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Can H1B work from home? Yes, an H1B can work from home if a few conditions are met. A lot depends on the location of your home with respect to your work office.
A concept called MSA (metropolitan statistical area) is important as it defines the boundaries of approved LCA.
You have to post LCA irrespective of MSA but an H1B amendment is also required if your home is in a different MSA.
Note that the requirement is not judged by 50 miles distance as many people believe. An MSA may change within a mile too.
This article will discuss:
Home Address As Work Location in LCA
You can work from home if your H1B petition has your home address listed as the ‘work location’ permanently.
If your current approved H1B does not list your home address, then you need to file an H1B Amendment to get USCIS permission to work from home.
You can telecommute occasionally if the home address is not mentioned in the H1B application but your home falls in the same MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) as your office.
#1 Home address is in the same MSA
DOL relaxed the H1B LCA requirements specifically for the Coronavirus situation if you are asked to work from home due to your office closure.
You can now post LCA within 30 days of starting work at home.
Normally, you have to post this LCA on or before starting work at home.
How to Post LCA at Home
If your home is within the same MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) as your office, you can just post a new LCA at your home for at least 10 days and work tension-free from home.
Attorneys recommend printing and pasting (or hanging) the approved H1B LCA at two prominent locations inside your house. These two locations can be:
- Your kitchen and
- Your work table or work room inside the house or apartment
Take a picture of these LCA postings and send it to your HR’s official business email address. This will work as an official record.
This same LCA can be posted at your employer’s main office with your home address if the office is open.
LCA approval from DOL is not required if you are working within the same MSA.
#2 Working from Home Outside MSA
Normally, working from home that falls outside the metropolitan services area requires a newly approved LCA from DOL and an H1B amendment.
During special situations like Coronavirus, the employer can ask H1B workers to work from home outside MSA if these conditions have been met without the H1B Amendment:
(A) Work for up to 30 days
- H1B employer keeps paying the salary as per PWD at the original location.
- Pay lodging (Hotel cost or home rent) cost for all workdays and holidays.
- Pay the actual cost of travel, meals, and incidental or miscellaneous expenses (for both workdays and non-workdays).
A real-life example:
The H1B transfer was approved but the employer asked to keep working from home in a different state. The employer’s office is closed due to the coronavirus at this time.
(B) Work for Up to 60 days
- H1B employee has a permanent place of work at the original location mentioned in LCA.
- The H-1B worker spends a substantial amount of time at the permanent work site in a one-year period; and
- The H-1B’s home is located in the area of the permanent office location and not in the area of the short-term worksite(s) (e.g., the worker’s personal mailing address; the worker’s lease for an apartment or other home; the worker’s bank accounts; the worker’s automobile driver’s license; the residence of the worker’s dependents).
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USCIS Site Visits At Home – H1B, L1
USCIS is conducting H1B fraud detection site visits over the phone instead of physically visiting the employer officer’s location.
One of our guests reported that the USCIS FDNS officer contacted the employer and then called the H1b employee directly over the phone instead of visiting the office physically during the Coronavirus emergency week.
The USCIS site visit officer then asked the H1B employee to submit these documents via email directly to the officer:
- Copy of work ID card
- List of job duties performed on a daily basis.
- A copy of my college degree
- Last four pay stubs
H1B visa stamping for work from Home
- You should carry all original H1B amendment/transfer application i797 forms.
- The work location in the DS-160 form should be your HOME address.
- The Visa officer’s (VO) question for work location should be answered with YOUR HOME ADDRESS/CITY and NOT your employer’s address.
This address should MATCH the one listed on the LCA and H1B application.
You can have multiple work locations listed in your H1B application. People who have traveling jobs do have multiple offices listed in their applications.
You can work remotely from home even if it is located in a different state than the H1B employer’s office.
This holds true even if the employer’s head office is in another city/state with a different metropolitan statistical area (called MSA).
Please note that if MSA changes, the H1B amendment is necessary to list your home address as one of your work locations.
The distance in-state does NOT matter. Your office could be in New York and your home (work location) could be in California. Whatever work location is mentioned in the H1B application holds good.
If your work location (i.e. your home) is in a separate MSA from your office, then you will also need to file an H1B amendment.
This applies if your current H1B petition does not already list your home address as a work location and you want to start working from home.
Some people try to do it with the H1B transfer application too. This is also fine as an H1B transfer is nothing but a new H1B application. Whatever work location you specify holds validity for the application’s validity period.
Some H1B employers post it at their head office irrespective of the actual home address (work location) of the employee. This is acceptable and a recommended practice.
This is true even if the worker’s home is located in a different state/city altogether.
If not posted at the employer’s headquarters, the LCA should be posted on the main door or at two separate locations inside the employee’s home i.e. the work location.
The primary location can be shown as your Home address.
The house office can also be the ONLY work location.
You can have multiple work locations in your H1B application including both home and office addresses.
Yes, It is possible that USCIS visits the employee’s work location i.e. the home address listed in the H1B application for work verification, as they normally do surprise visits in the office.
You should be careful when filing the H1B amendment to make sure the correct home address is listed.
It is possible that the ‘prevailing wage‘ in your home location is either more or less than your office’s location.
Your employer would need to pay you according to the work location i.e. your home location’s Prevailing wage requirements.
They may have to raise their salary if the prevailing wage in their home location is more than their current salary to maintain H1B visa employment rules.
Well, legally you can do it but the chances of H1B approval with a home address are really low. Your end client will have to provide a lot of paperwork supporting your home office location.
If you are working as a full-time employee (FTE) for an end client, things are a bit easy as the justification for working from home is easy, with no consulting company involved.