Corporate restructuring occurs from time to time, whether it’s two or more companies merging or a spin-off from within a company or one trying to create a successor in interest. Some of these ownership structure changes include the company name changing, among other macro to micro changes when a corporate entity succeeds.
How these new or amended changes affect H-1B employees is usually overlooked, and maintaining the valid statuses of alien workers is an issue for a new corporate entity. H-1B employers and beneficiaries need to take these corporate structure changes as well as the USCIS laws and policies governing them seriously.
Does H1B Employer Company Name Change Impact On H1-B Visa Stamping In Any Way?
If your H-1B employer is changing the name with which your H-1B petition is petitioned, there are steps before petition stamping. The H-1B beneficiary needs to present evidence of the official name change of their petitioning employer at the H-1B visa application time.
That includes documentation of the company name change showing it is still the same company despite the name change. You can hire an immigration attorney to assist you with the needed documentation to ensure no required document is missing.
You’ll also need pay stubs and an employer’s employment verification letter along with the name change document. We recommend hiring an experienced attorney for a formal consultation concerning this matter.
Company Name Changed – H1B Approved and I-140 Approved
Sometimes your H-1B petition gets approved after a frustrating RFE process, and your company employer changes name. It doesn’t impact the approval of your H-1B and I-140, but there’s just a little step to take to avoid complications.
You will need to go with an official name change letter, which you’ll take with you when you go to stamp. No amendment is required if all the changes made in the company were just the name.
If you don’t have a new employer and your client’s non-worksite location and nature of work are the same, there isn’t any impact. However, if you change your employer, you will have to go for an amendment.
Is a New or Amended Petition Required When an H-1B Employee is Transferred Between One Entity to Another In a Corporate Restructuring?
A new or amended petition needs to be filed when an H-1B beneficiary is transferred from one legal entity to another in an agency. This is especially necessary if the new entity becomes the beneficiary’s US employer as defined in the regulations.
The AFM 31.2(e) states that an amended or new petition is necessary when a beneficiary transfers from a firm to another firm within an organization.
However, another petition is not needed if the beneficiary is being transferred from one branch to another of the same firm. According to subsection (a), a firm’s branch is not considered to be a separate legal entity from its parent company.
When Should You File An Amended or New Petition?
An amended H1B petition is required when any material change occurs in the terms and conditions of an H1B holder’s employment or job duties that can affect the original approved petition. These significant changes explain any moderation to the job title or terms and conditions of an H1B employee’s employment. Examples of such material changes you can find in such a case of an amended H-1b include:
- Change of worksite location to a new worksite location outside of the area of intended employment or metropolitan statistical area;
- Changes in the beneficiary’s employment terms and conditions; and
- The beneficiary’s place of employment changes to a new job location requiring a new LCA certification.
Original Petitioning Employer Name Change for Fresh H-1B, Need to Travel
If your original petitioning employer changes name after you got it stamped, you may not need to file for an H1B amendment. You will normally only need a copy of the legal name change documents from the organization’s attorney. In addition to that, you’ll need an official letter from the company indicating that the change is only in the name.
If the terms and conditions of your employment remain the same, you don’t need an amendment if you occasionally travel to employer places. You also don’t need an amendment if your job location and responsibilities remain the same and your employer made no significant changes.
If you have a job that requires you to travel for a training session with a new firm or take short term placements for short periods in the same area or a new location, you will not be affected. The new labor condition application does not necessarily require worksite changes to be effected if such cases are for a short while. However, you will need USCIS guidance to ensure you are in full compliance.
How Can You File An H-1B Amendment?
To file an H-1B amendment petition, the initial employer has to file Form 1-129. The form notifies the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services of any significant change made to the H1B employment or public access file. Only the H1B employer files an amended H-1B petition, not the H1B beneficiary. The filing fee for the H-1B visa amendment is $1500 for Form 1-129.
You won’t be asked to pay the ACQIA fee for filing amended petitions when there is no material change on non-worksite locations. The H1B employer is expected to file an H1B amendment petition in any of the cases listed above. For example, if an H1B worker is promoted from Programmer Analyst to Software Engineer, the employer needs to file an amendment.
Why Not Hire Richard Herman Today?
When you need help with employer name change for your H-1B visa or to create a successor in interest, you need the services of an experienced immigration attorney. It is a material change, and any mistake can affect your petition on a case by case basis. With over 26 years experience, we have the most experienced immigration attorneys who offer quality immigration services and can process an H-1B visa in the United States.
You can schedule a virtual consultation with us via Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, or Facetime. You can also decide to visit our worksite location to discuss your new legal entity or corporate entity that will be created with the name change. You can contact us via +1-216-696-6170. If you prefer to speak with Richard Herman, a seasoned immigration lawyer, you can book online.
The USCIS has been gradually widening the scenarios that require an amended H1B petition. Thus, speak up if you have questions or doubts about whether you might need to file a new or amended petition to change from one location to other locations. You can also inquire about an alien’s eligibility, what the Nationality Act says about the process of moving from your original location to new location or changing the name on your H-1B visa.
You can talk to your employer or your organization’s immigration attorneys to provide clarity on gray areas and fees foreign workers or an employee spends in the process. Filing for an H1B amendment is different from filing for an extension of stay, although both require filing Form 1-129.