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Do I have to leave the country to activate my new H1 visa if I'm applying for COS from H4 to H1?

Nashville, TN |

I was on H1 visa before from October 2011 to march 2012. Then I applied for COS from H1 to H4 and since April 2012 to present I am on H4. A new employer is going to file my new H1 visa, and their lawyer told me that I need to leave the country after my H1 is approved, and then get it stamped and only then I can start working. This doesn't sound right, does it?
My understanding is that I can start working as soon as my H1 is approved, but if I ever leave the country then I need to get my new H1 stamped before re-entering the US.
(PS- I have my first H1 stamped last year. But that doesn't change this situation, does it? )

Thank you so much for being so prompt and thorough in replying to my questions every time. I'm very grateful.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Your employer's lawyer may be wrong. You do not need to leave based on the information you provided. You are eligible for COS as long as you maintained you H-4 properly. COS does not require visa stamping; that is the whole point of COS. There may however be another factor involved, which you are not aware of. The lawyer may also have filed the paperwork for consular processing by mistake instead of COS. I'd talk to your employer and their attorney to get better info. You should not need to leave the US at all.

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Whether you need to leave depends on whether USCIS changes your status or not.

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No, if your H4 runs to the day when H1B employment starts.

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