I-797B and I-94 renewal at US-border(Mexico/Canada) - with valid I-94, valid passport, valid old H-1B visa stamp


I have got some questions regarding the I-797B and I-94 renewal at US/Mexico or US/Canada border. If anyone can answer these, that will be very helpful.

If my H-1B transfer is approved with I797-B(instead of I797-A) for being out of status on H-1B(either because the H-1B petition was filed for consular processing or USCIS itself decided that I797A can’t be given due to out of status) and if I have a valid H-1B visa stamp(annotated as M - for multiple entries) from my previous employer, have valid I-94, have valid passport for several years from now, can I just re-enter US from Mexico or Canada to get my I-94 renewed?

In the above case, will USCIS still insist in their decision for the H-1B transfer, to get a new H-1B visa stamp and if so, why? I need to know “why?”, because, H-1B visa stamp is not tied with any specific employer and hence with annotation M(for multiple entries), I researched across several sources and got to know that I can use my existing valid H-1B visa stamp to re-enter US from Mexico or Canada as above to renew my I-94 as per the end date on I797-B.

So, have any of you recently(in and around Corona days of 2020 or may be in 2019/2018) gone through such a process as above and have successfully re-entered US with “I797-B for new employer + valid visa stamp for previous employer + out of status for sometime + valid I-94 + valid passport for way more than 6 months” without "going for new H-1B visa stamp anywhere(home country/Mexico/Canada, etc)?

If yes for the above, I have few more questions as under.

  1. Can you tell me what are the recommended US-borders at which I can re-enter after travelling to them by flight?
  2. Is travelling by flight to San Deigo/San Ysidro/Tijuana/Mexico border a good place to get the above I-94 renewal? If yes, after arriving at San Diego airport(one nearest to San Ysidro), can you tell me the suggested route to the CBP/border office where I-94 renewal is done?
  3. Or will just visiting the CBP office any international airport(San Francisco, San Jose, or any other international airports across US) be enough to get my I-94 renewed?
  4. If I decide to travel over flight to Canada and re-enter US the very same day within few hours(say 2-3 hours or even less) of landing in Canada never leaving the Canada airport, do I still need to apply for a Canadian visa before this flight?


First thing to understand is why would USCIS ask you to get consular processing done if your current i94 is valid and you have never been ‘out of status’?

You are just making up stories by your own will. Law does not work the way you are thinking.

USCIS will approve your H1B forcefully in Consular processing if you were ‘out of status’ at the time of filing the application or the chain of i94 were broken.

If you decide to explicitly ask for Consular processing, then yes, you can leave US and return to get new i94 if you have a valid H1B visa stamp (old one works too).

CBP office at international airport cannot issue new i94 while staying in the US.

I did not say that. It looks like you misread my above post. My above post clearly is about the possible implications when it is a “out of status” case with valid I-94 and valid visa stamp from the previous employer.

No. No stories are being made up here. Reread my above post. And I am not thinking of laws working in any way other than what is stated in USCIS resources. Instead, I am here to hear from the people who have been in the above scenarios.

Which one of these is recommended in the above explained scenario(“out of status” + valid I-94 + valid visa stamp from previous employer) keeping in mind the timeline of the approval process, travel restrictions on non-essential travel across borders and so on - asking explicitly for consular processing, or having USCIS deciding by itself it to be consular processing?


@All people who are here reading this thread : if you have been in these above scenarios outlined in my initial post and can answer these questions, it will be helpful.

Related additional question :
Since there are travel restrictions for non-essential travel across US-borders, I have seen people taking flight to Mexico, landing in Mexico, staying in a hotel for sometime, and returning to US from Mexico via a flight and getting the new I-94 at a US airport upon landing in US, instead of traveling to US-borders from within US(flight/car, etc) and as guided by the officials over there, walking cross US-Mexico border, reentering US to get the I-94 renewed for the I-797B case given for “out of status” case with valid I-94 and valid visa stamp from previous employer. So, I want to know the recommended option from the people who have been successful in getting a new I-94 - did you take a flight to Mexico and returning to US via a flight and getting new I-94 at the US airport, or did you travel to US border by taking a flight/car within US and as per the border officials instructions, walked to cross the US-Mexico border and re-entered US to get new I-94(just like people used to do it earlier when there were no travel restrictions at borders due to COVID, etc)?


Hi, have you already updated your I94? I have I797B and already obtained new I94 but the new I94 was only given till my old passport expiration date. I just received my new passport. I was wondering if i can go to mexico to update my I94.

Yes, you can visit the border and get new i94.

My current H1B visa stamp is expired. Can I still renew at the border?

@hlqrt12 Did you get your I-94 extended? It would be great if you could share your experience. Thanks.

I just received my H1 b extension i797 approved.

  1. Do i need to visit India for my stamping if my spouse needs H4 visa?
  2. The employer forgot to file H4 extension for my spouse and now she has overstayed for 3 months. We did not know about separate H4 filing.
  3. We have a child US citizen who needs her to stay.
  4. Which of the following will be faster if we do able?
    Do we need to file new H4 application and get stamping from India on just my H1b extension approval and no stamping or
    we need to file H4 extension form along with NPT?

You dont need a visa stamp to extend your spouse H4 status in the US or H4 visa stamping.

Employer is not responsible for H4 extension of status as it is not an employer sponsored benefit. Primary H1B should make sure that H4 extension is done in timely fashion for the dependents.
You are supposed to know basic immigration laws around how to maintain your non-immigrant status in the US.

It depends of how fast you can get visa stamping appointment. H4 extension of status with NPT can take from 6 to 12 months depending on the processing center.

Thank you Sir.

  1. So my spouse can leave the country before 180 days mark and then file for new H4 stamping at consulate or do drop box based on old visa under same category?
  2. If we are doing h4 stamping then is it required to file i539 with NPT anymore?
  3. How to justify extended stay on DS160 form? Yes or no?



You will state the facts on DS160.

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Can i submit another ds160 with new payment in mexico as no appointments available in India for h1b visa extension stamping.
I already paid and have ds160 for India.
Will having another ds160 in another country void the home country ds160??
Thank you.


Should be no issue.

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