H1-B Visa is a non-immigrant visa created to allow U.S. employers to recruit foreign nationals for a specified time in specialized occupations in the United States of America. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, people from outside the U.S. who are seeking employment must have an H1-B Visa.
Typically, occupations that suit the H1B visa include a university degree or equivalent (which can mean three years of work experience per year that would typically be spent at university). The role should be one where that degree of expertise would usually be necessary.
The visa validity is for three years, with an additional three-year extension, which allows a cumulative stay of six years overall. A reputable company shall support any application for H1B. Therefore, the person must have a job, education or internship offer before the application is submitted.
What is the H1-B Visa Transfer Process?
For H1B employees, it is one of the most common questions that “Can I move my H1B visa to another company?”. This question can come up after several years working for a company, or just after arriving in the U.S., or even before moving to the U.S.
H1B transfer technically files a new H1B visa petition that is not included in the H1B visa quota limit or H1B Visa draw, because the applicant has been involved in the quota once in the last six years.
Individuals with H-1B visa status, or prior status, may be moved to another employer. The visa holder is not required to receive approval from the former employer for the transfer of H-1B visa.
However, the person may obey non-competitive laws or any other contractual agreements that the individual may have given to the employer.
Let’s go through the process in detail.
Get a New Job Offer
If you’re currently working for Employer A, a job offer from Employer B in the U.S. will be required to begin the H1B transfer visa process. If the job is not offered yet, you can not move to another employer.
The Employer Must Procure From the Department of Labor (DoL) a Labor Condition Application (LCA)
U.S. employers without LCA authorization are not allowed to hire foreign workers. Employers will procure this document from the U.S. Labor Department. Employers qualify for this certification by filing Form ETA9035E.
This certification ensures foreign workers that the U.S. employer can treat them fairly by paying a full salary. It also says they’re going to get a pleasant work environment. It also informs the U.S. government the company is recruiting lawfully admitted foreign workers.
The Employer will File a Form I-129 with USCIS
H1B petition form I-129 is used for the employer’s approval to hire foreign employees. This form is granted to the Citizenship and Immigration Service of the U.S. USCIS processes the way and either endorses or rejects the appeal. During processing, USCIS gives the employer and employee a receipt number.
After obtaining this receipt number, the employee will start working for the new employer. Once acceptance of the petition, all parties obtain form I-797. This form shows that for that particular company, the employee is legally permitted to work in the U.S.
Furthermore, the employer must also file Form I-9 or the USCIS Job Eligibility Verification form.
U.S. Employer Pays the Related Fees
The payments are close to initially receiving the H1B visa during the application process for the H1B move. Since the employer recruits a new foreign worker, the following H1B transfer fees will be charged by them:
- The American Innovation and Workplace Development Act of 1998 (ACWIA) fees which are 750 dollars for employers with less than 25 full-time employees and 1,500 dollars for employers with more than 25 full-time employees in the United States.
- Prevention of fraud and identification fees $ 500 per foreign worker.
- ⠀I-129 application form filling fees
- Copy of Job offer letter from New Employer, with descriptions of the Job title, compensation provided and signed by employee and employer alike.
- Applicant’sApplicant’s Resume.
- Passport copy
- I-94 copy (if already available in the USA)
- Copy of H1B Stamp on passport (if already in the U.S. or stamped)
- Copy of previously approved H1B petition (I-797 notice of approval)
- SSN copy (if already in the U.S.)
- Minimum 3 recent Pay Slips or Stubs (for those who already are in the U.S.)
- W2 Employer tax forms (for those who already are in the U.S.)
- Bachelor / Masters Degree copy or any higher education.
- College transcripts in a sealed case.
- Academic assessment (depending on the country, degree and university it has been awarded, it may be appropriate to review the education and to apply that also, consult with your attorney)
- Copies of letters of experience, if any from your previous employers
Processing Time for H1-B Transfer
The processing time for the transition documents to H1B depends on the processing method. The processing period for the transfer of an H1B visa takes 1 to 4 months to process under a standard procedure, and 15 to 30 days to process the premium. The USCIS response can be either positive or negative.
If the applicant needs the application to go quicker, though, they will have to wait for the processing of the H1B transfer prime. The fee for this service is pretty high, about $1,225. But if you choose this processing form, your application will only need 15 to 30 days to process.
There are several steps to take to acquire an H1B transition visa, and each has an estimated timetable. In these three phases, the transfer time for the H1B is divided.
To register for the LCA
Because obtaining the LCA is the first paperwork necessary to obtain an H1B transfer visa, nothing else can be accomplished before acceptance of this portion.
Documents and Fees Collected and Sent to USCIS
Both the employee and the employer must obtain all the necessary documents and pay all fees. It takes about ten days to submit the documents.
- You must be serving in H-1B status as of the date the request for H-1B Transfer is filed with USCIS
- The earliest time you are permitted to begin work is the day USCIS receives the petition for I-129 H-1B Transfer.
- If there is a void in your job, which means you stopped working for your H-1B employer before filing with USCIS for the H-1B move, then you should find Premium Processing.
- If you don’t have proof of income, other documents may be sent to confirm your employment status, such as Unpaid Leave of Absence Letter.