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Can I change jobs if I'm here on a nonimmigrant work visa?

You're working in the United States on a nonimmigrant, employment-based visa. What happens if you want to change jobs?

You will need to ensure your visa type is valid for any new jobs you are considering. The USCIS will allow you to change your visa status from one nonimmigrant type to another as long as your current visa status remains valid (you haven't violated any conditions or committed any crime that would make you ineligible for a visa). Also, your passport will need to be valid for the remainder of your stay.

Changes between nonimmigrant visa types are allowed for holders of these types of visas:

  • H-1B, H-2A, H-2B and H-3
  • L-1A or L-1B
  • O-1 or O-2
  • P-1, P-2 and P-3
  • Q-1
  • R-1
  • TN-1 or TN-2

Once you have obtained a job offer, your employer should complete and sign Form I-129, "Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker." The employer should then submit the form, the required supplements and evidence, and the filing fee on your behalf.

Keep in mind that each type of nonimmigrant employment-based visa has its own requirements and limits. You will not qualify for every type of visa. There may be limitations on the number of visas available, and some visas only allow you to stay in the U.S. for a specific period of time.

I have a job offer and want to stay in the U.S. permanently. Can I do that?

If you meet the criteria, yes. You can adjust your visa from a nonimmigrant type to an immigrant type if you have a job offer and meet the qualifications for an immigrant visa. Immigrant visas allow you to apply later for lawful permanent resident status. These visas are available for:

  • Workers of extraordinary ability: EB-1 (a) visa
  • Outstanding professors and researchers: EB-1 (b) visa
  • Multinational managers and executives: EB-1 (c) visa
  • Advanced-degree holders, workers with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts or business, and those seeking national interest waivers: EB-2 visa
  • Baccalaureate-level professionals, skilled workers and other workers: EB-3 visa
  • Certain other workers, such as religious workers, broadcasters, special immigrants, military service members and international employees of the U.S. government: EB-4 visa
  • Qualifying international investors: EB-5 visa

The process for adjusting your status to one of these immigrant visa types differs depending on which type you qualify for. Only 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are available each year, and further limitations may apply in your situation.

If you are interested in changing jobs, you may need to adjust your status. To learn more about your options, contact Yew Immigration Law Group. We have years of experience helping people live and work legally in the United States.

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