by HomeAbroad Editorial Team
18 min read
Are you a foreign national looking to transfer your existing H1B visa from one employer to another? If yes, then the H1B Transfer program is ideal for you.
This program allows foreign nationals with an existing H1B visa to remain in the United States and continue their work for a new employer under the same visa category. But first, let us get into the details of what’s involved in the process.
What is H1B Transfer Process?
The H1B Transfer process is a program that enables foreign nationals with an existing H1B visa to transfer their visa from one employer (Employer A) to another employer (Employer B) while remaining in the United States. To do so, they must submit an I-129 form to the USCIS.
Additionally, if the new employer (Employer B) is cap-exempt, foreign nationals can benefit from faster processing without going through the annual H1B lottery process.
Real-life Scenario for H1B Transfer
Let us see a real-life scenario where a person is using H1B Transfer:
- John has worked in the United States for the past three years for a software company on an H1B work visa sponsored by his previous employer.
- However, John has recently received a job offer from another company that offers better pay and work benefits that he can accept.
- Since John’s current H1B visa is bound to his previous employer, he must go through the H1B visa transfer process, also known as H1B visa portability, to switch to the new employer.
- John and his new employer need to file an H1B transfer petition with the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to transfer his H1B visa from his previous employer to his new employer.
- The H1B transfer process involves verifying John’s qualifications and the new employer’s credentials to satisfy the USCIS requirements.
- John and his new employer need to prove that this new job aligns with John’s current professional expertise and experience.
Now let us see what John needs to do to complete the H1B visa transfer process successfully.
- The process John will need to go through to transfer his visa includes completing supplementary documentation such as submission of employer documents, paycheck stubs, labor standards regulations, and other related proof.
- They also need to provide evidence that John is admitted legally to the United States with a valid H1B visa issued by his current employer.
- Additionally, they must provide details like John’s foreign residence, employer details (current and new), and USCIS receipt number of the H1B visa transfer application.
- USCIS also offers a premium processing option to expedite getting an answer within 15 days.
If he provides all the necessary documents, John could complete the bureaucratic process of transferring his existing H1B visa to his new employer.
Once the transfer is approved, John could continue working for the new employer in the same visa category and remain legally admitted in the United States.
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Overview of the H1B Transfer Process Steps
An H1B visa is a nonimmigrant visa that allows foreign workers to work in the United States for a specific period. The H1B visa transfer process is a procedure that will enable an H1B visa holder to transfer their H1B visa status from one employer to another.
It is a complicated process that requires careful consideration and documentation. Here is an overview of the H1B transfer steps:
Find a New Employer
The first step in the H1B transfer process is to find a new employer willing to sponsor your H1B transfer. The new employer should have a valid H1B visa approval.
Read this blog to know more about the H1B wage levels in the US for 2023 to make a wise decision.
Filing an H1B Transfer Petition
After confirming a new employer, the next step is to file an H1B transfer petition. The petition includes the job offer letter, employment contract, and other supporting documents.
After filing the H1B transfer petition, USCIS reviews the petition for eligibility and authenticity. The processing time varies from several weeks to several months.
H1B Transfer Status
After successful processing, USCIS issues a receipt for the H1B transfer petition and sends an email to notify the petitioner about their request’s H1B Transfer status.
The notification includes more details about the H1B transfer fee and processing time.
H1B Transfer RFE
If USCIS finds any discrepancy in the documents submitted, they may issue an RFE (Request for Evidence). The petitioner must respond to the RFE within the specified time.
ICA H1B Transfer
Once USCIS approves the transfer petition, the petitioner’s current employer must inform the ICA (Immigration Control Authority). The ICA will then issue a new visa to the petitioner for entry into the United States.
H1B Transfer Premium Processing Time
If the petitioner has opted for premium processing, USCIS will deliver a response to the H1B transfer petition within 15 days. The response includes approval or denial of the transfer request.
Once the USCIS approves the H1B transfer petition, the foreign worker can start working with the new employer.
