The H-1B visa is known for its advantages over other nonimmigrant visa classifications. One of its most significant benefits is its portability. This means that holders of the H-1B visa can change employers, work full-time or part-time, or even work for multiple employers at the same time. However, it is essential to note that you need an H-1B amendment for a location change, even if you are working for the same employer.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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What is an H-1B Amendment?

An H-1B amendment is required when your job duties, salary, or title changes; or you switch employers. You must file an amendment if your job duties, salary, location, or title change, but your position still requires a bachelor’s degree or higher. You should amend your petition if the job still requires a bachelor’s degree or higher and falls within the H-1B visa requirements. Each situation highly depends on the facts of your case and the significance of the change of your employment. It is crucial to seek advice from an experienced immigration attorney in order to not jeopardize your H-1B status.

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H-1B Amendment for Location Change

Though the USCIS has not stated specific regulation changes, due to the pattern of recent denials, you should file an H-1B amendment when there is a change to the employee’s work location. Any material change in the terms and conditions of employment requires an H-1B amendment. Therefore, it would seem that the USCIS considers a change in location as a material change that requires an amendment.

H-1B Amendment Processing Time

The processing time for H-1B amendments is between 3 – 5 months. For example, the current timeframe for the California service center to process H-1B amendments is 4 – 8 months. In contrast, the Nebraska and Texas service centers are operating much faster, with amendments taking between 1-3 months.

Note: If you file closer to the regular H-1B filing season, it could also take longer. One option to expedite the process is H-1B amendment premium processing. By selecting H-1B amendment premium processing, you will have it completed in 15 calendar days. Learn more about H-1B visa stamping.

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When is an H-1B Amendment Required for a Location Change?

When an employee changes worksite locations, they may need to file an H-1B amendment due to a “material change.” Here are some examples of “material change” situations:

  • The new worksite is not within the same Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) as the initial H-1B petition and LCA.

To determine if an amendment is needed, USCIS and the Department of Labor examine the worksites’ MSA zip code. If the work location changes within a “normal commuting distance” (20-50 miles), it is most likely the same MSA and does not require a new LCA or H-1B amendment.

  • A change of location involving any other material change, such as an employee’s condition of employment or job title, requires an H-1B amendment.

To identify material or immaterial changes for H-1B, it is best to consult an immigration lawyer who can guide you based on your specific case.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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When an H-1B Amendment May Not Be Required for Location Change

You may not need to file an H-1B amendment for a change of location for an H-1B employee if:

  • An H-1B employee moves to a new worksite within the same area as the original H-1B petition, then an H-1B amendment may not be required. However, the original LCA must still be at the new worksite.
  • For short-term placements of 30-60 days, a new LCA is typically not required.
  • An H-1B worker may move to a “non-worksite” location for employee-development activities, short visits or peripatetic jobs.
  • For one-time visits, the visit should not exceed five consecutive days for peripatetic workers and ten days for those who travel occasionally to different locations.

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Penalties for Not Filing an Amendment for Location Change When Necessary

If an H-1B amended petition for a change of worksite locations is required and is not obtained, the consequences could be felt by both the employer and employee. For instance, the employee may lose their H-1B status and face deportation. Therefore, employers must have a good understanding of the USCIS regulations regarding petition amendments.

When Should an Employer Submit the Amended Petition for Change of Worksite Locations?

Going by the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decision in 2015, employers are required to apply for an amendment when there is a material change to the initial petition. But, it did not expressly clarify if they should file the amendment before the movement.

However, to be on the safe side, it is advisable that employers promptly notify the USCIS of any material change. So, therefore, you should file the amendment before the employee moves. If the move has already occurred, the employer should start the amendment process as soon as possible.

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How to File H-1B Amended Petition for Location Change

To apply for an H-1B amendment, the employer must submit an I-129 form to the USCIS.

The employer should gather all the necessary information about the relocation and include them in the H-1B Labor Condition Application (LCA). The Department of Labor (DOL) typically decides on these cases within one week.

The next thing is to prepare the I-129 petition as well as other necessary supporting documents for the case, such as:

  • the employee’s H-1B visa
  • a copy of the employee’s passport
  • a copy of the employee’s I-94 form
  • a copy of the H-1B employee’s updated resume
  • copies of the employee’s three most recent payslips
  • copies of the employee’s education degree
  • the employee’s work itinerary

If you are using H-1B premium processing, you must submit an I-907 form with the petition.

H-1B Amendment FAQs

Below you will find answers to the most commonly questions regarding this topic:

Should the amended petition be approved before an H-1B worker can move to a new location?

Again, the AAO decision is also silent on this question as it did not clarify whether employers should wait for approval of the amended petition before moving an employee to a new worksite location. However, an employer should at least try to submit the amendment before the move takes place. With that, the action will be easier to defend if the employer and/or employee are questioned during the USCIS worksite visit to their office.

If you were selected in the 2024-25 H-1B visa lottery, contact VisaNation attorneys for filing your H-1B petition.

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Do I need to file an H-1B address change amendment?

You need to when there is a ‘material change’ that is significant to the conditions of the employment. For example, a change in job responsibilities, job title, considerable raise, and significant change in job location would warrant an H-1B amendment.

What if the amended petition is denied? 

If the amended H-1B petition is denied, it will not affect the employee’s legal immigration status at the job location listed in the initial petition. With this, the H-1B worker can return to the original worksite location and continue their job as long as the original H-1B petition is still valid.

Do I need to tell USCIS if I change home addresses?

Yes, you should notify USCIS within ten days. You can do so through your USCIS online account or Form AR-11.

Can I file another amended H-1B petition for location change if I still have an amended petition pending?

Yes, an employer can file another amended petition for a change of worksite locations for an H-1B employee even if there is another pending amended petition on which USCIS has not decided. However, each amended petition must meet the criteria for H-1B classification. Also, if the employee’s H-1B status expires while those petitions are still pending, denying any of the amended petitions will lead to the denial of all successive amended petitions.

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How much does the H-1B amendment cost? 

The fee is the same as if you were filing a new petition except the employer is not required to pay the $500 fraud fee since the employer isn’t changing. So the cost to file Form I-129 is $1,500. You can see all H-1B filing costs here.

What happens if I don’t file for an H-1B visa amendment and am supposed to?

USCIS retains the right to take action, and in severe cases, they can revoke your H1 visa status, and you may be required to leave the U.S. Discuss with your attorney whether an amendment is appropriate for your case and the best way to file one.

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Dealing with the nuances of the H-1B visa can be overwhelming. Don't risk wasting both time and money on easily avoidable mistakes. If you are unsure whether you have conducted a material change or affected your employment terms and conditions, book consultation today with a VisaNation Law Group attorney for a comprehensive evaluation of your H-1B matter.