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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. Hi,

    I am in the US on an L1B visa (I’m a software developer, Canadian citizenship), with a company that is about to layoff a lots of people, and I’m afraid that I will be one of them. I could get a job at a big corporation like Microsoft or Amazon, that “print” visa. My main concern are :

    1. the time. If they lay me off before I get the new jobs, what are my option to stay in the US?
    2. I don’t have a Bachelor degree (neither a college diploma, I’m missing a course to get the paper that I’m doing right now), so I’m afraid that I won’t be qualify to an H1B at this moment. I have 5 years of experience (including one in the states). And the TN visa (canadian-us specific visa) specify that Software Engineer requires a minimum of Bachelor degree (college not-included).

    Any advices?

    Thanks in advance.

    • I would like to answer myself after a discussion I had with some lawyers here in the United States. I’m an engineer, but I don’t own a 4 years degree. As a canadian, I could still apply for a TN visa, but the company would have to sponsor me for another type of job (like computer analyst), which doesn’t request a high degree. I can then use the “equivalency clause”, which will use my schoolarship and work experience, but doesn’t require the diploma itself.

      One good advice I can give you is, apply for a position, let them want you, and if they really want you, you will be in touch with their laywer (for free), and they will try to figureout a way.

      Rashesh S.

  2. I am on L1 with company A. In 2013 B company File my H1 and COS , but in aug/2013 I had to go to japan and come back to US on L1 while COS was pending. When I came to US I got my H1 RFE related to “education evaluation” and I heard my COS get abandoned because of my Japan visiting.

    – As my COS is not valid in that case do i need to go for H1B Visa stamping?
    – If my H1B visa stamping get denied/rejected , in that case does my L1 visa get impacted?
    – Once my H1B approved, in that case can other company apply H1B transfer + COS ??

    Please advice.

  3. I got L1B visa in 2008 but I travelled to USA in oct 2010,but my visa extension got rejected in jan13 2012. So I travelled to India on 24.01.2012 then i got new H1B and I returned to USA in 29.01.2013 .

    Now my question is
    1. How long I can stay in USA using H1b visa
    2. Will my L1b stay considered in h1 6 years period
    3. How long I need to stay outside of US to reset the clock?

    Pls give me answer

    • 1 – I think it is as long as your visa is valid.
      2-Yeah your L1b will be calculated towards calculating 6 years of your H1.
      3-1 year outside US to reset the clock.

  4. Hi, I am currently in USA on L1B Extension expiring on September 29th of this year(I94 and visa expiring on 29th sep) with company A
    I have got my new H1B(through COS) valid from Oct 1 with Company B.

    How to avoid the out of status for 2 days between Sep 29th to Oct 1 and what are the options for me without going out of USA and moving under new employer

  5. Dear Saurabh & Friends of this Group,

    Need urgent help on my current situation….
    1) L1b Visa expired date : 03-May-2012
    2) I-94 Expired date : 13 Jun 2013
    3) L1 – H1 COS(Regular processing) : Applied Apri 8 2013 and got selected in lottery.
    4) L1b Extn:
    a) Filed date : 13-Jun-2013
    b) RFE received Jul 31, 2013
    c) Oct 23 , 2013 (RFE replied expected by USCIS)
    5) L1 to H1 COS(Regular Processing) : Waiting for USCIS status update… (Current status – •At this time USCIS cannot provide you with information for your case. Please contact the NCSC 1 (800) 375-5283 for additional information.)

    Company is stating that once L1-H1 COS is approved , they will withdraw the L1-B extension.
    Iam little concerned on my current status.

    1) Will my H1 case be depended on L1-B extension status given that I have filed L1-H1 COS before L1-B i-94 expiry date?
    2) Is it safe to PP now on my H1?
    3) If H1 turns out to RFE and L1 extn already in RFE, Iam worried what can happen…. Finally if my H1 is denied, how many days my illegal stay wud have accrued.
    4) Is there any deadline date for H1
    4) My GC is getting processed and have my I-140 approved already… Will this improve my chance of my H1 case?

    • kps1981,
      1. Yes, they can issue RFE for proof of L-1 status from June 13 to Oct 1. I have seen some cases where they approve the COS even w/o asking for proof. So it may depend on the adjudicating officer.
      2. You can, but there is still a strong possibility of RFE for L-1 extension proof.
      3. If L-1 extension has lower possibility of approval, then you can change H-1 to consular processing and go out of US for H-1 stamping.
      4. No deadline
      5. Doesn’t matter

      • Hi Saurabh and Team.

        I am currently on L1B and applied H1B thru a consultancy in COS. It is in ” Intial Review” status as of now. If i want to continue on my L1B , even after my H1 approval what are my options ?

        1. If H1 is approved before October -1st — > Can i go back to india and still come back on L1B visa ? If yes , when should i come back on L1B ( After Oct 1st ) ? Please advise

        2. I know that going to india will cancel COS and that is my option as well, but wanted to check if there is a way i can go to india and come back on my L1B.

        3. I want to remain on my L1B visa till year end. Can my employer amend petetion to change the COS effective date ?

        4. If yes to above , how much it cost to amend petetion ?

        5. I received the H4 petetion number for my wife. And the consultancy says that both H1 and H4 petetion numbers are same .. Is it possible that H1 and H4 petetion numbers can be same or should we always have different petetion numbers for H1 and H4 ?

