I am currently on a R1 visa but need to leave for a brief period. Is this allowed? What will happen upon my departure and reentry to the US?
As long as the visa stamp in the passport is unexpired and valid for multiple entries .... and the passport is still valid ... it should be OK.
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Yes, absolutely, so long as your consular visa stamp is valid when you seek readmission, your passport still valid, and THE VISA IS FOR MULTIPLE ENTRIES (Very important!)
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Yes, you can use your valid visa for entry and admission to the U.S. after travel abroad.