and change. But I have to go back to India to resign my job (since there is money involved and if I resign in the US all those will be lost). So if employer agrees for H1B and has completed the process – can I still go back to India and come back without stamping or does it require stamping?

    Sudha Shankar

    • Sudha Shankar,
      You can leave US after completing your L-1 term and by filing H-1 w/o COS. Later, get H-1 visa stamped and then return to US to work on H-1. You cannot return to work on H-1 unless you get H-1 visa stamped.

  50. Hi Saurabh,

    I am on L1B visa since Sep 2010 and my visa/I-94 will expire in September 2013. My current employer will start the L1B extension process soon. My question is, can I get a new H1b visa w/o COS filed through some sponsor in 2013 or can i get a L1 to H1b COS transfer even though my current visa/I-94 is due to expire in Sep 2013?


    • Shamit,
      Although technically they should not issue H-1 w/ COS if L-1 I-94 is expiring before Oct 1, I have seen few recent instances when H-1 was approved w/ COS. So you can apply H-1 w/ COS. If USCIS issues RFE for L-1 extension and meanwhile your L-1 has been extended, then you can submit the extended I-94. If L-1 extension is denied, or still pending, then you can decide to submit a response stating that L-1 extension is pending/denied and request USCIS to process it w/ consular processing.

      Do you want to be on H-1 from Oct 1 or continue working on L-1?

      • Thanks Saurabh.

        No. I do not want to be on H1B from Oct 1. I can continue working on L-1. And my current employer will start the L1B extension process soon. What would be the general timeframe allowed to submit the L1B Extension for RFE, in case USICS issues RFE during H1B processing?

        • Shamit,
          If you want to not start working on H-1 from Oct 2013, then employer should file it w/o COS. Chances of asking for L-1 extension are low in this case as USCIS is not issuing any I-94. Your L-1 employer will still have to file for L-1 extension.

          Any RFE (H-1 or L-1) needs to be replied within 60 days (exact deadline is mentioned in the RFE notice).


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