        Please advise and thank you very much for your help.

        • Maddy,
          1. Yes, come back on L-1 visa after Oct 1 and you will remain on L-1 visa status
          2. You can leave US prior to Oct 1 and return on L-1 visa after Oct 1 to remain in L-1 status. This will invalidate any pending or approved COS.
          3. No, they cannot the COS date for the pending petition. Once you move to L-1 status (by re-entering US on L-1), your employer can decide to file a separate COS w/ appropriate start date.
          4. COS is $325.00 + attorney fees
          5. I don’t think they are the same as people have mentioned otherwise. There have been instances when one is approved, while the other is still pending. So there should be 2 797Cs.

          • Hi Saurabh,

            Thanks a Zillion for answering my query.Please pardon my ignorance.
            So three scenarios here :

            1. H1 Not approved before OCT 1ST — > travel out of USA to India on sep 1st and return on Sep 10th. In this case COS will be abandoned and will remain on L1 visa.

            2. H1 Approved on sep 10th — > travel out of USA on Sep 12th and return on Sep 24th.. In this case , i will be still having COS . From OCT 1st , i need to move to company who sponsored H1B. Will my L1 visa will get cancelled or can i still use it at a later point of time ?

            3. H1 Approved on Sep 10th — > Travel out of USA on Sep 12th and return on Oct 2nd.. In this case , my COS will be cancelled and will remain on L1 visa. If needed ,
            i need to apply COS as you mentioned by paying fee ( once entered to US on L1 )

            Could you please confirm on my understanding. I am very much stressed up on this and awaiting your reply. Thanks as always , Saurabh.

  6. Hi Sir,

    Can we move resources from Australia to USA? If so,

    1. Do they have to be citizens of Australia?
    2. What kind of visa they can move to USA like the H1
    3. How long can they work out of usa ?

    • carthik1985,
      1. They can be citizen of any country
      2. Depends upon what kind of work they plan to do in US. H-1 is for speciality occupation like software programming etc
      3. Maximum time an individual can spent inside US on H-1 is 6 years. Green card can be filed for that individual if they plan to work any longer that that.

  7. Hi Saurabh,
    I am on H1B valid till December 2014 and coming to India.

    1. If I search job over there with companies who wants Valid H1B than what would be the visa transfer process.
    1. I want to leave my current employer. So what would be the seen here? Please give me some idea.
    2. How soon I can come here if some other Indian company transfer my visa


  8. I am on L1 with company A. Last year same company File my H1 but in dec I had to go to India and come back to US on L1 while COS was pending. When I came to US I got my H1 approved but I heard my COS get abandoned bacause of my India visiting. My employer said they will send the amendment to USCIS but they havnt doent yet. I talk to my employer they said you are still on L1,

    So my questions are-

    Is there any way I can get to know my actual status L1 or H1.?
    How would anybody know if COS gets abandoned.?
    if I am on L1 Can I still apply for new H1B through Company B ?
    what would be the best way to change compnay, new H1 B or H1 transfer since I am not sure about COS?

    Please Reply

    • Vivky,
      1. It’s L-1. If you want to be sure look at your H-1 approval notice. It should not have an I-95 attached to the bottom of it, which means your status is still L-1 determined by the I-94 you received when entering US after your most recent trip.
      2. Refer #1
      3. Yes, B can file a cap-exempt petition (aka H-1 transfer) for you along w/ COS from L-1 to H-1
      4. Refer #3

      • Thanks Saurabh,

        1:- Yes I do have I94 attached to my I797. So what does that mean I can use that to H1 transfer. Though I entered on L1?
        3:- For H1 transfer I heard I have to have three pay slip on H1 Visa, which I dont have . Can L1 pay slips will work on that? If not what option I have to change the company?

        thanks again

        • Vicky,
          1. So your H-1 was approved after you traveled on L-1 in b/w and that too w/ I-94 attached to bottom of it. This doesn’t seem right as COS should have been abandoned once you left US. You should check w/ your attorney to follow-up w/ USCIS to know your correct status.
          2. The person needs to be in legal status for H-1 transfer. A new employer can file cap-exempt petition (aka H-1 transfer) for you. They will have to show that you are currently maintaining legal status. They need 3 most recent payslips which can either be L-1 or H-1 depending upon what your current status is.

          • Thanks Saurabh

            My attorney said that I am still on L1. He is not helpful at all.
            So it seems from your suggestion that company B can file h1 transfer and COS for me using L1 pay slip?
            Also I don’t have LCA as well . Can it create a problem in h1 transfer?

          • Vicky,
            Yes, that’s in my opinion. You can talk to another attorney. Previous LCA is not required for H-1 transfer.

  9. Hi Benny,Saurabh,

    I would like to ask Benny, did you manage to get your experience and releiving letters from your previous company with whom u were on L1 visa? Our L1 will expire in Dec 2013 and we have 1-94 till Aug 2015.We are not sure if we try to renew L1 ,what will be the possibility of success and before 2015 if we want to travel to India then also L1 stamping can be a concern.So, we are planning to apply for H1B in April now.But we are in the same dilemma as to how to Indian company will respond to the change of visa and resignation from their company.We want to have the experience letter without having travelled to India at the same time we fear if company will demand any lumsum for resignation and no notice period.Pls advise.Thanks

  10. Hi Saurabh,

    Presently am on OPT with X employer, my employer is filing H1B for 2013 CAP, this is comes under Change of Status ( F1 to H1) or New Employment ??

