Dependent's H4 visa status

I have stamped H-1B visa (I94 has the same date) until 2nd week of March 2016 and my spouse is on H4 visa and has the same valid/I94 date (2nd week of march 2016).

My current company has filed the extension for both but result is in pending.

I am planning to change employer and new employer said, they will process only H-1B transfer for now, once i join new employer then they will file extension for my spouse.

If i join to new employer it will take sometime to file her visa transfer. Is there any risk for H4 with the old employer since they have filed the extension ? What will be her status in USA since i will change the employer?

Please share your experience and thoughts.

Also, is this possible that if my petition gets approved from new employer , can new employer file my wife’s visa transfer/extension immediately before my joining?

Your dependents need to have an approved I-94 or a timely filed pending extension in order to stay in US.

If you join new employer, the old one may cancel your dependent’s pending extension petitions. This means they can only stay until their current I-94 date.

Best solution is for new employer to file your and dependent extensions before your current I-94 expires. Legally, you can pay for dependents’ extension petition.

Thanks Saurabh for reply.

Is there any problem to new employer filing my dependent’s petition with my H-1B transfer? They are saying they can not do that.
Kindly suggest.

They can. I remember when my H-1 transfer was applied, my dependents were included as well. It costs money, but is doable.

ok. But they are not ready for this. I don’t know why.

Can new employer apply dependent’s visa transfer after my joining? But my dependent will not have valid visa/i94/approved petition at that time, it will be expired by that time.

If the I-94 has expired, then they will not be able to file the extension. Can you talk to your new attorney? At times the employer doesn’t know all the immigration rules and may be hooked-up on some wrong logic. An attorney will help to clear the air.

My wife has a valid I-94. Can they apply for H4 transfer then without any issue?

There is nothing called H-4 transfer. Your wife needs H-4 extension which can be applied by you or any employer. Her H-4 is dependent on you and not on your employer.

Her I-94 expires in mid-March. So H-4 extension can be applied only until that date. After that, she has to leave US and return on H-4 visa in order to stay inside US (she would also need your H-1 approval notice for this).

I meant to say H4 extension not transfer. Sorry for that.
But if my spouse is on a valid i94 and H4 stamped visa till mid march-16 then i believe, new employer can file my spouse H4 visa extension before her I94 gets expired. Am i right? Or this may be, once i join with new employer then they can file H4 visa extension in Change of status?

Please note: my current employer has filed H4 extension so is there any issue that new employer can’t file her H4 visa extension because it is already filed with old employer and new employer will have to wait of dependent’s visa approval?

We are going in circles here.

Her H-4 extension can only be filed if she has a valid I-94 at the time of application.

So the new employer can file H-4 extension prior to current I-94 expiration. If they want to file her H-4 extension after getting your H-1 transferred, then you don’t have much time.

They can file extension even when you have a current extension petition. There is a good possibility that current employer may withdraw the extension petition once you leave them.

ok. So what i understand is, my new employer can file H4 extension with my H-1B transfer. That should be a good option for me.
And Also, once i join new employer , they can file for H4 extension.

But i think, my old employer can not withdraw H4 extension since this is tied with Employee not Employer. So dependent should be safe.

After you join them, they can file H-4 extension provided her I-94 is still valid.

Your current employer filed H-4 extension, they can withdraw it. You would have signed a form allowing them representation on behalf of your spouse. In addition, that H-4 extension has your H-1 extension petition tied as basis. Once that H-1 extension petition is withdrawn (once you leave the employer), H-4 extension will run into issues. Any RFEs etc will be mailed to employer/attorney as they filed the application and not you.

So as per your knowledge , what is the best way to handle this situation. My wife do not have any plan to visit India soon.

Get your new employer file H-4 extension for her along w/ your petition. If the employer doesn’t agree, then talk to their attorney as they would understand the complications and can then put some knowledge into employer’s head.

Sure. I will ask new employer to file together.
Is there any issue with H4 visa if I change my mind to not join new employer when h4 petition extension is approved with new employer name?

H4 visa will be safe with my old employer until I don’t join new company?
Is it correct?

H-4 I-94 through any employer is good even if you are not working for that employer as long as:

  • it has not expired
  • you on H-1 are maintaining valid status by working and getting paid