Please be advised that there are travel restrictions while your H-1B petition is pending (and until approval period start date of Oct. 1, 2014).  This is because immigration law is overseen by multiple government agencies with overlapping jurisdictions.  Therefore, whether you are physically in the U.S. or outside the U.S. during the pendency of your petition and at the time of approval can have significant impact on your nonimmigrant status and/or ability to enter or reenter the U.S.   Please read below carefully.

If outside the U.S. Right now, and living abroad:

In general, if you are currently living outside the U.S. and awaiting H-1B approval from USCIS to proceed with Consular Processing at a U.S. Embassy to enter the U.S. with your H-1B visa stamp, we strongly advise against traveling to the U.S. while your H-1B petition is in progress (or at any time before October 1, 2014 if your H-1B petition is approved), as this may jeopardize the acquisition of your H-1B visa and may result in problems entering the U.S. under H-1B status.

If currently in the U.S. Right now:

Option 1 – Change of Status:  You must stay in the U.S. the whole time while your H-1B petition is in progress.  This is the easiest and simplest route.  Do not travel outside the U.S. before Oct. 1, 2014.  If your H-1B petition is approved, starting on Oct. 1, 2014, you may then travel outside the U.S., but your first destination must be your home country to get your H-1B visa stamp.  After that you may make international travel plans freely during the H-1B approval period.

Option 2 – Consular Processing:  You return to your home country sometime before Oct. 1, 2014, but if you do, you must remain there until at least Sept. 21, 2014.  If your H-1B petition is approved, then you can get your visa stamp at the U.S. Embassy and return to U.S. at the earliest possible date of Sept. 21 (10 days before your H-1B approval period starts on Oct. 1).  Once you return with your H-1B visa stamp, you can travel freely during your H-1B approval period.

Under either options, you should not be traveling outside the U.S. to any other country while H-1B petition is pending (unless you have returned to your home country in which case you can travel to any other country from your home country, just not back to the U.S. until Sept. 21).

SW Law Group, P.C.