Travel to Canada after H4 to F1 COS approved


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I came to USA on H4 and my I-94 expires on Mar 18 2014. I decided to enroll in masters and I have got my I-20 in Oct 2013 with my semester start as Jan 6, 2014. I applied for F1 COS on Oct 20th, 2013. I did not get a decision before course started, so I deferred my admission to next quarter as I will not be having valid VISA if my COS is denied. My course now starts from March 31, 2014.



I was expecting to get a start date of March 19, 2014 as my H4's I-94 is expiring on March 18, 2014 and my course starts on Mar 31, 2014. And if I travel outside US and return back on H4, my COS would not be voided and will be in effect from March 19th 2014.


Last week I got my F1 COS approved and I received my approval notice today. I see that the start date on new I-94 is Feb 6, 2014. So, technically I am already on F1 even though my course is not started.


Now I have plans to travel Canada in March first week for couple of days and I am worried what would be my status after coming back.


1. Do I need to go for VISA Stamping if I have to reenter US as F1 even when I have a valid H4?


2. If VISA is mandatory and I decided not go stamping in Canada, can I still enter on H4 since I have valid H4 visa. And I apply COS again?


3. I see a note on new I-94 that "Students planning to reenter the U.S. within 30 days to return to the same school, see Arrival-Departure on Page 2 of Form I-20 prior to surrendering this permit."  And the I-20 says "You do not have to turn in the I-94 if you are visiting Canada, Mexico, or adjacent islands other than Cuba for less than 30 days". Does it mean that I still have to get my F1 VISA stamping, but can use the I-94 I received with I-797 (without returning)


Thanks in advance.


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  • 2 weeks later...

When I was debating this same situation, my DSO told me that I can leave the country and re-enter within 30 days of program start date ( typically i-20 start date).


I believe you have two options here (1) visit Canada and re-enter using AVR as mentioned above (2) talk to your DSO, and attend F-1 visa interview 30 days prior to program start date.

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