Foreign nationals can legally live and work in the U.S. through an employer-sponsored visa, also known as H-1B. But what if, while on an employer-sponsored visa, you find a better job? Can you change jobs without losing your visa?
The straightforward answer is, YES – you can change jobs while you are on an H-1B visa without losing your U.S. residency rights. Do note, however, that this visa is not transferrable. In other words, you cannot transfer your current H-1B visa to your new employer. Rather, they will have to apply for a new H-1B on your behalf through what is known as H-1B portability.
So, how does H-1B portability work?
Your new employer will initiate the process of applying for a new H-1B just as your current employer did. This involves:
- Providing the USCIS with an appointment letter that details your employment contract (your job title, role, wages and employment duration)
- Submitting a duly filled Labor Condition Application (LCA) form
- Submitting notice to the collective bargaining rep
- Submitting the necessary supporting documentation and visa application fees
As your new employer takes care of the visa application, you will, on the other hand, need to update your personal information. This includes updating your paycheck stubs, I-94 and passport records, your most recent valid visa as well as social security information. Once your new H-1B visa is approved, you can start working for your new employer.
The U.S. is known as the “Land of Opportunity” for a reason. If you entered the country on a H-1B visa, it helps to understand that you can change jobs without losing your residency status. Find out how legal representation can help you safeguard your rights.