H4 travel outside of US when i539 is pending and getting stamping done


I am on H1B with an approved petition till Dec 2023 but my dependent’s i539 is still pending.

I have read several QnAs on the forum and I know that H4 can travel outside the country when i539 is pending (since its taking a very long time now) and get the stamping done based off of i797 approval of the primary H1B applicant.

Are there any official sources from USCIS, US Travel docs that I can quote on this (a document checklist from their website may be)?
Also has USCIS mandated to invalidate the pending application when travelling outside of the country? Are there any downsides to not doing it, other than the potential i94 mismatch? Are there any restriction that the stamping (in India) can happen only once the pending i539 application has been invalidated?

I have confirmed that we are eligible for dropbox through the wonderful app on am22tech.

Thanks for the response in advance


There is no official reference given by USCIS on how they will handle extension petitions with travel, but based on experiences shared by users, H4 EOS have not been abandoned and continued to be processed. When you re-enter though the CBP officer will give you new I-94 and that number would be different from the H4 extension that you received with USCIS. You may have issues with the I-94 mismatch at DMV when trying to renew license or other things as it uses SAVE Database. There will be no issues with your status even if you have two different I-94. You may need to travel again and re-enter to fix this issue. Many people have reported that their H4 was processed even though they left the country and it was adjudicated, but the I-94 number was different.

Should be no issues with stamping with a pending EOS application.

It’s always good to discuss with your immigration lawyer while deciding to travel with pending applications.

Thanks a lot, @Kalpesh_Dalwadi for the detailed response

@Kalpesh_Dalwadi @anil_am22 I have a follow up question now regarding the H4 withdrawal process.

I had to travel outside the country on Sep 25th with my spouse (whose i539 was pending then). I drafted the withdrawal notice letter and compiled all required information and sent it via UPS. It reached the USCIS office on 29th Sep as per UPS notification.

In between this time period, my spouse’s i539 (EOS) got approved on Sep 27th as per the USCIS website (I am yet to get the paper copy). Will USCIS just ignore the withdrawal notice in this case? Do I need to take any additional steps?

Since we are in India the plan is to travel post stamping when we get slots.


They might just process the withdrawal too. I have heard of one such case!

They do not match the dates of the withdrawal letter with the approval date or try to even check with the person if they need it or not. They just blindly process it as far as I know.

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Thanks for the info. I will wait and let you know if they indeed process it.