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I-797B and I-94 renewal at US-border : valid (I-94, passport, old H-1B visa stamp)

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  • I-797B and I-94 renewal at US-border : valid (I-94, passport, old H-1B visa stamp)


    I have got some questions regarding the I-797B and I-94 renewal at US/Mexico or US/Canada border. If anyone can answer these, that will be very helpful.

    If my H-1B transfer is approved with I797-B(instead of I797-A) for being out of status on H-1B(either because the H-1B petition was filed for consular processing or USCIS itself decided that I797A can't be given due to out of status) and if I have a valid H-1B visa stamp(annotated as M - for multiple entries) from my previous employer, have valid I-94, have valid passport for several years from now, can I just re-enter US from Mexico or Canada to get my I-94 renewed?

    In the above case, will USCIS still insist in their decision for the H-1B transfer, to get a new H-1B visa stamp and if so, why? I need to know "why?", because, H-1B visa stamp is not tied with any specific employer and hence with annotation M(for multiple entries), I researched across several sources and got to know that I can use my existing valid H-1B visa stamp to re-enter US from Mexico or Canada as above to renew my I-94 as per the end date on I797-B.

    So, have any of you recently(in and around Corona days of 2020 or may be in 2019/2018) gone through such a process as above and have successfully re-entered US with "I797-B for new employer + valid visa stamp for previous employer + out of status for sometime + valid I-94 + valid passport for way more than 6 months" without "going for new H-1B visa stamp anywhere(home country/Mexico/Canada, etc)?

    If yes for the above, I have few more questions as under.
    1) Can you tell me what are the recommended US-borders at which I can re-enter after travelling to them by flight?
    2) Is travelling by flight to San Deigo/San Ysidro/Tijuana/Mexico border a good place to get the above I-94 renewal? If yes, after arriving at San Diego airport(one nearest to San Ysidro), can you tell me the suggested route to the CBP/border office where I-94 renewal is done?
    3) Or will just visiting the CBP office any international airport(San Francisco, San Jose, or any other international airports across US) be enough to get my I-94 renewed?
    4) If I decide to travel over flight to Canada and re-enter US the very same day within few hours(say 2-3 hours or even less) of landing in Canada never leaving the Canada airport, do I still need to apply for a Canadian visa before this flight?


  • #2
    Yes, if your change of employer H-1b petition receives an I-797B approval without an I-94, and you have a valid H-1b visa in your passport from a previous employer, you can use it to enter the United States. CBP (Customs Border Patrol) that processes your admission will not require you to go and get new stamping. We recently have several clients who received I-797B approval re-enter from San Diego/Tijuana without incidents. Takes about 30 minutes to an hour to process the admission.


    • #3
      jack.c.sung : Okay, got it. Thanks.

      So, did any of those clients of yours who renewed their I-94 by re-entering after receiving I797B, get I797B because they were out of status for a while? I know there are several reasons for which USCIS can give I797B, but I am interested to know for the "out of status" case.

      Also, if there was such client, was the H-1B petition filed via consular processing method for them and hence USCIS gave I797B by default. Or was it filed as a change of status method expecting I797A but USCIS themselves decided to give I797B instead of I797A due to out of status reason?

      Also, did any of your clients go through this re-entering process at San Diego/Tijuana border in this year 2020(in and around COVID season)? I am trying to understand if there are any special instructions for this COVID scenario.