H-1B Amendment Visa Amendment Explained

Updated on April 12, 2024

Navigating the complexities of H-1B visa regulations can be challenging, especially concerning the need for amendments to your petition. If significant changes occur in your employment—such as a change in work location, job duties, or salary adjustments not covered in the initial petition—your employer must file an H-1B Amendment with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Such amendments are crucial to ensure compliance with federal regulations and to avoid potential legal issues. Changes requiring an amendment might include a substantial shift in job functions or a relocation to a worksite outside the metropolitan statistical area (MSA) covered by the original Labor Condition Application (LCA). For minor moves within the same geographic area, an amendment may not be necessary, but notifying USCIS is still required. Understanding when to file an amendment is essential to maintain good standing within the regulatory framework of H-1B visas. It’s advisable to stay informed about H-1B Amendment for Location Change or consult with a legal expert to ensure compliance and avoid the severe consequences of non-compliance.

30 Second Recap:

When your H-1B employment undergoes significant changes like job duties or work location, your employer must file an H-1B Amendment. This ensures compliance and avoids legal issues. Understanding when to file and preparing the necessary documentation is crucial. Consult with legal experts for guidance to navigate the process effectively.

 

Understanding H-1B Amendment Requirements

When significant changes occur in your H-1B employment, it’s imperative to comply with legal requirements to maintain your visa status. Understanding when and how to file an H-1B amendment is crucial for you and your employer.

Material Changes and When to File an Amendment

Material Change: A change in your H-1B employment is considered material if it could affect your eligibility for H-1B status. Examples include:

  • A significant change in job duties.
  • A shift in the primary worksite to a geographic location not covered by the original Labor Condition Application (LCA).
  • A substantial decrease in salary.

When to File an Amendment: You must file an amended H-1B petition when a material change takes place. This is required before you can start working under the new conditions. Failure to do so may jeopardize your legal status.

  • Worksite Changes: If you change your worksite location to a different Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) from what was specified in the original petition, your employer must file an amended H-1B petition.
  • Updating LCA: Along with the H-1B amendment, your employer must obtain a new LCA specific to the new location.

Need help with your H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa process is complex, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re struggling to understand all of the moving parts, let Stilt help. Our team of H-1B visa experts can help you make sense of all the eligibility requirements, documents, and the application process.

Petition: The legal document your employer submits to USCIS to request your H-1B status, reflecting terms and conditions of employment.

Requirement: The stipulations set by USCIS for both the employer and the H-1B employee to qualify and maintain H-1B status.

Amended Petition: A revised submission to USCIS to report significant changes to previously approved H-1B conditions. It is your employer’s responsibility to file an amended petition, not yours. The H-1B worker cannot self-petition for an amendment.

  • Change in Employment: If your job duties or employment terms change significantly, an amendment is necessary. For instance, if you’re promoted to a managerial position that was not specified in the original H-1B petition, this would require filing an amended petition.
  • Filing Deadlines: Your employer should file the amended petition before you commence work at the new location or under the new job conditions.

Adhering to these guidelines is essential to maintaining your H-1B status following major changes in your employment circumstances.

The Amendment Process

When material changes occur in your H-1B employment, it is mandatory for your employer to file an amended H-1B petition. These changes could include adjustments to job duties, work location, terms and conditions of employment, or salary which significantly alter the original H-1B petition.

Preparing the Amended H-1B Petition

Your employer must begin by gathering evidence of any material changes that affect your H-1B status. This includes a new Labor Condition Application (LCA) if there’s been a change in your work location outside of the initial metro area, or substantial alterations to your job duties. They must also confirm that the terms and conditions of employment remain compliant with the initial H-1B requirements. All documentation, particularly changes in salary, should be meticulously compiled and detailed in Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker.

Submission and USCIS Review

After assembling the petition, your employer then submits the package to USCIS for review. This will include the new or modified terms of your employment agreement, your updated LCA, and the completed Form I-129. It is crucial to provide comprehensive evidence to expedite the USCIS’s review process and establish that all compliance requirements have been met, ensuring your continued eligibility for H-1B status.

After Filing: Compliance and Site Visits

Post-submission, your employer must remain vigilant in maintaining compliance with H-1B regulations. This entails being prepared for potential site visits from USCIS, designed to verify the information provided in the amended petition. Employers should keep records readily accessible and educate you about the potential need to provide corroborating evidence of the material changes to your employment if asked during a site visit.

Handling H-1B Amendment for Job Location Transfer

For H-1B workers whose jobs require transferring to a new work location in a different state, properly amending their H-1B petition is crucial to maintain valid status. However, the process and timing considerations can lead to confusion.

One H-1B holder outlined their situation: “I’ve just moved across the country for personal reasons, and my job would be exactly the same but in a new city (NYC now). To make the H-1B amendment, they’re asking for my current address among other things. I’m not sure if I should update it to the new state address or continue using my old one.”

The key advice from others was to absolutely provide the new state address on the H-1B amendment filing since that is now their actual residence location. As one person stressed: “Please don’t ignore the work location change. You have to file a new LCA and subsequently file for amendment. USCIS is doing random checks, so be careful.”

There was also discussion around timing – whether to wait for amendment approval before physically moving, or if moving first is permissible. Most felt it acceptable to move first, then file the amendment, as long as the new residential address is correctly listed.

“If the new lease has started, provide the new NYC address as the current address on the H-1B amendment.”

“You’re allowed to change addresses within the same geographic area later without re-amending.”

However, some cautioned that employers may advise delaying the move until the amendment is approved, perhaps due to payroll or other internal processes.

A few other key tips that emerged:

  • Have the employer attorney double check all details to avoid future issues
  • For remote workers, list the home residence and any office locations on the LCA
  • LCA wage levels can change based on the new work state, impacting salary requirements
  • Amendments for same-company transfers are typically processing quickly (2-4 weeks)

While an H-1B job location amendment may seem straightforward, properly executing it is important for maintaining legal status. Following the employer’s instructions and listing accurate, current information is critical to avoiding any compliance lapses.

Need help with your H-1B visa?

The H-1B visa process is complex, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you’re struggling to understand all of the moving parts, let Stilt help. Our team of H-1B visa experts can help you make sense of all the eligibility requirements, documents, and the application process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating the H-1B amendment process can raise numerous questions regarding timing, procedures, documentation, and fees. This section outlines key information to help you understand the requirements and navigate the process effectively.

What are the typical processing times for an H-1B amendment?

Processing times for an H-1B amendment can vary, but typically they take several months. If you opt for premium processing, the timeline can be substantially reduced.

Is an H-1B amendment necessary when changing work location?

If your new work location is outside the metropolitan statistical area listed in the original Labor Condition Application, an H-1B amendment is necessary.

What documents are required when filing for an H-1B amendment?

When filing for an H-1B amendment, you’ll need to provide the amended petition, along with supporting documents pertaining to the new terms of employment, such as a new LCA, employment offer and any change in job roles.

Can premium processing be utilized for H-1B amendment cases, and how does it affect the timeline?

Yes, premium processing can be utilized for H-1B amendment cases which reduces the processing time to 15 calendar days, as opposed to the standard processing time.

What are the standard fees associated with filing an H-1B amendment?

The standard H-1B amendment filing fee is $1500 for submitting Form I-129. There may be additional fees depending on specific aspects of your petition.

Under what circumstances does an H-1B holder need to file an amendment when promoted or changing job roles?

An H-1B holder must file an amendment when there are material changes to the job duties that may affect eligibility for H-1B status. This may include significant changes in the position or responsibilities associated with a promotion or job role change.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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