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For a person in the US under an H-1B visa - if this person needs to change jobs:

  • What's the procedure that needs to be followed since the H-1 is sponsored by the employer?
  • Can the visa and stay be continued or it is basically a new visa?
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What's the procedure that needs to be followed since H-1 is sponsored by the employer?

While being employed with the current employer, the candidate needs to approach his/her future employers and seek a job. Once the candidate is selected the future employer will file an LCA and a new H1B petition which is valid till the candidate's valid extension period possible (this depends on the number of years the candidate has spent in the US). It is permissible by law for the employee to begin employment at the new place of work based on the receipt notice of having the petition delivered to USCIS. However, in case the petition is rejected then the employee on H1B has no legal status in the US. Many H1B holders will usually wait till the petition is transferred and put in the notice period only when they have access to the newly approved petition. If the employee on H1B has an approved I-140, and is nearing the six year clock then the future employer should be able to file for yearly extensions of the H1B.

Can the visa and stay be continued or it is basically a new visa?

Even though it is commonly referred to as transfer of visa, a new petition is filed every time one 'transfers' a visa. The employee can continue his/her stay if the petition filed comes with a new I-94 attached to it. The I-94 determines the duration one is allowed to stay in the US within status. If the current I-94 is expiring and there is no other new I-94 attached to the new petition then the H1B holder has to step out of the US borders and step back in again and ask for a new I-94. This procedure may have changed of late as the I-94s are being done away with.

  • Any references for this procedure? – Karlson Mar 17 '14 at 14:25
  • 2
    Most of it is from first hand knowledge interacting with company attorneys. Google-Fu returns this as a top link : immihelp.com/visas/h1b/h1-transfer.html am sure USCIS also probably has something somewhere – happybuddha Mar 17 '14 at 23:05

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