No travel on H1B to Other country

H1B visa holders sent back at Port of Entry. AVOID travel to India / Home country. What can you do to make your Case stronger at port of entry ?

In H1B Visa News by Kumar250 Comments

Article written in January, 2010.  The below information is for your reference only, it does not apply to current year visa conditions.

One of the shocking news that I heard recently from my friends is few of the H1B visa holders were sent back to India at the port of entry. This article is about the incident and caution to avoid travel.

Real incident : H1B holders sent back to India at Port of entry

This incident happened in the first week of January at the port of entry at Newark, NJ. At least five of the H1B holders who came in a plane from India were sent back home. I do not know info about all the victims, but one of them was working for a mid size Desi consulting company in US. As usual the person had a very good consulting job and was working  in US for a client. The person went to India, got H1B visa extension stamped and came to US with all the proper documentation to Newark. At the port of entry, the H1B holder was questioned by Customs and Border Protection Officer (CBP Officer) and was sent back making the H1B holder sign I-275 form. There was no proper reason explained. It does not make any sense logically, but imagine in the person’s shoes and think of you answering to CBP officer. It is a very tough situation. Well, the reality is, you can never question the Visa officer or anyone who deals with immigration. It is exactly same as we going to visa stamping in India, the Visa officer just denies F1 visa without giving any proper reason to us.  That’s Visa Officer discretion.  Bottom-line, all the people travelling to India especially as a H1B holders need to be cautious and should NOT travel.

H1B visa holders, Please avoid travel to home country or other country  if you can.

Well, there are only two options:

  • Take the big risk, go to home country or any other country ,  and take a big chance at Port of  entry.
  • Do NOT take risk and NOT go to home country and avoid the situation.

No travel on H1B to Other countryThe wisest thing, provided if your situations permit, to do is to avoid travel to your Home country could be India, Sri lanka or any other country on H1B visa. You never know, may be 98 percent of the people come through the port of entry, still there is 2% people taking the hit and thats the risk…why take the risk ? Especially with the new rules of H1B visa for 2011 multiplied with all the macro economic factors like recession, it is a very risky bet.  But, you will have to remember it happens may be only very few, one in 500 or 1000, I do not know the statistics. But, people only talk about negative things and make a big deal about everything.  People do not talk about how many of them came through the port of entry successfully. I will try to post some information on few success at Port of entry as my friends recently came back.

If you have to travel, what can you do to make your case stronger at port of entry ?

Well,  the main reason for all the fuss around is the new H1B guidelines and the implications to existing H1B cases.  This is what USCIS says about extensions and logically thinking, they expecet the H1B holder to have valid documents as listed below based on the regulations memorandum released. This is for the extension only.

  1. Copies of the beneficiary’s pay records (leave and earnings statements, and pay stubs, etc.) for the period of the previously approved H-1 B status;
  2. Copies of the beneficiary’s payroll summaries and/or Form W-2s, evidencing wages paid to the beneficiary during’ the period of previously approved H-1B status;
  3. Copy of Time Sheets during the period of previously approved H-1 B status;
  4. Copy of prior years’ work schedules;
  5. Documentary examples of work product created or produced by the beneficiary for the past H-1B validity period, (i.e., copies of: business plans, reports, presentations, evaluations, recommendations, critical reviews, promotional materials, designs, blueprints, newspaper articles, web-site text, news copy, photographs of prototypes, etc.). Note: The materials must clearly substantiate the author and date created;
  6. Copy of dated performance review(s); and/or
  7. Copy of any employment history records, including but not limited to, documentation showing date of hire, dates of job changes, i.e. promotions, demotions, transfers, layoffs, and pay changes with effective dates.

Also,talk to your employer and get to know the details of your H1B filing and details like how the H1B was filed and How was the client company presented and How your skills were presented in the original petition. Your explanation should be congruent with the filing of your original and extension of H1B visa. Any discrepancies between your employers and your statements will create unnecessary troubles. Just take time to study your history of H1B petition and work with employer and get to know all the details. Your employer is your best resource and can help you in this situation.

Article written in January, 2010.  The below information is for your reference only, it does not apply to current year visa conditions.

This post is just a word of advice and caution intended in good spirit to help H1B holders  in US to take a wise decision about travel. It is not intended to mislead or scare you if you travelling. It does not happen to everyone, but just good information to know and be prepared with better documentation that can help you be prepared with enough documentation complying all the new H1B guidelines and answer questions at Port of entry correctly.

Do you know any other instances where anyone on H1B visa you know were sent back ? Please share your experiences, it helps others …add a comment.


Image credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/erussell1984/2490601749/

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Comments ( 250 )

  1. manu

    I hold a valid H1-B Visa currently stamped since an year,but i have shifted the company who sponsered visa for me. Hence i wanted to know if the previous employer can completely revoke my visa and if it means that i cannot travel any time

  2. Kit

    Hi All,

    I have a question . My husband is on h1b which is expiring in sept 2017. This is our first 3 years in h1 b . Extension will be applied later next year. We have a plan of traveling in mid of February to India and return in first week of march. I keep hearing that immigration is going to be very strict. He has proper documentation from the client . It s a direct client of his employer . Will there be any problem in the immigration while coming back.

  3. Ramya

    Hi,
    We currently on Stem Opt, it will be expiry on July(2017). Our H1-B is in Process. We applied for an H1-B(RFE) on September. We have Planned to India on November.
    Our I-94 will until December 2017. Will be travel in this Month?

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Ramya,

      If you travel outside US and H-1 is still pending, then COS from F-1 to H-1 would be abandoned. Endorse your I-20 for travel, so that you can return on F-1 in this case. Once H-1 is eventually approved, you either need to enter on stamped H-1 visa or file COS from F-1 to H-1.

      If H-1 is approved by the time you travel, then you will have to get H-1 visa stamped in the home country and then return on it.

  4. Josh

    This article is pure nonsense. You are suggesting that we should not travel back to home country once you enter USA ? Instead, you could have tried to get some information on why they were sent back at the POE and prepared some details on how to avoid it.

    Suggesting to not travel home is rubbish, I’m so sorry to say this.

  5. Kav

    Also note his port of entry will be Chicago
    He will reach Atlanta from chicago.his relative is in Atlanta and employer job location in ohio

  6. Kav

    Hello Saurabh
    I have a query.my husband got h1b and his date of joining is 1st October.his employer is in ohio.he is flying to US on 23rd september but he will be going to Atlanta first. He will meet and stay at his relatives place for few days I’m atlanta and then will fly to ohio. So my query is that will there be any issue at port of entry if the officer asks why you are going to atlanta and not to your employer location ohio .

    1. administrator
      Saurabh

      Kav,

      For first time entry to US, it is strongly recommended to enter at PoE. However, if your husband is questioned at PoE about this, he can say the following:
      1. He knows that he can work from Oct 1 and wanted to spend some time with you and other relatives before flying to work location
      2. Take a letter from employer supporting this itinerary.
      3. Carry domestic flights tickets for travel from Atlanta to Ohio.

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