H4 Extension: File I-539? While Outside USA?


I’m currently on H1B in US (valid visa until Jan’19) and my employer is filing my extension under premium processing next week. But, my wife (H4 visa until Jan’19) is currently outside USA and planning to come back to the US in October’18.

So, would I still be able to file I-539 along with my extension for dependents while they are outside US?

If not, what are her best options now to extend her H4 status?


i539 H4 Extension can be filed only if you are inside USA

Your wife (H4 dependent) can file for H4 extension using form i539 only when she is already in USA.

H4 extension outside USA - Use H4 visa stamping at US embassy using approved H1B i797

If she is outside USA, she can get a new H4 visa stamp using your approved #h1b-extension i797 approval notice.
Form i539 extension is only possible is she is in USA.

For your information, USCIS has suspended H1B premium processing till Feb 19, 2019.
So, you have a long wait before you get your approval. Plan accordingly.

Does that answer your question?

Thanks for the prompt reply and guidance Anil :slight_smile: that answers my question and have new questions.

My employer is cap-exempt and would the new premium rule still effect my petition?

Also, related to H4-Visa, Can she enter US (with a valid existing H4 Visa) while/if my H1-B Extension is still under processing?

Cap Exempt employer exempted only if filing at California Service Center

Wow, you are lucky chap :slight_smile:
Your H1B will be exempted from premium processing only if your case goes to California service center for processing.

USCIS decides where the case is processed! I answered a related question today here.

Enter US with valid H4 while H1B extension is pending?

Yes, H4 can enter US anytime their own H4 visa is valid.
Remember, your H1B extension is for future period of time after your current H1B approval expires.

So, there is no need to worry. Your H4 spouse’s visa most probably has the same validity date as your H1B. Right?

Thanks and I’m hoping it goes to California service center and yes, my spouse’s visa has the same validity as my H1B.