Travel to India while H4 extension pending

Hi Sir, I am in H4 visa. Pls answer my couple of questions below:

  1. Can i travel to India after I94 expired while my H4 visa and my spouse H1B
    extension is pending?
  2. If i go whether my H4 extension abandoned? and will it affect my spouse H1B
  3. If i go, can i get my H4 extension in India - US Embassy thro stamping after my
    spouse H1B approval? How long this extension process will take?
  4. If I can’t travel to India after I94 expired then when i should leave before I94
    expiry?Any time limit?

Travel during a pending petition is not a good idea unless there is an urgency.

If you enter the country before a decision is taken, it is somewhat okay, but your previous i94 submitted with the extension is invalid and I think new i94 has to mailed to the USCIS.

Only H1 extension petition is valid even if you leave the country, non-H1 petitions are abandoned by default. Once an action has been taken against the extension petition, you need to go for stamping regardless of the visa expiry status because the extension is converted to consular processing.

You don’t need H4 I-797 for stamping, your spouse’s 797 works and you shall be stamped through its validity

I94 is a more serious thing, you will start to accrue unlawful presence once it expires and you have not taken any measure like a COS or EOS or a transfer to new company.

There is nothing like cannot travel after I94 expires, I94 is a form that tells gives you a date until which you status is legal or lawful. If have not take any step that extends your I94, leave by that date.

This info, I deem it to be truthful. But the moderator has to validate. Thanks.

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I agree with @RaghuVamsaSudha

Thanks for answering. I appreciate it.

Thank you. Thanks for helping the community. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thank you for the reply.


My spouse and I are currently on H1b and H4 visa which is valid up till Aug 2020 (our visa’s too are valid till then). I switched jobs in September 2019 and they have applied for my H1b and my spouses h4 along with the extension (I am guessing automatic).

Hoping to receive H1b approval soon but we doubt that we are going to get the H4 approval anytime soon.

We were planning to travel abroad in June 2020 for a week. I am guessing by then we would’ve received, at least the H1b approval.

My question is - can we travel with only the h1b extension approval (hoping that we get it) and re-enter without going again for stamping? What effect will that have on the h4 extension petition and the i94 for the H4?

Hi @needhelp123

Please read the discussion above. It has been answered already.

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Hi Anil,

The answer above talks about going for stamping after i94 has expired. In my case, i-94 is not expired - H4 extension pending but H1b extension approved (hopefully, still awaiting the same).

We plan to re-enter, as our old i94’s will be valid, without going for stamping.

Hi @needhelp123

Once you leave US, i94 ends automatically right there.

You get a new i94 everytime you enter US.

You will abandon your pending H4 extension in US.
You can enter US only with a valid H4 visa stamp.

Does it make sense?

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The H4 visa and the i94 expires on August 1st 2020. If we have the h1b extension with us, travel and return before August 1st 2020, will me and my spouse be allowed entry??

Will both the i94’s get extended as per the new i797?

The situation being that the h1b extension has been approved, but we are still waiting for the h4 extension approval.

Hi @needhelp123

Did you read above discussion? It clearly says that you can do it.

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Will the h4 i94 be updated as well as per the h1b extension? or the new i94 will have the same date on August 1st 2020 and we will have to file for the h4 extension again for the new i94 issued by uscis?

Also, is it for certain that the h4 extension will be abandoned by uscis??

Hi @needhelp123

H4 i94 can be given based on H1B i797 for extended period.

It depends on USCIS officer to abandon your pending H4 extension in US or not based on when they receive your exit information in their system.
Irrespective of what happens to your pending H4 extension in US, it is effectively useless once you leave US.

If USCIS officer approves your pending H4 extension after you arrive in US, they will most probably give you shorter i94.

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H1 is a petition based immigration visa. H4 is not. H4 depends on H1.

For the same reason H1 I-129 can continue to be adjudicated while H4’s or any other category’s I-539 is abandoned by default once the supplied i94 becomes invalid (not expired).

Even if your i94 carries a future date while you are leaving the US, you CANNOT use it anymore because i94 is a document that is valid IF AND ONLY IF the individual is physically present in the US.

In your case you got valid visa stamps until Aug 1 2020. Technically though one can enter the US even on the last day of expiry, I think 30-45 days buffer is recommended. Anil, please correct me here.

If you received your 797 before you left US, at port of entry you both can show the same approval notice to get i94s until 797 validity.

Anyways, all said and done entry is always at the discretion of the CBP officer.


Thanks for the reply. Got my h4 approval in mail today (there was no update on the uscis website though). Had applied for h4ead on feb 21st 2020 which had gone to the vermont centre for processing, no news about that. Any idea how that works, i thought the applications would be processed at the same time, but clearly not!

Hello Anil. I am with my H4 extension application I-539 pending while my spouses H1 is approved.
Are you saying I can go to India( need to parents not well) and come back? US embassies in mumbai are closed, how would i get the new stamping done ?
Is it that at the time of entry, CBP officer will let me enter based on H1!-“approved 797 ?
Then i can file for new H4 ?

You would need a valid Stamped H4 visa in passport to return to US from India.

Did the dependent travel to India while H4 extension was pending?

Nope. Have not travelled as of now.