H1B Transfer Options and Scenarious

What is H1B Visa Transfer ? Various Scenarios to Change Employers

In Apply H1B Visa by Saurabh2174 Comments

It is a one of the most common questions for H1-B workers that “Can I transfer my visa to another company?”. This question can arrive after working for a company for several years, or just after landing in US, or even before flying to US. As part of this article, I will try to address this question.

Legally, is there something really called H1B Transfer ? 

First of all, there is nothing called “H1B transfer” (i.e. legally). It is a term coined for our convenience. H1B transfer is basically a new H1B visa petition which is not counted in the H1B visa quota or lottery, because the applicant has already been counted in the quota once in the past 6 years. This is typically used to change employers.

What does USCIS Look for when any applicant goes for a H1B Transfer ?

So in order to approve any such petition USCIS considers two things:

  1. Did the applicant maintain the status (US Visa vs Status) before applying for the petition.
  2. Will the applicant be able to maintain the status if the petition is approved

Let us look at different situations by keeping above two conditions in mind. In each of the below scenarios, 2nd consideration can be proved by showing petitioner’s ability to pay the alien once petition has been approved. For consulting companies, this is determined by a client/project letter.

Scenario 1: Applicant has never been to US
In this case, question regarding prior status doesn’t exist because as long as you are outside of US you don’t a legal status.

Scenario 2: Applicant has landed in US and applies for transfer within 15 days of landing
Because the applicant has landed in US, s/he now has a status. However, because it has been less than 15 days, that status is not defined yet (payroll typically starts in 15 days). So one can still dodge the bullet and may not have to prove his/her current legal status.

Scenario 3: Applicant has landed in US and applies for transfer after 15 days of landing
This is the scenario where USCIS definitely wants the alien to prove that s/he maintained his/her status. Some of the documents that can be submitted as valid proof are recent pay checks (3 should be sufficient), bank statements that show salary deposits and W2.

Scenario 4: Applicant worked in US for sometime, then left for India and files the petition while being in India
This is more like scenario 3. The applicant will have to submit most recent US payslips and W2s in order to prove that legal status was maintained while s/he was in US. No proof is required for the period for the time spent in India.

So if a person needs to file a new petition through a new employer (on in raw terms wants to apply for H1 transfer), then s/he needs to think about the above two considerations and see if s/he can satisfy both of them. As long as the person is able to satisfy both requirements, H1 transfer shouldn’t be a problem – it shouldn’t matter whether you are in US or in India.

What has been your experience ?

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Comments ( 2,174 )

  1. AD

    Hi,

    I have valid stamped H-1b Visa with my old employer but due to some reasons, the company is not able to send me.

    Now I have one employer ready to sponsor my visa, but is asking me to come to the USA first for that.

    Can I travel to usa on old petition and I-197 and transfer within first 15 days of arrival in USA, without any paystubs? as mentioned above.

    Will there be any issues?

    Thanks.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      You can travel, provided your old employer is employing you and has a job for you. You maybe subject to questions at Port of Entry regarding the role, etc. If your old employer is not aware of all of this and does not have a job for you, then you are in trouble…. Yes, You may do that as described above. Work with your attorney.

  2. Murali

    Hi,

    I have valid petition till 2021 and currently Amendment process is in progress due to the location change . The Amendment process went to RFE and expecting more documents as well ( All documents are submitted ) . As am planning to H1B transfer from Employer A to B. i have few questions on the transfer.

    1. As my amendment process is already in USCIS. the same time employer can file Visa transfer ?

    2. If they can then there is no problem on the transfer as one more process in progress ?

  3. Sri

    Hello Everyone,

    We really need help from you in finding the correct answers.

    I came to USA on H4 in 12/2015 with i94 valid till 05/2018. My H1B was approved with Company A valid from 10/2017 till 09/2020. My employer initiated an amendment in 06/2018 when I joined a new project. However, Company A informed me in 09/2018 that they are going out of their business, so I had to initiate the transfer to Company B in 10/2018 and I started working for Company B with H1B transfer receipt notice. Now Company A has initiated withdrawal of my already approved H1B petition in 11/2018. While this is happening, unfortunately my husbands H1B extension was denied and my family (My husband and my daughter) had to go back to India.

