Visa stamping after H1 and i94 expiry

Hi Saurabh,

You have guided me with your great advices earlier as well and would need your help one more time.

My H1B and i94 expired last week and my employer has filed for my H1 extension just in time in normal processing i.e. just two days prior to my i94 expiration. I am in U.S currently and my wife is also on H1 here. I have the below queries and need your suggestion immediately.

  1. Since my H1 extension was filed just last week in normal processing as my employer cannot file in premium processing as per their policies so I know that it will take time for the decision from USCIS. I have not yet received my receipt no. as well till now and I have a family emergency now and it seems I might have to travel to India. So if I travel to India will this two weeks period of my stay in U.S be counted as legal as I have not received my receipt no till date?

  2. If I go to India, I know that I can only come back to US with my Visa stamped as my i94 has already expired last week. Since my extension is filed in normal mode, the decision will take time and it might mot be possible to stay for that long in India for my Visa approval as my family will be here so I am planning to come back on H4 since my wife has H1. In such case, can I go for H4 stamping as soon as I reach India with my H1 extension still pending and infact can I go for H4 stamping even before I receive my H1 receipt no for the extension filed in last week?

  3. If I go for H4 visa stamping, will this period i.e. for almost two weeks that I have stayed here in US without i-94 (with H1 extension filed) will be considered as legal? Does this period of stay create any immigration issues for me now or in future?

  4. If I come back to US on H4 and if I file for my new H1 with COS under cap exempt then will this current period of two weeks stay in US without i-94 cause any issues for my new H1 petition approval then or will this stay cause any other issue with immigration related statuses?

Thanks for all your help and I am looking forward for your suggestions.



  1. It will be legal as long as USCIS received the extension petition prior to I-94 expiration. If the employer used a tracking delivery, then that would prove the delivery date.

  2. You can appear for H-4 stamping while H-1 extension is pending.

  3. No issues, as long as (1) is satisfied.

  4. Same as (1)

BTW, you can also pay for PP fees, if your employer agrees to.

Thanks a lot Saurabh for all your help.I will travel to India now in emergency without any hesitation after your advices. I have tried with employer already and he says even I cannot pay for the premium process so I will try to come back on H4 and will reapply for my H1.

Thanks again and will let you know for any related queries.


Well by law you are allowed to pay for PP. If the company has policies that prohibit you from doing so, then that’s a different thing.

Hope your emergency in India is resolved favorably. Good luck!

Thanks again Saurabh for nice words and great advices. I think my employer does not have the policy of upgrading to PP for extension and COS. Anyways thanks for letting me know that it is permitted legally for the candidate to pay for PP.

I will let you know for any related queries.