H4 Entry + I539 Extension + H4 EAD

Hello everyone,

First of all thank you all for providing such great info, Q/A on this forum, it was really helpful. I have a few questions:

  1. My H1B was expiring soon (Sept 30, 2022) and my employer filed an H1B premium processing for an extension with an approved I140 and I got approval last month. My new I94 in approval now ends Sept 2025
  2. My wife is in India for a long time and is now joining me back next week Sept 8, 2022. Her H4 visa is valid (same as my H1b) till Sept 30, 2022. I looked online and it says she can travel to the US since there are still 3.5 weeks left in visa expiration from her arrival date. Also, she is traveling with a new passport, so I am guessing that shouldn’t be a problem.
  3. Question 1: Once she arrives, can she request CBP to provide her I94 with the end date as my I94 date i.e. Sept 2025? Or her I94 will have an end date the same as the H4 visa end date i.e. Sept 30, 2022?
  4. I am asking because I wanted to file an I539 extension of stay + H4 EAD (fresh, first time) for her as getting H4 Visa/Dropbox in India is impossible right now. We tried a lot.
  5. Also our backup plan right now is to travel to Canada/Mexico etc to get H1B and H4 visas stamped but no certainty on that as visa slots there are also limited.

What is the best recommendation for my wife to get an H4 EAD application filed right now?
Question 2. Should I just file the first i539 online, use the receipt number from there, and file an H4 EAD application?
Question 3. Also, her current visa expires Sept 30, 2022, that shouldn’t cause an issue in the H4 EAD application right?
Question 4. Once she lands immediately find a visa slots and go to Guatemala/Mexico etc, get visas stamped, and THEN file H4 EAD for her.

Any leads or advice are appreciated and again I looked at a few links in the forum but would love to get some feedback from members. Thanks

H4 should be able to get extended i94 if they show the approved H1B i797 (which is valid till 2025).

Once you have extended H4 i94, you can file H4 EAD as standalone application.

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Thanks, Anil for your response. Just to clarify my wife can request the CBP officer at the airport to provide an extended I94 till 2025 based on H1B i797 (which is valid till 2025).

I am exactly in the same boat. My wife came back to US on 1st Sep. The CBP officer asked her that her H-4 visa validity is expiring in 10 days and what was her plan. She told that we were working on the extension application (we were unaware at the time that we could ask for an extended i94 based on principal H1B i94). The CBP officer said, ‘Then, I am going to give i94 only until 10th Sep)’. I filed her I-539 online immediately on 2nd Sep.

Thanks a lot, Ram for sharing your experience.

Hi Anil
The CBP officer granted my wife end date on her i94 as 9/1/2025. Do I still need to file I539 extension of stay?