Please see my detailed answer for H4 dependent stay after i94 expiry here (H4 spouse and H4 minor are considered same).
@DipAtTV also filed in Vermont Service center and got H4 approval after 10 months.
Can I travel outside USA while my H4 extension is pending?
Ideally, you should NOT travel while your H4 is pending and i94 has expired as it affects your pending application.
But, the GOOD thing with dependent visa is that If you travel, you can directly go to US embassy for interview and get #usa:h4 stamp.
In that case, you would NOT need the H4 extension application that you have filed (and is pending) in US.
You will need your spouse (#usa:h1b) approval documents while appearing for H4 visa interview in US embassy.
Hi, thanks for the comprehensive reply.
In case if I need to visit India in March, 2019 and my I-94 extension is still pending by that time , in that situation Whether my departure from USA is illegal?
Will that affect my H4 stamping in India?
One more question for H4 stamping ,do I need to mention the reason of extended stay in USA in DS -160 ?
Do we need to mention reason of this extended stay in all future DS-160?
Sorry for asking these many questions as I have anew born and I am really worried whether I need to go India for stamping before September to avoid any risk & future trouble.
Is departure from US illegal if H4 extension is pending?
NO. The US departure is not illegal in any case.
You have all the rights to leave US anytime you wish.
The only thing to note is that once you leave US with H4 pending, your #h4-extension application will probably not be approved with new i94.
You will have to go to US embassy outside USA to get new H4 stamp in your passport to re-enter USA.
Extended stay reason in DS-160
I assume you mean your stay in US after your i94 has expired.
If the extended stay question is asked anywhere on any US visa application form, you can safely write about this stay.
This is perfectly legal and is allowed by USCIS. There is no need to worry about staying in US after i94 expiry, if you have filed the H4 extension timely (i.e. before i94 expired).
This scenario happens with almost everybody these days as the regular extension application are taking more than 10 months easily.
So, in 99% of regular processing cases, the i94 will expire and people do stay in US.
Thank you so much for your reply.
Your answers are really very helpful to understand the rules of us visa.
Few more question , whether my extended stay from the time of H4 expiry to my visit to India (here my visit to India will be within 240 days from visa expiry and as per my center processing time it will be still pending in March,2019) will affect my green card procedures in future?
Do I need to mention this extended stay from September to March 2019 in all future DS -160?
I am talking about space in DS160 where it is writtent “Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?”
What should we write here?
Noted with thanks…
What will be my status after September,2018 as my I-94 is getting expired even though my extension is applied in May,2018? Will it be in status or out of status?
One more question ,my husband will apply for his H1 extension in Feb, 2019 so in the situation of my pending H4 extension , will his company be able to apply my extension along with his extension?
After i94 expiry, you will be technically ‘out of status’ but it is considered legal and automatically becomes valid as and when the H4 extension is approved.
You can read more about it here:
I am not sure why would you apply for another H4 extension when one is already pending. You can apply as many times as as you want.
The new application will technically not serve any purpose if the current one is still pending.
Here if I plan my visit in March,2019 ,at that time I will be out of status. so in this situation if I can write No for below question
"Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?”
In Feb ,2019 my husband is applying for his H1 extension so will I be able to apply my next extension along with him.
@Divyadarshani, In my situation I had two application for H4 extensions filed together,
for my Spouse with H4 EAD, and
for my child.
I got my Spouse with H4 extension with EAD approval in 3 months but for my child it took 10 months.
So looks like USCIS has some timeline to approve H4 EAD which makes H4 extension associated with it much faster compared to H4 extension alone.