Many of the H1B Visa holders in the US or in their home country, go through something called H1B Visa Transfer Process when they wish to change employers. One of the common questions that come to mind is the validity of their H1B Visa stamping on their passport. Do they need get a new visa stamp? If they need to renew the H1B Visa stamp or go for re-stamping? We will cover these topics in this article.
What is H1B Visa Stamping in Passport ? How does it Look ? Employer Annotation ?
You need a Visa to enter US. Depending on your purpose to enter US, you get a different class of visa. If you would like work in US as international as high skilled worker, you will need to get US visa of class ‘H1B’ stamped on your passport. H1B Visa stamp is a sticker or foil that is put in your passport (glued to your passport page ), when you go through H1B Visa Stamping Process after your H1B approval from USCIS. It looks like below with classification stated as H1B. Also, one key thing to note is that it usually has annotation with employer name and case number. Also, there could be other visa annotations like Clearance Received. The employer name on the visa stamp would be same as the Employer Name listed on the original H1B approval notice I797 from your employer. The confusing part of H1B stamp validity is the employer name and H1B Case Number printed on the visa. With the name of the employer on the stamp, many assume that the visa stamp is tied to employer and they need a new one, after H1B transfer.
Do you need New Visa Stamping after H1B Transfer ? Validity ?
The name of employer on the H1B Visa stamp is not really tied with the validity of the stamp. It is printed as annotation indicating the name of the employer, who sponsored H1B with USCIS. The H1B Visa stamp is not really employer specific. Annotations on visa are for guidance and do not dictate the validity of the visa stamp. H1B Visa Stamp on your passport remains valid for the entire duration of the validity as indicated on the stamp. If you look above sample visa stamp, it tells the expiration date, which is the end date of the validity of the H1B visa stamp. Also, under entries, if you have the letter ‘M’, it means your visa is valid for Multiple entries until the expiration date of the H1B stamp. You can use your valid H1B visa stamp ( even with your old employer name and case number) for your travel after H1B transfer with all other supporting documents of the new employer like approval notice, offer letter, etc.
Documents Needed at Port of Entry after H1B Transfer ?
When you enter US with your H1B stamp from previous employer, you will need to make sure you present current documents related to your new employer and indicate that you have transferred to make sure your I-94 end date reflects your new H1B petition end date and they enter your current employer details in the system. The documents are pretty standard and below is the list
- Original H1B Transfer Approval Notice ( I-797 form)
- Employment offer letter, agreement ( if any)
- LCA tied to the H1B transfer
- Recent Pay Stubs, if you are already in US ands worked there.
- Carry a copy of your old H1B approval notice and offer letter, pay stubs, etc. as supporting documents, if asked.
- Contact Info of your new employer
- Additional information tied to your profile like Education Certificates, Professional licenses, etc.
Can my H1B Visa Stamp be revoked by Government Official / Consular ? What is Prudential Revocation ?
Your H1B Visa stamp can be revoked by US Consulate based on request from Government officials or any US Government Agency for issues related to law enforcement. The could be for instances such as DUI or national security, etc. The revocation done as per the request from government official is called ‘prudential revocation’. Below screenshot is the official rule on US State.gov website. If such things happen, you would be very likely informed via email that your visa revoked and you cannot use it. Having a visa revocation does not necessarily impact your current status in US and you may stay in US, but cannot re-enter US with the same visa. Read US Visa vs Status, if you want to know the difference. If you end up in such situations, it is best to contact your immigration attorney to seek help.
No, the same concept explained above applies to H4 visa dependents as well. If the H4 visa holder’s visa stamp on passport is valid, they can use the same visa stamp and present the New H1B approval notice copy of their spouse after transfer. They do not need to go for re-stamping.
No, your employer cannot revoke or cancel your H1B visa stamp on passport. They can only withdraw the petition from USCIS indicating the end of employer, but they cannot really do anything with your visa stamping and it has no impact.
No, you cannot travel to US on your old employer’s stamp in this case, because you do NOT have valid employment from anyone in US with supporting approval notice from USCIS. You can only use H1B Stamp from previous employer, if you have Valid H1B approval notice from an employer and they are willing to pay you so that you can work on H1B status in US. Trying to enter US, just with valid H1B stamp without a proper H1B approval notice and job from an employer in US is illegal and you will face issues at Port of Entry.
You can use your H1B Stamp from Employer A to enter US along with your Valid H1B Approval notice from Employer B. You traveling to US for the first time does not matter as long as your H1B visa stamp is valid in passport. You need ensure you carry all the documents related to your new employer B and also copies of Employer A approval notice, so that you have all of that covered.
What has been your experience with H1B Visa Transfer and using Visa Stamp from Old employer at Port of Entry ?