H4 Extension (Form I-539)

I applied for H4 extension on 14June2021 (Non-EAD). It shows processing times of 12-15 months. I need to travel to India urgently as my mother is not well and I need to be with her. All the information online is for H4 EAD extension but I don’t have EAD. Just H4. My questions-

  1. Will my application processing stop if I travel to India during this processing period? Or I can wait in India for these 12 months?
  2. Is there any way to request the expedited processing on humanitarian grounds? I can get necessary medical records for my mother.
    Please help and respond!

Generally speaking, extension of status application is not abandoned if you travel outside the US. However it may get denied if you are not in the US at the time of adjudication.

If your H4 visa expires meanwhile you are in India, you can go for stamping using the I-797 H1B approval notice of your spouse and other supporting documents for H4 stamping.

You can try to submit expedite request via Emma the chatbot and getting a live agent on the call.

Thank you Kalpesh for your response. I am sorry I am a little confused and hope its okay that I request further clarification. To give you an idea - My current H4 visa expired on 27Jul2021 and H4 extension application was filed in June2021. Spouse H1B also expired and waiting for his extension approval. So I don’t have a valid visa to come back to US if I travel to India now. USCIS shows H4 extension processing time of 15 months. But H1B extension timeline is 4 months.
Scenario - I travel to India now, my spouse gets H1B extension confirmation in December 2021. But my application will still be in process. Will I still be able to get biometric and stamping done in India based on spouse 1-797 even though my application in US will be under processing stage? Like similar to getting H4 for first time?
Sorry for a lengthy post. Just want to be sure that I am making my situation clear.
Thank you for your help!

Yes, you should be able to go for stamping with the copy of I-797 approval notice for your spouse H1B. My suggestion is to upgrade the H1B to premium processing so it gets approved in 2-3 weeks.

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Thank you! This was very helpful and gave me hope.


I have file my and my kid h4 extension on Jun 1, 2021 before expiring the i94. USICS received the application and got the receipt notice.

I have applied the h1b and it got RFE for provide the status of H4 approval notice. But my h4 is pending with USCIS.

Please assist what I need to do?

Eagerly waiting for your kind response.

Did you apply for H1B with premium processing?

You will need to reply to RFE via a letter explaining the USCIS that your H4 extension of status application is pending. Attach the copy of H4 receipt with the letter and copy of RFE letter.

There is a chance though that if USCIS approves your H1B, your kid’s H4 may get denied as the underlying H4 status for the petitioner (you in case of your child) changed from H4 to H1B. You might have to file for MTR (motion to reopen) and appeal the case using your newly approved H1B. You will need to use a immigration lawyer for MTR application so it is filed correctly.

thank you for your quick response. My employer filed my H1b as normal processing.

Is there any other way to get approve the H4 and then H1 or H1 directly?

If you upgrade it to premium processing, chances are that your H4 will get approved as USCIS will need to approve H1B in 15 days.

Do I need to file my H4 in premium processing or H1b in Premium processing?

H1B in Premium processing.

But I already got H1b RFE?

Hi All, I would need your opinion about H4 extension (I-539).

I applied H4 extension around April 2021 and my family travelled to India last month October 2021 while the application is in pending status. As per my employer recommendation I had withdrawn the I-539 application after my family left to India and received withdrawal acknowledgement from USICS this week. So I wanted to know will there be any issue for my family when they go for H4 stamping with my I-797 approval and any issue with their status as the application was withdrawn .

This an after-thought! If their H4 I-94 was valid at the time they left for India, no issues. Otherwise you created out of status gap by withdrawing the EOS application. If the gap is <180 days, it generally do not create any issues.

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Thank you for quick response. I realised it after sending the withdrawal letter, gap is 166 days between I-94 and departure.