Please note that this is advisory ONLY. Anytime you travel, whether you are let in is purely up to the discretion of the CBP officer at your port of entry. H-1B visa stamping is difficult in India, especially for smaller software companies. However if you are not a US Master’s Degree holder and this is your first H-1B stamping, and you are originally from India, you have to go to India for stamping.
There is no way to predict when your regular processing H-1B will be adjudicated. Premium is a safer bet, however upgrading it to premium sometimes incurs a Request for Evidence.
You are a US Master’s student on OPT, and you want to travel. Your H-1B got accepted. Can you travel in June and come back in July?
If you look at your OPT, it says not valid for travel. So its good to have your student’s visa valid in your passport as well. Also definitely have your H-1B on premium and approved when you go. Have a letter from your employer that they are employing you currently on your OPT and intent to employ you on your H-1B, and recent pay stubs. . However there is always a possibility that CBP Officer may want the H-1B visa stamped, especially if this is closer in date to October 01. If you return after October 01, obviously you have to have the H-1B visa stamped on your passport.
You are on H-4 or L-1, applied for change of status to H-1B. Your application got accepted. Now you want to go out of the US?
If there is a pending application with the Citizenship and Immigration Service, the CBP officers will usually not allow you to enter back. Also, if the officer adjudicating your H-1B case finds out that you are not in the United States, then she will not give the change or extension of status. Thus have the H-1B approval before going abroad. However the above principles of not being let in, esp nearer to October applies. And sometimes officers are less forgiving to people who do not have US Master’s Degree.
On another note some L-1s try to file for H-1B just to get the quota, and want to maintain their L-1 status even after October 01. In that case, if the applicant enters after October 01, on his L-1 status, and the I-94 clearly proves it, then yes, L-1 status is maintained. The applicant has to file another change of status application or get the H-1B visa stamped though before he starts work on H-1B.
You are on H-1B and have applied for extension or transfer and want to go out?
The officers will not extend status if you are not physically present in the US. So if travel is urgent, then either upgrade to Premium, or be prepared to get the visa stamped before coming in. If you go out after the approval, if you already have a valid H-1B visa stamped in your passport, you can come in with that, even though you filed for a change of employer, and your new employer’s name is on the I-797 approval form.