Navigating the H-1B Transfer Process

In the realm of international employment, the H-1B visa stands as a gateway for skilled workers to pursue career opportunities in the United States. However, the landscape of employment is dynamic, and professionals often find themselves seeking new opportunities or facing unexpected changes in their employment status. In such situations, understanding the H-1B transfer process becomes essential.

Understanding the Basics of H-1B Transfer

An H-1B transfer refers to the process of transferring an existing H-1B visa from one employer to another. This typically occurs when an H-1B visa holder transitions from one job to another within the United States. The transfer allows the individual to continue working legally in the country under the sponsorship of a new employer.

Eligibility Criteria

Before initiating the H-1B transfer process, it’s crucial to ensure eligibility. Here are the key criteria:

Valid H-1B Status: The individual must currently hold a valid H-1B visa status.

Employment Offer: The applicant must have a bona fide job offer from a new employer in a role that qualifies for H-1B status.

Employer’s H-1B Sponsorship: The new employer must be willing to sponsor the H-1B transfer by filing a new H-1B petition on behalf of the applicant.

Steps Involved in H-1B Transfer

Job Offer Acceptance: Once a job offer is extended and accepted, the new employer initiates the H-1B transfer process.

New Employer’s H-1B Petition Filing: The new employer files an H-1B petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the employee.

Notification to Current Employer: While not mandatory, it’s often considered professional courtesy to inform the current employer about the intention to transfer the visa.

USCIS Processing: USCIS reviews the new employer’s H-1B petition, ensuring compliance with all relevant regulations and requirements.

Approval and Commencement of Employment: Upon approval, the employee can begin working for the new employer immediately.

Important Considerations

Maintaining Status: It’s crucial to maintain legal status throughout the H-1B transfer process. Working without authorization or after the expiration of the current H-1B status can lead to serious consequences, including deportation.

Premium Processing Option: For expedited processing, applicants can opt for premium processing by paying an additional fee. This can significantly shorten the processing time, typically to 15 calendar days.

Mailing Receipt Requirement: While waiting for USCIS approval, applicants can start employment with the new employer upon receiving the mailing receipt from USCIS acknowledging the submission of the H-1B transfer petition. This receipt serves as proof that the petition is pending, allowing individuals to legally begin work while awaiting formal approval.

Impact on Green Card Process: The transfer does not directly impact an ongoing green card application. However, it’s essential to ensure that the new employer supports the green card process if it’s a part of the long-term plan.

Legal Assistance: Seeking guidance from immigration attorneys experienced in H-1B transfers can simplify the process and mitigate potential risks.


Navigating the H-1B transfer process can be complex, but with thorough understanding and preparation, it can be accomplished smoothly. From securing a job offer to obtaining USCIS approval, each step requires attention to detail and adherence to immigration regulations. By staying informed and seeking appropriate legal guidance, H-1B visa holders can transition seamlessly to new employment opportunities in the United States, furthering their careers and contributing to the diverse tapestry of the nation’s workforce.

Ready to make a smooth transition to your next career opportunity in the United States? Let Kona HR guide you through the process. Contact us today for expert assistance and ensure your journey forward is seamless and compliant.

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