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I am currently employed in the US with an approved H1B Visa (valid upto 2017). But, I am thinking of switching jobs. My question is : Will I be able to take a vacation outside the US while I am between jobs and then re-enter using the old H1-B Visa + the offer letter of new job ?

Now, in the longer run, I am aware that I'd have to transfer the H1B to new employer. But, it is not clear to me if I will be able to convince my new employer to initiate such a transfer before my formal joining date. Hence the question!

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    I will be able to convince my new employer to initiate such a transfer before my formal joining date - not sure you understand how it works. You cannot join before they actually transfer the H1b. – littleadv Nov 24 '15 at 10:11
  • Yes, my apologies. I should have been more careful with my wording. I meant to distinguish between the moment of getting a receipt vs moment of getting I-797. The former is enough to start work, but I wasnt sure if it was sufficient to travel. Your comment in the answer sorts this out as well. – WorldTraveller Nov 25 '15 at 18:03
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No, you won't. Since you left your job - your H1b is no longer valid.

You need the new employer to apply for a new H1b authorization for you. You can then travel with the new I-797, even if the visa sticker has the old number on it.

If you travel while in between jobs and without the new I-797, you'll be turned away at the port of entry since your visa is not valid in that situation.

  • Thanks! Let me ask a quick clarification. Can the receipt for application for a new H1-B used instead of the new I-797 (which I am guessing would take a much longer time to be processed) ? – WorldTraveller Nov 24 '15 at 9:55
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    @WorldTraveller I would ask the lawyer for the new company. With the receipt you can start working there. But I would not be as arrogant as to travel with it. As to how long - with premium processing it will be up to two weeks, and in my experience (done that twice) it usually takes a couple of days after the receipt till they mail the new one. Your mileage can wary, talk to the attorney. – littleadv Nov 24 '15 at 10:10

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