H1B transfer is a new petition to change your H1B employer. Once approved, you will receive a new i797 notice of approval with a new i94 attached to paper i797.
Each H1B transfer application is also an H1B extension automatically as the employer requested a work permit for 3 years.
I strongly recommend filing H1B transfer in premium and join a new employer only after H1B approval especially with IT consulting companies who have a high rate of H1B denials.
While Extension in Progress
You can file H1B transfer while extension is in progress.
If your current i94 is valid, you can transfer H1B when the extension is in progress as the pending extension will not become a bridge.
You can switch employer after i94 expiry but your pending extension application will become a bridge petition. USCIS can only approve H1B transfer as consular processing if they approve unless an extension is approved first.
File Second Transfer before First’s Denial – i94 expired, Old H1B expired
If you file a second H1B transfer before the first one reaches a result, you can start and keep working for a new employer.
If the first H1B transfer is denied, the bridge between the first H1B transfer and the second one is broken and hence your second H1B transfer will also be denied ultimately.
Your “Unlawful presence” begins on the day of the first H1B transfer denial in this case.
File New H1B Transfer After Denial
You cannot file another H1B extension, or transfer, or change of status to some other visa category as you are currently “Out of Status” after H1B transfer denial.
You are allowed to file a new H1B application with ‘Consular processing’ and wait outside the US for its result.
If you file an H1B extension or transfer now requesting an extension of your stay in the US, it will be rejected as you filed it on the day when your status was “Out of status”.
i-94 Still Valid
If you started working for a new employer on receipt, you are still out of status and the period of authorized stay ends after denial.
But, unlawful presence will not start as the I-94 has not expired.
If your old employer has not withdrawn your H1B yet, you can go back into H-1B status by starting work for your old employer again.
i-94 Expired, Old H1B Expired
You can re-file h1B transfer but you cannot start working as your current status is “Out of status’ after denial.
It will be approved with consular processing meaning that you will have to go out of the US and get H1B stamped in the passport to re-enter.
Without New i94
The H1B transfer I-797 approval notice should either have an I-94 or consular processing information.
If you did not receive a new i94, it means you’ll need to leave the US, obtain an H-1B visa stamp abroad, and then re-enter the US.
With New i-94
if you get a new i94 issued with approval, you are lucky and can continue working as usual. No need to worry.
You can start working on an H1B transfer receipt with a new employer before your current i94 expiry.
But, I recommend waiting for approval before joining a new H1B employer.
Once your i94 expires your status will be counted as “period of authorized stay” based on your pending H1B transfer with USCIS if you have joined the new employer on receipt.
If you joined the new employer after an H1B transfer approval, you are invalid H1B status.
You can file H1B transfer after i94 expiry and start working for a new employer too.
Your pending H1B extension from the current employer will become a bridge petition and may affect the result of H1B transfer.
There is no H1B 240-day limit applicable for H1B transfer cases if filed before i94 expiry with USCIS.
You can keep working for new employer even after 240 days if the petition is still pending with USCIS.
If you had already started working for a new H1B transfer employer, you are immediately OUT OF STATUS from the denial date.
You should leave the US immediately (preferably within 10-15 days) to avoid adding ‘Unlawful presence’ to your name.
Your period of authorized stay starting from your i94 expiry date to denial date ends too.