Has anybody re-entered US using a photocopy of approved I797 for H1b

Sep 12, 2019 13 Comments

I have an H1 transfer already filed which i expect to complete in the next 10-12 days and I have concrete plans to travel outside of US after 2 weeks. I am confident that a decision on my H1 would have already been made before I leave US but it is likely there might not be enough time to get the original I797 (in case of approval) before I leave.

I am still with my current employer ( also when i return ) and have a passport stamp and original I797 of my current H1 valid, so re-entering is not an issue. But for I94 purposes will a photocopy of my new I797 work ? Any examples?

TC 140K YOE 8


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TOP 13 Comments
  • Chase PartyBoat
    So here’s the trick, enter US with stamped visa and I-797. Once you entered US and got new I797 , go to nearest CBP office and ask them to correct I-94 date.
    Don’t even show photocopy of new I-797, even it is approved (when you are outside US)
    Sep 12, 2019 0
  • Amazon pDCL76
    Photocopy works
    Sep 12, 2019 0
  • Goldman Sachs kach1947
    Traveling while middle of transfer, even if approved by not with new I797, is frankly risky.

    Yes, it happens and you may end up fine, but chances are equal that you would be asked 1000 questions at port of entry, before letting you in.

    In the most extreme case I'm aware of, about 6 years back, one of my friends unfortunately got rejected at port of entry and had to go back. He was traveling with an approved EAD, iirc
    Sep 12, 2019 2
    • Sprint grg225
      Did you make an effort to at least read once what I have written! I have all the original documents and visa to Re-enter US based on my current employer.

      My New I797 copy is only for I94 update purposes. So I agree with folks who say they might do a secondary review and worse they can refuse to upgrade my I94 with the new H1 date. However they cannot deny me entry because I have a valid passport stamp and an Original I797 from my current employer (who I will be still working for when I return )
      Sep 12, 2019
    • Goldman Sachs kach1947
      My reference was to your point of not having the physical I797 copy. I know what you mean, but I also know what happened, and just gave you scenarios that I know of.

      Knowing more info is what you're get for, and this is it. You can choose to read or ignore it.
      Sep 12, 2019
  • Ellie Mae mr 🥜
    If you are planning to enter with photocopy of new I797, don’t you need passport to be stamped with new visa?

    I entered with photocopy of I797 once, almost 10 yrs back. The officer allowed me to enter but warned me to carry original next time onwards.
    I bet rules are much strict now
    Sep 12, 2019 1
    • Citadel Securities wagecuck3
      You don't need a new visa stamp when changing employers on H-1B, provided that the old one is still valid.
      Sep 12, 2019
  • Chase / IT

    Chase IT

    Photocopy doesn't work. My wife was held for 2 hours at immigration coz she was carrying photocopy.
    Sep 12, 2019 1
    • Sprint grg225
      Agreed but was that the only I797 she had and she was using it to re-enter ? I already have one original valid I797 from my current employer so re-entry is not the problem. The photocopy will be of the new I797 for my future employment. The only purpose of that is to ensure that the officer updates the I94 with the latest info
      Sep 12, 2019
  • Verizon / Product huvwow
    Assuming that the approved notice is I-797A (Approved via Change of Status) and not I-797B (Approved for consular processing), request your lawyer to FedEx the original I-797A to the hotel you are staying while abroad.

    Enter with new i-797A if it is already approved, and you have already put down your papers.
    Sep 16, 2019 0
  • Ooma, Inc. / Eng germsheppo
    Photocopy works. A CBP office once told me at PoE to carry photocopies to avoid losing the original.
    Sep 13, 2019 0
  • Citadel Securities wagecuck3
    Photocopy is fine, but they will send you to secondary while they look it up to check that the approval is in the system. So be prepared to wait an extra hour.
    Sep 12, 2019 0
  • Microsoft gt2
    I have never been asked for my 797 when I enter.
    Sep 12, 2019 0


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