Travel While H4 EAD Pending (H4 Ext, COS Abandon, New Stamp)

Travel While H4 EAD is Pending is allowed. Pending H4 extension or COS may be abandoned, H4 EAD may receive RFE to prove H4 status by sending new i94.

Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta    Updated  4 Aug, 20


Can I Appear For H4 Extension Biometrics In India?

The H4 extension biometrics can only be taken in the USA at this time.
This H4 extension is filed using form i539 without leaving the USA.

Biometrics in the USA are taken by USCIS and fingerprints outside the USA are taken by the Department of State (at US embassy). They do not share their data with each other at this time.

The same rule applies to F1 and L2 biometric appointments in the USA.

Can I travel While H4 EAD is pending?

You can travel out of the country while your standalone H4 EAD application is pending with USCIS.

Note that H4 EAD can be denied if your H4 COS or an extension is also pending with the EAD application.

What is the Risk of travelling While EAD is pending?

USCIS may send an RFE to ask for H4 status or request an updated H4 i94.

Some people have received H4 EAD RFE to prove H4 status and submit a new i94.

I would advise you to travel internationally like India if someone in the USA (like husband or family) can receive the notices from USCIS and respond if required.

In a normal scenario, you do not receive RFE or need to visit the application support center for H4 EAD. But, if you do, you will have to come back to the USA.

H4 COS, EAD Pending

USCIS will abandon your H4 COS application immediately as you step out of the US and will also deny your H4 EAD application.

You should wait for H4 COS approval and then you can travel while H4 EAD is pending. 

It does not matter if you are going to re-enter on H4 visa. The simple rule is that the COS application is abandoned as soon as you leave the USA.

The better, faster and my recommended approach:

  1. Travel to Mexico or Canada to get an H4 visa stamp as it is faster than H4 Change of status processing time in the USA.
  2. Enter the USA using an H4 visa stamp. This saves time as you get on to H4 status immediately on re-entering the USA.
  3. Apply H4 EAD after entering the US to get EAD approval within 3-6 months. No biometrics appointment required for standalone H4 EAD application.

Traveled Outside USA, Re-Entered with H4 Visa Stamp

If you did travel outside the USA while H4 COS was pending and now entered using your H4 visa, you should file a new H4 EAD application.

The old H4 EAD application can be left under processing if it is still pending.

You may or may not receive approval for pending H4 EAD. Some people have received approval but for others, an RFE has been issued to prove H4 status.

As per the official rule, the USCIS can (it varies) deny the H4 EAD application as you abandoned your H4 by traveling outside the US.

H4 Extension is Pending

Your H4 extension may be automatically abandoned by USCIS if you travel while it is pending.

H4 extension is filed to get a new i94 when the person does not want to travel out of the US. The whole purpose is lost if you travel after filing an H4 extension.

Basically, H4 is a dependent visa and does not need a petition approval like an H1B does. Hence, you do not need H4 i797 to get a H4 visa stamp in passport.

There are two ways you can get H4 extension:

USCIS will not issue a new i94 even if they approve the H4 extension. You should get a new H4 visa stamp from the US embassy.

The embassy will take your Biometric fingerprints.

Extension + H4 EAD Pending

Your pending H4 application should be withdrawn once you re-enter the USA. Pending H4-EAD will most probably get an RFE to prove your H4 status.

At the time of this RFE, you can submit your new H4 i94 and H4 visa stamp.

Source: USCIS




Author

Anil Gupta
  By Anil Gupta           

Recent discussion on forum

  1. GD123
    GD123

    Hi Anil,
    Wondering if you can comment on this.

    Filed H4 + H4 EAD concurrently with H1B in Nebraska service center in July
    H1b Approved after converting to premium later. But no news on H4 , H4 EAD . Not received any biometric notification.

    Since getting H4 stamped from Canada border is possible for Canadians, can you comment on potential options available for h4 EAD

    #1 . Is it possible to update existing H4 EAD application with separate H4 approval ( assuming getting H4 approval from Canada border) .

    #2 What will happen to existing H4 application if we go for a border approval

    #3 If updating an existing H4 EAD application is not possible, is it ok to file a new h4 EAD application ? Will there be any issue in having two H4 EAD applications

    #4 Do nothing and wait on the existing filing

    Thanks,


  2. nikhil
    nikhil

    Hi Anil,

    My H1-b and wife’s H4, EAD extensions were all filed together. I have received my H1b approval but spouse H4 extension and EAD renewal is still pending. We are planning to go to India for a month, since our H1 and H4 will be stamped in India, what effect will it have on the H4 extension and EAD renewal application? Is there something we should do after returning back from India or should we avoid going out of US while EAD is pending.

    Thanks in advance!
    Nikhil


  3. anil_am22
    anil_am22

    HI @nikhil

    The H4 extension will be denied if you travel. It won’t matter much anyway as you will go for H4 visa stamping.

    The H4 EAD might receive an RFE or may be denied based on what happens to H4 extension.

    You may have to file h4 EAD again when you are back in US.

    I have covered more scenarios about travel while H4 EAD is pending here.


  4. nikhil
    nikhil

    Thanks Anil, we have decided to postpone our vacation plans because of the risk of reapplying and then having to wait again.


  5. h1ext2019
    h1ext2019

    Hi Anil,

    Need suggestion from you in my situation.
    Currently my i94 is expired and H1 extension is in process. My spouse H4 and H4 EAD extensions are in process. we have family emergency now.
    a. Is my wife can travel to India now, if yes, Is H4 and H4 EAD extensions will process?
    b. If she travels now, will it impact on H1B Extension?
    c. Is she can eligible for dropbox or has to attend Visa Interview if we she go with my extension approvals (currently visa expiry in her passport is Jun 15th 2019).

    Thanks,
    Bala


  6. anil_am22
    anil_am22

    Hi @h1ext2019

    The H4 extension will be abandoned but your wife can use your H1B to get H4 visa stamp and return to US.
    H1B extension will not be affected if you are not traveling.

    Dropbox eligibility is completely different. If your wife is eligible, she can use it.


  7. h1ext2019
    h1ext2019

    Thanks a lot for your quick response sir, H4EAD extension will also be abandoned right?


  8. anil_am22
    anil_am22

    Hi @h1ext2019

    H4 EAD extension may not be abandoned automatically but it is recommended that you re-file it once H4 is back in US.


  9. Psnbk
    Psnbk

    Hi my husband h1 extension got approved till oct 2022 , while my h4 and h4 ead extension are still pending . We are planning to go india for a family occasion

    1. Can He travel while my h4 extension is still pending
    2. Can i travel while my h4 and h4 ead are pending
    3. What is the impact on pending h4 ead if i go for h4 visa stamping while my h4 extension is still pending with USCIS
    4. When can i expect my ead if i am not travelling, receive date is 10/24/2019 at vermont centre . Got biometric appointment on 11/13/2019
      Thanks in advance


  10. anil_am22
    anil_am22

    You can check current H4 EAD processing time here.


  11. Psnbk
    Psnbk

    Thanks Anil for your reply


  12. anil_am22
    anil_am22

    Hi @GD123

    Please read the linked article above. Your questions have already been answered.


  13. Chutki
    Chutki

    Hi,

    I need to travel to India now, hence below questions:

    1. I know I will get the Biometrics and Visa stamped in India for H4 but what happens to H4 EAD - will it be in-process/RFE/denial?

    2. Change of address - If we file the application from State X and recently move to a state Y, can we give relatives (Permanent) address in State Y as we will be traveling?

    Please help, thanks!


Comments are closed. Ask question on Forum