Can I Travel in/out of U.S. during H1-B Application


I am a British citizen who just returned to the U.K. after my OPT expired. A U.S. employer is filing an H1-B for me on April 1st (2016).

Am I allowed to reenter the U.S. on an ESTA before and during this process? If I come into the U.S. on an ESTA in the last week of March for a vacation, do I have to make sure I’m out before April 1st (when the H1-B application is filed), or could I leave on April 10th or so?

Similarly, I would like to come back for a week on so in the summer. Can I come in (again, on an ESTA) and leave even though my H1-B doesn’t kick in until October 1st?

Many thanks in advance for your help!


Your H-1 will most likely be filed w/ consular processing. You can travel to US anytime b/w now and start of H-1 as long as you have reasons to support your trip.

If you enter prior to April 1, you are not required to leave by April 1.

If you enter prior to Oct 1, you are not required to leave by Oct 1.

Your H-1 won’t kick-in automatically on Oct 1, as you would have to first get it stamped and then enter on that visa.