    • Hans,
      The petition itself is subject to cap. However within I-129 your employer has to select COS as you are already inside US on F-1.

  11. Hi Saurabh,

    I had an H1B petition that was valid from Oct-2005 to May-2008 initially. I stayed in US from Jan-2007 – Nov -2007 and then from Mar-2008 – Jun-2008. In between H1 extension was filed in Apr-2008 and that got approved as well. I quit this company in Jan-2009 and was out of US till Mar-12 i.e. for more than 3 years. Currently I am in US on L1B visa from another company. The question is that can I use my old H1 petition and get a CAP EXEMPT?

    • Carthik,
      Your H-1 extension petition was approved within last 6 years. So you can use that petition to file cap-exempt petition. However, it’s term will be 6 years minus time already spent inside US on L-1 and H-1 visas.

  12. Hi Saurabh,

    I have valid B1/B2 Visa, and X employer is ready to sponsor H-1B from india, so am planning to go to US on B1 visa and once my h1B is approved (2013 CAP) i will start working there for six months and then i will go for stamping ??

    Can i Do like this ??

    can you please suggest me the possibilities, so that i can plan

    • AAA,
      You should use B-1/2 to enter US only if you have valid reasons to use that visa. Do not use it to enter US and move to H-1. Also, it is advisable to apply for COS from B-1 after staying for 30-60 days.

  13. Benny,
    I am in same situation as you. I am planning to apply for my H1 but skeptical. Can you share me your contact details so that i can discuss more please?

  14. Saurabh,

    I am on H1B and unemployed for 2 months.
    I am getting salary slip showing zero to my credit and some employer contribution in it.
    Does unemployment for long time around 2-3 months create problem in filing Green Card?


    • Bittu,
      Yes, it can cause issue during GC filing and H-1 transfer/extension/stamping. Legally, your employer is required to pay you the salary mentioned in the LCA.

  15. Hi Saurabh,

    My employer filed Change of Employer ( H1 Transfer) for me, but they did one mistake in that, they forgot to send one check ($2000) now what is the solution for this problem..

    • XXXX,
      Couple of things can happen here:
      1. USCIS will issue RFE asking for that check
      2. USCIS will return the petition and ask you to refile

        • XXXX,
          What is your attorney suggesting? They must have included some checks in the previous application? What happens if USCIS starts processing both? Will your employer have to pay it twice?

          Your employer should contact USCIS and ask if they can submit the checks against the already submitted application.

          • But we dont have any information to call USCIS ( like receipt number), can we file new petition, if we receive previous package back its ok, what about if they process both the cases

            what i am thinking is previously filed case does not have full amount checks, so USCIS will not process the case

            Can you please suggest me on this.

          • XXXX,
            Yes, you can file the new petition w/ correct checks. If they return the old petition it’s all good w/ new petition. If they issue RFE for the old petition, then your employer can withdraw the old one and again you will be all good w/ new petition.

  16. Hi Saurabh,

    I am currently with employer 1 on H1B and unemployed for last 2 months. I got a offer from Employer 2 with job confirmation. Would it be safe to transfer visa since I am unemployed?
    I am getting salary slip with zero balance and employer contribution of some amount.


    • Bittu,
      The other employer can file for H-1 transfer but it may run into issues as you are not getting paid. It’s not just enough to have payslips. It is important to have payslips that prove that you are getting paid as per the LCA. Ask your current employer to start paying you as per the LCA.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        But it is not my fault. It is employers policy. They are also holding my one month salary and giving me the salary slip with zero balance.

        Give me the straight forward decision whether its safe to transfer visa or not.


        • Bittu,
          You will have to look at your alternatives:
          – don’t do anything and continue accumulating out of status
          – file H-1 transfer and take a shot. Worst case scenario they will deny the transfer. Best case scenario they will approve the transfer (chances low). Middle scenario they approve the new petition but issue it w/o I-94, meaning you will have to leave US and return to work for the new employer

  17. Hi Gurus,

    I’m here in US on L1 with my family for last 5 months. I work for a reputed MNC and the company doesn’t pay any salary here in US. Only the expenses can be claimed. Will be able to change status to H1 provided I get an employer ? also without having any pay stubs ( except in India)?

    Appreciate any information with this regards.

    • Kumar,
      I once read an attorney’s comment that it is ok to get paid outside US on L-1. So it can still work out for you by submitting payslips from India. However, validate this through an attorney as well.

  18. Saurabh,

    I got RFE while H1 transfer due to salary slip. I dont have 15 days salary pay stub. Will it create problem?
    They asked Nov Dec pay stub. I have Nov and 15 days of December pay stub.

    Please suggest.


      • Hi Saurabh,

        I was employed but I dint get the payment from Employer1.
        Employer 2 filed the H1 transfer and said you are good to go.
        Employer 2 file the visa on December 20th and I submitted salary slip upto Oct0ber 2012.
        So USCIS asked for Nov and December Salary Slip. I have submitted salary of Nov and upto December 15. I dont have salary slip of rest of the 15 days of December. Employer 1 was also holding one month Salary.

        Please suggest.

        • Bittu,
          Then you should ask employer 1 to pay you your wages for that month. This is your right and they should pay you. You can discuss w/ your attorney about the possibility of telling them that you will take them to court if they don’t pay or complain to DOL.

