Multiple Employers on your H-1B or E-3 Visa

One of the more common questions people have with their H-1B visa, E-3 visa and some other non-immigrant visas is how flexible it is and does it allow the person to;

a) Work part-time for an employer
b) Work for multiple employers
c) Need a new visa or approval for each employer
d) Have the employer and role pass the same tests as the initial role and employer

The interesting thing is the answer to all the above questions is YES. Now that is positive in terms of the first two points as it allows people to be sponsored legally for part-time roles and thus have time to serve and work for multiple employers. Incidentally one of the employers could be a regular a full-time role and the other could be part time.

However while there is not a need for a whole new H-1B/E-3 visa stamp for each new employer if they come subsequently, they do need to be approved by the Department of Labor to get the LCA and USCIS via I-129 if done within the country for both visa types. In the case of the E-3 visa if done outside the US only the LCA is needed and in both cases if the role is done at the same time as the initial role in terms of the US Consulate interview, then both/multiple employers will actually be mentioned on the visa stamp itself in the passport. If the role(s) is subsequently approved by the USCIS then the person will receive an approved I-797 form which can serve as official proof for the right to work at that employer.

Of course it should be noted that because this official approval is required things like the Bachelor’s Degree Equivalence and Specialty Occupation conditions still apply for the E-3 Visa and while for the H-1B visa, subsequent employer approvals don’t count against the H-1B annual quota, the company, role, pay level, etc. will face the same level of scrutiny as any other role.

In terms of likelihood of approval that is a tougher one to answer as fewer people go down the legal route of getting approval for multiple employers. Most because, foreigners tend to only work for a single employer at a time, although a minority do unofficially work for multiple employers. In general if the role and pay level is seen to past all criteria as well as the company and there is no issues with you as a candidate then there is little reason the USCIS should deny an I-129 petition. Additionally this would apply seeking approval to work at more than 2 companies, however am sure there may be an unofficial limit whereby the USCIS may stop approving or even processing petitions.

If you get approval for a second employer part-time but then decide to leave your first employer and work full time at your new employer, technically speaking you should get a new LCA for the full time role being different from the part time role and possibly a new I-129 approval after that from the USCIS. Practically speaking a lot probably don’t follow this route as assume the original approval was fine but hopefully this won’t result in any issues down the line with things like Permanent Residency petitions.

In terms of when you can start working for a secondary employer, with the H-1B visa and the portability provision that applies in changing employer cases, that should allow you to officially start working upon filing your I-129 to USCIS and receiving the receipt date. Of course you would have to stop if the petitions was outright denied. As with changing employers on the E-3 visa, the start work time for a secondary employer is murky. Some may say you can just follow the same guidelines as the H-1B visa people, however that is not officially written anywhere so others may give you advice to wait until the I-129 petition is approved.

Cj

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17 thoughts on “Multiple Employers on your H-1B or E-3 Visa

  1. Hi Cj,

    I was wondering if you could help me. I am currently on an E3 visa. If my employer/sponsor gets hired by another company to do certain work, and my employer/sponsor asks me to do that work as part of my employment (even if it wasn’t listed as part of my job desrcription when I got the visa) is that legal? I am completely happy to be doing the work, I just don’t want to get myself or anyone else in trouble.

    Thanks,
    Meesh

  2. Meesh probably to the technical letter of the law a new LCA would be required. However if every time a job scope change, every foreigner in the country would have to have their role re-certified. So practically speaking this should be no issue at all as the same employer is still paying you.
    Cj

  3. Hi,

    I am trying to find employer who can sponsor my E3 visa. I found few of them and two of them are very keen to apply for stamping but nothing is final yet. I dont want to say know to one of them because I still dont know if they will finally do it.

    What if they both come back with stamping doc ? Can i get more then E3 visa on my passport? If yes then through which employer I will be considered to get the ‘Final’ visa.

    regards,

    –Pankaj

  4. Pankaj if you have multiple approved LCAs and the US Consulate approves your E3 Visa Application and all your employers, then all the employer’s names will appear on the same visa stamp. You will not get multiple E-3 visa stamps.
    Cj

  5. Hi Cj,

    Thanks for your reply. My second question would be. If I have multiple stamping on my passport then who is the ‘real’ employer through which I will be working in US.

