Travel while H1B Pending (Extension, Transfer, Amendment, COS)

Originally published at: Travel while H1B Pending (Extension, Transfer, Amendment, COS) - USA

H1B Travel when Application Pending with USCIS: Travelling while your H1B application is pending approval is risky. We do not recommend traveling unless you have a real emergency to go out of the USA especially when the Amendment is pending. We recommend upgrading your H1B application to premium and get approval within 15 days before…

Hi Anil,

I am in India right now. I have filed change of employer from India in premium process and received RFE today. Now it may take another 5-6 weeks for my new employer to reply to RFE, get H1B approval and visa stamping altogether. I have question that can I stamp H4 visa and travel to USA on H4 while my H1B (change of employer) is under process and gets approved?

Please note that I do not have any valid visa stamped on my passport right now.
Kindly help!


Hi @arti,

You can legally apply for H4 visa stamp and travel to US. But, remember that your H1B has most probably been filed as ‘Consular processing’ which means that you will have to go out of US to get H1B visa stamp to start working anyway.

Also, it is possible that your H4 is denied (low chance though) as you have a pending H1B application which shows your ‘work intent’ which is not allowed on H4 visa.

Thanks for the update Anil!

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Hey! Your article seems very useful. But just wanted to ask if a pending J1 visa qualifies? My sponsor had not sent my DS 2019 form and I would like to just travel to The US for a week or two then return. Is it possible to do so? Thanks!

Hi @Youchin_Kim
Your question is not clear to me.
If you want to enter US, you need to have some US vida to travel.


Yes, I have an ESTA visa and I have been to the US around 3 times. For the last half year.

Hi. This post is very informative. Thank you for the detailed information.
I have a question. My current H1B expires on July 7th. My H1B extension was filed in premium in May and I received an RFE.

I had to travel outside US for a week after receiving the RFE. I’m back in US now (entered US using existing visa stamp).

RFE response is not yet filed by my attorney as they are still collecting document from my company.

Now when my H1B extension gets approved would I receive an I-797A (with I-94) or would it be I-797B (without I-94)? Thank you.

Hi @Divya_A
The chances are high that you will not get a new i94 with your H1B approval if USCIS gets your travel information.

Sometimes, they do and sometimes they don’t by the time they take decision.

I strongly suggest to tell this to your employer and attorney so that they can submit your new i94 along with your RFE documents.

That will probably give you a chance that USCIS may approve your extension with new i94.

Thank you for the quick response.

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Hello Anil,

I hope you could help me with my situation.

I have my H1B extension approved for Employer A till Feb 2022. I just received H1B transfer approved for Employer B effective October 2019.

I have to travel to India in august and I will need to go for stamping in august and I will come back to USA late august and will start with Employer B in October.

  1. Which employer and I797 should I use for stamping?
  2. Can I use employer A I797 and do not mention anything about employer B during stamping?

Hi @popat

You can use either employer’s H1B i797 to get H1B visa stamp.

A post was merged into an existing topic: How to apply H1b transfer or extension from India?

Hi Anil

I have applied for my H1 extension along with my spouse H4 and H4 EAD (all at same time). I am travelling to India in October. My receipt date was May 28 and I did not received any update from USCIS. I am thinking to file premium in next 2-3 weeks. I have following questions:

1). If I will get my H1 approved through premium but my wife does not then still I can travel on my I-797?

2). It is possible to go for visa stamping only based on my I-797?

3). Is it mandatory for spouse to be present in USA while H4 EAD approves?

I will really appreciate if you can answer these questions. Anyone having similar situation, please guide me.

Thank you so much in advance!

Hi @saminusa4u

Are you all planning to travel or only you (the H1B)?

Hi Anil

We all are planning to visit India. Can I go for visa stamping only on my I-797?

Hi @saminusa4u

H4 can appear for H4 visa stamping based on H1B i797.

The pending H4 extension in USA may be abandoned or may receive RFE if they travel. H4 EAD may also receive an RFE.

Hi Anil,

I have my H1B extension approved for Employer A till Feb 2022. I received H1B transfer approved for Employer B effective October 2019 prior to my travel.

I traveled to India in august and I got visa stamp using employer A I-797. I also entered US by presenting I-797 from employer A. I am supposed to start with employer B by 1 October 2019.

  1. Do I have to leave country and reenter towards September end using I797 from employer B? or is it permissible to start work with employer B starting Oct 1 without reentering US?

Hi @popat

If you got a new i94, you can change to employer B. You should check with your employer if they are comfortable with this set up.

Most employers ask you to go out and enter US with the new i797 to avoid any issues later.

Hi Anil

Thanks for prompt reply. I really appreciate your time and suppprt!

What is your recommendation in this case? Should I travel or postpone my trip until H4 extension getting approved.