H1 stamping or H4 extension?

Hi Saurabh,

 My H1 got approved today. This is fresh H1 applied by Indian company without COS.  I was in India that time. Now I am currently in H4 on small break from work. My h4 is valid till Dec first week 2013. My husband’s company is planning to apply extension for him and me now.  We decided to go for h4 extension because I was not sure what will happen to my H1. 

My company will not do COS and I need to go back for H1 stamping. But due to business uncertainty, if I am not able to come here in H1, at least I want to come back in H4. (Plus i cannot travel after December middle or end due to my medical requirements)

My queries

	Can my H4 extension be applied even if I am not in US?  I think H1 ext cannot be applied and hence the query.

	If yes, can I go for stamping in India when H4 ext is either in progress or approved?  Will there be any issues during stamping because of H4 extension.

	 If no issues, once stamping is done, I hope my H4 and its [b]extension[/b] [b]also[/b] will be invalid and I can travel only in H1? Will there be any issue in my husband H1 extension because of this.  Once stamping done for my H1, I hope I won’t get approved H4 extension also with new I94 for H4 ( i hope it can come before my stamping but should not after stamping right)

I am super confused. Or is it best to apply for my H4 extension separately before Dec first week once I have some solid info on H1 stamping. Can that be done? If yes, how many days before it has to be done.  


  1. H-4 extension can be applied only when you are inside US. If you are outside US, then no extension needs to be filed. Once your husband’s H-1 extension is approved, go for H-4 visa stamping (if expired) and return to US on copy of husband’s extended approval notice and your visa stamp to get an extended I-94.

  2. If the extension is applied and you leave US, then it is similar to extension not being applied. See H-4 extension basically extends the I-94, and for this you need to be present inside US during its entire process. If you have plans to leave US, then don’t file for extension and go for stamping when the time arrives.

  3. I didn’t understand this question.

You seem to be very confused, like you said. Can you tell me when you plan to leave US, when you plan to return to US and what visa you plan to use while returning to US.

Thanks Saurabh for your reply. I am able to understand now with points 1 and 2. I thought H4 ext can be applied even if I am not in US as husband will continue to be in H1. Now I get it.

I am leaving US in 2 or 3 weeks. Will return in my H1 if my company is able to find project for me asap. Else at least on H4 which means I have to go for either H1 or H4 stamping. But I hope, my h1 will be valid even if I go for H4 stamping (at least till my H1 approval end date). Right? Also is there any way to find out the end date of H1 approval or Is it possible to know only after we get the I797 papers ?

Thanks for your time and help.

Your H-1 petition will not be impacted by your H-4 stamping.

Your employer has already requested an end date for H-1 in the filed I-129. You can ask them about it. However, USCIS can approve the petition either for the same end date or a different end date, which you will not know until 797 is issued.

You can check w/ your spouse’s H-1 attorney as well so that they are aware of H-4 extension background and can take appropriate decision.