Lately, we have been receiving lot of queries related to H-1B, as to what H-1B really is? Who is eligible for it? How to apply? And so on. This is our attempt to create awareness about this most hyped non-immigrant visa of United States.
What is H-1B?
H-1B is a work visa that allows certain specialty workers to accept a job with an employer in the United States. H-1B visa must be sponsored by your employer in United States. This surely doesn’t imply that you have to stay with the same employer the whole time you are in the United States, you can switch jobs. However, if you change your employer, or find a new employer after a layoff, you can transfer your H-1B visa to the new employer.
Your initial H-1B depends on whether you were selected in annual cap (in informal terms whether you were selected in’lottery’), your transfer of H-1B to new employer is not affected by any cap.
Who is eligibile H-1B visa transfer
You are eligible for an H-1B transfer if…
- You have been lawfully admitted to the United States with valid nonimmigrant status
- You have not engaged yourself in any unauthorized employment since your admission to United States
- You are the subject of a new petition submitted to USCIS by the new employer
- You are still on a lawful status, with a valid I-94 entry document
NOTE: You do not need permission from your current or previous employer to appy for H-1B transfer, also the number of times you can apply for transfer has no restriction.
What is H-1B Transfer?
This is a process of moving one’s H-1B work visa from one employer to a new employer. It literally means that you are changing your one sponsor to a new sponsor by switching jobs. It involves lot of steps and can be done only if you hold an existing H-1B application with current employer.
An employer can file a petition for H-1B transfer to the USCIS on behalf of a candidate, it doesn’t depend on time of the year or quota. A candidate can only start working for new emplyer if the transfer of H-1B has been approved by USCIS.
Your present employer must be notified if USCIS approves your H-1B transfer to the new employer. There is no need to get a no objection certificate from your present employer before you apply for H-1B transfer. You can start working with new employer only once USCIS approves your transfer, not before that. However, you may start working for your new employer once you have receipt number with you. Usually, it takes 3 months to transfer H-1B, so it is preferable that you plan your transfer in advance. For faster processing, one can opt for premium processing where an approval can be received in 15-20 days at an additional cost.
Stay tuned with us when we go in much more details and talk about unique scenarios of H-1B that troubles everyone.