H4 Extension in process and Travel


Would like your help in getting your opinion for this travel situation. We read your blog post but I guess our combination is not there as there is no mention about having a valid visa stamping in the passport. Please let us know your thoughts. .

I am currently working and extending my H1b visa using my previous employer’s approved I140, I recently renewed the same (H1B) via premium processing in May 2019. Along with my renewal application we also sent I 539 for H4 dependent visa extension application for my wife. I got my H1B renewal application approved in less than 2 weeks, but we have not received approval for the H4 Visa extension application; she received a letter with appointment for Bio Metrics and completed the same during June 2019. In July 2019, we sent I-765 for renewal of H4 EAD (current EAD expiring in October 2019, though not working for the past 10 months). We did not send this along with 539 as we were debating if we should apply for renewal or not.

The receipt date for H4 Visa Extension Application (I 539) is May 2019.
The receipt date for H4 EAD Renewal application (I 765) is July 2019.

There is a need for my wife to travel in a week or so to visit her mother who is unwell. I would like to know the options we have, for my wife to come back to the country, as she does not have a valid US stamping in the passport. I also have the following questions:

  1. What will happen to the currently filed H4 Extension application (I 539) and H4 EAD Renewal Application (I-765)? Will both applications become void if she steps out of the country?

  2. Is my wife eligible for drop box or an in person interview to get visa stamping without an approval notice in hand?

  3. Is there any Advance Parole applicable for this situation and if yes, how much time it takes?

  4. Is there a way to get the approval from USCIS considering the situation or get date for visa stamping even if not approved while in India?

Please let me know if there are any suitable solutions or options for my situation. Thank you.

We called USCIS twice to understand if there is any update mentioning our situation. They mentioned that she can travel but I am not completely sure about their response to come back to the country. USCIS mentioned that she can show the existing application to the immigration officer and enter. I don’t think it is this simple. Please advise.

  1. Not necessarily. As the article said, for extensions few users reported that they got approved after they came back, but the issue was with I-94.
  2. Yes, she would be, if she qualifies for general dropbox requirements. check ustraveldocs site. We have many users who did it.
  3. No, not applicable to you as you have not filed for adjustment of status.
  4. USCIS is delayed. I would go with India stamping, it is easy and fast.

She needs stamping to re-enter, so get dropbox. Read H4 Dropbox Experience 2019

Hi Kumar

Thank you for the reply. But need one clarification - Is drop box allowed for anyone who doesn’t have H4 approval notice yet ? I read the requirements and I thought we are allowed only if the visa in passport is expired in the last 12 months plus a valid 797 approval notice for h4?

Please clarify this point based on these facts

  1. Waiting for h4 extension approval
  2. No valid visa stamping in the passport (recent stamping expired in June 2019 )
  3. h1b extension is approved

Can you please confirm if drop box still an option?

No need of H4 Approval notice. You just need the H1B approval notice that will be used for stamping.

Yes, dropbox is an option for you as your spouse H1B is approved and you H4 stamp expired recently, within a year.

Thanks Mr.Kumar for the clarification. We will try this option and update here once everything is done. Thanks again.

Yes, do update the community. Good Luck !


My wife went to drop off the documents last Tuesday and got the passport back in a week (they give 3 weeks window). Carried documents as suggested in the USA Travel Docs website. It is advised to keep previous I797 approvals (h1b/h4) as well for safer side.

Heard dropbox is going to change from next week, they are going to take people with appointment only. But for now, it was very simple, not crowded and very simple process.

There are only 4 counters and one is completely dedicated for pick up only. Well managed.
Thank you all your help!


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Thanks for sharing @Redbus2user ! Yes, it has changed now !