LCA H1B Transfer
The last step in the H1B transfer process is to obtain an updated LCA (Labor Condition Application) from the new employer. The employer should submit the updated LCA within seven days of approval of the H1B transfer petition.
Starting the Job
The H1B visa transfer process ends when the employer receives the foreign worker and starts working with the new employer.
Ensuring that the new employer complies with all the legal requirements and that the foreign worker receives fair working conditions is essential.
The H1B visa transfer process is complicated and requires careful consideration and documentation. Therefore, it is essential to consult with immigration attorneys to ensure the H1B transfer process runs smoothly.
Documents Required for H1B Visa Transfer Process
Before submitting an I-129 form to USCIS, the foreign national must gather all the necessary documents. The documents include the following:
- A letter from the previous employer stating that employment is ending or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) showing you have discontinued the job.
- Proof of company financial statements and registration with the new employer
- Copy of H1B visa stamp of the approval notice
- Copy of the public law fee
- Form I-129 and related forms.
Submitting all the necessary documents will make the H1B transfer process smoother and quicker.
H-1B Transfer Documents: Spouse and Minors (H-4)
In addition to the foreign worker, their spouse, and minor children (under 21) must also provide certain supporting documents for the H1B transfer process. The records required are:
- Copy of passport
- Copy of marriage certificate or birth certificate (for minors)
- Copy of current I-94 card or visa stamp
- Proof that the family is legally allowed in the United States
- Copy of previous employer’s pay stubs (if applicable)
- Form I-539 for family members
Once you start working, you will need a visa for you and your family, so let us learn about H1B health insurance.
What is the Federal Register’s Final Rule?
The Federal Register’s Final Rule on H1B transfers started acting in 2020. The rule specifies that an employer who wishes to hire a foreign worker must provide the following documents:
- Proof of legal entry into the US or its territories
- Labor standards and regulations, such as contracts and employment conditions
- How many pay stubs can you use to calculate the wage rate of the foreign worker
- Proof of current employer’s pay stubs, if applicable
- Identification documents related to the visa holder
Additionally, an employer who wishes to sponsor a cap-subject H1B visa must submit specific documentation to USCIS, including a receipt number from the cap lottery.
An employer who wishes to sponsor a cap-exempt H1B must submit an explanation of why they are exempt from the compliance requirements.
Premium Processing H1B Transfer
Certain foreign nationals can also avail themselves of the premium processing option for the H1B transfer process.
It is an expedited service that guarantees a decision from USCIS within 15 days. The foreign worker must submit all documents and pay an additional fee to avail themselves of this service.
The premium processing fee for an H1B transfer varies depending on the employer category. For example, employers applying for a cap-subject visa must pay an additional fee of $2,500. Employers applying for a cap-exempt visa must pay an additional fee of $1,225.
How Long Does H1B Premium Transfer Take after LCA Approval?
Once all documents are submitted, and you pay the fee, USCIS will typically respond to the H1B transfer petition within 15 days. After this, the foreign national’s I-94 record may take 1-2 weeks to update with the new employer information.
It is important to note that the H1B visa transfer timeline can vary depending on the processing center and may take up to 8 weeks in some cases. Therefore, before traveling, you must check with USCIS for any updates on your topic.
Requirements for H1B Visa Transfer 2023
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- Valid H1B status: You must be in good H1B status at the time of the transfer petition filing.
- Job offer: You must have a work offer from a US employer willing to sponsor your H1B transfer.
- Employer sponsorship: Your new employer must file an H1B transfer petition on your behalf.
- Employment gap: You must be out of status for at least ten days before filing the H1B transfer petition.
- Documentation: You must provide all necessary documents to support your H1B transfer petition.
An H1B transfer can provide flexibility, faster processing, and no quota restrictions. However, it also requires you to have a valid H1B status, a job offer from a US employer, and all necessary documentation to support your transfer petition.
If you are on H1B, housing rights are another benefit for visa holders. But whether you should rent or buy a house in the US arises. Worry not, as we have prepared a list of 10 reasons to buy a home on H1B.