    1. Can my family go for H4 stamping? If yes, is it okay to go with the H1B transfer receipt notice from Company B as earlier approved petition has been revoked?
    2. Is my i94 validity still holds good till 9/2020?
    3. I am actively searching for a better company. In case I get a job in any other company, am I eligible to transfer my H1B with receipt notice from Company B?

    Thanks in advance.

  4. H1B2018

    Hello,
    I am currently in the process of accepting a new job offer for a very similar role. I am due for extension in 2019 with my current visa expiring in August 2019.

    Since there is no premium processing, can I start working as soon as I receive the receipt from USCIS? How long is it currently taking to get a transfer petition approved? Does the transfer also include an extension processing or does that have to be filed separately?

    Thank You !

    1. editor
      Ram

      Yes it is possible to join the new employer on receipt notice. But remember that its quite risky and you should always have a backup plan in case visa gets rejected for some reason. In case i94 is not expired and your transfer petition gets denied and your previous employer didn’t withdraw your visa then its possible to join the previous employer. Good luck!

    2. administrator
      Kumar

      Yes, you may start working after you get receipt. Well, you can check USCIS processing times to get idea. Transfer is nothing but a new petition without going through cap. So, you would get full duration based on eligibility, no need for anything separate.

  5. Pratik Vernekar

    Hello,

    I have a question regarding H1B transfer.

    Currently, I am doing H1B transfer with a new company. Since the new company won’t be able to do premium processing, I will have to join the new company with just the receipt. My H1B with my current employer is valid till September 30th, 2021.

    So now if I join the new employer, and for some reason my H1B transfer gets denied, then is it possible to go back to my current employer?

    Will my current employer terminate my current H1B, which is valid till 2021, as soon as I join the new company?

    Thanks,

    Pratik Vernekar

    1. JJ

      Hi Friend ,

      Even i’m also in same situation , I too have same question , If my h1 got denied , Can i still go back and work for previous employer .

      But i heard that , we can’t . But still need confirmation .
      If it got denied , Is it possible to reapply from other employer staying in US ?

    2. editor
      Ram

      If H1B transfer is denied if your i94 is still valid and your previous employer didn’t withdraw the visa then yes it is possible to go back to your old employer and start working again. But do remember that its bit risky to join on receipt number in current scenario.

  6. KUMAR SAURAV

    I got my H1b visa approved this year, I got it stamped in January 18 and it’s validity is till September 2020.

    I came to US in Feb 2018 and I have been looking for job through my employer but no luck yet. Now I have to return to India because my father is not doing well.

    I am planning to change my employer while i am in India as i dint get much help from my current employer on job front. So, I would like to know what all documents will be required for H1b transfer. I have original I 797 B copy with validity till Sep 2020 but I don’t have any offer letter, pay stubs from my employer. Please help!

    1. anonymus

      You cannot do an H1B transfer without 3 latest paustubs and a client letter.
      Your only option is to go back to current employer ,start working,gather pay stubs and then look for a new employer….

  7. Vishwanath Jayaraman

    Hi Everyone,

    Can anyone suggest me for my situation.

    I have been in USA for 2 yrs (2015 to 2017) for X employer and my visa got expired on Sep 30, 2017. On Dec Mid 2017, My extension & Amendment got denied so I rushed back to India.

    Now, Another company based out of USA is offering me a Job. So can I able to proceed with a H1B Transfer ?? and anyways I need to go for stamping once petition is approved. Kindly suggest please.

    1. administrator
      Kumar

      Yes, you can apply for cap exempt H1B petition with a new employer. If your visa is expired in passport, you will need to go for visa stamping. Your immigration attorney at new company can guide you with all details.

  8. Rohan

    Hello,

    I am in a peculiar situation. I am on CPT and work for a client through a staffing company. My staffing company filed for my H1B but my contract at client location ended on 30th March and my staffing company doesn’t have other relevant openings for me. So, I am searching for other employers for a job. Will I first need to get an approval on the H1B filed by the staffing company before a new employer can file for an H1B transfer?