          When did you join employer 2?

  19. Hi Saurabh,
    I am currently on l1 visa and I am planning to move to H1 effective May 1st as I can get cap exempt from my previous H1 petition .
    My current organisation is asking me to go back to India on april 30th
    and I have found an employer who is ready to file my H1 but he is asking him to do the filling in March so we have enough buffer period encase we get some RFE.
    My wife is currently working and her employer is ready to file her H1 in april.
    Can I have my H1 petitions filed in March and can we specify the dates of her H4 as effective from May1 untill Sept 30 while she is on l2 visa until april 30th
    Does this thing effect her H1 visa process.
    If I resign two weeks before 30th April and they did not give me my relieving letter and experience letter and does this effect my GC processing in future.

  20. Hi Saurabh,

    Could you please let me know the below ?

    1. Does USCIS checks randomly for client letters during H1 processing. Because some of the consultants who belong to small companies get H1 while big companies consultants get RFE and rejected some times.. Just want to know how it works.

    2. How much does it cost for H1. I heard that if it is less than 50 employee then less cost.

    3. Is L1 to H1B processing more easy ( I mean approved easily due to pay stubs etc .. ? I heard so.. ) please advice

    4. I am on L1B and if i get H1B frm Oct 1 2013 .. Suddenly if i decide not to go with the H1B employer , what is the process?

    Please advice as i am new to this. Thanks in advance

    • Maddy,
      1. Yes, it is per officer’s discretion
      2. Yes, if the company has less than 50 employees, then it costs around 2000 USD less. There are articles on the blog which explain the detailed cost. You can search for them from the archive link at the top.
      3. There is not much of a difference. H-1 for someone who is outside US, and H-1 for someone who is already in US on L-1 is subject to same rule and checklist. The only advantage is that one doesn’t need to go for H-1 stamping if they are already in US and get COS approval along w/ H-1.
      4. You can leave US prior to H-1 approval and return on your L-1 visa. This will cause COS to be abandoned and you will remain on L-1 even after H-1 gets approved.

      • Hi Saurabh,

        Thanks very much .. Just a small clarification on the point 4 above.. is the H-1 approval date always on or after Oct 1st ? Please advice.

        Thanks again..

        • Maddy,
          Most of the time employers request a start date of Oct 1 (earliest available employment start date). If the H-1 gets approved prior to Oct 1, then it will have the start date of Oct 1. If H-1 gets approved after Oct 1, then it will have the start date of the date on which it got approved. It can never be prior to Oct 1, if that is what you are asking.

  21. Hi Saurabh,
    I need your expert opinion in my case. I was on L1B from a Indian IT company (A). I got H1B and i changed job in US and joined (B). My COS was effective 1-Oct-2012 however my employer (B) didnt have any job so i didn’t resign. I resigned from A in the last week of october and got relieved from A by 9-Nov-2012. My employer B ran payroll for Oct-2012. I’m now concerned whether my delayed exit from A would cause any issues in my GC stages (PERM,I-140 or I-485). Can you please let me know if you forsee any issue in this case?

    • Ravi,
      Did you get paid both from A and B in October? I don’t think it will be a major issue during GC processing as you have the necessary payslips and approvals to show that you maintained the status.

      In hindsight, if B was ready to pay you while you were on bench in October, you should have stopped working for A.

      • Thanks for your reply Saurabh..I Appreciate it..

        Yes.I got paid from both A and B during october. I maintained my status and I have necessary payslips from both the employers to prove that. I had resigned from A much earlier however my client forced A to extend me for 2 more weeks due to business critical issues during that time. Otherwise I would have exited from A right on sept 30. I hope there is no issue in GC processing..
        Thanks again for taking out time to reply to my question.


  22. Hi Saurabh,

    My husband is on L1 from Company A and we are planning to convert his L1 to H1B, below are my queries

    1. Do we need to wait until April to apply for H1B ?
    2. What would be this converstion process ?
    3. Even if H1b conversion happens before October 2013, Will he be eligible to work on H1b with new company before october?
    4. Company A plans to send us back in Jun 2013, so if the conversion does not happen before that do we need to file new H1b from India or we can come back once our H1b is filed in US without getting it stamped from India?
    5. I am working on l2, how long will the dependent visa conversion will take
    6. I am also filing my H1b, does my husband’s visa conversion will have any impact on my visa filing?

    Appreciate your help in advance

    • PS,
      1. Yes
      2. The employer needs to file H-1 petition for him along w/ COS. Once USCIS approves the H-1 and COS, he can start working from Oct 1 or COS approval date (whichever is later)
      3. He cannot work until Oct 1, 2013 or actual approval date (whichever is later). In addition, it is required for COS to be approved for him to start working. If COS is not approved, he will have to get COS filed separately or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.
      4. The employer can file H-1 in April (I strongly suggest that as quota may get over within 1-2 months). He can then leave US and go for H-1 stamping in India. Later he can return to US on stamped H-1 visa after Oct 1.
      5. The employer will have to file L-2 to H-4 COS along w/ your husband’s H-1 petition. Once your husband moves to H-1, you will be on H-4 visa status and need to stop working. If you are sure that your company will send you back in June, then it is no point of filing COS for you as it will become void and you will have to return on stamped H-4 visa (just like your husband needs to return on stamped H-1 visa)
      6. No impact on your filing. Will you have both your H-1 and H-4 filed? That may add another layer of complication. Besides even if your H-1 is in process and your husband has to leave US, the right thing to do is that you also leave along w/ him (unless its after Oct 1 and your H-1 is approved w/ COS).