Step-by-Step Guide to H1B Transfer Process
The H1B transfer process is an essential part of the immigration system in the US. It allows highly-skilled foreign workers to transfer their existing visas from one employer to another, allowing them to remain in the US and continue working under a different employer.
This guide will provide you with a step-by-step overview of the H1B Transfer Process Steps:
Step 1: Documents Required for H1B Transfer: Obtain Documentation from Previous Employer
The first step in the H1B transfer process is to obtain documentation from your previous employer. It includes a termination letter and an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) if you are still their employee.
Let us learn about the H1B transfer documents list first.
Employment Authorization Document (EAD)
The Employment Authorization Document (EAD) is issued to foreign nationals who have obtained a lawful employment-based nonimmigrant status in the US.
The EAD is an official work permit allowing foreign nationals to work legally in the US for a specific employer.
Employment Verification Letter
Your former employer writes the employment verification letter to confirm your current employment period. The letter must include the dates of your work, your job title, and salary information.
Company Financial Statements
Your new employer must provide USCIS with financial documentation to prove they can pay your salary. These documents typically include copies of bank statements, tax returns, and other financial records.
H1B Transfer Petition
Once you compile the necessary documents, your new employer can file an H1B transfer petition with USCIS.
The employer must submit the completed petition, a primary filing fee, and all supporting documents to the USCIS processing center.
H1B Transfer Timeline 2023 and H1B Transfer fees: How Long Does H1B Transfer Take?
The processing time for the petition’s H1B transfer timeline is typically three to six months. The basic filing H1B Transfer fee is $460, and the employer may also opt for a premium processing fee, which guarantees a decision from USCIS within 15 days.
The foreign employee must submit all documents and pay an additional fee to avail themselves of this service.
H1B Visa Transfer Extension
The H1B visa transfer extension is six months; an employer must wait for the new petition approval by USCIS. During this period, the employee may remain in their current status without any changes.
Once the new petition is approved, the foreign employee must report to their new employer and continue working in the US under their new H1B visa.
An H1B transfer petition can be complicated, and it is crucial to understand its requirements before filing. With the help of this step-by-step guide, you can easily navigate the H1B transfer process. Good luck!
Step 2: File an I-129 Petition with the USCIS Petition Letter
The H1B transfer petition must be filed with USCIS using Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker. In addition, the employer must include the visa application letter from the foreign national in the petition package.
This letter contains information about the new job, evidence of the applicant’s qualifications and skills, and other supporting documents such as copies of diplomas and transcripts.
Include Public Law Fee, Attorney Fees, and Other Required Documents
The employer must also submit the applicable fees, including a Public Law fee and any attorney fees.
The employer must also include other documents, such as copies of pay stubs for the past six months, medical exam results, and passport information.
Step 3: Receive H1B Visa Stamp or Change of Status Approval
Once the H1B transfer petition is approved, the foreign national will be eligible to receive an H1B visa stamp or a change of status approval from USCIS.
It allows them to begin working under their existing visa category for the new employer. However, it is crucial to remember that not all employers are cap-subject, meaning they are not subject to the annual H1B quota.
You must work with a cap-subject employer to be eligible for an H1B transfer petition.
How to change Employer from Cap-Exempt to Cap-subject?
If your current employer is exempt from the H1B cap, they must obtain certification as a cap-subject employer before you can be eligible to file an H1B transfer petition.
The employer must meet specific labor standards and regulations under the Immigration Law and submit all required documentation. It includes:
- A DOL form 9089
- A copy of the labor condition application
- And any other required supporting documents
Once your employer is certified as a cap-subject employer, you can file an H1B transfer petition for the new job and begin working under the same visa category.
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Step 4: Start New Employment with Employer B (if Cap Exempt)
If the new employer is not a cap-subject employer, the foreign national can begin working for them immediately after filing the petition.
