Portability is the official term used by USCIS when an employee already holds H-1B status and "transfers" from one employer to another. In order for the employee to begin working for a new employer, that employer must file an entirely new H-1B petition prior to the expiration of the first H-1B. In most cases, having one H-1B petition approved will not make it any easier to get a second approval. Employees and departments should consult closely with ISSS about the timing of the transfer and about any travel outside of the U.S. during this period. Employees should not finalize their employment end date with their current employer until the U of M start date has been approved by ISSS.
Upon Submission of Petition:
An employee may begin working on the requested H-1B start date if the new employer has filed the H-1B petition with the USCIS. It is not necessary to wait for the petition to be approved. At the U of M, the normal procedure is to wait for USCIS to send an application receipt notice to ISSS. Then the employee can complete an I-9 using the receipt along with their passport, Form I-94 and original I-797 Approval Notice from the previous employer.*
Employees who are new to the Twin Cities area and/or who would like to discuss H-1B status requirements are invited to schedule an optional appointment with an H-1B Case Manager. Employees may be interested in the Office of Human Resources Relocation Assistance Program. Additional information about campus and local resources is available on the ISSS website.
After the I-797 Approval Notice is received, the employee must complete an I-9 within three days of the I-797 Approval Notice start date (or immediately, if the I-797 Approval Notice start date has passed).
*If the initial I-9 is completed while the transfer application is pending, the employee will need to complete another I-9 upon approval of the H-1B transfer application.