Published on Lawyers.com and the Epoch Times on September 23, 2016
Q & A 1.
If I Cancel My US Consulate Interview Appointment, Can I Go Back to the U.S. Using Automatic Visa Revalidation?
I am planning on traveling to Guadalajara for concert and I have coincided my US visa stamping interview during the trip. I have just found out that I can use "automatic visa revalidation" and come back with my I-94 card without a visa (if I come back by car). I was on H1B previously, while residing in the US, and have just been approved for an O-1 status (while in the US). Please let me know if I should cancel my US consulate appointment, and just use the AVR at the border?
Mr. Lee answers:
Automatic visa revalidation is available for those who have visas (even if expired) in the passport, are traveling to Mexico or Canada for 30 days or less, hold a valid passport and legal nonimmigrant status, and reenter the U. S. at a port of entry. It is not available in cases where individuals choose to interview for a visa beforehand and are rejected. So if you are planning to use automatic visa revalidation, you can cancel the U. S. Consulate appointment unless you plan it so that you attempt to reenter first on automatic visa revalidation and if there is trouble, go to an appointment at the U. S. Consulate to try to obtain the visa. I do note that in past years there were reports of Customs and Border Protection officers sometimes giving people using this device a difficult time upon entry.
B1/B2 Visa Upgraded to H-1B
I came to US on B1/B2 visa which is expiring in Nov 2016. Meanwhile I got a job and my employer filed H1B for me, which is also approved and status change letter also is received by me. Is it now a must for me to return to home country before B1/B2 expiry date for stamping of H1B? or I can do that any time later say Jan. 2017? Similar status is for my spouse, whose B1/B2 status got approved to H4 dependent visa. Can my spouse also stay with me till Jan. 2017?
Mr. Lee answers:
The timing of when to return to the home country for visa stamping is up to you and your spouse. You are both legally in the U. S. as you both received changes of status to H-1B and H-4. I note that some people never leave the U. S. during the time of their H-1/H-4 statuses since there is no obligation for you to leave. There is also the attendant risk upon interviewing overseas of being delayed in going back to the U. S. or worse being rejected for the H-1B visa at the home consulate.
Got an RFE for H-4 to H-1 Conversion, Risk of Missing the Deadline
I am on H-4 currently and have a valid I-94 till Oct 18, 2016, the date of expiry of my husband's H-1. I have applied for a H1 and got an RFE asking for approval/acknowledgement through Nov 1st 2016. But my employer has only conveyed the RFE details a week back and though my husbands H1 extension is in progress, there is no way that I can get the extension acknowledgement by the deadline of RFE. Can I request for some kind of grace period of 15-20 days to provide the acknowledgement number of my husband's H1 extension. My employer, says that I run the risk of having my H1 denied.
Mr. Lee answers:
Your husband’s employer can give verification in the form of a letter to U.S.C.I.S. that his H-1B extension petition for your husband was sent out on a timely basis along with your H-4 extension request. The employer can further provide a copy of the paperwork along with proof of delivery to U.S.C.I.S. Then it will be incumbent upon U.S.C.I.S. to search its own records for your H-4 extension filing. U.S.C.I.S. generally does not give grace periods past the last date on responding to a request for evidence.