If H1B not used for 3-4 years what would happen to approved H1B visa?

Dear RedBus2US Team,

First of all, a BIG THANK YOU to you guys, for this website and all the hard work & time you are putting in here to help people.

Now coming to the point :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

I am currently in India. I have got my H1B application selected in the lottery conducted in April 2016 and now waiting for the approval & subsequent processing.

Meanwhile, my wife, who is also in India, is trying for her L1B done from her company.

Assuming that we both get our visas by end of this year, we have following options to choose from :

  1. I would go on H1B visa and my wife would go on her L1B. In subsequent years, either of us can go for COS (H1B to L2 or L1B to H4). I understand that dependent on H4 can not work (until a particular time as per new rules introduced in 2015). Please correct me if my understanding is wrong.

  2. My wife would go on L1B and I would accompany her as L2 dependent. Once in US, I would apply for L2-EAD (which would take 3-4 months). Once I get my L2-EAD, I can start working without any condition as such. Now, please help me to understand the following:

2.1. If I donโ€™t use my H1B visa to enter & work in US for 2-3 years, what would be the status of my H1B visa?

2.2. If I decide to use & work on my H1B visa (which got approved in 2016) in year 2018, how long would it be valid. Would it be valid for next 6 years from the day it is used 1st time or only till 6 years from the date it got approved?

2.3. Assuming that I got my H1B approved through employer A in year 2016 but I did not use it till year 2018. Now can I go for H1B transfer (I know that it would be altogether a new cap-exempt H1B petition) with employer B in year 2018 or say in year 2021?

Kindly correct me if my understanding (most of it is through your blogs) above is not correct anywhere.

Also, I would really appreciate, if you could add some suggestions here for me. What approach should I follow here - H1B or L2-EAD?



  1. Yes, that is correct. H-4 holders get EAD work document only after H-1 holder has either spent 6 years on H-1 or has I-140 approved (it is part of the green card process).

2.1 H-1 would be kind of โ€œdormantโ€. You can still avail cap-exempt H-1 petition in future w/o going through the lottery.

2.2 You can continue to file cap-exempt H-1 petitions until you have spent 6 years inside US on H-1 and/or L-1. So if you stayed on L-2 and then move to H-1 in 2018, you can extensions up to 2024. Note that extension petition is approved for at most 3 years, and employer needs to file subsequent extensions later.

2.3 Yes, you can. This will be a cap-exempt petition and can be applied by A or any other employer.