If you are on a H 1b visa in the US and are currently employed with a US employer, you have options to change your job for better opportunities if another US employer is willing to sponsor your H 1b petition.
The process is called H 1b transfer, and you might be interested in knowing the procedure and the required documents. This article is an excellent read if you are planning to switch your current H 1B job.
Why should I switch my H 1b job?
The H 1B visa is the most popular choice among other H visas, allowing a non-immigrant to work in the US in specialty occupation jobs.
Keeping in mind that this visa is a skill-based visa, if you get a job in the US on H 1b visa, you might want improvement in your job status as your skill grows with time and experience gained in the organization.
And if you are not getting enough opportunities to grow in the existing organization, you might want to change your H 1b job, and here H1B visa transfer Premium Processing helps.
What is the H1B Transfer?
When a foreign national on H 1b visa wants to change their employment, they need to file a “Change of employer. “This is popularly referred to as a H 1B transfer.
If you find a new job and the employer has sent you a new job offer to work for them, you can initiate your H 1b transfer by asking the new employer to sponsor your new H 1b petition.
The American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) allows the h 1B worker to file a new H 1b petition as long as their current H 1b status is valid.
What is the H-1B Transfer Process?
The H 1B transfer process is similar to applying for the H 1B visa initially. This is because the new employer has to sponsor your h 1b visa again like the current employer did when you first got your H 1b visa.
One significant difference between the initial H 1B visa and the H 1B visa transfer is that H 1b visa transfers are not subject to the annual cap.
The H 1B visa has a statutory numeric cap of 85,000 visas annually, including 20,000 visas for the person holding a US master’s degree or equivalent. But the H 1B transfer has no cap obligations.
So if you already have an H 1B visa, you do not go through the H 1B lottery. H-1B visa transfers are not affected by the H 1B cap. In an H 1B visa transfer, there is no regular processing time limit in which you must begin work for your new employer.
So you can start working for your new employer as soon as the USCIS receives Form I-129 filed by your new employer.
What are the H-1B Transfer Requirements?
To make a successful transfer application with the USCIS, you have to comply with the following requirements:
- The new H 1b employer should submit a new H 1b transfer petition to the USCIS on behalf of the h 1b holder.
- The H 1b employee has complied with their visa status conditions. That means they have not been involved in any crime or violated their status conditions.
- The new H 1b petition must be filed before the employee’s current employment authorization period.
Generally, the employee can start working at the new workplace from the date your new employer has received the receipt number from the USCIS. Some people start working for the new employer as soon as they send the I-129 Form, but ideally, we recommend you to start working from the date the USCIS has received your petition.
What are the documents to be submitted by the new employer?
The new employer who wants to sponsor the H 1b transfer petition may have to show the following documents:
- A letter indicating the job details such as – the position of the employee, his duties at that position, job title, and salary. The document needs to be signed by both employer and the h1b visa holder.
- The documents of the employer’s company, such as company financial statements, annual reports, and business plans of the company.
- The marketing documents of the company.
- A document containing the duties of the employer and employee in the organization.
What are the documents required by the employee?
The employee may require the following documents for his h 1b transfer application:
- Copy of I-94
- Copy of H 1B Visa Stamp on passport
- I-797 approval notice for the previous H1B
- Educational qualifications – university degrees, transcripts
- Paystubs, a letter from the employer, or a leave of absence letter
- Experience letter (if required)
- Academic evaluation (if required)
- Copy of job offer letter from the new employer indicating the job details such as – the position of the employee, his duties at that position, job title, and salary. The document needs to be signed by both employer and the h1b visa holder.
- Copy of W2 Tax forms from employer
You must be familiar with the process because you might have submitted most of the documents at the time of your first H 1b petition. However, if you are still unsure, you can always contact Herman Legal Group for the best piece of advice for your transfer case.
How much is the H-1B Visa Transfer Cost, and what is the Premium Processing Service Fee?
The cost of the H1B transfer depends on the case-by-case basis and how much will be the attorney fees. Ideally, it can range from $1700 to USD $7000. This is just an estimate and could be more depending on the service you take. There are other mandatory transfer costs imposed by the USCIS on employees, which include the following:
- The basic filing fee for Form I-129 of $460
- $500 for fraud detection and prevention fees. (It may not apply for H 1b extensions)
- Public law fee of $4,000 (in case the number of employees is more than 50)
- ACWIA training fees – $750 (if the employer has fewer than 25 employees) and $1,500 if the employer has employer 25 or more employees.
- Premium processing service fee of $2,500
The attorney fees will vary depending on the experience of the attorney. You can find out the fees charged by immigration attorneys at Herman Legal Group, who will determine their fee after the first consultation with the client. We try to keep the fee reasonable depending on the complexity of the case.
It is important to note in H 1b transfer petitions that the fees are paid by the employers, and in the case of premium processing, the employer and employee may decide mutually who will make the payment.
What is H-1B Visa Transfer Premium Processing?
The h 1b visa transfer premium processing is used by the employer or the h 1B visa holder to speed up the process of the transfer application with the USCIS. If you have paid the premium processing fees, the USCIS will normally give the decision on your application within 15 days of the filing of the application.
You should bear in mind that paying for premium processing fees is not a guarantee of your H1b visa. The USCIS can still reject the visa if you are not qualified for the transfer. For e.g., you do not have the requisite educational qualifications to work for the new employer in H 1b category.
Many get confused that their application will be selected in the lottery if they pay the premium fees. If you are making an application for transfer, you do not have to go through lottery process again; however,if you have taken premium processing for fresh H 1b application your application has to get selected in the H 1b lottery.
When should I make a premium processing request?
It will always be you or the employer who has to decide whether to go for a premium service request or not. Certainly, the premium processing fee is not less, and you should always opt for it if you cannot wait until the normal processing of your H 1b transfer petition.
You will be lucky if the employer is willing to pay for your h 1b premium processing fees. If not, you can do it on your own if you want to expedite processing.
What is the different processing time for H-1B Transfers?
There is no fixed time for H 1b visa transfers, and it may depend on a variety of factors such as the time of the year the transfer petition is filed, documentation, location of employment, and other factors.
For example – according to visagrader, the processing time for the H 1b visa petition for the year 2022 at the California service center is around 7.5 – 9.5 months. If you want to get expedited processing, you can always request premium processing.
Are you willing to change your H 1b employer and not sure about the right way? You are not alone. Contact the Herman Legal Group. We are an award-winning immigration law firm founded in 1995 and experienced in all areas of immigration. Our immigration lawyer will have a quick consultation with you, and you can describe your case to him.
You can set up a consultation with one of our immigration attorneys by calling us at 1-216-696-6170 or by booking online. Most of their meetings with clients and prospective clients are conducted online, via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, Facetime, or Google Meet.