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L1B Visa to H1B Visa Transfer Experience in USA (with COS)

One of our readers, Benny, who also shared his experience of Indian Passport renewal in USA, was kind enough to share his L1B Visa  to H1B Visa experience. Thanks to Benny for taking time to write up his experience.  In fact, many do not know the Advantages of L1 to H1B Visa COS in USA, it is one of the safest options for international professionals. Hope the below experience from Benny will help you all get good hope. You can share your experience here

Background Information – Travel to US on L1B :
I would like to share my experience of L1B Visa to H1B Visa transfer. In April 2011, I came from India to US on L1B visa. I was working in an MNC (not based out of India). I never thought of changing my visa and even didn’t know that it was possible and legal to change the visa status from L1 to H1. In fact one of the documents that I received from my employer while coming to US, said that it is illegal to change visa and they will take action against me if I did so. It was like an informative statement but not part of any contract or bond. That made me apprehensive and I went on doing my work.

Decision to Change from L1B to H1B visa in America
One day one of my friend who is a US citizen and runs a desi consultancy called me and informed me that it was legal to change the status and I cannot be bound by any contract of India in US. After that I started searching on the net about it. That was the first time I looked at redbus2us. It had very helpful and informative articles. After looking at the articles I learnt about L1 to H1 with Change of Status(COS). After doing all the research I was convinced that it is legal and right to change the visa.

Finding Job and Employer to Sponsor H1B Visa – L1B Employer Threatening
I didn’t want to join desi consultancy so I started looking for job in a bigger company and I did get the job. They offered to do my L1 to H1 visa transfer with COS. I was very happy to get the offer and went ahead with it. My H1B  with COS was approved and then the time came to resign. That was the most painful process I have ever gone through in my entire career of 8 years. I resigned 15 days before the COS effective date. It was like I was giving them 15 days notice. There was a risk involved because if they fired me (or relieved me) on the day of resignation I would be out of status. But I knew that they needed me for at least 15 days hence they did not relieve me. After I resigned I was threatened by the team management here in US and even in India. They said they will file a case against me. All the time I tried to exit peacefully and didn’t say much. After all the screaming and threatening the last day came and they could not do much and I left the organisation. They did not give me relieving letter and experience letter. But I had all the salary slips with me.

Joining new company on H1B Visa – Spouse L2 to H4 with COS
Joining the new company was very smooth. Now I am here in US on H1B visa and also have my family with me. They are on H4 and for them also my new employer did L2 visa to H4 visa with COS.  Its more than 6 months and I hope to get my experience letter and want to settle all matters with my previous company.

My Experience – Decision to change from L1 to H1B Visa – Pay Stubs  importance
Based on my experience I would say that it is legal and right to change visa from L1 to H1B in US. Also it is a smooth process. Some organisation may have a bond and make you sign that you won’t change the visa. If you have a bond then its up to you to break it and deal with the consequences. In my case there was no bond so I didn’t have problem with that. Keep copies of all your pay slips that is very important in US. Also see if you have a proper exit process in such case. If the process is not there then the employer will make it very painful. Time from resignation to exit will be stressful and to some extent scary. Stay calm and cool. Try to exit peacefully and not with bitter relationship. This was the advice of my mentor at my first job and I was always followed it.

Wishing you all the best.


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  1. Hello All,

    I have recently shifted to the US on L1B Visa On Technical Leader role. My role is equivalent to Executive role and i have an overall experience of more than 14 Years. In India, i was Senior Engineer. Since my role was as a non-executive role, my visa application was filed as L1B.

    Now it has been more than 9 months on my Current role and i am looking for expert advice from you folks for following :

    1. Am i eligible to shift from L1B to L1A? if yes, when should i ask my employer to shift from L1B to L1A?
    2. Should i request my employer to file for H1b? if yes then when?

  2. Hi,

    I came to US on L1 B. After 3 years while staying in US, applied for a fresh h1B. Worked for 3 months on the H1B and went back to India. After 2 years in India, I applied for CAP exempt on the same H1 and travelled to US. Does my time in US gets reset? Can I use the remaining 5 years on H1 to stay here?

