I was on F1(OPT) visa in USA. My H1B got approved couple of months back and I will be going to India for stamping H1B visa. I am planning to stop in Switzerland for a week for vacation while going to India. Can I get the Schengen visa here in SF as I don’t have H1 stamped? I do have H1B approval notice. After staying in Switzerland, I will be going to India for stamping and then coming back to USA on H1B visa.
It should not be a problem.
The relevant condition for applying for a Schengen visa is just that you're legally resident in the coverage area for the consulate you're applying to. It is perfectly possible to be legally resident in the USA without having a current visa, and consulates in the USA know this well.
Another possible problem is that the consulate want to be sure you can actually leave the Schengen area when you say you will. That could have been a problem if your plan was to return to the US directly, since you don't have a visa that would allow you to board a plane.
But in your case your plan is to go to India when you leave the Schengen area, and presumably you already have all the paperwork you need for that (namely, a valid Indian passport), so there's no doubt that you will be able to do so.
If problems with getting your new US visa develop, it will be after you've left the Schengen area, so that's not a risk the Schengen consulate would care about.
You will still need to show that you have plans for your future that would seem more attractive than "stay in Europe as an illegal immigrant", but simply documenting a well-reasoned expectation that you will get an US visa when you reach India ought to take care of that.
So I was in a similar situation. I have been invited by a University in Venice to attend a workshop in June 2019. I am planning to travel to Italy with my family.
I used to be on an F1 student visa, but since graduation, I have transitioned into H1B now with current I797 Notice of action (valid until 2022) in hand. My wife and I don't have our passports stamped as we did not travel outside of the United States since 2016 (last time I entered as an F1 and my wife on F2 visa status).
I had an appointment last week at the Miami Italian consulate. They were asking for a valid visa stamp on the passport which I don't have as we have not traveled to my home country (India) and we intend to get the updated visa stamping done after my workshop in Italy.
Fast-forward three days >> So here is our experience at the Consolato Generale d'Italia in Miami. We went there with my wife and 1-year old child. We reached Miami 7:30 in the morning and went from there to the consulate. Our experience has been only positive. The staffs were highly accommodating given we were traveling with an infant. They asked us only the simple questions, and when asked about producing the long term visa document, I gave them my I797A Notice of Action, and they accepted it readily. Finally, we were ten-printed, and that's all. I am waiting for my Schengen visa in mail.
I hope my experience brings some hope to others who are in the same boat.