An H-1B visa holder is allowed to work only for the employer that sponsored their H-1B visa. No other work is allowed while on an H-1B visa.
What is Not Allowed on H Visa
- Performing any work on 1099 or in cash
- Any contract work
- Doing maid work
- Cooking and selling food
- Running websites and making money by showing Google Ads or other ads
- Working for Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Uber Eats, etc.
- Working from home for a foreign company
- Incorporating your own company and working for the same
- Day trading in the stock market
- Active involvement in business
- Doing real estate business
- Selling clothing or jewelry on Facebook or eBay, for example
- Anything that would be categorized as work
What is Allowed on H Visa
H-1B visa holders can work for their sponsoring employer. If the H-1B visa holder would like to work for another company, the new employer would have to sponsor the H-1B visa, and all regular H-1B visa requirements still apply.
While on an H-1B visa, the holders can invest money in stocks, mutual funds, property, passive investment in business, etc. But they can’t do day trading, active involvement in business, etc.
An H-4 visa holder is not allowed to do any kind of work, except when they are eligible for an H-4 EAD and it gets approved.
Of course, H visa holders can attend school, either part-time or full-time, as long as the H-1B visa holder continues to work for the employer that sponsored their visa.
Second or Concurrent H-1B Visa
If the H-1B visa holder would like to work for a second employer, such as a part-time job, they would have to go through same process as the first H-1B visa petition such as filing an LCA (Labor Condition Application) with the DOL (Department of Labor), paying prevailing wages at the minimum, maintaining a valid employer-employee relationship, the job requiring a minimum of bachelor’s degree and being a specialty occupation, and the employee having the minimum qualifications for the job.
The employee can begin employment with the second employer as soon as the H-1B visa petition is filed with and received by the USCIS. In other words, H-1B visa transfer-type rules apply. There is no need to wait for the H-1B visa petition to be approved first.
There is no rule or restriction regarding the number of hours in the second H-1B job. The actual work done may vary from one week to another. In such cases, the employer must pay the hourly rate, which is the same or more than what is certified in the LCA.
Cap-Subject vs Cap-Exempt
If the job with the first employer is cap-subject, the H-1B visa petition can be filed at any time.
If the first job is cap-exempt, such as with universities or non-profit organizations, the H-1B visa petition can still be filed at any time, even if the second employer is not cap-exempt. However, such an arrangement works only as long as the H-1B visa holder continues to work for both employers. In such a situation, if the cap-exempt employment ends, the cap-subject employment must end as well.
Maximum Number of H-1B Jobs
There is no legal limit on the number of H-1B visa petitions that can be filed in such manner. However, there is of course a practical limitation, as the holder can’t be possibly working for five different companies at once.
H-1B Petition Amendment
If you switch from a part-time to a full-time job or vice versa, or if there is any significant change in the number of hours worked for a given employer, the H-1B petition must be amended.
The limit of six years in the U.S. for H-1B visa holders is based on the time spent in the U.S., not the number of hours worked. Therefore, instead of working 40 hours a week, you can’t work 20 hours a week and stay for 12 years.
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