However, if the new employer is a cap-subject employer, the foreign national must wait until their first petition letter is approved before they can begin working.
In either case, it is essential to note that the foreign national must maintain valid status while waiting for approval. You can start working or travel outside the US once the H1B transfer petition is approved.
You can also rely on this guide to learn about H1B Visa registration and requirements.
Why Did Your H1B Transfer Get Denied?
If you’ve recently applied for an H1B transfer but received a denial instead of approval, you may wonder what went wrong. Here are some common reasons why your H1B transfer did not get support:
One of the most common reasons for H1B transfer denials is the need for more qualifications. However, if you meet the minimum requirements for the job, such as education, work experience, or specialized skills, USCIS may accept your transfer petition.
It’s important to carefully review and compare the job description to your profile before applying for an H1B transfer.
Inconsistencies in Documentation
Another reason for H1B transfer denials is inconsistencies or discrepancies in the submitted H1B Transfer documents.
- For example, if your resume doesn’t match your college transcripts or your previous job titles don’t match your job duties, USCIS may suspect fraud or misrepresentation.
It’s crucial to be accurate and truthful in your application materials and to explain any discrepancies if necessary.
Sometimes, the cause of H1B transfer denial is not the employee but the employer. For instance, if the company sponsoring the transfer doesn’t have the financial resources to support the employee or the job offer is not genuine or bona fide, USCIS may reject the petition.
Verifying the employer’s credibility and financial stability is essential to provide enough evidence to prove the job offer is legitimate.
Immigration Compliance Issues
Finally, another reason for H1B transfer denials is compliance issues related to previous visa status or immigration violations.
If the employee has previously overstayed a visa, worked without authorization, or committed other immigration violations, USCIS may deny the transfer request. It’s essential to consult with an experienced immigration attorney and disclose any past issues upfront.
In conclusion, if your H1B transfer got denied, it’s crucial to find out why and address the issue before reapplying. In addition, you may want to work with an immigration attorney to review your options and to enhance your chances of success in future attempts.
H1B Transfer: How to Change Jobs on an H1B Visa Transfer
The H1B transfer program enables foreign nationals to transfer their visa from one employer to another. It allows them to remain in the US and continue working under the same category.
To do this, they must apply for an H1B transfer petition with USCIS and provide certain supporting documents such as employment verification letters and company financial statements. Once approved, they can begin working for the new employer immediately.
It is important to remember that foreign nationals must maintain valid employment status while waiting for approval and that not all employers are cap-subject employers.
By following these steps, foreign workers and nationals can successfully transfer their visas from one employer to another and remain in the US legally.
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Helpful Guide: H1B Buy a House
Transferring H1B: How to Change Job to your Business
If you are a foreign national with an existing H1B visa and would like to transfer your visa from more than one employer or to your business, however, some important considerations you should consider before applying for an H1B transfer.
- First, the business must meet specific criteria to sponsor an H1B visa. For example, the company must be a specialty occupation employer with at least one foreign employee currently on the payroll.
- Second, before filing the transfer petition, you must provide evidence of your current employment and pay stubs from multiple employers over the same period. Again, it ensures you have followed labor standards and regulations.
- Finally, when you fill out the transfer petition, you must provide a detailed job description outlining your specialty occupation and a valid receipt number from USCIS.
Once approved, you can begin working for the new employer on the specified employment start date.
By understanding and following these steps, foreign nationals can successfully transfer their H1B visa from one employer to their own business.
Benefits for H1B Visa Transfer
Suppose you want to change jobs while on an H1B visa. First, transfer your H1B visa holder to your new employer. H1B transfer is moving your current H1B visa from one employer to another.
Here are the benefits of an H1B transfer:
- Faster processing: H1B transfer petitions are generally processed faster than initial H1B petitions.
- No quota restrictions: H1B transfer petitions are not subject to the annual cap on H1B visas.
- Change Employers: With an H1B transfer, you can change employers without leaving the US. It is especially beneficial if you want to explore new job opportunities or work for a different company.
