DS-160 for H4 - Clarification


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I am a US trained Indian physician and have recently completed my training (graduated in June 2020 while on J1 visa) and started my 3 year waiver job in Aug 2020 (Conrad 30 waiver based H1b approved Aug 2020). I have the approved H1b with approved CoS. 

I had a valid J1 DS-2019 until October 31st 2020. After receiving my Conrad 30 waiver approval in July, I applied for H1b with premium processing. Prior to receiving my H1b approval, I was assured that my H1b status will be effective from the start date of my employment as per the contract (Aug 15th 2020) irrespective of when the H1b is approved. 

My wife was a J2 dependent (Valid DS2019 until October 31st 2020). We were aware that once my status changes from J1 to H1b, my wife's status as J2 would end. She could not apply for Change of status to H4 since she had a few months of her 2year home residency requirement (212e) remaining from her prior J1 (Fulbright Scholarship). So we planned for her to leave for India before my status changed to H1b.  

She had confirmed tickets from US to India for April 29th which were cancelled by Qatar due to CoVid followed by similar fate for her flight on July 7th and again on August 1st. She finally was able to secure a flight on the VandeBharat repatriation flight for Aug 11th 2020. We were assured that since my status would change on Aug 15th, her departing to India on Aug 11th would ensure that she avoided any "out of status" situation. 

My attorney's office received my H1b approval via electronic notification from USCIS on Aug 5th and I was forwarded the same on Aug 6th. According to the notification from USCIC, H1b validity was from Aug 5th 2020 to Aug 8th 2023.  My wife left for India on Aug 11th (6 days after we received the email stating that my H1B validity started on Aug 5th). I received the hard copy of H1b 797A notice on Aug 17th (my attorney's office initially received it on Aug 15th). 

Given the situation above:

1. Would my wife be considered to be "Out of Status"  OR "unlawfully present"  OR "overstayed" between 5th Aug to 11th Aug?

2. Regarding timing of receipt of the notification of the I-797C, Does the electronic notification from USCIS count or should I consider the receipt of the hard copy as the time of my notification?

3. My wife is applying for her H4 visa in January (She has now completed her prior J1 related 2 year (212e) home residency requirement). In the DS160, they ask if the applicant has "been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?"  - what should her response be? - based on answers to 1 and 2 above?


Would sincerely appreciate any advise/input regarding this lengthy, unusual and complicated situation. 

Thank you.


Edited by KP83
adding details to Q1.
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