H1 to H4 to H1B Change of Status, Work from Receipt Date

H1 to H4 to H1B change of status cannot work from receipt date. H1B COS should be approved to move from H4 to H1B. H1B to H1B transfer can work on receipt.

Written by Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta          Updated  18 Feb, 20


H1 to H4 to H1B change of status work start date?

You have to wait for H1B change of status approval to start work.

You converted from H1 to H4 status within US and now filing H1B change of status again. You should start work for H1B employer only after your status is changed to H-1B.

Your current status H4 will stay with you until the H1B application is finally approved by USCIS.

Small consulting companies might lure you to start working immediately on filing H1B, but, beware that you will be violating your H4 status rules and this can put you in USCIS bad books.

H4 to H1B change of status work start date?

In simple H4 to H1B case as well, where you filed H1B with change of status in lottery. You can start working on Oct 1 or the start date of your H1B as approved by USCIS.

The change of status happens automatically on the H1B approval date and you should START working i.e. your payroll should be run to keep you in H1B status.
If you do not start working on H1B after its approval, you are violating your H1B terms.

Even in case of H1B premium processing, you should wait for approval before starting work.

Can I work in H4 Status while my H1-B transfer is in progress?

As answered above, you CANNOT work on H4 status unless your H1B is approved and status is officially changed to H1B.
You will get a new i94 on your H1B transfer approval which will correctly show your H1B status.

H4 EAD to H1B transfer, Start work on Receipt date?

You can apply for H1B transfer while on H4 EAD.
Since you are on H4EAD work permit, you can keep working on H4EAD status until your H1B transfer is finally approved and your status is changed to H1B.

Until you get the new H1B transfer i797 approval with new i94, your status will still be H4 and work authorization with H4EAD.

H4 to H1B cap exempt

You had an approved and stamped H1-B visa from outside USA which was never utilized. You quit the H1B sponsor employer and came to US on H4 visa as a dependent.

Now, a consulting company here in US filed a cap exempt H1-B transfer I-129 through Premium processing.
The consulting company has informed you that you can start working immediately after filing the case to USCIS i.e. even before getting the approval of H1 status.

DO NOT START WORKING based on H1B receipt if you are currently on H4 status.
It is not legal as your status does NOT change until USCIS approves it.

In this case, do NOT listen to consulting company as they just want to make money.

Since, you do not have a valid SSN and H1B work permit, you will be violating your H4 status rules.
DHS takes visa status violations seriously and can deny your other visa application in future.

USA Work in USA - H1B, L Visa

   60 Useful Questions & Answers from comments

  1. Arti
    Arti 18 Feb, 20 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Anil,

    Can I apply for H4-EAD and H4 to H1B transfer at same time?


  2. Vatsala Chauhan
    Vatsala Chauhan 18 Feb, 20 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Anil,
    I was released from my job on Feb 7th 2020. The night of Feb 7th 2020 I applied online for H4 and received I-539 Receipt Number shortly. So now my questions are ->
    1> Am I considered to be on H4 now or am I on 60 days grace period ?
    2> If I am on grace period then my grace period will be over on April 7th 2020, so if my H4 application is still pending with USCIS by April 7th then what status will I be on? and based on that what should be my next steps ?

    Thank You

  3. Vidya
    Vidya 6 Jan, 20 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Anil

    1. I was on H4 and has I94 till 10th Feb 2020.
    2. In March 2019 I applied for H1, which got approved on Oct 29th, 2019 (after RFE clarifications)
    3. My employer received I797 C copy, and his attorney did not receive I797 A copy.
    4. While responding to RFE my employer responded directly and asked his attorney to file G28 withdrawal.
    5. So now I797 A copy is not received by anyone
    6. My employer contacted USCIS for 2 more times and requested for I797 A copy. But unfortunately, he received only I797 C copy.
    7. When the employer consulted the old attorney, he is claiming that he did not receive any I797A copies.
    8. I tried to get the SSN using I797 C and failed.
    9. Now my employer sent a request to USCIS a week back to withdraw the attorney on file (G28 withdrawal) from his end and requested for I797A copy again.

    1. Do I have to fall back to H4 now. If so, when is the last safe date to do so.(Is my status valid to live in the USA ( without SSN) in case of delayed I797A, or should I fallback to H4 and apply for H4 extension as it expires in Feb 1st week)
    2. which I94 is valid now( my H1 or previous H4)
    3. Does USCIS accept his request to withdraw attorney or is there any other separate procedure?
    4. How can I/employer get I797Aand I94 from USCIS?
    5. Should my employer file I824/I102 now?
    5. The employer wants to file I824 only after confirmation about G28 withdrawal as the attorney is not co-operative..

  4. nirav
    nirav 23 Dec, 19 at 2:24 pm

    I’m on H1B and my wife came to H4 in 2007. She has been on H1B since she got H1B in 2008. She has changed three employers so far. The first employer in 2008, the second in 2012 and the third in 2018. It received I140 approval from second employer. The third employer’s (PERM in progress) is in the process of filing a GC to port priority date.

    We are now considering relocating her H1 to H4 EAD because she will have ample opportunity if she has EAD.

    I have the following questions.

    If the H4 EAD rules change and H4 EAD can be canceled in the future, will it be simple H4 to H1b transfer or will it be a fresh H1B through lottery? How long will it take to transfer H4 to H1?

    Do you think we should move H1 to H4?
    Once H1 is transferred to H4 EAD, does I-140 revoked? If she returns to H1b, can she port the previous I-140 priority date?

    Could you please advice me? Thank you.

  5. Supriya
    Supriya 16 Dec, 19 at 2:38 pm

    Hello Anil,
    I’ve worked for my current organization in US on H1B for 5 yrs and 10.5 months. Then I switched to H4-EAD and continued working for the same organization. My H4 and EAD expires on 12/31/2019. I have a pending H4 and EAD application submitted in Oct 2019. In Nov 2019, my I-140 was approved. So, I’m about to file COS to H1-B Cap exempt in premium processing in a day or two to continue with the same employer. If there’s a delay in response or if I receive an RFE and I don’t get an approval by 12/31/2019, my understanding from your post is that I cannot continue to work. Is that correct? Does my employer need to terminate my employment until my H1 is approved? Can I continue to stay in the US until USCIS responds with a decision? Could you please advice me? Thank you.