Traveling with pending cos application

Hi @Anil_Gupta ,
I started working on H4 EAD in 2018, in 2019 my company filed H1B and I got it approved. I lost my job in aug2020 and eventually my h1B too. I have applied for H1B to H4 cos and EAD in sep 2020. No updates to those yet. I might want to travel to India by February. What should I do if my cos status is not updated till then?

Can I abandon this i539 and travel to India and apply another new i539? What will happen to my EAD application?

Hi Niv - There are limited options if you want to travel to India in February. US Embassy in India has already cancelled all appointments for Feb and March and only allowing for emergency case or dropbox.

  1. You would need to check if your application qualifies for emergency case
  2. Do you have a valid H4 stamp on your passport? If its expired - has it been for less than 2 years? US Embassy has extended the drop box visa to two years instead of 1 but that rule is about to expire on Dec 31, 2020. If that gets extended you can pursue that option
  3. This might be a stretch but we can hope that with vaccines now being distributed the consulates in Canada or Mexico might open if you wanted to travel and get your H4 visa

Hi Pratik,

Thanks for your response. My i539 application to chang status from h1b to h4 is still pending with uscis , in this case is it possible to travel and still get h4 extension stamped? Am not clear of this process. If I travel when my h4 cos application is pending will it be considered cancelled?

Yes! Once you leave the United States your I539 is automatically revoked. However, your H1 to H4 COS has no bearing on your ability to get an H4 stamp since they are two different things i.e. your H1 -> H4 COS does not have to be approved for you to get a H4 stamp. Its not like a I797 petition where unless its approved, you cant get a stamp. Similarly H1 -> H4 COS approval does not mean you can leave the country and come back based on that approval, you will still need to get your H4 stamp.

  1. H1 to H4 COS within the country - I539 can pretty much be used for anything if you wish to change your status in the US without leaving the US. B1/B2 -> F1, H1 -> F1, F1 -> H4 etc etc. Hence the long delay since it might take months for an officer to even review your file.
  2. Getting a H4 visa stamp from a consulate - This is purely done based on your spouse’s H1B visa. You fill DS 160, you go to the consulate and immediately present your case to the immigration officer and get a decision

Thanks pratik. am traveling in a month. Should I send any letter to uscis to ask to cancel my h1 to h4 cos application or will it be automatically canceled? Will I be able to see the status change in uscis upon cancellation of the application??

it is automatically cancelled