H1B Visa Travelers

How to Convert Your B1 Visa into an H1B Visa


(Last Updated On: February 12, 2019)

A B1 visa is a temporary visitor visa, issued to people visiting the United States for various business activities, such as attending or participating in a conference, trade show or business meeting. However, a B2 visa is a temporary visitor visa for people who are visiting the US for a vacation or leisure activities. B1 visa holders can stay up to one year in the US and can also get an extension of up to one year. But, obtaining an extension on a B1 visa is quite a difficult and exhausting task.

Also, people travelling to America on a visitor visa are not allowed to seek employment in the US. They can also not pursue any studies in the country on a B1 visa. However, they may convert their visa status from B1 to H1B if they do need to work.

Why Convert to H1B Visa?

An H1B visa is issued to people who wish to work in the US and have the required educational and professional skills to do so. The H1B visa is preferable because it allows an individual to stay in the US for up to seven years. You can also apply for a green card if you are a H1B visa recipient.

If you are planning to work and stay in the US for a longer period of time or wish to permanently relocate to America, converting your visa status from B1 to H1B is the perfect option for you. One of the most important reasons to get your visa converted is the portability you get with the H1B visa type. With this visa, you can switch jobs, work part-time or opt to work multiple jobs at the same time.

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Requirements for the H1B Visa

Getting an H1B visa is comparatively more difficult than getting a visitor visa for the US. The basic requirements for getting an H1B visa include:

  • The applicant must have a bachelor’s degree.
  • The applicant must have a job offer from a US employer.
  • The job offer must be for a specialty position and the applicant must possess the required knowledge and skills for the job.
  • The applicant must have a legitimate relationship with his employer.

Change of Status from B1 to H1B

The process of converting your visa status from B1 to H1B visa type is similar to that of direct application for a H1B visa. First, the applicant needs an offer letter from a US employer. This will be required when you file an application for the visa. Your US employer, sponsoring your visa, must fill the Form ETA-9035 or Labor Condition Application, following which, they will receive the approval for filling the I-129 petition for non-immigrant visa.

You can check for more details on the visa application process for H1B visa at this website.

Premium Processing

You can also choose to opt for premium visa processing. This accelerates the processing time of your visa through the I-129 and I-140 petitions up to 15 calendar days. This is one of the best options, especially if you are applying for B1 to H1B visa conversion. However, remember that opting for premium processing doesn’t guarantee that you will be selected in the lottery and get the visa.


Having lived in 3+ countries, worked for companies small and big in USA, Middle East & India, I have a lot of stories to share about international travel, immigration and living as an NRI in the US. Add me on WhatsApp if you have any queries (+001-408-489-4785)