Can I change my employer after my H1B application is approved?
The short answer is yes, you can. But you need to keep a few things in mind. The H1B application is tied to the employer who sponsored you. So if you need to move to a new employer, the new employer has to file a new H1B application for you and eventually get that application approved in order for you to keep working for that employer. One of the upsides of H1B change of employer applications is that you can actually start working for the new employer before the new H1B application is actually approved. That’s part of the H1B portability program.
Something To Consider
Another thing to consider is that if you are working for a company that is smaller and may have some questionable issues regarding its H1B approval, or if you’ve had problems personally, getting your H1B approved because of credentials or some other reasons, then you may actually want to wait until the H1B application is approved with the new employer before moving to the new employer.
Typically the H1B can take several months to get approved. If the new employer is willing to go under the premium processing program, they could potentially get the H1B approved for you within 15 days. However, that’s a case by case decision, and you may or may not want to go through the premium processing program and you may or may not want to wait until the approval is actually received by the new employer. The new employer typically likes having H1B candidates who have already gone through the H1B process, because that means that they’ve gone through the H1B cap process and they don’t have to go through the process again. So for the employer, you’re a much more certain candidate as far as getting the H1B approved and not having to wait a long time to get your H1B through the cap process. You can pretty much start working in a fairly short amount of time for the new employer.
Remember the 6 year maximum for H1B
Finally, one thing to remember about the H1B process is it has a cap of six years where you can remain in H1B status. And if you’re getting close to that six years, you probably want to negotiate with the new employer to see if they can file your permanent resident application. And that’s typically the only way that you’re going to be able to get more than six years in H1B status. So the employer might need to file your PERM application and your I-140 immigrant petition application and adjustment of status if you’re eligible for that right away, so that you can get the green card. Or if you’re not eligible to adjust your status, but just have the approved I-140 immigrant petition, at least the employer can keep you on H1B status for longer than the six years that’s normally allotted for the H1B application timeframe. So the employer would file the PERM and the I-140 immigrant petition, and then they could extend you in three-year increments until your visa number becomes available so that you can adjust status in the US.
Those are just a few things to consider on H1Bs when you’re transferring from one employer to another employer. There are a lot more considerations, but that’s just the basics. And I hope that’s helpful. Take care.