    Thanks

  9. Vivek

    Hi,

    How does it take for a company to FILE an h1b transfer? I understand that there’s LCA involved. So, including all the steps, how long does it take for a company to file an h1b transfer?

    Thanks,

    1. Ram

      Once you submit the requested documents to the company, the company can file H1B transfer in a week or max 10 days(if the LCA is ready already else LCA takes 7-10 days to get approved). Depending on the type of processing they select, you would get the result. Premium processing is 15 calendar days and normal processing can take 6-8 months for the case to be processed.

      1. Vivek

        Hi, Ram

        My H1B Change of Employer petition was received by California center on December 29th 2017. It’s filed in premium processing. I should’ve received a decision by now, but I haven’t. 15 calendar days have elapsed since December 29th. I want to know if I’m correct in assuming its 15 calendar days or is it 15 business days? Since there was New Years and the weekends involved too.

        Thanks

  10. vivek

    Hi,

    I’m in none of the scenarios above. Here’s my case – I graduated out of university in USA in 2015, and i’m still working with the same employer ever since. I got my H1B approved 2 weeks back with the same employer. I also accepted an offer with a top tech company a week back and they are in the process of filing an H1B transfer. Is there any possibility that the transfer can be denied? Note that, the school i graduated from is a top school, i graduated with a masters degree in computer science, and the new company that is filing my transfer is one of the top 3 tech firms in the world. It’s a full time position, not a consultancy. Honestly, my slate is clean. But given the recent trends, I’m not sure if i can take a transfer as granted.

    Thanks

    1. editor
      Ram

      We cant say for sure. It all depends on the documents the company submits for the transfer. You can request the company to file the transfer in premium. If done in premium, you get the result in 15 days. Based on that you can decide whether to join the new company or not. In the worst scenario, if the transfer petition gets denied the current H1B is not affected in any way. You can continue your current job without any legal issues.

  11. srikanth

    hi iam in scenario 4 :

    worked in US valid stamping still may 2019 and leaving to india in jan 2018 and my next job is in june 2018 so need to change employer before joining in June, if i apply for transfer from India durig June since we might have H1 premium processing hault it would cause problem as end of june I need to join or will lose the offer.

    can I travel on my already existing visa and apply for H1 transfer as soon as I enter US ?….or can I apply from India if there is PP hault..can i just travel and wait for it to get approved ?

    thanks

  12. Sonith

    Hi,
    I have landed in us 13th Feb and joined the company on the same day. My company run the pay role from 15th to 15th every month. Now today March 12th and i got pay stub for 3days that is 13,14,15 feb. and next pay stub for 15th feb to 15th march will get on 1st April.
    Today (12th march) one more big MNC ready to file h1b transfer. So i have given one paystub to them that is for 3days. if they want next pay stub i need to wait till 1st april, i cant because premium process will suspend from april 2017.
    Now can they able to proceed my transfer with 3days pay stub or i need to wait till next pay stub to receive.

    Pls help

    1. Jigar Patel

      Guys,

      For all who wants to transfer the H1B visa — the PP processing is not stopped for them. Premium processing stopped only for the new h1b visa so no need to worry about PP for existing H1B visa.

      Please check the below from USCIS:

      Starting April 2, 2018, USCIS will begin accepting H-1B petitions subject to the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 cap. We will temporarily suspend premium processing for all FY 2019 cap-subject petitions, including petitions seeking an exemption for individuals with a U.S. master’s degree or higher. This suspension is expected to last until Sept. 10, 2018. During this time, we will continue to accept premium processing requests for H-1B petitions that are not subject to the FY 2019 cap. We will notify the public before resuming premium processing for cap-subject H-1B petitions or making any other premium processing updates

  13. SS

    Hello Admin,

    I filed my H1B visa through company A and it’s picked up in lottery.Got the receipt number from them.Now,the status is showing as RFE on USCIS site.

    Please suggest if H1B visa can be transferred to company B if the status is in RFE from company A.

    I am in USA on H4 visa and wants to change my status from H4 to H1.

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