H-1B Visa Transfers: What You Should Know

The Shapiro Law Group

Workers who have entered the U.S. on H-1B visas may change their jobs through the H-1B transfer process. While the process is called a transfer, the worker must apply for a new H-1B visa after he or she has been offered a new job. The new employer must file a petition on behalf of the worker, but the worker can work while it is pending. Workers may also file multiple H-1B petitions simultaneously so that they have more options for employment. If H-1B visa holders are fired from their jobs, they have 60 days to find new positions. If they don’t, they will need to leave the U.S.

H-1B Transfers

When H-1B workers leave the employers that are sponsoring them on their original H-1B visas to go to new jobs, their H-1B visas do not transfer. Instead, only the workers transfer to the new employers. They must file new H-1B visa applications, and their employers must file petitions for them. When workers transfer, they are able to file for new H-1B visas at any time of the year and are not subject to caps on H-1B visas. They are also able to port their visas while they are pending, which allows them to begin working at their new jobs while they are waiting for their petitions to be approved. H-1B visa holders are also able to bridge their H-1B applications. This means that they can submit multiple petitions at the same time so that they can seek better opportunities. New petitions can be filed as long as the I-94 cards have not expired.

Terminations and Layoffs

H-1B visa holders who are fired or laid off from their jobs have a 60-day grace period within which they must find new jobs. They will be able to remain in the country until the grace period expires or until their I-94 cards expire, whichever date is earlier. During the grace periods, they can apply to change their statuses or to extend their H-1B visas so they can have more time to find new jobs. If the grace period expires and the extension is denied, the worker will have to leave the U.S. and re-enter with a new H-1B visa from a new employer.