H4 extension pending. can my wife and kids travel to india and come back

Hi there,

I have this scenario which i need an answer of.
I am an H1B Holder and presently in US with an extension approved till Year 2021. I had applied for H4 Extension of my wife and kids in October 18 and still waiting on approval.

That means its pending with USCIS. It is with Vermont center. My wife and kids are to travel to India in March 19 and come back by April 19. How do i get the visa for them to come back when their extension is still pending.

In one of your posts i read that they can go to any US consulate in India and will be stamped a visa with valid i797 of mine. If its true then How to approach the consulates for such an appointment.

Should this be through my Employer ?

Please give detailed inputs and step by step guide. I shall be highly thankful to you.

The H4 visa stamping process is same as you would have done the first time H4 stamping for them while coming to US.

Fill DS 160 form, take US embassy appointment and then appear for interview.

You would need H4 visa interview documents checklist.

Your wife and kid might be eligible for Visa Dropbox too.


Thanks Anil for the prompt answer.

my other question is i will be appearing for a drop box in April .

do you think they can appear for drop box too.

i mean i doubt that based on my visa they can go for a drop box with extension pending.
how is it possible.

have you ever come across any such scenarios?

Based on your link my wife stands eligible for a visa waiver and drop box but i am doubtful about my kids who are both below the age of 5 at this point.

Your wife and kids will NEED an approved H1B extension to either go for visa interview or visa dropbox.

Without a valid H1B approved i797, H4 visa CANNOT be stamped.

1 Like

Sorry Anil, i think i messed up with my question here myself.

My H1B i797 Extension is approved at present till 2021 march.

My question was my wife whose H4 extension is pending at the moment, when visiting India Will she stand eligible for a drop box when she appears with my approved i797. i went through your questionnaire and found her eligible though.

Also how do we book for a drop box , is it the same process we do it for a Visa interview.

If the dropbox app says that you are eligible for it, then you can us the facility.

When you start the visa application on the usatravels website, it will automatically ask you the same questions that were asked in out dropbox app, and it will then automatically suggest you to use dropbox facility instead of going for interview.

Dropbox is nothing but submitting your passport and H4 documents at the VFS center or OFC center instead of US embassy. You will see the address when you are done filling online forms.

1 Like

Thanks Anil. There is one more scenario added to this. Later once my wife is back in US, she is to attend a post graduate school, in which i already enrolled her.

She was supposed to go as a H4 to study and later convert to F1 student visa.

Should i take a chance by applying for F1 now itself rather than applying H4 newly while in India?

Can this be an issue which can reduce her chances of coming back. Or you suggest that she comes back first with H4 done and later converts to F1 when in US.

Also does she have to be physically in India when converting from H4 to F1 ?

Stamping for H4 to F1

There could be issues with getting F1 stamp while you are on H4. Some people have faced rejections but most of them get it easily.

Each case varies. So, it is better to not take risk.

Enter US on H4 and then convert to F1

Do remember that your wife will not not be able to apply for changing status from H4 to F1 immediately after entering US.

There is a DHS rule that says that if you apply for change of status within 90 days of entering US, your real intent can be questioned and DHS or USCIS MAY take action against you.

So, it is advisable to wait 90 days before you file H4 to F1 COS.

H4 to F1 Change of Status - Physical location

H4 to F1 COS can be filed within USA without travelling to home country or anywhere else.

1 Like

Hi Anil. Hope you are doing good.

With your guidance i got the Drop box appointments for my wife and kids. Remember it was an H4 Extension in process case and we needed to go to India.

My dependents(wife and kids) on H4 had entered in US in sept 2018 and they have i94 which has september entry date. Their H4 expired in Dec,18 and Extension was applied. We spoke about it and i got their Drop box appointments booked. Meanwhile i have valid i797 till March ,2021.

We are travelling to india in April 2019 and coming back by April end itself. My wife plans to join Studies in US once we are back.

For her to apply for F1 will she be required 90 more days from April or is it her first i94 from Sept 2018 which they will refer. How is it , could you please explain. Please be informed that we will be going for Drop box when in india in April.

Thanks in Advance,

Your wife would need to wait for 90 days from her last entry to US to apply for change of status.

This means that her entry in April 2019 will be counted as the starting point for counting of 90 days.

Thanks for confirming Anil.

Adding to this , which center we should apply the F1 from.
Please note that my H1B extension has been approved from Vermont center.
Do we have freedom to chose any of the Visa processing centers ?
i notice that Vermont center has 12- 15.5 months of waiting period for processing F1 requests.
Will it be possible for my Wife to file her F1 from a different center for example California one which has comparatively faster response time when it comes to F1.

You cannot choose a USCIS service center with your choice.

The USCIS decides which center your application goes to for F1 application.

I answered a similar query earlier here:

Hey Anil,

Just got my family H4 dependents Extensions approved. I am yet to get the documents for that but got a confirmation from my employer this morning. My family is to travel to India this wednesday and their Drop box appointments are confirmed. Will it be possible for my Wife to apply for conversion to F1 at this moment and leave for India. I mean in next two days what are all possible means she can do so.
Also how should we deal with Drop box appointments now . Will they ask for Extensions approval documents at the OFC Centre or just go by my i797 which has validity till March 2021.

Please revert.

File F1 COS

You should not file H4 to F1 COS status now if your wife is leaving USA in 2 days.

As soon as she leaves, USCIS will automatically abandon the F1 Change of Status application. You will simply just waste your time and money there.

If the plan is to study on F1, she should apply for F1 visa instead of H4 in India.
Or, the second option is to come back to US on H4 and then apply for F1 after 90 days.

H4 Visa stamping Dropbox

Your H1B i797 is required in original for H4 stamping. You can check the H4 document checklist.

Hi Anil,

I have same situation like above. My husband and me qualified for drop box(h1b &h4).
Is it fine to submit Xerox copy of my husband h1b approval notice in my drop box as he is submitting original for his dropbox?