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Immigration Issues/H1B transfer vs. portability


I am currently on an H1B (valid till 2012) and am about to leave my current position.

After having done research, this is what I have found:
Option 1: H1B transfer
I have a job offer however it isn't something I'm interested in doing. I'd rather wait for a while and find something that I really like.

Option 2: Change to a tourist visa
Leave the US 2 weeks after I leave my current position(need that to wrap up etc) and re-enter as a tourist which would allow me to visit relatives/look for a job. Once I find a job I can apply for a H1B, however, this H1B will be exempt from the quota regs.

My question: How is Option 2 different from Option 1? Is the process of re-application more costly and tedious? Trying to weight the cost/benefits of option 1 vs. option 2.


Eileen Chun-Fruto, Los Angeles immigration attorney writes:

Dear Karen,

Option 2 is a risky venture.  Many if not most change of status applications to B-2 visitor (tourist) are denied.  If you have already been in the US on H-1B, then it's not all that plausible to USCIS that you need additional time to stay in the U.S. to tour and visit relatives and friends.

USCIS is keen to the fact that many people request a tourist status so they can continue job searching and job searching is not a proper use of a tourist status.  As harsh as that is, I have seen many tourist applications for change of status denied.  Many of these were done by the applicant him or herself and because they did not take the time to ask an attorney about the chance of it, got a denial.

I'm glad you asked first.

I realized that you may not want to change your H-1B employment right away because you don't like this new job offer that much.  However, your options are limited unless you want to consider switching to F-1 status to study.  You would of course have to be admitted for a full-time course of study.  And you could later go back to H-1B.

As for the costs of doing this, you can find the filing fees for these types of applications at  Nothing is cheap these days and filing fees do add up, but make sure you don't apply for something that's very likely just going to be denied.  

Good luck on your decision.  Keep asking good questions.  

Eileen Chun-Fruto  

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Eileen Chun-Fruto


I can answer any employment-based immigration question including questions about PERM labor certifications, H-1B skilled workers, L-1A multinational managers or executives and L-1B specialized knowledge, R-1 and I-360 religious workers, investor cases (E Treaty Trader and E Treaty Investors and EB-5 "million dollar investors") and O-1 extraordinary ability cases. I can also answer any questions regarding family-based immigration, such as adoptions, waiver cases, consular processing (using foreign consulates to enter as an immigrant), marriage and fiance/fiancee cases, 245(i) cases, VAWA (Violence Against Women's Act), battered spouses, and Child Status Protection Act (CSPA).


I have over 12 years of experience in business and family immigration. I was a former law clerk for the Executive Officer for Immigration Review (the immigration courts) in San Francisco and I current serve as the California Service Center's (CSC) liaison on behalf of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. I represent individuals and corporations alike, ranging from professionals in the high tech, science, liberal arts fields. I have a special niche in working with start-up companies and individuals with more complex immigration issues.

Member, American Immigration Lawyers Association Member, Los Angeles County Bar Association, Executive Committee on Immigration

J.D., University of California at Davis - King Hall School of Law (1997) B.A., University of California at Irvine, cum laude (1994)

Awards and Honors
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008: Selected to Southern California Rising Star - Super Lawyers List (an honor shared by no more than 2.5% of the attorneys practicing in the entire Southern California region) Faculty/Moderator on various AILA and LACBA continuing legal education seminars in the following topics: H-1B, O-1, religious workers, business immigration visas

Past/Present Clients
My typical business clients can range from a start-up company, established engineering and software research and development companies, manufacturing, trade and distribution companies, public and private schools, and religious organizations. Family clients include spouses, parent-child petitions, siblings, naturalization, and most especially, representation of abandoned and neglected children viewed as orphans under the immigration law. I have represented many clients who relied on special provisions of the immigration law to preserve or "grandfather" benefits to family members in limited (and complicated) circumstances, to avoid re-application fees and longer waiting times.

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