Change It Up: Your H-1B Transfer Option

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Say you went through the process of getting your H-1b visa and moving to the United States to work only to find out your job isn’t the right fit for you. No problem! Once you have an H-1b visa, you can transfer jobs without loosing your visa status so long as the job still qualifies as an H-1b position.

Though the initial H-1b process was daunting, getting your visa transferred is a comparatively simple and risk-free process. All you have to do is find another specialty occupation for which you are academically qualified that accepts H-1b workers. This position must require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Once you’ve secured your status, it will be easier to find employers willing to sponsor you because now all of the hardest part of the legwork and investment is done. You don’t have to stick with a job you hate to keep your visa status.

One of the greatest benefits of H-1b visa status is you can change jobs without loosing your visa status. You don’t have to notify your employer that you plan to transfer, and once your transfer has been approved you still have the freedom to change your mind and stay with your current job. H-1b transfers are not subject to the annual cap, so you won’t have to worry about getting into the lottery. Remember, it’s a new job, not a new visa.

Once your visa is approved, you can take as much time as you want between ending your current job and beginning your new job. How much time you take and what you do with this time is entirely up to you. Some people take this opportunity to travel or visit family. Others dive right into their new job.

You can’t just change jobs without alerting the USCIS. Just like all other visa-related processes, you will have to petition the USCIS for an H-1b transfer. This process takes about 4-8 weeks, but can take more. In this petition, you’ll need to include your last three pay stubs, copies of your immigration paperwork, as well as copies of your educational documents. If your specialized degree is from a country besides the US, you will need to submit a credential evaluation along with your documents to clearly show the value of your education in terms of US academic structures and standards. Don’t submit educational documents without first getting them translated into English and evaluated for US academic equivalence.

Don’t stick it out with a job you hate when you can find fulfillment in your dream job. The hard part is over, you’ve got your H-1b visa status. Now make the most of it.

Sheila Danzig is the director of Career Consulting International at, a foreign credential evaluation agency. They specialize in difficult cases and RFEs, Denials, NOIDs, 3-year degrees, etc. and offer a free review of all H1B, E2, and I140 education at

This article was written by Rebecca Little