How to travel out of the country if an H1B visa is pending?

UPDATED: Apr 19, 2012

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How to travel out of the country if an H1B visa is pending?

I live in US on a J2. I submited my application for an H1B visa 17 days ago. In the summer I need to travel in my country. I understand that my J2 status (it ends in 6 months) will allow me to re-enter the country. However, I read some things in the internet saying that it is not recommended to travel outside US while the H1B change of status is pending because in this case it seems that you abandon your request for change of status.One of my colleagues had a similar experience a few years ago. I read also about the advance parole form that allows you to travel abroad while you have a pending “change of status” application. Has to do anything this form with my case? What are my options?

Asked on April 19, 2012 under Immigration Law, Maryland


SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you travel outside the US before the H-1B is approved, you will need to either consular process for the H-1B visa prior to returning to the US (most likely you will not be able to get a H-1B until sometime in mid-late September, if the start date is for October 1, 2012) or you will need to return to the US in J-2 status but then refile the H-1B visa petition.  SInce it was filed as a change of status (from J-2 to H-1B), by departing the US, you are basically abandoning the change of status.

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