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Can you change your job if you have an H1-B sponsorship visa?

On Behalf of | Dec 20, 2021 | Employment-based Immigration

An H1-B visa lets foreign workers stay in the US for employment. This visa is typically offered to people who possess specialized skills or knowledge. It also includes any field that requires users to have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Therefore, your H1-B visa is valid as long as you are employed in the country.

It is possible to move from one employer to another with H1-B status. However, the new employer will have to place a new petition for you, as the law does not allow the transfer of H1-B visas. The process of getting new documents takes up to four months after applying.      

The H1-B visa re-application process

Both you and your new employer have to make different submissions for the new visa. Your new employer will need to perform the following steps: 

  • Submit the employment letter detailing the position information, start date, and duties
  • Receive a certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) 
  • Send a letter to the collective bargaining representative of the company’s employees advising them of a new team member
  • File a visa petition with the USCIS
  • Pay necessary fees

To reapply for your H1-B visa, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • Your current resume
  • Paycheck stubs
  • Copies of your passport, recent visa, social security card, and 1-94 records

When can you start your new job?

Usually, you start working once your H1-B visa application is approved. However, you can begin your new job before the process is finalized. According to USCIS, your new employer can request an extension for the existing H1-B visa as you wait for the outcome of the new application.

If the application is not filed, you will only have 240 days to work before the work authorization stops. Likewise, if the petition is denied, you will lose your ability to work in the country legally.

If you switch employers while on an H1-B visa, you are no longer subject to H1-B visa caps, like the new applicants. You also get to take advantage of new opportunities without waiting for the visa process to be completed. It is also possible to cancel the new visa application and remain with the old employer.

However, since your stay in the country is based on this visa, it is important that you carefully review your application paperwork to ensure the information is complete and accurate. Otherwise, your application can be denied, and your opportunity to continue working in the US may be at risk.