In the past, it was commonplace for H-4 applicants to file for an extension of their status and travel with the status pending and not encounter any issue outside of a mismatch in the I-94 number. This was not considered a significant issue as many individuals who encountered the mismatch were still able to have their H-4 processed and, if there was any significant problem, they could travel again and re-enter the country in order to fix the problem. Overall, the USCIS would continue to adjudicate and the system would continue to roll along. However, we have been noticing an uptick in problems, arising from what used to be a common practice, which are occurring more and more frequently. Specifically, we are seeing a rise in cases of pending H-4s being denied due to a beneficiary traveling outside of the country and, thus, also causing the denial of any connected pending EAD renewal as well.
Generally, this is how the process has occurred:
- An applicant files for H-4 and EAD extension
- Beneficiary travels abroad and, later, returns with their valid H-4 visa
- Due to the traveling, and because the applicant is now in the U.S. in H-4 status, there is potential for the pending H-4 extension to be denied and thus cause the EAD to be denied as well
Because the potential for USCIS to deny a pending H-4 extension and connected EAD after returning from travel is higher than before, we do have a solution that may help you out in case you have similar circumstances surrounding you and your own H-4 and EAD extensions. In order to prevent this from occurring to you, in the event that you need to travel while you have a H-4 extension pending and you have a EAD that also needs to be renewed, we recommend that you refile your EAD application once you return to the U.S. This way, if your H-4 extension is denied along with the pending EAD, you will have a new EAD application pending.
If you have any questions regarding your H-4 and EAD extensions, you can set up a consultation with any of our Reddy & Neumann, P.C. attorneys.