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I am relocating back to India from USA. My H1B expired on 5th April, 2021 and with recapture days my last working day in US was 11th April. I am planning to travel on 17th April.

Will there be any concerns as I am traveling post my H1B expiration? Also any issues while taking off from USA or on entry in India?

Please advice.

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  • Are you flying direct from the US to India, or do you have any connections? In some places you can only transit without a visa if you have a valid US visa, I believe, though the details will vary depending on the transit country. – jcaron Apr 13 at 15:21
  • I am planning either Air India from Chicago to Delhi or United with 1 stop at Newark to Mumbai. Will the airlines stop me from boarding from Chicago as I am past my H1B expiration date? – blynd Apr 13 at 15:24
  • No, airlines won't care about you leaving the US. As long as you can enter the destination country and travel to any transit countries, they're fine. If you're really out of status you may be flagged by the US and have trouble coming back in the future, though I don't really know the rules for H1B visas. You should check there aren't any COVID-related restrictions for travel to India (such as mandatory quarantine, PCR tests, etc.), though. – jcaron Apr 13 at 15:28
  • I am taking the Covid PCR test result and I am a Indian citizen with Indian passport. I am planning to move back to India for good and settling down in India. My concern is only for departing with the expired visa cause any nuisance. Thanks much for the update! Really appreciate your time and answer. :) – blynd Apr 13 at 15:35
  • In order to recapture days, your employer should have filed an H1b extension for you. Did your employer file an extension for you, even if it's pending? Otherwise, you would have worked illegally from April 6 to 11. – user102008 Apr 15 at 15:23
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US doesn't have exit controls on their borders, so it's not a problem leaving the US even if you're out of status in America.

The best course of action for most folks in such a scenario is to file a I-539 change of status before their status expires to transition from H1-B into B1/B2 visitor status.

Another potential issue is if you transit through a third country which may require a valid visa for the country that you started your journey from. This is definitely not needed for transiting through the EU or the Middle East but you should check if the transit requirements if they apply in your case.

You've said that you're flying direct from USA to India (with a possible hop within the US), there is no issue with regards to a transit here. Furthermore when you arrive in India, they have no idea what your status was in the USA or when it expired, plenty of people return back with expired visa stamps but valid I-797s for visa stamping and from the Indian customs side your case is indistinguishable from those. That said, it really doesn't matter, overstaying in a foreign country doesn't impact your ability to enter India as an Indian citizen with a Indian passport.

You will need to declare this overstay in future visa applications both to the USA and to any other country which might ask this question, whether 1 week of overstay will matter in future visa issuals or not I can't say.

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  • Thanks a lot Nikhil for that detailed explanation. I will keep that in mind make sure to declare in case of my any future endeavors to US. – blynd Apr 13 at 19:02

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