Traveling while H4 and H4 EAD pending

Hi all,

My current H4 and H4 EAD are expiring in Sept 2019. My husband just got his H1B extension approved and my H4 and H4 EAD was also filed together with his and I have been called for my biometrics for my H4 extension next week.

I do have a trip in July for 2 weeks that I have to go. I will be back before my current H4 expires in Sept, however, my H4 extension and H4 EAD beyond Sept would be pending at that time.

Is it okay for me to travel in July or is it not advisable? What should I do if I have to travel at that time? Would I need stamping before returning?

Thank you

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Hi @Aarudhra
I have covered all scenarios here:

Hi Anil,

Can I return without stamping on my current valid H4 (as I only have a few days as I am attending 2 congresses in 2 places and may be tight for stamping before the return)? Will my H4 and H4-EAD that will be processing be affected?

I heard this from my legal team in the office but wanted to check in?

"If you would like to apply for a new H-4 visa, you may do so during this trip, although I don’t think 3 days would be enough to obtain a new visa. The visa is simply a travel document. It only needs to be valid at the time you are seeking admission to the U.S. Your current H-4 visa is valid till Sept, so you don’t need a new visa to enter the U.S. in H-4 status this summer. If you have travel plans after September then you will need to obtain a new H-4 visa to reenter the U.S. after that date.

If you present your husband’s new H-1B approval notice, you will be admitted until the expiration date of his new approval notice. This essentially has the same effect as extending your H-4 status in the U.S. It is not the same as obtaining a new visa, which can only be done at a U.S. consulate abroad.

And yes, you may enter the U.S. with your current visa, your current H-4 approval notice, and wait for the adjudication of your H-4 extension and H-4 EAD, which we recommend."

You Immigration team is absolutely correct.

You can enter US using your existing H4 visa stamp and can show your H1B i797 approval to get extended i94.

But, your current pending H4 extention may not be approved with new i94 as you are leaving US.

If I had to travel after my H4 COS is approved and H4 EAD is still in processing(when applied together), do I need to get a VISA Stamp in my passport while re-entering the US?

Is COS eligible to avail drop box option for VISA Stamping ?

Hi @venkat5121

You always need a valid US visa stamp to enter US.

If you don’t have a valid H4 stamp, you will need one.

You can check if you are eligible for dropbox here.

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Thank you Anil.

is there any relation to the approved H4 COS and the H4 VISA stamp from the consulate.
I mean to ask, will i have to provide H4 COS approval for the drop box or only my spouse’s H1 approval?

for the EAD application if it is still in process after my return, do i need to worry about submitting the new H4 VISA Stamp or as my EAD is already in processing i shouldn’t worry much until I receive a query about it?

HI @venkat5121

You have to provide the H1B approved i797 for H4 visa stamping and not H4 COS approval.

Please read this article for H4 EAD issues with travel:

A post was split to a new topic: DS-160 is filled without H4-EAD receipt filled in

Hi Anil, I am on H1B and my status going to end on Nov7th,2019. I am planning on changing my status from H1B to H4 & H4 EAD with my spouse H1B extension. After I apply the COS, if at all I go to India. My H4 EAD application gets voided?

Hi @Rpamula31

I have moved your question on this pages as it has already been answered above. Please read.

Hi Anil,
I recently got my H1 petition approved till Dec 2020. The H4 approvals for my spouse and daughter are still pending with USCIS. I have raised an outside normal processing time SR as per USCIS guidelines and waiting for the response. The existing VISA validity has expired in July for them, so they are in the 240 days waiting period. I need to travel to India in December this year with my family, I have got the VISA stamping dates also on December 16th for my entire family. Below are my questions -

  1. VISA stamping can happen for the spouse and daughter based on my H1 petition approval. Pls confirm.
  2. Assuming the H4’s do not get approved during our India trip , can my spouse and daughter travel back to US on the stamped VISA? Will there be any issues entering US without an approved I797 for my dependents?
  3. Will my India travel in any way affect the H4 extension process of my spouse and daughter?


Hi @Pratik_Khanna

H4 pending application will be abandoned automatically as soon as they leave US.

H4 can enter US using H4 visa stamp and they only need H1B i797 and not H4 i797 for visa stamping.

Thanks for response Anil.

Assuming I do all this, which is travel to India which leads to H4 pending application abandon and then re-enter US with a valid stamped VISA till Dec 2020, what will I need to do next and what are the consequences?

Will the dependents be allowed to stay in the US with a valid stamped VISA till Dec’2020 or since the 240 days from the previous approved petition is ending in March’2020, I need re-do my abandoned petition and hope for it to get approved before March 2020.

Just confirming that it is a plain H4 extension, it’s not H4 COS or EAD.

Hi @Pratik_Khanna

Your dependents can stay in US as long as the i94 is valid. The i94 is issued for the full term mentioned on H4 visa in passport.

Now, if the H4 visa stamp is valid till Dec 2020, they will get i94 till Dec 2020 and can stay in US.

You need to understand that H4 extension is only valid for continuing stay in US without leaving. If H4 leaves, the extension is abandoned. The 240 day rule only applies if you continue to stay in US without exiting. Once you exit, 240 day rule is out of picture.

The rule for H1B is different as H1B petition approval is needed for H1B and H4 visa stamp. The H1B i797 is mandatory to get the visa stamps for both H1B and H4.

Thanks Anil for the prompt responses. From the response it looks like there is no risk to my India travel and the subsequent return to US.

Hi anil
I have filed for h4 COS and h4 ead
If I leave the country will both my applications get abandoned or only the COS application gets abandoned?

Hi @Aneesha

The scenario of travel while H4 COS & EAD pending are covered here.

Please read.

thanks.This means I need to wait until H4 COS is approved.

A post was merged into an existing topic: US Embassy closed & reopening - coronavirus - questions & Answers