A common practice among US companies is to reassign employees to a new office location in a different city or state within the country. This may be either a temporary move or a longer term assignment, and is especially common with IT companies that may need to relocate skilled technical employees for training or support reasons.
A question that arises for foreign workers employed under an H1B visa is how a transfer or change in location will affect their visa status. In most cases, it will depend on the amount of time that an employee will spend in the new location and in what capacity.
Filing a New LCA and H1B Petition for Changes in an Employee’s Location
The original H1B visa sponsorship petition will list a worksite location for the employee as part of the Labor Condition Application (LCA). Previously, moving locations was not a major issue for employees on an H1B, but a ruling in 2015 by the USCIS has changed that. Now, any change in the employee’s worksite will be seen as a ‘material change’ to the original H1B petition, and will require an amended LCA to be filed with the new worksite. Failure to file an new LCA will result in revocation of the H1B visa, threatening the worker’s legal immigration status.
The amended LCA was always required for location changes, but a legal case added another layer of compliance for H1B visa sponsors. The change in location also means that the employer will have to file an amended H1B visa petition before transferring the employee to the new worksite.
This means that companies will have an extra administrative burden for transferring sponsored foreign workers, and will need to plan ahead for assignments to a new location. However, as long the amended H1B petition is filed, the employee can begin working at the new site without waiting for a final decision from USCIS on the amended petition.
Short Term Assignments and Non-Worksite Locations Are Exempt
Any transfers of less than 30 days are exempt from this rule, and will not require a new LCA or amended H1B visa petition. This exemption is extended to 60 days if the worker is still based at the original location listed in their H1B visa petition. This is welcome news for companies that use some employees to train other workers in specific skill areas, usually for a finite time period.
Also, non-worksite locations that may be part of employee development, training seminars or periodic visits to other office locations will not be subject to this LCA rule. Those visits can last up to 5 days (10 days in certain circumstances) without triggering the location change requirements.
What if the New LCA and Amended H1B Petition Are Denied?
If for any reason the USCIS denies the amended petition, the employee still has legal immigration status at the location listed in the original H1B petition. In that case, they can return to that location without any effect on their visa status.
Employers that utilize many workers under H1B visas will need to be aware of the steps to comply with these rules, and recognize the fact that the USCIS does conduct worksite visits for H1B visa sponsors to make sure that the LCA rules are not being overlooked or ignored.
If you have questions about how a location change might affect your visa status please contact us for further guidance.
- March 12th, 2018
10 thoughts on “If My Employer Sends Me to a New Work Location, Does That Affect My H1B Visa Status?”
Hi, How can I trace my last H1B Visa location?
My current H-1B is soon up for renewal (initial three year period expires in July 2019).
I have been informed that my company might want me to relocate to a different city in the latter half of the year, while retaining the same role, title and responsibilities. This is purely for business purposes, as they require additional coverage for clients in this region. Is it a safer course of action to complete the extension of my existing H-1B first, before initiating any amendment proceedings for the change of location? I want to avoid letting the change of location create any obstacles for the visa renewal. Kindly advise.
I am a traveling PT and I moved from Florida after working there from more than 2 years to Ohio, I was about to complete my assignment here in July 2nd week but the building decided to move me to another sister facility for a month and a half from June. So my wages, location was changed by my employer. I have to travel outside US for H1b visa stamping as my drivers license will also expire. So now the amendment from Florida to Ohio is still pending and now I have this location change within Ohio which is only for 1 and half month. And then I will move again after July. So is it possible to travel outside US in this scenario.
In the case of the employer location being moved in the same MSA as the original location, does an H1-B amendment petition need to be filed,or is the updated LCA being posted is enough?
I have an approved petition for my base location. I have an assignment for months which requires me to be onsite for 4 days in a week. So it will be 4 days onsite and 1 day in my base location in a week. So my employer is filing an amendment . Am I allowed to go to home country for H1b stamping with an amendment in process? Will I have to wait for the amendment to go through to go for stamping?
The amendment petition is being filed under regular process so it will take much longer than assignment. In that case , my employer says he would withdraw my amendment, but this again takes 5-6 months, correct?
What is the best possible solution in this case. Please help.
My employer created H1B Visa Amendment for change in location. Once location change amendment is approved for a certain location, then can we travel to another client location for short trip for trainings, work shop etc? does this impact of current Visa or any compliance issue?
Good information… I have another question on same topic. Can H1b visa holder move to a remote state where there is NO Local Office of his Employer and continue Work from Home from that remote state? If yes, What changes need to be made to existing H1b ?
I am currently on an E-3 Visa which also requires posting of an LCA at the worksite. Due to recent COVID-19 events I am required to work from home for a long period of time. I am now considering moving cities for a short while (4-6 months) (not states) i.e. from San Francisco to San Diego. Would I need to revise my LCA? Thanks!
Hello, how long does it take for the USCIS to give a decision on LCA, H1 and I140 amendment on change of just the job location with the employer and jobs duties remaining the same ?
I am planning to move to Phoenix Arizona from California.
I am on h1b.
Can you please let me know how tricky/difficult LCA can be?
Also I am trying to combine it with my H1 renewal to make it seem less
Kindly let me know