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What Are the Rules for Changing My Job Under an H-1B Visa?

One of the more complicated aspects of being in the U.S. on an employment-based visa is the level of scrutiny and specificity it takes to be approved. Immigration law plays out according to a strict set of rules. Life, on the other hand, is not always so clear-cut. 

What is the H-1B visa category?

The H-1B visa program allows U.S. employers to fill certain specialty occupation positions with foreign nationals. Each year, the H-1B program has a numerical cap of 65,000 new visas, with an additional 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with master’s degrees or higher from a U.S. institution of higher education who are exempt from the cap. 

Can you change jobs if you have an H-1B visa?

However, when an employee is already a visa holder under the H-1B program, they are not subject to the cap, which can benefit both the employer and the employee. Employers do not need to worry about the lottery process, which can make prospective employees more attractive and competitive in the labor market.

What can go wrong when changing jobs on an H-1B visa?

Because employees who are in the U.S. as a beneficiary of the H-1B program are already approved, they can immediately start working for the new employer once the petition is filed. The assumption is that it will be approved and, since they are not subject to the caps, they should have no problem remaining eligible.

Can you transfer from a J-1 visa to an H-1B visa?

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