Layoff - H1B to H4 COS to (future) H1B transfer - Inputs needed

Hi,

My wife was laid off on Apr 14 and her 60 days grace period ends on June 13. We live near San Francisco, CA

Both she and I are on H1-B Visa. I have I-140 approved but she does not.

We are applying for her H4 COS tomorrow (Jun 9) since she did not get another employer who is ready to file H1-B transfer.
She will keep on looking for job opportunities and we would like to know the path forward, once she has a potential employer ready.

  1. Once she is out of the 60 days grace period, what should be the ideal way to communicate future employers about her visa situation - is “she has filed for H4 COS within 60 days and is still eligible for H1-B transfer” good enough? FYI, she currently has 2.5 years left in her H1-B
  2. Before her H4 COS is approved, if we get an employer who is willing to do H1 on Premium Processing (PP), will she be asked to go for consular processing? If yes, I have no idea how that would be possible right now since travel may not be possible due to COVID-19 restrictions
  3. Before the H4 COS is approved, if we get an employer who is willing to do H1 on Premium Processing (PP), is there a way we could strategize her H1-B transfer which could be least hassle for us?
  4. Could you please share where to find out what is the current processing time for H4 COS/H4 EAD?

Thanks in advance for all your help!

I have recently been in exact same situation. First of all, you should apply for your wife’s H4 COS+EAD asap to make sure it reaches USCIS before 60th day of grace period. I will try to answer based on my experience.

  1. Yes, but sometimes recruiters don’t understand what it means, so it gets tricky. However, it’s the best to be honest and tell them the exact situation.

  2. In my case, attorney advised not to file H1 COS while H4 COS was pending as USCIS often issues RFE and asks for valid H4 approval. My company filed for Consular application and with valid H1 visa from previous employer I had the option to go to Border and come back on H1.

  3. Same as above. Luckily, I got H4 and EAD approval a week before my H1 consular approval. With Covid situation, I guess your best bet is to file H4 COS and EAD, while look for employers and whether they are ready to file H1 COS (it does create complexity though. Also, H4 approval later will change your status to H4 unless you withdraw it).

  4. Took 5.5 months for H4 COS+EAD approval at CSC center.

Good Luck!

Thanks for your quick response H1MON. Could you please share what was the time range for your H4 COS? Which border did you go to? I am trying to see if proactively it better to apply for a visa as well for MX?

I didn’t have to go out as my H4 COS and EAD was approved before H1 consular application. Applied in Nov’19, approved in May’20.

My company filed for Consular application and with valid H1 visa from previous employer I had the option to go to Border and come back on H1.

My wife has H1-B from previous employer valid till Oct 2021 so in case we go for Consular processing, can we just go to the border and come back with a new I94 or we need to get the new visa stamped?

Thanks again for all the help! @H1MON

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@Anil.Gupta in case you have any specific inputs? And thanks a lot for this amazing forum, its very informative and helpful

@H1MON Did you expedite your case at USCIS ? I have applied for a F1 to H4 COS and EAD in August 2019 and havent heard back. The processing time at CSC currently is 10-13 months for H visa COS.
@vmi you can find the current processing time here Processing Times

Hi @Anil.Gupta Checking again if I could get your inputs as well? It looks like a very challenging situation right now due to Covid-19 challenges

Hi @vmi

I can help only if you have any specific question.

Hi @Anil.Gupta My bad, I did not ask it clear enough.

An update on the above scenario that I listed about my wife’s layoff, we applied for H4 COS and it reached USCIS before the 60 days grace period ended

  1. With our current situation (H4 COS in progress and looking for new employers who could file H1-B, do you think consular processing for H1-B is the only option now?
  2. My wife has H1-B from previous employer valid till Oct 2021 so in case we go for Consular processing, can we just go to the border and come back with a new I94 or we need to get the new visa stamped?
  3. We need to get the Biometric Appt and I guess that comes within 2-3 weeks of applying for H4 COS. Not sure if that has changed recently?
  4. We are thinking of trying to expedite the H4 COS case using Congressman route. Do you think there is any value/hope in doing that for while we still have not got the Biometric appt or we still have not reached the 90 day duration since COS was filed?

When is her i94 expiring?

When is her i94 expiring?

My wife’s I94 is expiring in Oct 2021 @Anil.Gupta

You can file H1B COS again but then you will add another layer of complexity to your status.

I would suggest to file H1B in consular processing. Once approved, you can visit any US border and get a new i94.
Old valid visa stamp can be reused.

USCIS Biometric centers are closed as of today and hence they are not sending any Biometric appointment letters at this time.

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Hi, may I know what you guys ended up doing? I recently received an RFE requesting for H4 approval, even though it is still pending. I am evaluating if its better to expedite my H4 COS or have my H1 petition changed to consular processing so that I can go to the border and re-enter. Fortunately, I have a valid H1 stamp until Nov 2021.

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Hey Even I am in the same situation. Please let me know how anyone could solve this issue if we have expired i94? My h4 extension is in process and filed h1 COS. Got RFE to submit valid h4 approval. Please let me know if I can file in consular process and go for stamping in India?

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Hi Sindhuja,

I am in the same situation. Did u get H1 approved in Consular processing ? Were you able to to exit and enter back on your existing VISA ? Please share your experience.

Thanks

HI,

I am in similar situation.

H1B maxed out on July 3rd 2021
I have applied for H1B to H4 COS so that I can continue to stay in the US
My PERM was applied on Jan 11th 2021 and I got the approval on July 1st 2021
I have filed I-140 in premium, very likely I will get the approval in next 1 week.
Now I need to file a COS from H4 to H1B, my company is ready to file H1B extension on Premium, but I am not sure what will happen in my case as my H4 is not approved yet?
Can you please let me know what should I do in this case?
Should I go ahead and file H4 to H1B COS (my company is filing premium), stating that my H4 is still not approved to the USCIS?
or should I do the consular process i.e. goto India, get NIE and get my H1B stamped through dropbox (as Mexico or Canada are not processing any visa at this time)? I am very confused and not sure what is the best process to follow so that I can start working ASAP.

Thanks,
Sindhu

Until you are in a valid status USCIS cant process your change of status. In your case you may attach the receipt of your H1B to H4 COS with your H4 to H1B COS application and pray that they will adjudicate your H1B to H4 first and then H4 to H1B under premium processing.

I am curious to know if you consulted your employer’s immigration lawyer before posting here and if yes, what did they suggest.

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Hi,

Thanks for your reply. My employer also said the same thing.

But I have been reading a lot, in most of the cases they don’t approve is what I have seen.

Thanks,
Sindhu

Hi @sindhu2289 , any updates in your case? I have exactly similar case and currently evaluating if I should wait for H4 COS (which may take months) or file H1 COS?