  3. Hello,

    Good afternoon,

    I came across your website today and hence thought of checking with you on this. I am in Dallas, TX and with L1B visa (valid till Aug 2019) and working in IT. My wife too is here and working in IT under L2 EAD (valid till Mar 2019). Is there a way to move to H1B for better jobs and of course for better salary within US? What options do we have here?

    I can be 100% fit to jobs like shown below.



  4. Hi All,

    I am in the same situation as mentioned in this post. I was working for a company A in L1B visa. A different employer filed H1 visa for me and it was selected in the lottery. I tried to go back to India and exit smoothly from my current employer and get the H1b stamping done and make everything smooth. But the timings never worked and couldn’t get consulate appointments match with my India travel.

    Finally the company B filed a L1b to H1b Change of Status(COS). It got approved as well.
    Now when I resigned at my current company(company A ), they are harassing me to travel back to India and complete the exit process.

    I have 2 problems here :

    1) I cannot travel back to India and enter without stamping and I am not getting the appointment before Feb 2017. I will loose my job prospects with company B as they have already been waiting for so long on this. What are my options here?
    2) Can my current employer(company A) force me to travel back? What are the options if I don’t agree to them. Can they cause any legal problems with respect to my employment and visa?


    • Rajesh,

      I can understand the situation ….. its very difficult to solve …. I don’t know how you solved your situation . All the time problem only posted but not how to find out the solution. If you can read my post please answer my question … I am in the same situation

      1, how you completed resignation formalities with Employer A.

    • Hi Rajesh

      I am planning to change L1B to H1B (COS) in New employer , i have H1B approval notice but visa status L1B , Can you provide me more details on process

  5. hi i worked for a US based company for 5 years in gulf , after ending my projects with them i could convince them to sponcer me visa to USA , they happly did sopncer me L1 visa for me and L2 for my wife and son , once i received my visa , I started asking for my joining in USA they kept on looking for two months and then replied me that they are down sizing in USA and they do not have work for me , and released me . I was forced to look for another company imminently and join , no i work for some other company in Gulf.
    Now my question is , what is this L1 visa good for as i do not work for that company, do you think its a waist or its still helpful to me and i can use it in some way to work in some other company?

  6. History:
    I was in US for 3 months on L1-B Visa.
    My L1-B visa is valid till Feb-2016.
    Currently, I am in India and I do not have H1-B visa even in the past.

    My doubt:
    Is it possible to change L1-B to H1-B at any point of time in the year without any cap limits or It has to go through H1-B Cap limit, which usually happens in April month?

    Please clarify.

  7. Hi,
    need your expert advice. I am planning to apply L1 to H1 (with COS) transfer under CAP this year. if I have to leave US while my H1B is pending for approval, how I can enter US with H1B status?
    i) do I need to apply for H1B again? or just need to go for stamping with approved petition, before entering US?
    ii) how long it normally takes in stamping from India, is there any risk in that process?
    Please advise

  8. Hi,
    Can any one of you give me a suggestion. I am in US on L1 visa and i want to apply H1 visa next year. If it get processed, i have to leave my current organisation in October but i wont be able to get experience letter as per the agree ment, i have to serve 2 months notice period . Would it affect, if i have to go back India to join some other IT company may be after 3 years down the line(in case of some problem). Would salary slips would be sufficient that time to join Companies like Accenture, TCS, Infosys? Please any suggest me based on the experience.

    • I can understand the situation ….. its very difficult to solve …. I don’t know how you solved your situation . All the time problem only posted but not how to find out the solution. If you can read my post please answer my question … I am in the same situation

      1, how you completed resignation formalities with Employer A.

  9. History:
    I was in US for 3 months on L1-B Visa.
    My L1-B visa is valid till Feb-2016.
    Currently, I am in India and I do not have H1-B visa even in the past.

    My doubt:
    Is it possible to change L1-B to H1-B at any point of time in the year without any cap limits or It has to go through H1-B Cap limit, which usually happens in April month?

    Please clarify.

  10. My L1B Visa Expired, but I have valid i94 for 2 more years and working here in USA for a an Indian MNC. Can I process conversion of LIB to H1B?

