H1B Transfer: Process, Fees & Documents

The H1B transfer is used when people on the H1B visa in the U.S. wish to change their employer. In order to apply for an H1B transfer, the H1B visa holder is required to accept the new job offer. Following this, they can start the H1B transfer procedure which could take some months. Here we explain the H1B transfer process. 

H1B Transfer
H1B Transfer


Unlike when you initially apply for the H1B visa, the H1B transfer has no visa cap. The H1B visa has a cap of 65000. There is no need to go through this lottery again.

The following are the steps of the process:

1. Receive the new employment offer 

You must receive the new job offer before starting the H1B visa transfer process.

2. The employer needs to get a Labor Condition Application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). 

In order to hire foreign workers U.S. employers must get an LCA certification from the U.S Department of Labor. Employers have to file form ETA9035E for this certification. This certification ensures that the U.S. employer will treat foreign workers fairly by compensating them with a full wage and providing a good work environment. The certification informs the U.S government that the foreign workers are in the country legally. The employer must get the certification before the rest of the steps can take place. Getting the LCA usually takes 7 days.

3. Employer must file form I-129 with the USCIS 

U.S employers file form 1-129 of the H1B petition for permission to hire foreign workers. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) processes this form. It approves or denies the petition. 

While the form is being processed, the employer and employee are sent a receipt number from the USCIS. Upon receiving the receipt number, the employee can start work for the new employer. Once the petition has been approved, the employer and the employee receive the I-797 form. This form is proof that the employee can work in the U.S. for this particular owner legally. 

The employer must also file form I-9 which is the Employment Eligibility Verification form with the USCIS. 

H1B Transfer Fees to be Paid by U.S. Employer 

The employer has to pay the following fees for the H1B transfer. This is comparable to the process of getting the H1B visa. Your new employer is hiring a new foreign worker and must pay these fees:

  • I-129 form filling fees
  • The American Competitiveness and Workforce Improvement Act of 1998 (ACWIA) Fee – which is $750 for employers with less than 25 full time employees in the US and $1,500 for employers with more than 25 full time employees in the US
  • Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee – $500 for each foreign worker
  • The Public Law Fee – $4,000 if the employer has more than 50 employees, and 50% of them are on H1B or L visas.
  • If they want Premium Processing, the extra fee is $1,225 by filing Form I-907 with USCIS

H1B Transfer Documents 

  • Copy of the offer letter from employer
  • Copy of passport
  • Copy of current H1B visa (visa stamp)
  • Copy of Form I-797
  • Copy of Form I-94
  • Copy of social security card
  • Copy of qualifications (degrees and certificates)
  • Recent pay stubs (2 or 3 previous pay stubs)
  • Copy of tax returns (if applicable)
  • Updated resume
  • If you have medical professions, you will need to submit a copy of your state license

In order to apply for an H1B transfer , your H1B visa must still be valid. If it expires, you have to apply for the H1B visa all over again.  If you have your H1B visa, you do not need to to a file a DS-160 form again, like in the original process. The above mentioned documents are the only ones that need to be submitted to the USCIS. 

Processing Time 

The documents can be processed through regular procedure or premium processing. Regular procedure takes 1 to 4 months and H1B transfer premium processing takes 15 to 30 days. The USCIS may approve or deny the application. 

The H1B transfer premium processing is $1,225 for results in 15 to 30 days. This will tell you if you can start work for your new employer or if the petition has been denied. 

If your H1B Transfer is Denied

The H1B visa transfer may be denied by USCIS.  There could be a Request for Evidence (RFE) before the actual denial. USCIS will send you the RFE. This does not mean that the H1B transfer has been denied. It means that USCIS needs additional documents in order to make a decision.

These documents may vary per case, but usually there are four kinds of RFEs:

  • Educational Qualifications
  • Determination of a specialty occupation
  • Proof of employer/employee relationship
  • Financial documents

Once the RFE documents are submitted by the employer or employee, USCIS will make a decision to approve or deny it. The H1B transfer may be denied. 

If the H1B is denied, USCIS will give a reason for this. After this you can reapply and use premium processing to expedite the process. Here are some common USCIS reasons for an H1B transfer denial:

  1. Not paying the correct fees

2. Employee lacks proof of specialty occupation

3. Failing to prove the employer / employee relationship

4. The employer is unable to pay you

Other reasons could be:

  • You did not deliver the documents to the right entity
  • Your employer did not fill the documents accordingly
  • You have committed a crime or violated immigration laws
  • Any one of these would give USCIS reason enough to deny your H1B transfer. Therefore, make sure to collect all the right documents and fulfill all the requirements so that you can get your H1B transfer approved.

Also Read: H1B Lottery Process: Functioning & Requirements

How to Check your H1B Visa Status Online

H1B Visa to Green Card: Employment-Based Green Card

H1B Visa Stamping in India

H1B Visa Fees for Indians

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Does one have to have a valid H1B visa to apply to an H1B transfer ?


How long does it take to get an H1B transfer?

Regular procedure takes 1 to 4 months and premium processing takes 15 to 30 days.

What is the cost of premium processing ?

The H1B transfer premium processing is $1,225.

Does the H1B transfer process have a lottery ?

No, it does not.

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