Question regarding H1B extension - Stamping after Long time

Hi! My employer applied for my H1B extension back in January 2019. I think as of this writing, the USCIS is currently processing I-129s that were filed back in December 2018. That gives me a month or so to wait for the result of my H1B extension. So right now, I have an expired H1B (hence the application for extension), and the stamp on my passport is way overdue as well. I am aware of the 240-days rule of USCIS. I have a few questions with regards to this:

  1. Given (hoping) that my H1B extension got approved and was given 2 more years, am I mandated to exit the country the soonest and have my passport stamped in a consulate? Because I really do not have any plans on exiting the country until next year.

  2. Given I do not need to exit the country immediately, I plan on exiting the US July of 2020 for vacation. My concern here is, if I will not exit the US this year, and will have my passport stamped in a consulate on the date of my exit (or prior to entry back to US) which is July 2020, will it be a factor in considering whether I will be given an entry back to the US by the Consular Agent?

I really hope I have explained my concerns here. Any input will be much appreciated on this one. Thank you so much!

P.S. My concern is will the length of time between the time my H1B extension got approved and I exit the country and have my Passport stamped in an embassy be a factor in considering if I will be given a Visa back to the US?

  1. No need to exit the country. You will get an I-94 until end of the H1B extension, so that will validate your status.

  2. It does not matter, all they care is you have a valid US visa stamp to reenter US. you will need to get stamping of H1B at some point to re-enter on H1B.

The duration of stay in US does not matter for stamping as long as you have maintained proper status. I know few, who never left the country for 5 years on H1B and got stamping done, so it is fine. Key is to maintain status when you are in the US.

1 Like

Thank you Kumar. This really clears things up. My dilemma was, do I need to exit the country as soon as I get my extension approved or not? Since I am so concerned when it comes to having an interview with the embassy and that they might considere the length that I had to stay before having my passport stamped.

Just to clarify on my second question, you’re saying that the Consular Agent that will be doing my interview (if I go and have my H1B stamped) will not mind those length of time (between my extension being approved and my exit in the US) as long as I have a valid status during my whole stay in the US?

Also, I am from the Philippines. Will it be an issue if I have my interview in another Consulate in another Country? As I am planning to visit some family members elsewhere and I figured it will be way cheaper to go there than to go to my home country.