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What is the H1B Visa Amendment Process?
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This blog contains the following information:

  • What is H1B Amendment?
  • Situations that do not require an H1B visa Amendment
  • How to file an H1B Amendment?
  • Cost and processing time

A Quick Intro to the H1B Visa Amendment

The H1B visa is one of the most popular non-immigrant visas issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). There are many reasons why foreigners prefer the H1B to other visas. It allows portability, change of employers, and even allows you to work full-time or part-time for multiple employers.

However, the USCIS has very strict rules, regulations, and requirements that all H1B holders must follow. One of the main requirements is the H1B Amendment which notifies the USCIS of any significant material change in the H1B employment. The change could also include a work location change even if the employee is working under the same H1B employer.

Filing the H1B Amendment is mandatory. You would need your sponsoring employer to submit a new petition in several situations. It is necessary to file a new petition if your position changes significantly or if you change employers. USCIS will determine whether or not you qualify for an H-1B visa again. You need to file to have your current H1B petition amended if there are:

Apart from this, it helps to understand the process more with detailed information on H1B amendments, circumstances under which it is required or not required.

The petition needs to be amended in these situations if the position is still classified as a specialty occupation requiring a bachelor's degree or higher qualifications.

Like every other H1B process, there is a particular way to file an H1B Amendment petition. Take a look at the details.

Steps to File An H1B Amendment Petition

Filing an H1B Visa Amendment is easy compared to many other H1B processes. Your employer must file an H1B Amendment petition if your original petition has undergone significant material changes. To do so, he must follow these steps:

Step 1
All the documents both of the employee and the H1B employer have to be made ready.

Step 2
Your employer has to fill a new Labor Condition Application with all the relevant details pertaining to the material change.

Step 3
Your employer should submit the completed LCA and the Amendment petition to the Department of Labor and get its approval.

Step 4
The employer has to prepare all the documents mentioned below:

  • Letter of Support
  • Forms I-129W, I-129H and I-129
  • Employee's H-1B visa
  • Copy of employee's passport
  • Copy of Form I-94
  • Copy of employee's updated resume
  • Copies of employee's three recent payslips
  • Copies of employee's educational degrees.
  • Employee's work itinerary
  • Filled Form I-907 and G28 signed by the attorney if opted for premium processing.

Step 5
Employer has to mail all the documents and fee payment checks and a filled Form I-129 to the USCIS.

Step 6
Wait for the USCIS denial or approval of the employee's H1B Amendment petition. If the USCIS approves the petition, it means that the amendment in your H1B visa is valid.

The next big question regarding any visa process is the cost and processing time. Read on to know these details.

H1B Amendment Cost & Processing Time

To notify the USCIS of a pending material change, your h1B employer must first file an H1B Amendment petition with a Form I-129. The H1B amendment fee costs $1500. You may incur additional fees if you opt for Premium Processing to expedite the process.

The processing time for amending an H1B visa takes anywhere between 4 to 6 months. Of course, with Premium Processing, the process will be done within 15 days. Without Premium Processing, the processing time can vary on the circumstances and the workload of the USCIS service center that's handling your petition.

Therefore, you can expect the processing to take longer if you file your Amendment petition in April, which is the H1B visa filing season.

Does your employer have to file an H1B Amendment petition for every little change or circumstance that alters your h1B visa? No. Some circumstances do not require filing an amendment petition. The USCIS policy memorandum 2015 provides guidelines on when to file an amendment petition. Let's look at some scenarios where you do not require filing it.

5 Scenarios Where H1B Amendment is Not Required

1. Transfer of job location within the area of intended employment

It is not necessary to file a new LCA when your employer transfers you to a new location of work within the area of intended employment and if the terms and conditions of employment do not change.

2. Short-term placement

Occasionally, your employer may require you to work at another location outside the Metropolitan Statistical Area for fifteen days. In such cases, a new petition is not required as long as the job is for less than 30 days. Moreover, your employer can transfer you for up to 60 days without having to file a new or amended H1B petition if the placement is at the original location.

3. Non-worksite locations

Your employer can refrain from filing an amended petition if they send you to work in non-worksite locations like conferences and business seminars. Here the other terms and conditions of employment must remain unchanged. Another situation is when the job is "peripatetic in nature." In other words, you need to travel to other locations for work-related purposes even though you work at one location for not more than five or ten consecutive working days.

4. Change in employer's name

An amendment petition is not necessary when there is a change in the employer's name. It is necessary only if there is a material change and a change in the employer's name.

5. Change in Ownership Structure

When a company restructures but all other terms of employment remain the same, a petition amendment is not required.

Also read: The Beginner's Handbook on H1B Amendment for Location Change

The Finale

We recommend that you take your H1B Amendments seriously if you want to secure your H1B status. Any violation of the H1B Amendment regulations will land you in trouble with the USCIS, leading to severe repercussions. Seek expert advice and guidance for any help with your H1B Amendment.

For information on H1B and to know more about US non-immigrant visas, follow Techfetch H1B.

**Disclaimer: All H1B processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for the latest information.

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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