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Immigration Issues/H4 to F1 Change of Status & Travel

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Question
Hi Ajay,
I am applying for my wife's change of status from H4 to F1 for spring 2013 (classes start Feb 4th'2013 ).

She is on valid H4 visa now and plans to travel to India during Dec-2012 and Jan-2013.

Question is - can she travel and come back on valid H4 visa while she has applied for F1 visa?

Once she is back - can she use this F1 visa to start school or she needs to get visa stamped on new F1 status to return and start school?

Thanks in advance,

Answer
Hi,

Your wife will remain in H4 status while application to change status to F1 is pending, assuming that you continue to maintain your H1B status. However, travel outside the U.S. while change of status application is pending will probably result in denial of the change of status application by the USCIS. Thus, if she must travel, she should expect to apply for F1 visa stamp at a U.S. Consulate (normally in the home country). If she enter on existing H4 visa stamp, and the change of status application to F1 is denied (which it probably will be), she can apply for change of status to F1 again with new application and filing fee, etc.

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Ajay K. Arora

Expertise

I can answer your questions on employment and family-based U.S. Immigration Law. Expertise in various immigration categories includes the following: H-1B, L-1, O-1, PERM (labor certification), EB-1 to EB-3 I-140 employment-based immigrant petitions, family or fiance(e) or spousal sponsorship, visa extension or change of status, adjustment of status, naturalization (citizenship), etc.

Experience

Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

Organizations
American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) full member since 1995.

Education/Credentials
Ajay K. Arora attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Wales at Swansea (United Kingdom), and earned his law degree at Temple University School of Law, Philadelphia, in 1993. Mr. Arora has practiced Immigration Law since graduation and is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association since 1995.

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