Child ageing out - Will filing H4 to F1 be denied due to my H1B i140?

Dear Anil,

Thank you for your service to this community. I would really appreciate your inputs to my query here:

Background

  • I need to renew my H1B visa (I have a I-140 approved for my GC process) that is valid through March 2020. My employer is ready to do premium processing for extension of my visa
  • I have two children - one college going and ageing out next October - and the other in high school
  • Both children and my spouse are on H4 visas currently and have valid I-94s.
  • My spouse has a valid EAD currently.

Question

  • Is it better to file visa extension requests for my dependents simultaneously with my premium processing knowing well that there is no premium processing available for dependents? H4 visa extension requests apparently can take up to 6-8 months.
  • I am told that doing premium processing first for my H1B visa extension and using that as the basis for visa extension of my dependents is possible by going to either Canada/India and applying for visa stamping there. This process is apparently quicker than expecting USCIS to process the H4 visas in the US. Would you agree? I am also told this process would assist with a new I-94 so I could kill two birds with one stone.
  • I am also planning to do a status change for my elder son (who is ageing out next year) to F1 to ensure continuity in education. Will my current I-140 approval status hinder his i-539 approval in any way?

Thank you
Sri

I suggest to file H4 extension along with your H1B extension in premium.

There is no need to go out of US to get H4 stamp as extension approval comes with a new i94.

Your child can file the H4 to F1 change of status. Ideally, it is recommended to file F1 around 19 years of age i.e. 2 years before your child turns 21 to avoid any issues keeping in mind the long processing time.

Your child’s F1 should not be affected by your i140 as F1 is for an individual visa and not a dependent visa. Your i140 stays with you and does not affect your child.

Once your child ages out, he is on his own with F1 visa. He cannot get H4 or any other dependent visa.