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Do I need a new visa if I change my H-1B employer?

A puzzle piece of employees

The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that permits a company to hire workers in specialty occupations. The applicant generally has to have a Bachelor’s degree and the visa can be granted for up to 6 years. The question that sometimes arises is whether you need a new H-1B visa that will have the name of the new employer after you change employers in the U.S.

Example

You worked for a Company A and this company originally sponsored you for an H-1B visa, and you have an H-1B visa in your passport that is annotated with the name of Company A. You are now changing employers (this is called portability)  and Company B filed a Change of Employer petition that was approved by USCIS. You started working for Company B and now want to travel outside the U.S. The visa you had for Company A is still valid for another 1,5 years but it has Company A’s name on it so you are not sure whether you need to apply for a new visa that will have Company’s B name on it.

The answer is that as long as you have a valid H-1B visa, you don’t need to apply for a new one just because you changed employers. In the scenario above, because your H-1B visa is still valid, you will not need to get a new H-1B visa. One document you will have to carry with you though when entering the U.S. is the I-797  Approval notice for the new company.

If you are travelling while the change of employer (transfer) petition is still pending, then you would have to carry the Receipt notice  showing that an I-129 change of employer petition was filed.

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