Can you switch jobs on an H-1B visa?

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For many foreign nationals, they wish to come to the United States for better job opportunities than what they have in their home country. Fortunately, the U.S. offers temporary and permanent work visas to accommodate these individuals. One of the most common employment-based visas a foreign worker may obtain is an H-1B visa. An H-1B visa is a temporary work visa reserved for individuals with specialized knowledge in a particular field for specialty occupations. Obtaining this employment-based visa can be a time-consuming and stressful process. When USICS finally approves your application, it may feel like a dream come true. However, you may wonder what happens if you want to change jobs. Please continue reading to learn whether you can change occupations or employers while on a work visa. In addition, contact a knowledgeable Essex County Employment Immigration Attorney who can help you consider your legal options. 

Can I Change Jobs While on a Work Visa?

If you wish to live and work in the U.S. temporarily, you can seek an H-1B visa. As mentioned above, an H-1B visa is a non-immigrant work visa that allows U.S. employers to hire foreign workers in specialty occupations. When you’ve secured a job and found a U.S. employer willing to sponsor your H-1B visa, you may feel fortunate to have this opportunity. This can make it challenging to leave the job. However, sometimes it’s necessary.

Fortunately, you have a few options for changing employers while on a work visa. You must understand that you cannot switch jobs on an H-1B visa. To change your job, you must secure a new H-1B visa, following the same procedures as you did with your initial petition. Ultimately, you cannot switch jobs on an H-1B visa. You will need to restart the application process.

What is an H-1B transfer?

If you’ve been terminated unexpectedly or been offered a better job opportunity while on an H-1B visa, a few options are available to change your sponsoring employer. While some people mistakenly believe they can transfer their H-1B visa, that is not possible. H-1B visa holders can change their employer while in the U.S. under a process known as the H-1B visa transfer. Essentially, to apply, they must accept the new job offer when they still have a valid employment-based visa. Through this process, you will file a new H-1B visa petition. However, since you hold a valid work visa and already reside in the U.S., you can benefit from this process because you will not be subject to any visa caps, you can petition at any time of the year, and you can begin working at the new employer once you’ve received proof that the new petition has been filed.

If you’re considering undergoing the H-1B transfer process, it is in your best interest to contact a qualified attorney from the Law Offices of Christopher T. Howell, Esq., who can help you and your new employer navigate this often-confusing legal process.