- Flexibility: An H1B transfer allows you to start working for your new employer after your transfer petition is approved. It gives you greater flexibility and control over your career.
- Avoid Gap in Employment: A transfer eliminates the gap in employment that could arise if you had to leave the US and return to your home country to apply for a new H1B visa.
- Avoid Cap Restrictions: With an H1B transfer, you can avoid being subject to the annual H1B visa cap, limiting the number of new H1B visas issued yearly.
- More Time: You will get additional time to work in the US, as the new employer can request an extension of your H1B visa transfer timeline for up to three years during your time.
Overall, an H1B transfer can offer numerous benefits for foreign workers in the US, including greater career flexibility, freedom to switch and change employers often, and more time to work in the US.
Another benefit is buying and investing in rental property in the USA. You can obtain a mortgage home loan quickly.
Challenges of H1B Transfer
H1B transfer transfers an H1B visa from one employer to another. While it may seem straightforward, several challenges can arise during the h1b visa transfer process.
Some of the key challenges include:
- Timing: H1B transfer can take several months to process, which can cause uncertainty and anxiety for both the employee and the new employer.
- Eligibility: H1B transfer requires the new employer to meet specific eligibility requirements, such as being a registered employer with USCIS, having a valid tax ID number, and offering a substantially similar job as the original employer.
- Documentation: The H1B visa transfer process requires extensive documentation, including an amended H1B petition, a Labor Condition Application, and evidence of the employer’s ability to pay the employee’s salary.
- Visa expiration: The transfer process can become more complicated if the employee’s H1B visa is close to expiry. Sometimes, the employee may need to leave the country and apply for a new passport before completing the transfer.
- Premium processing: Premium processing is an expedited service offered by USCIS for an additional fee. However, if the service is refraining, the process for H1B transfers will be under regular timelines.
H1B transfer can be complex and challenging, requiring careful preparation and focus on details to ensure a successful outcome.
Foreign employees and employers should seek the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer to navigate the process and avoid potential pitfalls.
The H1B transfer program allows foreign workers to continue working in the US without having to leave and obtain a new visa.
However, it is essential to understand the advantages and challenges associated with the process before starting an H1B transfer.
An experienced immigration attorney can provide guidance and advice throughout the process, helping to ensure that your transfer is successful. Understanding the process and seeking professional help can make a big difference regarding your H1B transfer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I transfer my H-1B to another employer?
A. Yes, you can transfer your H-1B visa from one employer to another if both employers meet the eligibility requirements for the H-1B program.
Q. Can I work for my previous employer after the H1B transfer?
A. You cannot work for your former employer once the H1B transfer is approved.
Q. How long does transferring H-1B from one company to another take?
A. The timeline for an H-1B transfer can vary but typically takes several months to process. Read this blog to learn about H1B Visa Lottery result 2023 and the timeline.
Q. Is it easier to transfer H-1B?
A. It can be easier to transfer H-1B from one employer to another since the employee does not have to leave the United States and reapply for a new visa with their new employer.
Q. Do I need a university degree for an H1B transfer?
A. Yes, you must possess a university degree equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree in a specialized field related to the job you will be performing.
The visa holder must also have enough experience in their area to qualify for the position they are applying for.
Q. Is working for multiple employers under an H-1B visa possible?
A. Yes, it is possible to work for multiple employers under an H-1B visa as long as they are all Cap-Subject Employers.
However, it is essential to note that you can only operate for one employer at a time and must have a valid H-1B visa for each employer.
Q. How many pay stubs do I need for an H-1B transfer?
A. You will typically need six pay stubs from your current employer for the H-1B transfer process.
Q. Can H-1B be transferred to another company?
A. H-1B visa holders can transfer their existing H-1B visas to a new employer if the new employer meets the USCIS requirements for the H-1B program. In addition, the transferred visa will remain valid for the same period as the original visa.
Q. What is the difference between H-1B and H-1B transfer?
A. An H-1B visa is issued to legally admitted foreign workers in specialty occupations. In contrast, an H-1B transfer transfers an existing H-1B visa from one employer to another.
