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Can I change jobs if I entered the U.S. on an H-1B visa?

As a foreign national, you can legally enter and work in the U.S. through an employer-sponsored visa known as the H-1B visa. If you are an H-1B visa holder, one of the questions you might have is whether you can change your current job for a better one. After all, you are in America – the land of opportunities. 

Yes, you can change jobs without losing your H-1B status. However, you cannot transfer your H-1B visa from one employer to the next. Instead, your new employer will have to submit a new H-1B petition on your behalf. This is known as H-1B visa portability

How H-1B visa portability works

Your new employer will need to petition for a new H-1B visa just as your previous employer did. This includes taking the following steps:

  • Providing an appointment letter that specifies the details of your contract such as your position, role and employment duration
  • Filing a Labor Condition Application (LCA)
  • Providing notice to the collective bargaining representative for your organization’s employees
  • Applying for the visa by providing the supporting documentation  as well as the application fees

Along with your new employer’s visa petition, you will be required to update your personal information such as your social security information, paycheck stubs, passport and I-94 records, the most recent valid visa, resume and educational records. 

Once these are submitted, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will acknowledge your visa application receipt. At this point, you can take up your job with the new employer even before the approval of your visa. 

The idea that you can change jobs while on the H-1B visa can be a welcome relief when searching for greener pastures. Find out how can protect your interests when changing jobs while on an H-1B visa.