  23. I have working for company A on L1, I-94 valid till mid of 2014, and company B sponsored H1B with COS, but its approved consular process and petition valid till Nov 2013 even complete presence in US. Company B is asking me to go back to india for stamping and resign from L1 employer.? they also told me i am not legally continue with L1 employer anymore, my dependents status also changed to H4.

    1. Can I try company C for COS with Company B approved petition? can i go for premium processing?
    2. Can I continue work for L1 employer? if i work is that illegal

    • Nancy,
      This seems to be an error on part of USCIS. If they didn’t approve your COS, they should have denied your dependents’ COS as well. Now you are on L-1, and they are on H-4.

      Do you want to continue working for L-1 employer (which legally you can as your COS was denied) or want to start working on H-1? In either case both you and your dependents need to take an early decision and probably consult a good attorney.

  24. Hi Saurabh,

    I have a doubt on L1b to H1B COS. My friend is already in US and working for L1B sponser company.

    My friend is on valid visa of L1B till October 2012 and I94 till next october 2014.
    So if this is the case, can one apply for H1B in April 2013 if one is on I94 alone and not on any visa status by another employer say B?

      • Hi Saurabh,

        I am in a fix and needs some advice. I am currently on L1 b visa and my employer is sending me back as the project got over. There are other employers who are willing to file my H1 B.

        My 1-94 expires in 2015, My L1 Visa expires in May 2013.

        Can I still stay in US and file for H1 B, considering I might not get Payslip for Feb 2013 from my curent employer because they want me to go back.The latest pay slip I have is of Jan 2013. Can I legally stay anf file h1 B without very recent Pay slip?


  25. Hi,

    I got my L1b to H1B COS approved this month. I was informed that Mine and my dependent’s status will automatically be converted to H-1B/H-4 status effective on 1st week of Nov 2012.

    I am yet to receive my H-1B approval notice and Package from USCIS. Another Company (Company-B) has approached me with a new full-time Job opportunity. Can you tell me how soon can I join Company-B?

    Is there any Legal mandate from USCIS or any other government body that requires me to work for my current employer that filed my L1-B to H1B COS for X days/months/Years before I can switch my company?

    • KK,
      B can file cap-exempt petition for you (aka H-1 transfer) and you can start working for them as early as the date on which this petition is received by USCIS. For the transfer to go through, you should be maintaining valid legal status in US i.e. L-1 status until Nov 1, and H-1 status w/ A from Nov 1 to the filing date.

      There is no requirement to work for X days/months/years and transfer can be filed as long as you are maintaining legal status.

  26. Hi Saurabh, Hope you are well.
    I got my L1B (Company A) to H1 B (Company B) approved but COS got abandoned because I had to travel out of US while the transfer was pending. Got the I797C back stating COS abandoned but H1B approved.

    Now in this situation – I found an offer with a (Company C) large Indian IT firm who wants to transfer my H1b, not yet sure if they will accept me to be a contractor.

    1.Could the transfer be done with I797C and Company C initiate the transfer?
    2.I asked the consulting firm (Company B) to file COS in premium , but not sure if they have done it yet because they are not reachable – Can I only get the transfer done only when the premium COS is approved -?
    3.I would prefer to join as a contractor and continue with Company B. Because Company C is large Indian firm and wont file Green card. What can I do in this situation? Please advice. Appreciate your response as always.

    • DOSS,
      1. Yes
      2. AFAIK, just the COS cannot be filed w/ premium processing
      3. Wait for COS to get approved, and then start working for them. You can then decide whether to continue working for them, or move to another company

      • Hi Saurabh,
        I went to PA for L2 dependent visa in India (Chennai) and have been asked for Resume. My passport was taken by them. It has been almost 21 days and online status still shows as pending processing. How long should I expect the wait. Here are my details….
        Name: Garima
        Field: PhD Chemistry
        VI Date: 19th Nov 2012
        Consulate: Chennai
        Visa type: L2 (blanket)
        221g Slip: Pink (resume requested)
        Current Status: Pending process

  27. Hi Saurabh,

    My L1B visa expired back in July’12, my company filed for an extension in May’12. I’ve received an RFE in Aug’12 which is due by Nov’12. Now I need to travel back to my home country.

    1. Do I have an option of withdrawing my extension application without accruing any illegal presence.
    2. What if we do not respond to the RFE. Will I accrue any illegal presence in that case.
    3. Supposedly we respond to the RFE and USCIS issues a denial, will it have impact on any of my future visa applications.

    Thank you in anticipation.

  28. Saurabh,
    First I want to thank you for guiding me on moving from L1 to H1 – it was all possible because of your website 🙂
    Here’s my query:

    I am with Company A on L1 visa since 05/05/2010 – I-94 and visa validity from 04/19/2010 to 04/16/2013
    Company B applied for my H1 visa on 06/12/2012 got approved on 06/21/2012.
    B applied my H1 with COS start date of 10/01/2012 – I-94 and visa validity from 10/01/2012 to 09/26/2014

    I have resigned from Company A on 9/14/2012 requested to release me by 09/28, Friday (09/30 is Sunday) or 10/1/2012, Monday.
    Company A is forcing me to serve 30 days notice, which will mean I will have to work for them while my H1 is already started, I am planning to serve only 15 days notice period to avoid getting into this situation.