Both processes require compliance with labor standards, regulations, and other immigration law requirements.
Q. Is H-1B transfer easier than H-1B?
A. An H-1B transfer can be easier than the initial H-1B application since the visa holder does not have to leave the US and reapply. However, they must still meet all the requirements of an H-1B visa to transfer their existing visa to a new employer.
Q. Can we start working after filing the H1B transfer?
A. You can start working after filing an H-1B transfer if your new employer has submitted the required forms and documents to USCIS and received a receipt confirming your application is in process.
Your employment start date will get selected by the date on the approved I-797 form or the approved petition.
Q. What is a 240-day rule for H1B transfer?
A. The 240-day rule allows visa holders to remain in the US and continue working for their new employer until a decision on the H-1B transfer application by USCIS.
It helps to ensure that foreign workers are provided with income and can work for extended periods while waiting for their applications to be processed.
Q. Can I transfer my H1B to another employer before stamping?
A. You can transfer your H-1B to another employer before stamping if the new employer meets all the requirements for an H-1B petition.
Q. Can you transfer to an H1B Visa to a New Employer?
A. Yes, you can transfer your H-1B visa to a new employer if they meet the eligibility requirements for the H-1B program.
The transferred visa will remain valid for the same period as the original visa, and you must comply with all labor standards, regulations, and other immigration law requirements.
Q. What are the stages of H1B transfer?
A. The stages of an H-1B transfer include selecting a new employer, submitting the necessary forms and documents to USCIS, receiving a receipt number confirming that the application is in process, and finally waiting for the decision from USCIS.
Q. How long H1B premium transfer take?
A. The duration of an H-1B premium transfer timeline varies depending on the processing times at USCIS, but generally, it can take anywhere from two weeks to several months.
Q. Can I work while the H1B transfer is pending?
A. Yes, you can work while your H-1B transfer is pending as long as the new employer has received a receipt confirming their application is in process. They are willing to allow you to start working before the decision from USCIS.
Q. Can an H1B transfer be denied?
A. Yes, an H-1B transfer can only be allowed if the foreign employee meets all of the requirements for an H-1B visa or if USCIS finds any discrepancies in their application.
Ensuring you have provided all the necessary documents and forms accurately reduces your chances of being denied.
Q. Is I-797 required for an H-1B transfer?
A. A Form I-797 is required for an H-1B transfer as evidence of the foreign employee’s visa status and any changes or extensions made to their current visa.
You can submit this form to USCIS with all other documents and records required for the H-1B transfer application.
Q. Is premium processing available for H1B transfer?
A. Yes, premium processing is available for both initial H-1B application and H-1B transfer applications. It allows visa holders to receive their decision in 15 days instead of waiting several months or longer for a response from USCIS.
Premium processing must be requested and approved before submitting the H-1B application.
Q. When can you stop working for the current employee?
A. You can stop working for the current employer once you have submitted all required forms and documents to USCIS with your new employer’s information.
However, you must remain employed with the cap-subject employer afterward until your visa transfer application is precise.
Q. How long does an H1B transfer take with premium processing?
A. An H-1B transfer application typically takes 15 days to process if premium processing is requested and approved before submitting the required forms and documents.
Without premium processing, an H-1B transfer can take months or longer for USCIS to decide on the application.
Q. How to check the H1B Transfer status?
A. You can review the status of your H-1B transfer application online by logging into your USCIS account and selecting the “check my case status” option.
For example, you can see if the application is in process, approved, or denied.
Q. H1B Transfer when to give notice?
A. You should give notice to your current employer that you are leaving once the new employer has received a receipt number confirming their application is in process.
It will ensure that there is no breach of contract with the old employer and gives them enough time to find a replacement for you.
Q. What does the employer need to do for the H-1B transfer?
A. An employer must submit Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker, and all other required documents and forms to USCIS to transfer an H-1B visa from one employer to another.
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