H4 to H1B COS approved but approval copy not recieved from USCIS.

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My friend recently transitioned from H-4 to H-1B status through a Change of Status (COS) application. While the application was approved, he haven't received the official approval notice (I-797) in the mail yet. It's been almost three months. His attorney is following up with USCIS and has submitted an inquiry (I-824) regarding the missing document.He was unable to file for a Social Security Number (SSN) because they require the I-797A. Without an SSN, he cannot begin working in his new H-1B position.



  1. H-4 or H-1B Status: Since he haven't physically received the I-797, Is he still considered to be in H-4 status?
  2. Grace Period on H-1B: If his H-1B status is indeed active, how long can he remain in the US without employment while waiting for the I-797A physical copy?
  3. Next Steps: What are his options for expediting the receipt of the I-797 or exploring alternative ways to begin working and/or maintaining status?
Edited by Venki44
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Your friend is currently on H1b status.  He can be on only one status at a time.  Your friend should try taking his original "receipt notice" and copy of inquiry (I-824) filled by his attorney to the SSN office and request for an SSN no.   In case this was a premium filing, the employer or his attorney would have also received an email from the USCIS informing of approval and the duration of I-94.  This email is valid and can be taken to SSN office too.  Good Luck to your friend.

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