Here’s another edition from “Dear Sophie,” the advice column that answers immigration-related questions about working at technology companies.
“Your questions are vital to the spread of knowledge that empowers people around the world to push beyond limits and chase their dreams,” says Sophie Acorn, a Silicon Valley immigration lawyer. “Whether you’re in people management, a founder, or looking for a job in Silicon Valley, I’d love to answer your questions in my next column.”
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I am currently working in Seattle after moving from Chile on an L-1B visa.
Can I change my L-1B visa to an H-1B visa with another company? It is my understanding that L visas are limited to working only with the issuing company.
– Charming Chilean
Congratulations on taking the first step in seeking new opportunities – and thank you for including me on your journey!
Yes, you are right: L-visas for intra-corporate transferees allow you to work only for the company that sponsored you for the visa.
All nonimmigrant work visas, including the L-1B, require you to have a job offer and an employer sponsor, and your visa is tied to your employment with that employer. The short answer to your question is yes, you can take up a new job with another company that is willing to sponsor you for an H-1B special work visa or other work visas.
It’s great that you want to make this change now because filing fees for the H-1B and other work visas will soon increase significantly. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has proposed increasing fees for the L-1, H-1B, and most other non-immigrant visas and green cards, as well as premium increase processing time from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.
Under the proposal, the registration fee for the H-1B lottery would increase from just $10 to $215, and the H-1B registration fee would increase from $460 to $780. DHS, which claims these increases are necessary to reduce processing times. shorten and clear backlogs will accept public comments on proposed rule through March 6, 2023, and I urge you to let DHS know how these changes may affect your ability to change jobs.