H1B approved via consular processing should I leave US within 180 days for stamping to avoid out of status?

Hi Anil and Team,

My H1B transfer plus extension petition got approved in Jan 2020 via consular processing (while filing they used my approved I-140) and got I-797B. It’s valid until May 2021. Right now, I don’t have a valid I94. So, I booked a visa interview appointment and travel tickets to India. I was about to travel in March. But due to COVID, everything got canceled.

Should I travel outside of the US within 180 days (around July 2020)? If I am not traveling in this COVID situation, will I be out of status?

What are the best options available for me now? Should I book an appointment in Canada/Mexico once it’s available? Can I continue to stay in the US? I am a little confused state now. Can you please suggest some options?

You have not mentioned your current visa type and its validity.

Which Employer are you currently working with? The old one or the new who’s transfer has been approved?

Is any H1B extension currently pending?

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Hi Anil,

Thanks for the reply.

I am currently working on H1B and the current I94 (from Employer A) expired on Nov 2018. I joined employer B based on receipt notice before my i94 expiration date (Nov 2018). It took more than a year and in Nov 2019 the H1B transfer Plus extension got denied but within a couple of days, my current(same) employer B, refiled it using my approved I140 and it got approved in Jan 2020 via consular processing. I received I-797B and valid till May 2021.

Right now I don’t have any pending extension. As, the refiled petition approved on Jan 2020, Is there a rule to travel outside of US and get it stamped within 180 days? If yes, What are the options in this COVID situation?

You should be out of status at this time.

The 180 day rule is for reentry ban if you stay in US with ‘unlawful presence’, which you currently are in.

If you leave US after 180 days, there could automatic 3 year entry ban.