Expedite request for H4 before normal processing time

Hi Anil,
My wife has her H4 application in progress currently and below is the timeline & details for the application-
09/16/2019 - receipt date for H4
10/11/2019 - Biometric Date
California Service Center

As per USCIS’s processing time, it takes 6.5-8.5 months for H4 extension in CA service center.
Back in Sep when we filed, it was around 5.5-7.5 months.
Now, we planned an India trip in March (we leave for India on Feb 27th) thinking that by Feb end H4 extension will be done. Worst case, we thought, we will do the H4 visa stamping in India.
Since it has not yet completed, we are not very hopeful that it will be completed soon.
So, questions are-

  1. do we need to take any documentation for the pending H4 application when we go for visa stamping for my wife in India?
  2. Also, will it hurt my wife’s visa stamping if we submit out of normal processing (expedite request) now even if California center is still showing it as our application being within the normal processing time frame? We wanted to try the expedite request as a last resort to see if it helps H4 extension application being completed before Feb 27. Do you think we should try the expedite request before we go?

Hi @mHVK21

There is no expedite option available for H4 extension. You cannot request it. So, that option is out of picture completely.

There is no negative effect of pending H4 extension on H4 visa stamping. So, do not worry.

Just have all the H4 visa stamping paperwork ready and you should be fine.

Thanks so much for your response. I was thinking this is the expedite request option?- Is it not?
https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/displayONPTForm.do?entryPoint=init&sroPageType=onpt

No, this is not an expedite request.

It is a simple request to ask for status of your application. You can raise it only if your case receipt date has passed the normal processing time at that center.

Got it, thank you! I knew that but I saw few people on a FB group of H1 & H4 that they called USCIS to expedite the request or maybe inquire about the status- not sure what’s the right term.

Then their expedite request get rejected if it is within the normal processing time the same day.

But then even if expedite request was denied, “few of them” say that they got an update on their cases within few days for their application - I understand it’s case to case.

I was thinking to take this chance but I thought it might hurt my wife’s H4 visa interview in India.

You can raise as many ‘Service request’ as you want. It won’t hurt your H4 visa stamping process.

Expedite request is an entirely different thing and is applicable for H4 EAD and not H4 extension.

So, you have probably misunderstood what people are saying on FB or other places.

Got it. Thanks for clarifications. That brings to a related question actually. My wife’s H4 EAD extension is also in progress - we filed in Dec 2019 (same California service center) so do not expect it to be completed any time soon either.
We did send H4 application receipt notice in the H4 EAD application document packet (alongwith the expired i94). Do you think they will reject H4 EAD application since the pending H4 extenstion application will be rejected as soon as my wife leave US? Or have you seen cases wherein the H4 applicant returns and H4 EAD application may get RFE to provide them the latest i94?

Hi @mHVK21

You should know the risks of travel while H4 EAD is pending.

There have been cases where H4 and EAD was approved even when person traveled and returned but in other cases it has been denied too.

So, its a 50-50 chance as it varies by each USCIS case officer.

Thanks, appreciate all your responses!

Hi Anil,
Just to clarify a couple of things -

  1. In the document checklist, I do not see old I797 copies (from same employer as well old employers) as documents required for H4 visa stamping. Are those required? My wife has a dropbox appointment for her H4 visa stamp.

  2. If H4 EAD is denied, does USCIS return the fees we paid or they do not return? I googled and found this article where it talks about USCIS do not return fees except if they made error or some other exceptions - 10.10 Refund of Fees. | USCIS
    Just wanted to confirm with you.

You can check the H4 visa stamping checklist here.

USCIS does not refund any fees irrespective of approval or denial. The mistake is a different case all together.