Quit on H1B interview in Europe can I enter on visa waiver?

Hello everyone,

After 10 years in the US I finally run into a slight problem and need some help if possible.

I was recently forced to quit my job due to relocation and issues. This happened in the end of April of this year. My wife is on a H1B as well but I did NOT file for H4 sadly. Stupid mistake I know.

Now, I recently got invited for a interview in Europe, they paid my flight which leaves this week and my fear is that I cannot reenter the US.

My I-94 is still good, my H1B obviously not since the work relation has ended. I stayed in the US for a lil over a month without filing for H4 and simply looked for jobs.

My lawyer says I should NOT enter with a B1/B2 but instead enter on a visa waiver which should not be a problem as long as the officer knows the law. However, he also says it’s up to the officer and he could end up questioning me leading to me having to return to Europe.

Obviously I am extremely worried, there is no time to go to the embassy to get a H4 since I only have a 3 day stay.

Any help or input would be greatly appreciated.

Uggh this is tough! I don’t have an answer here really besides listen to your lawyer (or don’t travel). I’d also recommend you carry a print out of the legal page or a letter from your lawyer saying you can do this. Good luck and let us know how it went.

Thank you for the time. It’s for a interview and we all have to work so I kind of have to go sadly.

Only thing that confuses me is that my lawyer talks about visa waiver and the German lawyer says I have to fill out the ESTA form before I leave which leaves me completely lost and uncertain.

You did not mention where your passport is from, ESTA applies to folks from countries who do not need a visa to travel to the US. This is what visa waiver is normally. If you are from one of these countries you could technically enter and then switch to the H

I am German, got my new german passport in the US from the German consulate. Do you think I should fill out the ESTA form prior to departure?

Thanks a lot

Ah that makes more sense. So you are basically giving up on your h1 and just coming back in via a visa waiver. Makes sense cause like you said your H1 is not valid anyways. I think VWP has restrictions like max 90 day stay and obviously you cannot work on it. Also AFAIK most ESTA determinations are usually made immediately. So it should not matter too much if you apply from Europe.

But yes, you do need to do this to re-enter.

Fantastic. So basically I just fill out the ESTA form before departure, and on Monday I should not have any issues entering with the ESTA form? I am just so paranoid that for whatever reason they turn me around and send me back to the motherland.

I really appreciate your time answering my questions. Truly appreciated

I thought you germans said Fatherland! Im not sure when is the best time to file, because the ‘normal’ case is applying from abroad. But unless your name is flagged in some government database I’d expect you to be approved quickly. Worst case scenario is probably spending a few extra days eating bratwurst.

I guess I live in the U.S. For too long and am more American than German.

Just arrived in the “fatherland” ready to go back already.

If I enter with the ESTA is there anything I should or in this case should NOT say at immigration? Lying to a immigration officer is by far the most stupid idea but I simply don’t know what do say. “I’m just here to go see my wife”?