Dear Sophie: How do I change my L-1B to an H-1B through the lottery?

2 weeks ago 182
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Dear Sophie,

I am currently working in Seattle after relocating from Chile on an L-1B visa.

Can I change my L-1B visa to an H-1B with a different company? My understanding is that L visas are restricted to working only with the issuing company.

— Charming Chilean

Dear Charming,

Congrats on taking the first step in seeking out new opportunities — and thanks for including me on your journey!

Yes, you are correct: L visas for intra-company transferees enable you to work only for the company that sponsored you for the visa.

All non-immigrant work visas, including the L-1B, require you to have a job offer and an employer sponsor, and your visa is tied to your job with that employer. The short answer to your question is: yes, you can take a new job with a different company that is willing to sponsor you for an H-1B specialty occupation visa or other work visas.

It’s great that you’re looking to make this change now, because filing fees for the H-1B and other work visas are soon to increase substantially. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which oversees U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), has proposed raising the fees for the L-1, H-1B, and most other non-immigrant visas and green cards, as well as increasing the premium processing time from 15 calendar days to 15 business days.

Under the proposal, the registration fee for the H-1B lottery would increase to $215 from just $10, and the H-1B filing fee would increase to $780 from $460. DHS, which asserts that these increases are necessary to reduce processing times and eliminate backlogs, will accept public comments on the proposed rule through March 6, 2023, and I urge you to let DHS know how these changes might affect your ability to change jobs.

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