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Visa holders visiting the United States need to know what the processes are that impact their visas and their ability to work. The H1B visa is one of the most important visas that can be issued, and this is issued under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101. It basically allows US employers to be able to hire foreign workers, even in specialized occupations.
Employees eligible for H1B visas must hold a US bachelor’s degree, or at least the equivalent of one, and this is because a specialty occupation requires specialized knowledge and skills. An H1B transfer is an important process and one that you need to understand in order to capitalize on this. So, let’s take a closer look at this process, what it entails, and what you can do to initiate an H1B transfer in the least stressful way possible!
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What Is an H1B Transfer?
An H1B transfer is a process that allows individuals to change and transfer to a different employer. One of the best things about this is that it means that the visa holder is not required to get permission from their previous employer to be able to do this. You must first make sure you have an existing H1B visa, and that you accept the new job role that you are offered. This is an essential part of the process of being able to seek new employment in the United States, and it is vital to ensure that everything is done above board.
The H1B transfer process came about largely as a result of the AC21 Act. Because of this act, H1B visa holders were given more portability for their visa status, allowing them to transfer to new employers. The process can start to happen as soon as the new employer lodges an application with the USCIS. Once your employer gets the I-797C Notice of Action you will be able to start working, but it is recommended you wait until you receive your official visa transfer approval from the USCIS.
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How to Apply for the H1B Transfer
Applying for the H1B process is something you need to get right, and this means understanding the process. Now, the first thing to keep in mind when you are looking to get this process underway is to get your prospective new employer to file an I-129 form with the USCIS. Once this is submitted, along with an I-9 form, and a Labor Condition Application, you will need to take care of your side of things.
As the applicant, you need to submit several documents to help expedite this process as much as possible, and they include:
- Copy of your current H1B visa
- Copy of your passport
- Copy of your social security card
- Proof of degrees and qualifications
- Employment offer letter
- Copy of I-94 Form
- Copy of I-797 Form
There are a lot of elements you need to keep in mind when it comes to helping make this a smoother and more successful process. You need to make sure you have copies of all the relevant documents and information that can help you make this happen and get the ball rolling at the same time.
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How Long Will it Take to Process?
Whenever you file for a transfer or try to sort out any kind of paperwork, there is always an anxious wait to see how long it will take to process this, and see if it all comes back without issue. There are a lot of things that can cause delays when it comes to this transfer application, and you need to understand that this can take a while. Generally speaking, this is a process you can expect to take 3 to 8 weeks for the application and transfer to be completed, and you need to account for this.
That means looking at taking the best steps to ensure you plan and prepare for this and make sure you sort out your employment situation, make sure you have enough money to live on if needed, in the event that things take longer. You have to also understand and prepare for the fact that there could well end up being further delays, but you can also ask your new employer to request premium processing time in order to expedite the application process as much as possible.
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What Qualifies You for an H1B Transfer?
There are certain conditions that need to be adhered to when it comes to ensuring you are eligible for this process. Knowing what the qualifications are is important to ensure that everything is being done above board and that you can ensure a swift and successful application. These are some of the key qualifications that play a part in an H1B transfer application:
- You are able to start work, if required, on the day your new employer receives a receipt from the USCIS
- You must be under H1B status, and you must start working on the date indicated on the application
- You must provide proof of previous employment - preferably payslips, but failing that other documentation will be sufficient
- If you have a gap in employment then you should look to file for premium processing
Cost of an H1B Transfer
Of course, much like with all these visa transfer processes, they don’t come free of charge. And understanding the costs involved before getting started is very important. Since your new employer is hiring you, a foreign worker, they will need to cover the costs involved in the H1B visa transfer process. Among these costs include:
- ACWIA fee ($750-$1500 depending upon the number of employees)
- Fraud prevention and detection fee ($500)
- The Public Law fee (up to $4000)
- I-129 filing fees
- Premium processing fee ($1225)
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What to Do If Your Application is Declined
Now, there may well be occasions on which your application is denied, and this means you need to take action. You need to know about the chances of your application being denied, as well as what this involves, how to approach it, and what you can do in the event of your application being denied. These are some of the things you have to make sure you keep in mind when looking to deal with your application potentially being denied.
Understand the Difference Between A Denial and A Rejection
It’s important to make sure you understand the difference between a denial and a rejection with regard to your application. The main thing to keep in mind is the fact that a rejection will typically come about as a result of missing information, and you’ll need to reapply again in this instance. A denial is what happens if you or your employer do not meet the necessary requirements for an H1B transfer.
Reasons Your Application May Have Been Denied
It is important to understand why your application might have been denied, and there are a few reasons that could well have led to this happening. These are some of the most common reasons why an H1B transfer application is denied.
1. Employer requirements
A common reason for an application being denied can often be due to your potential employer not meeting the requirements needed. This is really frustrating when it happens because this is nothing to do with you and something that is pretty much out of your hands. Make sure you and your employer know all the requirements of the application so that this is not an issue you need to contend with.
2. A lack of specialized skills/knowledge
Something that might be on you with regards to a denied application is your lack of specialized knowledge or skills. When you are hired for a specialist role, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and experience to be able to do this job effectively - this is where the bachelor’s degree comes into play.
3. Unpaid fees
You might also find that the application might be denied as a result of unpaid fees, or fees that are only partially paid. This is why it is important for you and your employer to understand what the costs involved are, and to do as much as possible to try to cover these effectively right now. This is one of the areas that should not be an issue in any application, so it is important to iron out any issues in this right now.
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Get Quick and Positive H1B Transfer Outcomes
This gives you a good breakdown of the H1B transfer process, and what you can (and should) expect from it. This is an integral process for foreigners living in the United States who are looking to be able to advance their career paths and get the best possible outcome.
You want to make sure you do everything by the book and get the best possible outcome in the quickest possible time. This means you need to make sure you are focused on getting the best possible outcome from the transfer. Understanding the ins and outs of the H1B transfer process is important, and the more you can do to help get the right outcome, the better.