Passport and H1B are expiring at same time, do I have to travel to India for renewal of passport and extension of visa

Hello People,

My passport is expiring on 1-Feb-2017, H1B is expiring on 31-Mar-2017 and I-797 is also expiring on 31-Mar-2017. I have the following questions.

  • Do I have to travel to India for my passport renewal ?

  • Do I have to travel to India for my visa extension ?

  • Can both of above be done in US ?

  • Once I go back to India for both, how much time will it take for the entire process (passport renewal + visa extension) to complete ?

  • As my passport and visa are expiring at the same time, how long before should I travel to India for their extension ?

Also if I change employer in between (say 6 months from now) what will be my possibilities then. I came to US in Sep 2015 and planned to stay for 2 years and I dont want to travel to India before 2 years, but i am confused now.

Please let me know the answers to above questions.

  1. Passport can be renewed inside US also. Check the Indian embassy website for process. Renewal can be applied at most 1 year prior to expiration date. This can take 3-4 weeks to process.

  2. 797 extension can be done inside US as well. It can be applied at most 6 months prior to expiration date. Check w/ employer/attorney when the time arrives. This can take 2-6 months to process under normal processing

  3. Visa stamp renewal is not required unless you travel outside of US after your visa expiration. As long as you get 797 extended (as mentioned in 2), you should be ok.

Good to hear that. Thanks for the reply. Just one more doubt, my I-94 is also expiring on 31-Mar-2017, how to extend this one and anything else that I am missing from above listed ones.

When applying for 797 extension, attorney will also need to apply for EOS (extension of status), which will result in I-94 extension.

If you have dependents in US, don’t forget to include them in your extension petitions.

Thank you again for the info. I do have dependents (thats my wife) but she is not in US now, she does have H4 stamping. But as per her situation, she might not be coming to US. So I might not include her in the extension process.

If the wife is not inside US, then she doesn’t need to be included in any extension process. Once you have an approved 797, and her visa stamp has expired, she can just appear for stamping w/ your approved extended 797.

Thats cool. Just another question, based on your third point, after my I-797 and I-94 extension, when the visa is expired, how long can I continue in US with these 2 documents and without visa stamp/renewal ? and if I travel to India for vacation/emergency, then all I have to do is to schedule an interview for new visa stamp, am i correct ?

You can continue to stay inside US on expired visa as long as your 797 and I-94 are active and haven’t expired.

Yes, anytime you travel outside of US, you will have to get visa stamped from a US consulate.

Thank you for all your answers.

Just an other question, what if got my passport renewed here with valid visa and other documents then when traveled to India for personal work and while coming back, do I require to have visa stamped on the new passport ?

As long as the visa stamp in old passport is valid, you don’t need to appear for visa stamping. Keep both the passports and you should be fine.