If you’re planning to switch employers while working in the US on an H1B visa, you may be wondering how long it takes to transfer your visa. The process of getting your visa transferred depends on several factors, including your personal circumstances, your employer’s timeline, and other external factors like the current political climate.
However, in general, the process of transferring your H1B visa can take up to several months. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at the H1B visa transfer process and give you some useful tips and insights to make it as smooth as possible.
- The process of H1B visa transfer can take up to several months, depending on various factors.
- Your new employer will have to file an H1B visa transfer petition on your behalf, and you cannot start working for them until the petition is approved.
- You may continue working for your current employer while your transfer petition is being processed.
- It is recommended that you start the H1B visa transfer process well in advance of your intended start date with the new employer.
- You may not be required to leave the US during the transfer process.
Understanding the H1B Visa Transfer Process
What is an H1B Visa Transfer?
An H1B visa transfer is a process that allows you to switch employers while you’re working in the US on an H1B visa. If you’re currently working for a US employer under an H1B visa and you have received an offer of employment from a new US employer, you can transfer your H1B visa to the new employer.
How Does the H1B Visa Transfer Process Work?
Your new employer will have to file a new H1B petition for you with the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services). This petition, called an I-129 Petition for Non-immigrant Worker, will serve as your employment authorization document, allowing you to work for the new employer.
Your new employer will have to provide documentation to support the I-129, which may include a copy of your current and previous I-797 approval notices, a copy of your passport, and other supporting documents.
In addition, your new employer may also have to file a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the Department of Labor (DOL). The LCA is a document that confirms that your new employer will comply with certain labor laws and regulations, including prevailing wage requirements.
How Long Does It Take to Transfer an H1B Visa?
The processing time for an H1B visa transfer can vary depending on several factors, including the workload at the USCIS and the accuracy and completeness of your application.
In general, the standard processing time for an H1B visa transfer is around 2-6 months. However, you can request premium processing for an additional fee of $1,440, which guarantees a processing time of just 15 calendar days.
Can I Continue Working for My Current Employer While My Transfer is Being Processed?
Yes, you can continue working for your current employer while your H1B visa transfer is being processed. However, your new employer will need to file the transfer petition before your current employer’s H1B visa expires.
Can I Travel Outside of the US While My H1B Transfer is Being Processed?
Yes, you can travel outside of the US while your H1B visa transfer is being processed. However, you will need to make sure that you have a valid visa stamp in your passport and that you have all the required documents when you re-enter the US.
Tips to Make Your H1B Visa Transfer Process Smoother
Here are some tips to help you make your H1B visa transfer process as smooth as possible:
- Start the process well in advance: It’s recommended that you start the H1B visa transfer process at least three months before your intended start date with the new employer.
- Ensure accuracy and completeness: Make sure that your application is accurate and complete before you submit it. This will help avoid delays and RFEs (Requests for Evidence).
- Respond to RFEs promptly: If you do receive an RFE, respond to it promptly and thoroughly. Failure to do so can lead to delays or even denial of your petition.
- Consult with an immigration attorney: If you’re unsure about any aspect of the H1B visa transfer process, it’s always a good idea to consult with an experienced immigration attorney.
The process of transferring your H1B visa to a new employer can be complex and time-consuming. However, by understanding the process and following these tips, you can make it as smooth as possible.
Remember to start the process well in advance, ensure the accuracy and completeness of your application, respond to RFEs promptly, and consult with an experienced immigration attorney if you’re unsure about any aspect of the process.
With a little bit of patience and persistence, you’ll be able to successfully transfer your H1B visa and start your new job with your new employer.
How much does it cost to transfer an H1B visa?
The cost of transferring an H1B visa varies depending on several factors, including the premium processing fee, the attorney’s fees, and other associated costs like filing and biometrics fees. In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,500 to $7,000 for an H1B visa transfer.
Can I transfer my H1B visa to a new employer if my current H1B visa has expired?
No, you cannot transfer your H1B visa to a new employer if your current H1B visa has expired. You need to have a valid H1B visa to be eligible for an H1B visa transfer.
Can I transfer my H1B visa to a new employer if I have already left the US?
No, you cannot transfer your H1B visa to a new employer if you have already left the US. You need to be physically present in the US and working for your current employer under an H1B visa to be eligible for an H1B visa transfer.