H4 Extension, H4 EAD processing time Vs H4 stamp outside USA and then H4 EAD in US

Hi Anil,
Really appreciate if u can help us in this situation.
I have my H1B extension approved in premium but my wife’s H4 and EAD were filed separately in the new H4 process, after my approval. Her H4 & EAD are in progress with biometrics just done this week. Some of my questions are

  1. Her H4 extension is currently with Vermont processing center. Do you know many months it will take to get approved from the time biometrics complete, as per the new process?

  2. Her EAD is expiring very soon in 2 months. Can she continue to work while her EAD is in renewal process?

  3. Her H4 EAD eligibility category is C26. Is she eligible to 180 days of automatic extension? Can we use that APA act something I heard to speed up the processing

  4. Traveling out of country to get H4 stamp and reapplying her EAD is the quickest way to get her EAD and continue work? Reapplying EAD will further delay as one EAD application is already in process ie is that ok?

Thanks a lot in advance. Please help us in this situation.

Thanks
Shiva

Hi @Shivs

H4 and H4 EAD approval after Biometric

There are no H4 and H4 EAD approvals reported yet after Biometrics. I am tracking cases here and will update as soon as i hear about one.

We called USCIS and they said that H4 and H4 EAD will be processed in regular timeline even if H1B was in Premium due to new Biometric process.

H4 EAD cannot work while renewal pending

H4 EAD is not eligible for 180 automatic extension and to work while EAD renewal is pending.

As far as i know, there is no ACT that can help here except that you can file an EAD expedite request.

I have covered it in detail here:

Travel to get H4 stamp faster

In your case, getting the H4 stamp by traveling may not really save much time.

I do recommend travel in case of H4 COS though.

Thanks a lot Anil for your valueble time and suggestions. May be one more question. .
In case if my wife travels out of the country to get her H4 stamp and come back and reapply another EAD application, will that create any issue as one EAD application is already in progress. Will both conflict and result in further delay or ok ?

Hi @Shivs
No conflicts. You can either wait on the result of existing pending H4 EAD application or file a new one. Its your choice.

Thanks Anil. The reason we want to check out this option is we don’t know how much H4 processing time it will take now in this new process. So

  1. Processing time for H4 EAD = ( H4 new processing time + EAD processing time) Unknown.
  2. But going out of country H4 EAD time = (H4 stamping time + EAD processing time) known may be max 4 months for EAD?.

Do you think this makes any sense ? Or am I too misinterpreting ?

Hi @Shivs

The total processing time for H4 extension and H4 EAD may not be strictly an addition of each’s separate processing time. The thing is that USCIS officer can approve both on same day or may actually treat both of them as separate applications all-together.

Nobody can guess what the officer will do.

In your case, if it is an H4 extension, you are still better with waiting in US for the result.

I usually recommend to get H4 stamping when your H4 is a change of status application as it takes around 6-12 months for H4 COS approval itself.

Thanks Anil for the clarification. In our case, our main priority is her H4 EAD because it is expiring very soon in a month and she has to discontinue her work. So for that waiting in US is still a better option or leaving country and coming back an reapplying ?

Hi @Shivs

I do not think that you will be able to get H4 EAD in a month even if she goes outside US and enters with H4 visa stamp.
The current H4EAD processing time will come into picture if you file a new application after she returns to US.

Thanks Anil for your helpful information.

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Anil/Shiva,

I am in the exact same situation. Thanks for your detailed responses Anil.
My case details -
H4 Extension - Apr 16 (Nebraska)
H1B approved - Apr 23
Biometric - May 8
EAD applied - May 29th
EAD expires - July 27th

I am also exploring if going to India to get my H4 stamped will help save time. But like you said if I come back and apply fresh EAD application its again going to take time, right?

Given my timelines - is India stamping an option or would it not make much of a difference?
I qualify for dropbox so I hope my travel time is around 3-4 weeks(to be on safer side)

Really really thankful for your quick answers. My travel (kinda sorta) depends on your inputs and forum people’s inputs.

Thanks guys!

Hi @inthepresent

I do not suggest to go for H4 stamping solely for the purpose of speeding things up in your case.

H4 visa stamping definitely works better in case of H4 COS applications but not in H4 extension cases.

I suggest to wait unless you are travelling for any other purpose anyway.

Thanks Anil. No other reason to travel to India. Spoke to attorneys and they said that travel while H4 application is pending will lead to I94 mismatch and once I come back I will have to apply for new EAD with new I94 and hope that no confusion arises from my old applications which I should withdraw. So I’ve decided not to travel.

Thanks again for your inputs!!
Appreciate your help and efforts

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Hi @inthepresent
Good decision.