Landing employment with an H-1B visa can be a long and arduous process because there are limited visas, and you must have a sponsoring employer. Once you get both the visa and job, all you want to do is sigh in relief. What happens when you want or have to change jobs? Our Rockville immigration lawyers detail the process of transferring to new employment while holding an H-1B visa.
What is an H-1B Visa?
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, an H-1B visa allows U.S employers to employ a foreign worker in specialty occupations. Typically, a specialized occupation requires a Bachelor's degree or higher in any field. The USCIS has a set cap of 65,000 general H-1B visa petitions per year.
The Transfer Process
Although you may hear "H-1B transfer", an H-1B visa cannot be transferred from one employer to another. A new H-1B petition must be filed, and the process is very similar to the original petition submitted. Since you already have an H-1B visa, you will have a few benefits you didn't have the first go around. When petitioning for a new H-1B visa the second time, there are no visa caps, you can apply any time of the year, and you can file more than one petition at the same time, also known as "bridging." Bridging may allow you more time or the possibility of choice if you seek multiple job offers.
H-1B Transfer Timeline
Although it varies from case to case, processing for an H-1B transfer typically takes 4-8 weeks after submitting the application to USCIS. Some factors that may affect the timeframe of your petition are the location of employment and which USCIS service center you submit the petition through. Processing times at the USCIS service centers vary. You can visit the USCIS website to check the processing times of your local center.
Transfer documents are required from you, the H-1B holder, and the sponsoring employer. We recommend creating a checklist of the documents needed to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. The documents required for the process of an H-1B job change are:
- U.S Visa, I-797 and 1-94
- Letter from employer and pay stubs
- Your university degree and transcripts, along with your academic evaluations
In addition to these documents, your new employer will need to submit the following:
- Letter of position containing the salary and job title. This letter must be signed by the H-1B visa holder and the employer.
- A detailed description of position responsibilities and duties.
- Marketing material from the company
- The company’s financial statements, annual reports, or business plans
Acquiring legal counsel to guide you through the petition process can be beneficial in various ways. Usually, the employer hires the lawyer handling the H-1B paperwork. This lawyer is not representing you but the company who hired them. If there is trouble between you and the employer, you may no longer have access to that attorney. Hiring legal counsel independent from your employer can provide you with the confidence and knowledge you need to succeed.
Changing Jobs with the Same Employer
If you are changing positions within the same company, you might be required to file an H-1B amendment petition. It is recommended to speak with an immigration attorney to determine if the change constitutes a material change and when it would be necessary to submit an H-1B amendment.
How Yacub Law Offices Can Help
We understand that handling H-1B paperwork can be a daunting feat. Our skilled immigration lawyers can help you today. We can drastically reduce legal risks related to the transaction and create a strategy to ensure the transfer process is as stress-free as possible.
To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today through our website or give us a call at (703) 552-5051 to schedule a consultation!