    Here are the questions:
    What is the right date to leave Company A?
    1) Sep 28 (This will mean no overlap between L1 or H1, but the issue is what will be my status on 9/29, 9/30 ? – my H1 I-94 starts only on 10/1)
    2) Oct 1 (This will mean a day overlap, working for Company A (L1) while Company B’s H1 status started)
    3) Oct 5 (This will mean I worked for L1 company for 5 business days while my H1 started)
    4) Oct 12 (This will mean I worked for L1 company for 10 business days while my H1 started)

    Please let me know which is the safest approach, so that I don’t get into issues during my H1 stamping or future GC processing……


  29. Hi Saurabh,

    I am working in USA on L1B visa. I applied for H1B and my application is recently approved with COS and the H1B start date is Oct-01-2012.

    I am thinking to resign from my current company at present with the last date of 09/30. However, there is a chance of retaliation from my company similar to what Benny faced.

    If I resign on 09/24, then I’ll give a week’s notice to my current employer.

    Now my question is
    a) whether my current employer can legally apply for cancellation of my visa as soon as I resign with one week notice period?
    b) if my current employer get my visa cancelled before 09/30, will I be considered out of status?
    c) and will I be able to stay in the USA legally even after my current L1 visa gets cancelled and I am not with any employer during that one week?

    Please advise me in this situation.

    Thanks in advance.

  30. Hi Saurabh,
    Your support is very much appreciable!
    I have L1B visa with me, worked 6months in US and Came back to India.

    I worked for Company A, company B bought company A (both A and B are US MNC branch is in India), Part of company A is going to sell of by this December (there where i worked 6months). Now the location where i worked wants to hire me, but H1B filing will take one year.

    So is it possible to go for L1B to H1B conversion? while i am in India
    If yes how long does it take? or If i travel to US again and convert my visa?

    Since if that particular part is sold to some company x, my L1B will no longer valid.

    Please advise at the earliest. Many thanks in advance.

    • 1234,
      There is nothing like L-1 to H-1 conversion. Everyone has to file cap-subject H-1 irrespective of whether they had F-1, L-1, H-4 or none previously. So in your case, the employer has to file H-1 in April 2013 or file L-1 for you (if the job requires L-1 specialized knowledge).

  31. Hii Saurabh,
    I was on H4 visa, and my visa was filled this year under FY2103 cap in premium procession, i got approved in April month itself. my H1b is valid from Oct 1st 2012: now my questions are:
    1) i went to India in May on H4 and came back in August on H4 only, as my I-90 # has been changed, Do i need to refiles COS? or i can straight away start my job from oct 1st?
    2) will my H1b gets effected from Oct1st automatically,or it will get effected only when i start my job( Join my company) what if i start my job not on 1st oct but after 15-20 days??
    Thanks So Much!!!

    • Alisha,
      1. As you left US after H-1 was approved w/ COS, no new COS needs to be filed. You can confirm this w/ your attorney as well
      2. It will start from Oct 1 and you need to start getting paid from Oct 1 irrespective of whether you have a project or not (for clarification purpose – you have a job from Oct 1 w/ the company that filed your H-1).

      • Thanks alot for your help, one more questions:

        what if i have not got any project till now also not getting paid from my employer as i have not even started working for them? Should i go back to India or is there any specified period for which i can stay here without work ? Thanks

        • Alisha,
          As per H-1 rules, you always need to get paid while you are in US on H-1 irrespective of whether you are on bench or not. If you do not get paid then you accumulate out-of-status which can cause issues in future immigration matters.

    • Hi Alisha,

      I am on H4, Can you share your consultancy name? or else whether they have taken any money from you for h1b filling?If yes how they have taken money in form of blank check?or cash? or check on some person name?
      Please help I am planning to apply this year.

      Hope to hear from you.

  32. Saurabh, I am currently in US. My L1 B (specialist) extension expires Jan 2013 through company A. Company A has also filed for my H1, consular processing.
    My understanding is – I will only get 1 more year, through my H1 and that would be until Oct 2013. Is that correct ? Or is it 1 year from the date I activate my H1 status, which I would prefer to do after completing my full L1 term (Jan 2013).
    Also, what options do I have to extend my stay in US. Can I switch companies and have company B start my GC. Would that be a practical solution, with me having only until OCtober 2013 ???
    Or should I stay with company A, and have them do some extra steps. What would those steps be ???

    Thanks for the replies.

    • ABC,
      You can spend at most 6 years in US on H-1 and L-1. You can count the time you have already spent in US on L-1 and then subtract it from 6 years to know the time allowed on H-1.

      The only way to stay beyond 6th year is to file for GC through an employer. You need to start working on this ASAP.

  33. I’m on L1 b visa here and want to know what is the process to get a green card and how much time does it take? Do I need to be on L1 A to be able to file for green card?