  11. Hello All,

    I am holiding L1B visa and never travelled to US, can any one suggest/guide me how to convert/transfer my current L1B visa to H1b.
    Appreciate your help.


  12. Hello All,

    Currently I am holding a L1B visa valid till 2016 and residing in India and working for US based company. Since my L1B visa was processed and was expected to send me to US, but unfortunately project was not there and I am on bench.
    So is it possible to convert my L1b to H1b now, if so can someone please help me in knowing the procedure.
    Appreciate your valuable answers


  13. Hi,

    I moved from L1B to H1B last year.Since my Indian employer with whom I was on L1 didn’t process H visa and there was not much scope of continuing with them for a longer time,I processed H 1b through a consultant on my own and currently I am working as a contractor.I was easily relieved from the project I was working for the Indian co with a 2 wks notice here,but now they are demanding a huge amount as recovery as they made me sign a bond the 2nd time too, when I travelled back to and from India after completion of a 1 yr project in US on L1. I had already served more than 2 yrs on L visa before moving out for which, 2 wks notice should have been sufficient.They are now sending letters with legal threats if unpaid.Though I had anticipated this situation,I am concerned about the experience letter which I can’t get from them now.(not sure even if paid,they will give that) .Are experience letters really required during GC process? I have all the payslips(both India payslips and US ) from them.I’m already losing an amount for a month of paid leaves with them in this case and not sure,for my PF in India whether I might also need their help in any way.I feel it’s unjustified to pay a heavy amount just for a letter.Not sure if they will agree for a lesser amount ,if negotiated.Would like to know if anybody had similar experience or is it wise to pay to get letter for GC ?

    • Poormina,

      Companies can make it very painful leaving regardless of whether a Visa situation is involved. They are losing a valuable asset and it benefits them to keep you on board especially if you are a solidly billable asset.

      Due to verbal and Reference Letter problems in the past, It it standard policy of major US Corporations to only State that you worked there, and the dates of employment.

      For your own career it is important to have 3-5 solid work references, preferably Supervisor/Manager and co-workers. You should build these over your career. People who know you and have worked with you.

  14. I got my H1B filed by Employer A, stamped in india. I got a better offer from employer B who is ready to file for H1B xfer.

    1. Can Employer B file for a xfer even before I travel to the US and join employer A. I have not joined employer A and hence do not have any pay stubs.

    2. Employer B says that I will not have to appear for stamping again and can enter the US showing the old stamp and few documents proving that employer B filed for xfer. Is this correct?

    3. Can I travel to the US for Employer A and tranfer my H1B to employer B even before joining Employer A ? OR a couple of days after joining Employer A?

  15. My H1B is approved and employer is delaying stamping (I am in India)
    as something needs to be sorted out before making me travel.

    I had planned a pleasure trip in Nov 2013 thinking that I will be in
    USA in Nov on H1B. Since stamping is going to take sometime,

    1. Can I file for a visitor visa and go on a pleasure trip. I know VO
    will think that I am trying to avoid stamping of H1B though the case
    is genuine. What are the chance of B2 getting approved after having an
    approved unstamped work visa.

    2. Will it affect my H1B stamping if B2 is rejected ?

    3. If the project issues are resolved when I am on pleasure trip.. Can
    I do a COS to H1B from my visitor visa OR will I have to Return back
    to India and then appear for stamping and travel back.

    4. If yes, what are the timelines of COS from B2- H1B?

  16. Hi,

    I am on L1B visa from May 2010 and having I94 valid till May 2015 (Total 5 years). My employer had file my PERM under EB2 in Nov 2013 and I still have 1.5 years valid L1B visa.

    1. How long it takes PERM process and get the GC?
    2. Is L1B – H1B COS is fall under normal cap (65K) or is it come under separate category?
    3. Can my employer submit L1B – H1B COS anytime or it has to be file in 2014 cap?
    4. If answer to above two ques is Normal 2014 cap, and if my employer is not filing my conversion in 2014 then what are other possibilities? (as my I94 exp is May 2015)
    5. Currently I am holding manager position, is there a chance to file L1B- L1A conversion?

    What are the things i need to inquire/get information from my employer or attorney?

    Appreciate for your help.



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