Transfer your Visa – Can an H-1B visa holder change jobs?  Yes!

Since 2000, current H-1B visa holders may transfer their visa and start work for a new employer as soon as an H-1B transfer petition is filed with USCIS by the new employer a/k/a sponsor. This means the visa holder does not have to wait until the transfer is issued by USCIS. 

Bonus: H-1B transfers avoid the annual quota of only 85,000 visas issued by the lottery.
* this means H-1B transfers can be filed at any time of the year.

h-1b visa transfer

Under the H1B portability rules of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21), a new employer can hire an existing H1B visa holder away from another company to start a new H-1B job, provided that the new employer follows the required procedures to file an H1B transfer visa application on behalf of the worker.

H-1B visa holders that have filed for adjustment of status and whose cases have been pending for 180 days can also change jobs or employers without affecting the validity of their I-140 or underlying labor certification, as long as the new job is directly related to the occupational classification for the job in the original H1B visa petition and labor certification.

During the H1B transfer procedure, the following documents may be required:
· Up to 3 months latest pay stubs.
· Copy of your existing H1B approval.
· Passport copies.
· Copies of I-94 records.
· Copy of Social Security Card.
· Latest Resume.
· Copy of existing valid visa.
· Copy of all your Diploma/Degrees.   

It depends.  The important thing is that once the H-1B visa transfer application is filed with USCIS, the employment may begin.  So the H-1B holder is working during the processing, which can take four to eight weeks or longer.  O


H-1B Transfer Frequently Asked Questions

1) I am currently on an H1B visa through Company ABC, but the job sucks and I’m not happy.  I’ve made contacts at company XYZ and they offered me practically the same job. Do I need a new H1B visa?
NOPE!!!  Just transfer your H-1B to the new company.
2) When can I start working for company XYZ?
Since 2001, you can start working at the company where your H-1B visa will be transferred upon submitting the transfer to the USCIS.  You may start work while you wait for the H-1B to be transferred to your new dream job.
3) I have a cap-exempt research position at a public university’s hospital, if I take a similar job at  Biotech Pharmaceutical Company, will I be subject to the regular H-1B Quota and need to win the lottery??
Nope!!  You were cap exempt when your H-1B was issued, and ALL transfers are NOT subject to the cap, which means some H-1B holders can avoid the lottery all together.
4) I just got my approval notice for my H-1B transfer. It doesn’t have a new I-94. Why not?
Because you do not need one.  An I-94 is issued when you enter the USA, which has a specific expiration date. With an H1B transfer, it is possible that your I-94 is still good.
5) Do you need to tell your current employer about your visa transfer? 

Nope. It’s not required to inform your employer, and neither do they need to know about the transfer.  So get out there and network to find the job that you are super passionate about and take it!
6) Is there any limit for the number of times I transfer my H-1B visa?
No.  There is even a term for multiple transfers called “successive portability petitions.”  The law wants H-1B visa holders to be able to apply their skills where they think America will be served best.
7) Can I apply for an H-1B transfer through more than one company at the same time?

Yes. you can apply for multiple H-1B transfers and the procedure is the same for each.  You can pick and choose where you want your special skills to be applied, but you can only work for 1 company at a time.  
8) I got fired, can I transfer my H-1B visa to another company that wants to hire me?
Yikes, this one sucks, but the answer is NO!  You can only be hired by another company if you are currently employed. This creates a poaching situation between companies because once the H-1B visa holder loses his job, the visa is gone and cannot be transferred.  The moral of the story is to keep your resume and other data on Work Visas current.  Because you can always change jobs, but if you lose the job, you lose the H-1B visa!!!