If you are in the United States on an H-1B visa and you change jobs, there are a few things that you need to know. Changing jobs with an H-1B transfer is not as simple as it may seem. If the petition is denied or the individual is laid off, specific steps must be followed to maintain legal status. Our Orange county immigration attorneys discuss the process of changing jobs with an H-1B transfer and what to do if the petition is denied or the individual is laid off.
What is an H-1B Visa?
Foreign workers can work in the country with the H-1B visa, which is a nonimmigrant visa. In order to qualify for an H-1B visa, you must have a job offer that requires specialized knowledge or skills. Generally, any occupation that requires a Bachelor's degree or higher is considered specialized.
Since the USCIS places a cap on the number of petitions granted yearly, you must be selected in a lottery to get an H-1B visa. Approximately 65,000 general petitions are granted visa status each year, with an additional 20,000 granted to applicants with master's degrees.
Can an H-1B Visa Holder Change Jobs?
Yes, H-1B visa holders can change jobs and retain their H-1B status. You will need to reapply for the visa to do so.
What Can I do If I Was Laid off?
If you were laid off, you can take the following steps:
- Look for another job that qualifies for an H-1B visa and begin the application process.
- File for unemployment benefits.
- Depart the United States if you are no longer employed. If you have an approved I-485 petition, you may be able to
Process for Changing Jobs on an H-1B
Changing jobs on an H-1B is the same as applying for a new H-1B. To change employers while on an H-1B visa, your new employer must follow these steps:
- You must submit an employment letter explaining the position, the duties, and the start date.
- Obtain a Labor Condition Application (LCA) and wait for it to be certified
- Employees' collective bargaining representatives should be notified
- Submit the visa petition and the required documents
- Filing fees should be paid
Rather than waiting until the H-1B petition is approved, you can start working immediately once the USCIS receives it.
You, the petitioner, will have to submit the following to the USCIS as well:
- A current resume
- Paycheck stubs
- A copy of your most recent visa, social security card, passport, and I-94 records
It is highly recommended to enlist the help of an immigration attorney to help through the process. An immigration attorney can help you organize the needed paperwork and fill out the petition correctly the first time.
What Can I Do If My Application is Denied?
Firstly, there is a difference between "rejection" and "denial" in the immigration world. A rejection means an error with your filing or fee payment that can be corrected. Denial occurs when you or your employer are not considered qualified for an H-1B.
In the event that the reasons are something you or your employer can correct, your employer can file a new I-129 and ensure that the previous mistake or issue is avoided entirely. Suppose your employer forgot to include an important document in your application, so you need to include it this time.
Call Yekrangi & Associates Today
If you are in the United States on an H-1B visa and need assistance changing jobs, Yekrangi & Associates can help. Our immigration attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help guide you through the process and ensure everything is done correctly.
Call us today at or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you with all of your immigration needs.