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Can I change employers while on an H-1B visa in the US?

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Immigration Law

As an H-1B visa holder in the U.S., it is possible to change employers if you want to. However, it is important to remember that the visa is tied to the employer who sponsored it. If you wish to change employers, you may need to apply for a new H-1B visa with the new employer.

And to do this, there are some things you need to consider before starting your new employment at a different company.

New employer, new H-1B visa petition

Contrary to its name, you cannot transfer an H-1B visa from one employer to another. Rather, it involves the filing of a new H-1B petition by the new employer. If you wish to change employers, here are the steps you must follow:

  1. Apply for a new visa: You must find a new employer willing to sponsor and file a new H-1B visa petition on your behalf. They must start the application process before your existing visa expires.
  2. Get approval on the new visa petition: Once the potential new employer has filed all the necessary paperwork, you must wait for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to approve your H-1B transfer.
  3. Begin working with the new employer: Finally, once you have filed a new H-1B petition with your new employer, you may begin working for them once you have received a receipt notice from USCIS. This notice confirms that USCIS received your petition, even if they have not approved it. This process is commonly called porting.”

It is important to note that you should not start working until you have received the receipt notice, as doing so could jeopardize your immigration status.

What can you do after a denied petition?

If the USCIS denies your H-1B transfer petition, you may continue to work under your current employer who sponsored your initial visa if they are willing to keep you on. If you wish to challenge the decision, you may need to appeal USCIS’ decision.

It is crucial to understand why the USCIS denied your case. Changing jobs on a visa can be complex and stressful, but understanding the process can help ease the situation.