Many of the H1B Visa holders in the US or outside of the US, 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 after the change of employer.
May are not sure and wonder, if they need to get a new H1B visa stamp or if they need to renew the visa stamping on their passports. In this article, we will cover these topics, including common questions.
H1B Visa Stamping in a Passport with Employer Name Annotation
In general, you need a valid US Visa to enter America. Depending on your purpose to enter the US, you get a different class of visa. If you would like to work in the US as an international high-skilled worker, you will need to get a US visa of class ‘H1B’ stamped on your passport. The H1B Visa stamp is a sticker or foil that is glued to your passport page when you go through H1B Visa stamping Process after your H1B approval from USCIS.
It looks like in the below image with the classification stated as H1B.
One key thing to note is that the H1B Visa Stamp ( visa foil glued in page) usually has an annotation with the employer name and case number as in the above screenshot. Also, there could be other visa annotations like ‘Clearance Received’ or ‘Department Authorization’. The employer name on the visa stamp would be the same as the ‘Employer Name’ listed on the original H1B approval notice I797 from your employer.
Confusion with Employer Name in Annontation
The reason for confusion regarding the H1B stamp validity arises due to the Employer/ Company Name and H1B Receipt or Case Number printed on the visa in the annotation section. As the H1B visa stamp has the name of the company that sponsored the H1B Visa, many assume that the visa stamp is also tied to the employer and that they need a new visa stamp, after the H1B transfer. Let’s clarify this in the next section.
Do you need New Visa Stamping after H1B Transfer? Validity?
The name of the employer in the annotation section on the H1B Visa stamp is not really related to the validity of the stamp. The annotation on the visa stamp indicates the name of the employer, who sponsored H1B with USCIS at the time of the stamping. The H1B Visa stamp that is issued to the individual and stamped in the passport is not employer-specific and continues to be valid even after you move to another employer until the ‘Expiration Date’ on it.
Annotations on US Visa stamps are for guidance to the Customs and Border Protection officers, who verify the same at the US Port of entry procedures. The information in the annotation section does not dictate the validity of the visa stamp, only the ‘Expiration Date’ field on the visa indicates that.
If you look at the sample H1B Visa stamp below that highlights the ‘Expiration Date’, 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’s name and case number) for your travel after the H1B transfer with all other supporting documents of the new employer like approval notice, offer letter, etc. You do not need a new H1B Visa Stamping in your passport after the H1B Visa transfer as long as the previous H1B stamp in your passport is valid.
Documents Needed at Port of Entry after H1B Transfer
When you enter the US at any of the various US Ports of Entry locations, with your H1B stamp from your previous employer, you will need to make sure you present current documents related to your new employer and indicate that you have transferred. This is to make sure your I-94 end date reflects your new H1B petition end date and CBP Officers enter your current employer details in the system.
Below are the documents that you will need to carry at the port of entry:
- Original H1B Transfer Approval Notice (I-797 form)
- Employment offer letter, agreement (if any)
- H1B LCA tied to the new position after H1B transfer
- Recent Pay Stubs, if you are already in the US and working with a new company.
- Copy of your old H1B approval notice and offer letter, pay stubs, etc. as supporting documents, if asked.
- Contact Info of your new employer
- General proofs tied to your profile like Education Certificates, Professional licenses, etc.
Can my H1B Visa Stamp be revoked by US Government Official? Prudential Revocation?
Your H1B Visa stamp can be revoked by the US Consulate based on a request from any US Government officials or any US Government Agency for issues related to law enforcement. This could be for instances such as Driving Under the Influence(DUI) or national security, etc. The revocation done as per the request from government officials is called ‘prudential revocation’. Below is a screenshot of the official rule on the US State.gov website.
If a prudential revocation happens, you would be very likely informed via email that your visa is revoked and you cannot use it. Having a visa revocation does not necessarily impact your current status in the US and you may stay in the US, but cannot re-enter the 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.
If your H1B visa is revoked due to prudential revocation as explained above, then you cannot use your current H1B Visa, even though it stands valid and not past the expiration date. In such cases, you need to apply for a new H1B Visa with the US consulate. You can enter the US with the new H1B visa stamp issued by the consulate, once approved.
No, the same concept explained above applies to H4 visa dependents as well. If the H4 visa holder’s visa stamp on the 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 renewal or new visa stamping.
No, your employer cannot revoke or cancel the H1B visa stamp on your passport. They can only withdraw the petition from USCIS indicating the end of the employer, but they cannot really do anything with your visa stamping and it has no impact. Even though the message on the USCIS website regarding your petition says ‘revoked’, it does not have any impact on the US Visa stamp in your passport.
No, you cannot travel to the US on your old employer’s stamp in this case, because you do NOT have valid employment from anyone in the US with supporting approval notice from USCIS. You can only use H1B Stamp from the previous employer if you have a valid H1B approval notice from an employer and they are willing to employ you and pay you so that you can work on the H1B status in the US. Trying to enter the US, just with a valid H1B stamp without a proper H1B approval notice and a job from an employer in the US is illegal and you may face issues at the Port of Entry and may be deported as well.
You can use your H1B Stamp from Employer A to enter the US along with your valid H1B Approval notice from Employer B. Even if you are traveling to the US for the first time, it does not matter as long as your H1B visa stamp is valid in your passport. You need to 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 your old employer at the US port of entry?