H1 to H4 to H1B Can I work from receipt date?

Anil Gupta  15 Mar, 19      13  USA Work in USA - H1B, L Visa

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

H1 to H4 converted and now filing H1B change of status again? Then you need to wait for H1B approval before you can start working legally.

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.

H1 to h4 to H1b change of status
H1 to h4 to H1b change of status

Photo by Alvin Mahmudov on Unsplash

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.

   Read all 13 Q & A



  1. Hi Anil,
    I’m filing in PP for my H1 Extension alongwith H4/EAD for wife. Let’s assume the approval for H1/H4 come by end of March. EAD as we know takes few months and so, while H4 is approved and we’re waiting for H4-EAD approval, can my wife file a H4-H1 COS in PP (she has an I-140 from previous employer) ?
    Will that H1 application cancel/nullify the H4-EAD approval ? (Since there is uncertainty around H4-EAD,we want to start that process now and try for H1 parallely)

    • Varun Bansal   14 Mar, 19 at 3:24 pm

      I think it depends, if the new H1 will be filed as COS, she will automatically be on H1. Even if her H4 EAD gets approved, it does not matter, her current status will be H1B as you are fillign her h4 to H1 COS. She has to go out of country to change the status back to H4 if you want.

      If she is on H1B, she is no more on H4 and hence cannot be use H4 EAD but you know USCIS is not clear about H4 EAD in and out.


      • Thx Varun for the response. To further clarify:
        1. Once her H1 is approved (but not stamped yet), can she no longer work on her existing H4-EAD ? She needs to switch to working on H1 asap ?
        2. What if H1 visa stamping is denied ? Will the earlier approved H4EAD can be used again ?

        • Varun Bansal   14 Mar, 19 at 3:55 pm

          1. Yes, that’s what I know. Reason being, she will get her updated I-94 with approved i-797.
          2. Yes, she can come back on already approved H4 visa stamping. At POE, she would have to show one visa. In this case, she would have already stamped H4 and in this way her status will again be changed to H4.

        • Anil Gupta   14 Mar, 19 at 6:27 pm

          If you file H4 to H1B as change of status, the status will automatically change to H1B immediately on approval. Your wife has to work as per the H1B terms and with the H1B employer immediately starting on the next day of approval.

          If the H4 EAD is pending at this time, it will most probably receive an RFE to prove the H4 status.

          H1B stamping comes into picture if you file H1B as consular processing which you are not filing.


          • Thx Anil. So, what happens in the below case :
            1. She currently has H4/EAD with visa stamped until Sep. We’re filing for H4/EAD extension now and assume it will be approved in 3mos
            2. Then we file H1B and if approved,she will need to work on H1B
            3. She goes to Mexico/India for H1B stamping and it gets rejected there. She will enter back US on the H4visa. Can she now continue to work on the EAD that was approved in Step-1 ?

            • Anil Gupta   15 Mar, 19 at 7:58 pm

              Yes, she can enter US on H4 visa and use her approved H4 EAD to work.

  2. Varun Bansal   14 Mar, 19 at 2:07 pm

    My wife is working on H4 EAD with employer A and she now have H1B approved with lottery from employer C. Her employer B did not file her H1B with change of status. I know that in this case, to activate H1B she has to go to India for stamping and come back on H1B.

    But let’s say, if she does not go to India for H1B stamping of employer B, and is still working on H4 EAD with Employer A, can she transfer or file a new H1b under cap exempt with employer C? Wont the new employer need paystubs and all the information from Employer B? How does this work?

  3. Viral Zaveri   13 Mar, 19 at 1:20 pm

    Hi Anil, thank you for this informative article. However, I am not clear on one thing: my wife is currently on H-4 EAD (came to U.S. on H4 then COS to F1 and then COS to H4 again). She wishes to find an employer that can sponsor H-1B for her and get out of this H4 EAD headache. Would she fall in new H-1B cap category for which her employer needs to file H-1B starting April 1, or cap exempt so her employer can file H-1B anytime?

    • Anil Gupta   13 Mar, 19 at 8:45 pm

      If she never had any H1B approved for her earlier, she need to file H1B in cap-subject lottery that starts on April 1 each year.


  4. Hello All, I Have a query, My wife H1B extension is denied. I am planning to covert to H4EAD. Now can she move back to H1 at later point?


    • Yes, she can move to H1B whenever she wants by filing H4 to H1B change of status application.
      This is precisely what has been explained in above article.