Traveling outside the US to validate H1B i797 approval


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Hello all,

I have two i797 approvals filed by two employers. I have a stamped H1B Visa for the first one valid until September 2016 but no stamp for the latest i797 approval valid until 2018.
I recently got laid off and hence I applied for COS to H4 a few days after, through my spouse's company. The application has been submitted but still in process. Meanwhile I received an offer letter from a company and they have begun to file my next H1B approval. I've a few questions that I'd like to get some clarification.

1.) Since my H4 is pending and once the H1B approval is received, do I need to leave the US and travel to my home country and re-enter to validate the new H1B i797 approval. 
2.) Do I have to visit the US Embassy for an in-person interview?

Thanks in advance. 
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Thanks for the response.


H1B is being processed under Premium Processing (PP). As per your statement, I need not travel outside the US if the i94 comes with an i94. My i94 is valid until September of 2016.


Is there a way I can request USCIS to include the new i94 with the approval notice? Sorry, I'm not aware of such an issue as my past i797 approval notices have always been issued with the i94 cards at the bottom. Also, is the "i94" the only issue why I need to travel outside the US and reenter? Or are there other reasons?


I'm trying to avoid travel at this point of time but the company that is filing for new H1B is advising me to travel outside the US and return after the approval.



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Appreciate your reply.


Since I've to cross border, is traveling by foot or car into the Mexican border (near San Diego) and reentering immediately considered a valid "re-entry"?


Also, can I travel to my home country to get a new visa, since my visa is expiring soon (Sept of 2016)? will a new visa be issued while the present one is valid?



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Take the trolley from SAN DIEGO to the border. Cross the turnstiles and make an U turn back to the CBP. Ask for a new I94 and pay the 12 bucks. They will give you a new I94 based on your visa and the new H1 petition approval. Do this only if the H1 petition is approved without an I94 . Obviously one can apply for a new visa if the existing one is expiring within a few months before expiry.

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Thanks for providing all the answers so far. You've been of great help.


Question regarding traveling to Mexico though. Do I have to apply for a Mexican Visa?


See below:


  1. Other nationalities, Non-US Permanent Residents. Starting May 1st, 2010, all those foreign nationals, regardless of their nationality, visiting Mexico for tourist, business or transit matters won't need a Mexican visa as long as they have with them a valid and not expired USA visa in the passport. In this context, if you have a valid US visa in the passport you do not need to obtain a Mexican visa.

  2. If the US visa stamped in your passport already expired but you have an official document or form proving your legal status in USA, you should apply for a Mexican visa at this Consulate (I-797 A Forms, Advance Parole Forms, I-20 OR DS-2019 Forms won’t be good enough for entering to Mexico). No appointment is required to apply for Visa. Applicants should apply in person Monday-Friday 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Further questions Diplomatic and Official visas. Contact the Visas Department at the Mexican Consulate.

  3. Source:


Also, what about flying into British Columbia? Do I need to apply for a visa?

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