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H1 Visa Transfer FAQ

All H-1B FAQs

Q: Can a person with an H1 visa transfer/change jobs?
A:
 Yes. The new employer must file a H-1B visa petition.

Q: Before I apply for an H1 transfer with my new employer, do I have to inform my current employer? If I don’t tell them, is there any way for them to know? Do I have to take permission of my current employer?
A:
You don’t have to tell your current employer, and there is no way for them to know about this transfer from any government agency, such as USCIS, DOL, etc. However, be careful of your colleagues with whom you might have discussed about this, and consider whether they may tell your employer. You don’t need any permission from your current employer for an H1 transfer.

Q: Once I get an H1 transfer, is there any time limit to join the new employer?
A:
 No, legally there is no time limit. You can join at any time and work up to the expiration date of LCA. When to join is entirely between you and your new employer.

Q: Is there any limit to how many times I can apply for an H1 transfer?
A:
 No. You can apply as many times as you want.

Q: Can I apply for an H1 transfer for multiple employers at the same time?
A:
 Yes.

Q: I have an H1 visa stamp from my old employer. Now I have received an H1 approval for a new employer. Do I need to get an H1 visa stamped in my passport for my new employer?
A:
 There is a difference between the H1 status and the H1 visa stamp. The H1 visa stamp is used only to enter into the United States. H1 status is required to work in the U.S. for the petitioning employer. 

If you have received H1 approval for the new employer (or even receipt of H1 filing for new employer), you can work in the U.S. on H1 legally for the new employer. 

If you travel outside the U.S., if your H1 visa stamp (even if from previous employer) is still not expired and valid, you can use that H1 visa stamp along with the H1 petition from your new employer to travel back into the U.S. However, if your H1 visa stamp has expired (either from previous or current employer), you must get your H1 visa stamped in your passport before you can travel to the United States again.

Q: I have been working with employer X on an H1B and applied for an H1 transfer through employer Y. After the transfer is approved, if I change my mind and decide to continue to work with current employer X, can I do that?
A:
 Yes. You can continue working with your current employer as if you never filed an H1 transfer.

Q: For an H1 transfer, how many pay stubs are required from the previous employer?
A:
The last 2 or 3 pay stubs should be enough.

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Q: I am working for employer A->Mid vendor B->Client C. Is it okay to join C?
A:
 If you have a non-compete agreement worded in such a way that you cannot join any of the employer’s chain, you cannot join C. Otherwise, it is fine.

Q: I signed a contract saying I will be with my employer for X months, but I have a great offer now. Can I quit? After all, bonds are not valid in the U.S., right?
A:
This is really a labor law question and not an immigration law question. The contract you and your employer signed is enforceable, and signing such contract does not qualify it as the bonded labor. Your employer may be able to collect the liquidated damages, which are enforceable in court. Generally, small employers use it as a scare tactic to avoid attrition. You should talk to a labor law attorney regarding your case’s specifics.

Q: Can I transfer my H1b before October 1 to a different employer? I already have the H1b approved.
A:
Yes, it is possible to file for an H1b transfer before October without pay stubs from the first employer. All you need is a confirmation of your H1b approval. This can be done outside the U.S. as well as while in the U.S.

Q: I am currently in the U.S. on an H1b. I don’t have any paystubs since Oct 1. Can I transfer to a new employer?
A:
If the transfer petition is filed immediately in the first few weeks on entry in the U.S., there have been a couple instances of USCIS approving the transfers in the past. However, it is not a guaranteed approval, and there are huge risks associated with it. USCIS is cracking down on benching situations. For all practical purposes, if you are on an H1b, you need to be getting paid and need the paystubs for an H1b transfer.

Q: Can an H1b that was approved and never used be transferred from outside the country?
A:
A transfer is nothing but a new H1b application that is not subject to the cap. If you have proof of prior approval (like the copy of I-797 or a receipt number), a new employer can transfer the H1b even if you have not entered into the USA.

Q: I am employed by Company A on an H1b , got a new offer from Company B, and filed for a transfer, which is pending. Now I have an offer from Company C that I want to join. Do I have to wait for approval from Company B to transfer to Company C?
A:
No. You can file for a transfer using Company A I-797 approval, your last few pay stubs, Company B receipt, pay stubs from B, and get a transfer approved to Company C. It is legal and possible as long as you are in valid status. In order to get a bridged H1B approved, it must qualify as an extension of stay. Therefore, each link in the bridge must be approved in order for an H1B transfer filed later to be approved. If the person’s H1B status expires while the various H1B petitions are pending, any denial of one in the string of H1B extensions will break the bridge and the later case/s will not be approved as H1B extension/s of status.

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Q: If successive H-1B portability petitions can be filed, what happens if an alien’s nonimmigrant status expires while the H-1B portability petitions are pending, and a petition in the “bridge” is denied?
A:
As stated above, to be approved, every H-1B portability petition must separately meet the requirements for H-1B classification and for an extension of stay. In the event the alien’s nonimmigrant status has expired while the petitions are pending, the denial of any filing in the string of extension of stay and/or change of status filings undercuts the “bridge” that “carried” any petition filed after the expiration of any approved status, which will result in the denial of the successive requests to extend or change status.

Q: I have an H1 visa from one company right now in my passport, but I am in my own home country currently and not working for them. Can I travel to the U.S. using that H1 visa stamp to search for a new employer by doing an H1 transfer?
A:
 No.

Q: Is H1 transfer subject to cap?
A:
 No.

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