How can I transfer H-1B status?

Posted on May 28, 2010. Filed under: Immigration | Tags: , , |

H1B is an employemt based non-immigrant visa available for temporary workers. H-1B visa allows a foreign national to enter into U.S. and be employed temporarily in a specialty occupation. Specialty occupation is one which requires highly specialized knowledge and atleast a bachelor’s degree in a related field. It includes business specialties, mathematics, accounting, education, law, architecture, engineering, medicine and health, social sciences, theology, and arts. The employer offers a job and files an H1 visa petition on behalf of you (the employee). Once the petition is approved by USCIS, you will be issued a work pemit to work for the employer who filed the petition.

You can change employers without changing your H1B status, provided that the new employer files a new petition on behalf of you before you start working for the new employer. This is called H1B transfer.

H1B transfer happens through the new company. The following supporting documents may be required for your H1B transfer application.

  • Copies of your passport
  • Latest pay stubs
  • Latest Resume
  • Copy of your existing H1B approval
  • Copy of your I-94
  • Copy of your Social security card
  • Copy of your Degree certificates to prove your educational qualification

To qualify for a H1B transfer:

  • You must be in lawful status at the time the petition is being filed on your behalf.
  • You should not have any unauthorized employment since you were last admitted.

Benefits of H1B transfer:

  • There is no limit for the number of H1B transfer. You can apply for as many transfers as you want.
  • The H1B transfer is not related in anyway to the H1B cap. H1B cap is only applicable for new H1B petitions. Hence there is no wait period.
  • You may start working for your new employer as soon as you get the receipt notice, prior to the approval of H1B transfer.
  • You can apply for an H1B transfer for more than one company at the same time.

The new employer needs to file Form I-129, Petition for Nonimmigrant Workers to transfer your H1B. The processing time for this petition is usually 3 to 8 weeks. It varies depending on the location of the new employment and the processing office.

Generally H1B visa is granted for three years. It may then be extended, initially for two more years, and eventually for another one year. For further extension, you must remain outside the U.S. for a minimum of one year before becoming eligible for another H-1B visa. If you acquire permanent residency, you need not remain outside the country for one year. Certain foreign nationals working on Defence Department projects are allowed to remain in H-1B status for 10 years.

Please note that if a H1B transfer is not approved you may losse your original H1B visa. So it is recommended that you complete the H1B transfer before entering into your new job. You are not eligible for an H1B transfer, if you had currently filed for an extension or renewal of your H1B visa.

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