H4 Extension timeline and travel plan

Dear Amit,

H4 Extension or Change of status appln(I-539) was filed along with H1B transfer on Sep 6th 2019. H1 transfer is already approved. H4 is still pending
For H4, Did biometric on Sep 30th
California Service Center
How long will it take from here to approval for H4?
Current stamped H4 visa valid till Oct '2020
We have India travel plan in Dec’2019
What if we don’t receive the approval by then?
Can we re-enter the country using the old unexpired stamped visa from prev employer for H4 ?

Hi @itcoolguy

I have covered the travel scenario for pending EAD application here.

Hi @Anil.Gupta, in our case we did not file H4EAD, we only filed for H4 extension along with H1 transfer.

What would you recommend in this scenario

Hi @itcoolguy

If you travel while H4 extention is pending, the chances of its denial are high.

You will be able to enter US with old H4 visa stamp if its still valid at the time of entry. H4 can show approved H1B i797 at port of entry to get a new extended i94.

Current H4 processing time here.

Thanks @Anil.Gupta for your response, just a follow up question.

My H4 spouse is working on H4EAD , would this H4 denial due to out of country travel while pending appln ,might cause any issue in the future?

Lets say we get her I94 extended at POE based on my I797 approval, would she need to file for her visa extension after Oct’2020 which is her current stamped visa expiry date.?

Or would the I94 validity alone suffice for staying as H4 till Jun’2022 (which is my new I94 validity date)?

Also, what would be the case for H4EAD extension after oct’2020

Your response will be much appreciated

Hi @itcoolguy

H4 extention denial/abandon does not affect H4 stamping or future extensions. It is normal process. Many people do it if they have need to travel while H4 extention is pending.

The H4 i94 validity can be matched with H1B validity date but it depends on visa officer’s discretion.

You will file the next H4 extention before new i94’s end date.

Thanks @Anil.Gupta for your timely response.

If she gets her I94 extended matching mine at POE , but her Visa and H4EAD are valid only till Oct’2020.

In order to renew her H4EAD , don’t we need a valid H4Visa behind Oct’2020?

Hi @itcoolguy

You need valid H1B i797 and H4 i94 to file H4 EAD and not H4 visa. Visa stamp in passport is only good for entering USA.

Thanks @Anil.Gupta as always for your great consultation

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@Anil.Gupta just a follow up on the same thread. We are back after a short trip to India and I got my I94 extended (till Jun’2022) at Port Of Entry based on my new I797 approval copy, however the Immigration officer did not extend my dependents’ I94 based on my I797, instead he put the date matching their old H4 visa expiry date (Oct’2020).

Couple of questions

  1. Should we wait for the H4 extension to be approved/Denied because they left the country while case is in pending state ?
  2. Should we file for an extension of H4 status alone for my spouse and daughter before their I94 expiry , if so when is the earliest time we shall file for it?
  3. What about H4-EAD extension ?

Thanks in advance for your help !

Wait for the current pending application’s result as you have time till Oct 2020.

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