H1B to H4 to H1B (valid i797, expired H1B stamp)

Spouse and I both are on H1B. We have valid i797 until 2024 but our visa stamp on passport has expired in 2021. Both of our I-140 is approved. Mine is approved with current employer, hers with previous employer.

She wants to switch from H1B to H4 temporarily as her current job is very stressful and taking a toll on her. She wants to do COS and find another job meanwhile. Once she gets a job, she would like to go back to H1B. We don’t want to accumulate any unemployment days.

  1. Is it okay to do this?

  2. What are some things to keep in mind so that we don’t break any law or go out of status

  3. Should we go to India to get a visa stamp first before COS?

  4. Do we need to wait for H4 COS to be approved before we file for new H1B?

  5. What happens if her COS from H1B to H4 is approved while her new H1B is being processed?

Anything else we should know?

Sorry if these are many questions but this is kind of a scary situation for us.

Thank you!


As far as you file the extension or change of status while your I-94 is still valid, you are good.

Not required unless you have a need to travel overseas.

Not really. Your employer can file H1B in premium processing with change of status which will force the USCIS to first approve you COS to H4 and then H1B.

No issues. Both applications are treated separate and the one dont have any bearing on the other.

What happens if H4 COS is approved after new H1B petition is approved? What status are we on? H4 or H1B? How to avoid such situations?

You should be in H1B status. Check the start dates on the approval notice. H1B start date should be later than the H4 extension of status.

1 Like