H1B Transfer – After i94 Expiry, Bridge Risk (Pending Extension)
H1B transfer can start working on receipt with no 240 day limit. Unlawful presence starts on denial after i94 expiry. Go back to old employer if H1B valid.
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If your old employer has not withdrawn your H1B yet, you can go back into H-1B status by starting work for your old employer again.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.
Recent discussion on forum
I had told about this situation earlier…My husband joined Company B and transfer was from Company A’s valid petition… He got an RFE for B’s petition, Then my husband joined Company C using Company A’s valid petition and Company B’s paystubs. Now he has got an RFE for C’s petition regarding maintenance of status. He has all the paystubs and w2’s. Company B’s last paystub was generated 3 months late and it mentions pay period as Aug 1st to August 31st. But it has to be May 1st to 17th. Company C’s petition was received by USCIS on May 1st. Will it be a denial if we submit that paystub or we don’t submit it at all? Old employer is not ready to correct that mistake in Paystub.
You have posted for the first time and you started your message that ‘you have posted earlier’?
I don’t understand your situation at all.
When was all the applications filed? Before i94 expired or before?
Why didn’t the company B run payroll? How did your husband maintain H1B status without running payroll?
You must have got a new i94 with your amendment approval. USCIS sends that i94 attached to i797. Check with your employer.
The paper i94 is not usually updated online. So, you are effectively looking at old i94.
Your H1B transfer will be a bridged as your current i94 has expired in Dec 2019.
Looks like there is some disconnect. If USCIS approved your amendment, then they must have issued a new i94.
Your understanding of visa stamp and petition approval is wrong. Visa only allows entry to US and does not govern your stay in US.
Visa validity till March 2020 does not mean that you can stay in US till March.
Please talk to your Employer’s attorney to first find out your correct i94 date and then we can suggest something.
Hi Anil, Great Article!
Could you please help me with my Scenario if this falls under Bridge Scenario?
*** I-94 Expires on Oct-27-2020 *** (through Employer-A)
–Employer-A (Last working day Sep-30-2020) ---->
–Joining Employer-B (Contract) on Oct-1-2020 (H1B Transfer Receipt received on Sep-13-2020, will Start working from Oct-1-2010) ----->
–Employer-C (Full-time) (Received Offer on Sep-22-2020 and H1B Will be filed by Oct-10-2020 on Premium Processing)
i.e. Employer-C’s Petition will be filed before I-94 Expiry but after I had resigned from Employer-A and While working for Employer-B.
Q1- Will Employer B’s Petition become a Bridge Petition to Employer-C Petition?
(I read this “82 FR 82441” about Bridge petition online, but couldn’t clearly understand)
Q2 - If so, Employer-C’s Petition cannot be Adjudicated until B’s Petition’s decision?
Q3 - Employer C’s Petition Decision is Dependent on Employer-B’s Petition?
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