Transferring your H-1B to a New Employer
An H-1B employee may begin employment with a new employer as soon as an H-1B petition is filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”). This authority to start working as soon as the new petition is properly filed and remains pending is known as “H-1B portability”. For you to take advantage of the H-1B portability provision you must be in an unexpired (i.e., current) period of stay when the H-1B petition is filed.
Because of potential problems in the mailing or receipt of the petition, it is safest for you to wait until your new employer receives the USCIS “Receipt Notice” before you start working for them.
If you are currently in any other status (such as H-4, B-2, F-1, etc.) and have never held H-1B status, then you cannot start working until your new H-1B is approved. The H-1B portability is generally only available for transfers from H-1B status to H-1B status with a new employer.
If you have held H-1B in the past but are now switching from H-4, B-1/B-2, F-1, etc. back to H-1B, you may be able to take advantage of the H-1B portability law.