I'm currently on my first 3 years of H1B in the US, with the expiration date of Oct 31st in 2020. A month or so ago, my company applied for my H1B extension for another 3 years.

Due to family reasons, I plan on leaving the country in August and stay out until the extension is approved. My company allows me to work 100% remotely during that time so my job is unaffected.

I'm prepared to stay in Europe for however long it takes for the extension to be approved.

Are there any major issues of why I shouldn't do this? Anything that could affect my return to the US in a permanent-ish manner?

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    Between covid-19 and our awful president and immigration bureaucracy, it is unfortunately the case that nobody can see the future well enough to be able to reassure you that there is nothing which could affect your return to the US. – mlc Jun 30 at 19:16
  • @mlc Thanks for the comment, I 100% agree. There's a lot of uncertainty around this, you're right. My goal with this question is to make sure I cover everything that is in my court. – Nikola Petrovic Jun 30 at 19:51
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    I disagree that this is opinion based -- there's room for opinion, but there's also a good deal of relevant objective information. It is, however, a much better fit for Expatriates. – phoog Jun 30 at 22:43

The simple answer is TALK TO YOUR EMPLOYERS LAWYERS immediately.

This is potentially a changing situation, but as it stands today if you leave the US as described you will NOT be able to re-enter the US until at least 2021, and likely several months into 2021 as you will need to arrange and attend an interview at a US consulate in your home country.

(Technically the wording of the Proclamation that stops you getting a new visa states that you are exempt due to being in the US on the date of the proclamation, however consulates are currently ignoring this fact and are not allowing H-1B interviews based on that exception)

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  • There's also the exception for aliens who have a valid visa on the date of the proclamation, which Nikola Petrovic probably has. It may be that it was truly intended for such people to be able to renew visas and to leave and re-enter the US, or it may be that the proclamation was drafted poorly. We may never know which of those is the case. Section 4 suggests that it is the former, but your report of consular practice suggests that they are interpreting it as the latter. – phoog Jun 30 at 22:38
  • Consulates are stating that the "current visa" clause only covers until the expiry of that visa. The Department of State has made statements that appear to back this up, but without providing 100% clarify. – Doc Jul 1 at 2:42

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