  34. Hi Saurabh,
    I would really appreciate if you could give advice on my case.
    Here is my situation
    I was on H4 and applied H1 through a consulting company A in Oct 2011. It was pending status for so long time.
    Later i got very good offer from company B in July 2012 and applied H1 under premium(in cap exempt as i have a H1 approved in 2009) and got approved in july last week with effective date as August 3rd.
    I have joined Company B on August 3rd.
    and now i saw that my old H1 B got approved on August 3rd(got updated on site on Aug 3rd evening).
    I just wanted to know if i am ok with my status?
    since both H1s start date are same, is it ok if i continue with Company B ?
    Can i move to my previous employer(Company A) after working some time with company B(may be after 6 months) ?
    Please advice.
    I am really really in need of your suggestion

  35. Hi Saurabh, My L1 visa expires on August 1st 2012 and my employer is filing for extension. I also filed H-1B with other employer in May 2012, current status is ‘Initial Review’. I got RFE for my wife H-4 visa with below reasons, what does it mean?. What should I do now?. It is because my visa is expiring on 8/1/2012 ?. What are the possibilities that I will get my H-1B without RFE ?.

    RFE Details:

    Dependents of Principal Aliens in the H Nonimmigrant Classifications
    The applicant’s length of stay as a ‘Dependent alien’ is governed by the length of authorized stay of the ‘principal alien’ Provide the following to establish a dependent relationship between the applicant(s) and their principal alien spouse. Submit photocopies of documents, only, unless the originals are requested. All copies must be readable and clearly legible.
    • Principal Alien’s Form I-94 Arrival Departure Record
    • Principal Alien’s form I-797 A, Notice f Action

    • Raj,
      You will have to submit proof of your relationship and your own I-94 copies. You also need to submit copy of your 797C to show that your H-1 is in progress. They may have unlinked your H-1 and her H-4 and that is why this query. Usually, they go in tandem and they automatically get H-1 details from the file I-129.

  36. Hi, I am currently on L1b and have filed a New H1b Petition and want to know how will it impact my travelling to India? I haven’t yet got my H1b result and the lawyer is too Skeptical to answer whether i can come back to USA on L1b Stamped Visa which i have till end of 2013 as m currently working in USA. At present i have filed with COS But want to convert it to Counselor Processing before i go to India. Whats the procedure and How it is done? Can i come back to USA on same L1B Stamped Visa in 3 weeks after i go to India?

    • XYZ,
      If you leave US while H-1 is pending, COS is automatically abandoned, and the petition becomes consular processing. You can either return on stamped L-1 visa and file for COS to H-1 later, or get H-1 visa stamped and return on stamped H-1 visa. You can go for H-1 stamping only after H-1 petition gets approved and can return on H-1 visa only after Sep 20th.

      • Hi Saurabh,
        My situation is also same so Follow up question on this.

        I am on L1 and my employer filed for H1b with COS and I got rfe which my employer replied. So its is in RFE review process. Now I am traveling to India and I want to enter US on L1 visa since I am not sure how much time it could take.

        So my question are as
        1:- Usually how much time it takes to approve the H1b after RFE review process
        2:- What if COS approved while I am in India, can I still enter US on L1 visa or I have to go for stamping?
        3:- Lets say I got approval and I went for stamping and got rejected, Can I still enter US on L1 visa?
        4:- What if COS abandoned/rejected while I am in India, can I still enter US on L1 visa?
        4:- If COS abandoned/rejected , does that mean I have to refile my H1b again in Next year Arp2013? or I can use my existing cap to reapply for COS?
        6:- Does H1b and COS are diff thing? what if I got H1b approval and COS abandoned? is it possible? what I should do in this case?

        I really appreciate your reply.

        • Vikram,
          1. Anywhere from few weeks to 60 days (in some cases even more)
          2. Your COS will be abandoned as soon as you leave US. If it gets approved by mistake, do not try to make use of it. If you wrongly use USCIS’s mistake, it would still be considered as your fault.
          3. Yes
          4. Yes
          5. If just the COS is abandoned/denied, then you can either go for H-1 stamping or file COS after returning to US on L-1. Entire H-1 petition doesn’t need to be filed again.
          6. H-1 petition is approved w/ consular processing or w/ change of status. So it is possible that H-1 gets approved w/ consular processing (COS denied or abandoned) or w/ COS (COS approved).

          • Hi Saurabh,

            I am on L1 with company A. Last year same company File my H1 but in dec I had to go to India and come back to US on L1 while COS was pending. When I came to US I got my H1 approved but I heard my COS get abandoned bacause of my India visiting. My employer said they will send the amendment to USCIS but they havnt doent yet. I talk to my employer they said you are still on L1,

            So my questions are-

            Is there any way I can get to know my actual status L1 or H1.?
            How would anybody know if COS gets abandoned.? I think my I797 has I94 attached to it?
            if I am on L1 Can I still apply for new H1B through Company B ?
            what would be the best way to change compnay, new H1 B or H1 transfer since I am not sure about COS?

  37. Hi Saurabh,
    One more question. If i transfer my new H1b before oct 1st 2012, can i start work immedialy (example sep 1st 2012 ) OR i need to wait till OCT 1st to start work ?

  38. Hi Saurabh,
    I am working in MNC in USA as a fulltime employee with L1b . Due to the project completion , my last working day is Sep 28th 2012. In meanwhile , i got approved my H1b with new company and this H1b effect from Oct 26th 2012. My questions are,
    1) My L1b will expire from Sep29th 2012 onwards , but new H1b get effect from Oct 26th 2012. Can i stay this one month in USA?
    2) Since i applied this as COS from L1b to H1b , Can i stay in USA / i need to go out of the country for that one month .

    Please advice . Thanks Advance…….

