H1B Extension in process. Can I travel to India and get H4 stamped and come back on H4?


My H1B extension is in progress (not on premium). Can I travel to India and get H4 stamped based on my spouse H1B and travel back on H4? I know the COS application will be abandoned when going out of country but is it applicable to extension application also? (I am trying to avoid illegal stay) . Additionally, what will happen if I come back on H4 and my H1B extension gets approved after that.

Thanks in advance

Your H-1 extension consists of 2 parts - 797 extension and I-94 extension. When you leave US, I-94 extension is abandoned (this is what happens w/ COS as well). You can get H-4 visa stamped and return on H-4. Your 797 may still get extended but it will be approved w/ consular processing. So you would have to file separate COS from H-4 to H-1 or enter US on stamped H-1 visa.

Thanks Saurabh. So if my H1B i94 expired 2 months ago (and I filed extension timely) and I travel to india now for getting my H4 stamped, since the i94 extension gets abandoned, will my last 2 months stay become illegal ?

No, it won’t as the extension was timely filed. Keep a copy of 797C (extension receipt notice), copy of I-94 and boarding passes of when you left US. This may come in handy in case of any future issues (although I doubt there would be any).

Sounds awesome. Thanks a lot.

Hi Saurabh,
We are in same situation, I couldn’t quite understand it clearly. So if my wife h1 visa is in process and she come to India and get stamped on h4 and return to usa…the processing h1 still get approved? Does she need to go for stamping as mandatory to convert to h1? Or she can just start processing of converting to h1 ?

One more thing if we apply for h4 ead… at some point if she want to convert to h1 … can she still apply for it without going through lottery process?