Regarding H4 to H1 COS and travel to India

Hi Saurabh,

I am in U.S on H4 and recently filed for H1 in regular processing. I am through the lottery and would like your precious advise on my following queries:

1. I have submitted my I-94 scan copy to my employer during my H1 filing but I am not sure whether he has applied H1 with or without COS, when I verified with him he has not replied me on that so can you please let me know on how the employer would have filed  the H1 (i.e. with or without COS) in my case as I have submitted I-94 copy.

2. I have to travel to India and would be back in U.S. well before 1st October 2013, I am worried if my H1 processing would get effected due to my travel but I cannot avoid my travel. So please let me know if in case my H1 is filed with COS then what I have to do if it gets approved  while I am in India. Does the COS still hold good even after I return or do I need to make any amendment to my H1 for COS

3. If in case H1 is not filed with COS or if my approved COS ( while in India) get invalid after my return to U.S then what would be essentially the safest time for me to be back in U.S to get my COS done so that I can be on H1 starting 1st October 2013.How much time generally only COS filing would require with a valid H1 as I have to leave U.S by end of may 2013.

4. if in case I am not able to make it within enough time before 1st October, say I return by 20th september 2013, can I file for my COS/COS amendment  even then after (Sept 20) or will it cause any problem with my approved H1 (just in case it gets approved while I am in India).

5. Do we have any option to file COS in a premium mode as like the H1 petition to get it fast.

I would like to thank you for all your advises through this Forum and would appreciate your reply on my above queries as I have to travel to India soon.

Thanks in advance for your help.
  1. You can verify this from the I-129 form which the employer would have used for filing. But again, employer will have to share that form w/ you. Otherwise wait for the approval notice to know whether it has I-94 attached (COS approval) or not.

  2. Your H-1 processing will not be impacted, but COS will be. If it is still pending and you travel outside of US, then COS will be abandoned while H-1 will continue to get processed. You can return and file separate COS or enter US on stamped H-1 visa. If you leave US after COS approval and return prior to Oct 1 on your current H-4 visa, then H-1 COS will still go into effect from Oct 1.

  3. COS processing can take 2-3 months. If RFE is issued then it can take longer. So you can keep this general timeframe in mind when applying for COS.

  4. Yes, COS can be filed even after Oct 1. There is no requirement that it needs to be filed prior to Oct 1 only.

  5. No PP for just the COS. If you plan to change employers, then new employer will have to file for H-1 transfer + COS and that can be done in PP.

Thanks a lot Saurabh for your prompt responses regarding all my queries, I really appreciate your timely advise here. Will get back to you for any other queries.