    • Sri,
      Your H-1 was approved from Oct 26th, and you cannot stay for duration b/w L-1 end date and Oct 26th. You can file for H-1 transfer, and the earliest start date of it would be Oct 1.

  39. Hi Saurabh,
    I have my H1 approved in 2011 from company A, i’m currently in India. the H1 is not yet stamped on Passport, but I hold the Approval Notice.
    1.) i want to know if i can switch company in india and still maintain my H1 visa. will the other company be legally able to tranfer my visa and get it stamped throught them? I dont want to lose my visa because of changing company?
    2.) would it be better to get my H1 stamped through current company, travel to US and then change job?


    • Sid,
      1. Yes, this is possible. You can change employers, the new company can file cap-exempt H-1 petition (aka H-1 transfer) and you can then appear for visa stamping.
      2. It is your decision and depends upon whether you want to stick w/ current employer, what their timeline is for onsite opportunity, whether you are finding better opportunities elsewhere etc.

  40. Hi Saurabh – I am working on L1 currently and i will be joining a new company from Oct 1’st with a new H1. I have 2 weeks of vacation left in my L1 company. Can i join the new company on october 1’st and use those two weeks of vacation from oct 1’st to 14’th? Is it legal to do that? Please let me know.


    • Kumar,
      If you become employee of H-1 company on Oct 1, then you can no longer avail vacation from old employer. If you want to avail that vacation, then you need to take that prior to Oct 1 and then join the new employer from Oct 1.

  41. Hi Saurabh,
    I have a unique question regarding CAP Exempt H1B visa processing.
    I had a approved H1B petition in 2006 from employer A and had never used and also not stamped.
    Now I am currently working with company B. Now company C is ready to apply for H1B under cap exempt. But I do not have the I-797 for the old approved H1B. I had raised FOIA request and got I-129 document but didnt get I-797. I also know the receipt number of my old H1B petition. Having these 2 documents is good enough to process H1B under CAP exempt. Please reply back..Thanks a lot.

    • My situation is similar to Prat.
      Saurabh and Team, can you please reply us on this…
      Thanks a lot from me and Prat

    • I-797 of Company A is not mandatory as long as you have a copy of I-797 from company B.

      Go ahead with company C, there will not be any problem.

      i am not an attorney, but have 12+yrs immigration experience to share.

      • Hi Sujith,
        I do not have any H1B approved for company B. I am on L1 visa from Company B.
        My conecrn was, from company A, if I only have receipt number and I-129 is it good enough to file under CAP EXEMPT ? please share your experience

    • Prat,
      You can try w/ just these 2 documents. As long as you know the receipt number and online status for the numbers shows approved, you can go for cap-exempt petition.

  42. Hi Saurabh,
    If someone has a H1B approved from employer A, can he potentially switch to another employer B with a CAP exempt petition with just receipt # ( not joining Employer A) ? ( without any documents / Receipt notices)

  43. Hello Benny & All ,

    I’m currently on L1B now trying to transfer to H1B. Can any employer change the the status from L1 to H1 , as the current H1 cap is over for this year?

        • Ramjagan,
          Find an employer and ask them to file H-1 petition for you along w/ COS when new slots open in April 2013. If USCIS approves it w/ COS, then you can start working on H-1 from Oct 1 2013 or COS approval date (whichever is later).

  44. Dear Benny & All ,
    Thank you for sharing this article, Even I had transfrred from L1 to H1 and it was one of the Gruelling experience I had during the exit, My Indian organization(even though it is US MNC) threatened, Tema management took very serious depsite nO Bond, No Agreement, I had to travel back to India, Seve 2 months notice period, & then had to waiti for H1 Stamping which took around 2 more months,)
    The Summary of this story is –Even if you have Boind/Agreeement or No Bond…You can Shift..You are a Free bird here & No One can enforce to continue with them except 15 days notice. If they took some Bond after coming to US, on Notary I think it is legal & Ur bound by that Agreement.

    On the other hand, If Experience & relieving letters r not inportant to you, then You can shift, But at some point of time in Life, They r required apart from Pasystubs.I wish Benny had also got the Experience relieving letters.

    • hi su,

      My brother entered on L1 into US on june 2010 thru company A now his visa is getting expired this april 4 2013 and A is not willing to apply for extension which we didnt expect now what are the options that he can change status to H1. My question weather he can apply for h1b by this april 1st and work for the new company using his i-129 recipt or he needs to go back to india once he applied??

      Please give us suggestions.

      • Radhika,
        An employer can file H-1 for him in April w/ COS and start date of Oct 1. He can start working for the employer only from the COS approval date (Oct 1 or later) and needs to maintain L-1 status prior to that. If the L-1 employer decides to send him back to India, then he will have to oblige that. His H-1 processing can continue while he in is in India, and once completed he can return after getting H-1 visa stamped.

  45. Hello Benny,

    I have a doubt, i am on L1 B, i tried switching to H1B this year, but most of the consultants i talked to wanted a client letter for filing H1.Also for some of the companies were fine with my skill set but were hesitant in filing H1 in April/May as they said that i will only be able to work for them starting Oct.Because of this i could not file this year.
    Can you please guide me here as i have to get H1 done next year as my L1 will be expiring early next year.

  46. Thanks Benny for sharing this…I also did the same and during reading your experience I was assuming myself . Everything and every word you mentioned happened with me too..But as the Indian movies the end was very smooth and happier.



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