Transferring to Columbia (H-1/ O-1/ TN / E-3 Scholar)

Transfer to Columbia

Currently in H-1, O-1, TN, or E-3 Status

If you are currently sponsored by another employer and will be coming to conduct research or teach at Columbia, be aware that the word “transfer” is not a completely accurate description of the process because your immigration sponsorship  is specific to your employer.  

You need Columbia’s sponsorship

You cannot work at Columbia based on another employer’s sponsorship. If you would like to continue to be employed in the same status, our affiliation at Columbia must be consistent with the immigration regulations governing your current visa status. If eligible, you will need to be sponsored by Columbia before you can be employed here. 

Staying in the U.S. between employers and extending your status

If you want to come to Columbia from your current employment without traveling abroad,  you must be in valid visa status at the time Columbia will initiate a petition on your behalf.  This means that we will file an I-129 petition (for H-1B/O-1/TN) with USCIS for new employment (because you are new to Columbia even if you are working elsewhere) that requests USCIS to extend your current status. The petition will require usual supporting documentation for H-1B/O-1/TN employment as well as documents that establish that you are currently maintaining your status in the same classification.

You may continue to use an unexpired entry visa

If you have an unexpired entry visa in your passport that was obtained with previous employment, you will be able to continue to use it in conjunction with documentation of USCIS approval of Columbia’s petition.

We must evaluate each case individually

We cannot advise you directly until your academic department has been in touch with us first. When you are offered employment by your department, be sure to inform them of your current status and when asked, be prepared to send them a copy of your most recent I-94 arrival record and other relevant documentation relating to your current visa status.

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Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

It depends.

H-1B status

You may be able to benefit from H-1B portability, which allows you to begin working for a new employer in H1B status as soon as the employer files the I-129 Petition while the petition is pending.

O-1, TN. or E-3 status
You need to wait until the petition has been approved.