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How much of a risk it is to travel out of US when H1b is in processing?

Traveling in such instances is not advisable. If you are applying to change to H1B status from another status, then traveling outside the U.S. will abandon your request to change to H-1B status. If the H-1B petition is later approved by USCIS, you will need to apply for an H-1B visa at a U.S. consulate before you can enter the U.S. in H-1B status. If you must travel, you can request premium processing for your H1B application. With premium processing, USCIS will adjudicate the application within 2 weeks for an additional fee of $1225. This way, you can hopefully have your H1B approved prior to traveling.

If you are on OPT, then your case becomes more complicated. Generally, if you are requesting a change of status from OPT to H1B, then you should only travel outside the U.S. if you have a valid, unexpired OPT and it will still be valid upon your re-entry to the U.S, and you also have an approved H1B with a later start date. The travel should be completed prior to the H1B start date. Again, this is a very complicated situation and I would advise you to seek the advice of an experienced immigration lawyer.

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