    Scenario: Employer 1 applies for LCA and got approved and visa is stamped on my passport. Second employer came a bit late and this is the employer i was interested since beginning. Now do I need to tell second employer that I already have e3 through employer 1 or i can safely go to US consulate and get another stamping done.
    When I am flying to US what do i tell the immigration officer? Thru which company I will be working? What claim first company has on my visa status. How can I choose thru which employer I will be landing in US.

    I know my questions are too complex but i am not getting any answer from google:-)

    Please help,

    regards,

    –Pankaj

  6. Pankaj the only employer you are legally allowed to work for is the one on the visa stamp. The only way you can work at another employer subsequently is if while in the US you get an approved LCA for that second employer and the have USCIS approve a transfer between 2 employers. You can legally work at multiple employers part time. The E-3 visa is not an open work visa to just work at any US employer as you wish as only a Green Card allows that.
    Cj

  7. Hi Cj,

    Thanks for your reply. So in case i already have one e3 and then again went tof ranother one then USCIS will most probably cancel the fist one. Is this the correct assumption?

    regards,

    –Pankaj

  8. Hi CJ,

    Im currently working in the US on an E3 visa full-time. I have been offered part-time work at another company. I would like to change my status under full-time for the first company and work part-time for both companies. Both companies are happy for me to work part-time.

    Can I apply to change from full-time to part-time for two different companies ?
    Can I still work while the application is being processed ?
    Is there a possibility I can be denied ? if so will this put me out of status and have to leave the US ?

  9. Hi CJ,

    Firstly – great site.
    I am interesting in applying for an E3 visa, but work in an industry where work for a specific employer usually lasts for 2-6 months (occasionally more). Work is not sparse, so there is usually a guarantee you will line up your next job when one ends, but is can often be with a new employer each time. I understand you can transfer between employers, but what is there a way to make this type of employment sound more appealing to a consular officer? Compared to someone working in a permanent position, it sounds unstable, but this is the way my industry operates. Would it be something that can be written in the offer letter by the employer or as part of the LCA?

    Thanks so much!

  10. Hi,

    I currently have an E2 visa sponsored by my company (investor). I’ve been offered a second job opportunity to work as a consultant. What are my options if the second employer is also happy to sponsor me? The idea would be I keep both jobs.

    Thank you.

  11. Thank you for the information.
    If I go to the States on an E-3 visa, but decide to work on the side to make extra money, like a waiter or freelancing, or something else similar that doesn’t require a contract with the employer, can I do that?
    For the J-1 visa, it is possible to apply for work eligibility under certain circumstances, such as when facing financial difficulties, can the same be done on an E-3 visa?
    Thank you very much for your reply, I really appreciate it.

    Best Regards,

    Joe

  12. What about working for 2 employers full time? I mean both full time jobs? My current employer on E3, I have enough time and I am thinking if I can work on one more full time role? Is it possible and legal?

  13. Hi,
    thank you for the very generous info.
    I’m in the process of renewing my E3 visa and I am doing it with two sponsorship’s from two organizations.

    I’m in the process of filling out the DS-160 and booking an appointment but I’m a little confused by the info:
    there appears to be nowhere on either of these systems where I can add the second employer.
    Q: do i need two separate DS-160s (one for each LCA) and do I need to book two consulate appointments?
    — OR
    Do I just show them my second LCA at the interview??
    :-/
    Many thanks

  14. Dear Visa Coach,

    I am currently working on an HBO show in the US on an E3 visa. My initial contract is being extended to April (was initially ending in March), and will then go from full-time to part-time. I have been offered a job on another production from April to July. After this it looks like I will go back to full-time with the first HBO production.

    So… I have a few questions:
    Can I extend the E3 for the first contract easily from within the US? (It expires in 2 weeks)
    Will I be best to go to Canada and have both employers added to my visa in April?
    For my line of work is there a better way to go? I generally work on 3-4month films/TV shows and don’t really want to have to go to Canada 4 times a year…

    Thanks for all your help!

  15. Hi visa coach, I am currently in the US on an E3 and things have become increasingly difficult at work with my supervisor, I am considering requesting to be a part time employee at my company and seek additional part time work – is this a possibility? What would be the steps I need to take?

  16. Hi,

    Similar to another questions above. I currently have an E2 visa sponsored by my company (startup that I am still building). I’ve been offered a second job opportunity to work as a consultant. What are my options if the second employer is also happy to sponsor me (E3)? I can definitely continue to do both jobs timewise…but just want to know legal requirement.

    Thank you.

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