Jump to content

H1B - Entering 3 hours before the actual date stamped on the visa?

10 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts


I find myself in a curious (and maybe annoying ) situation with my H1B Visa.
I work for a University in the States who petitioned for my H1B Visa.
The employment officially starts on August 22 and, according to the lawyer, I would not be able to enter the States prior to August 12 , tendays before.
Now, it happens that - for a mistake - I got my flight back to the States (I am already in the States and I am going back to Italy to have my visa stamped) scheduled for August 11, with the arrival at the JFK airport at 9.45 pm.
My question is, would they allow me to enter in the states less that 3 hours before the actual August 12? Or, do you think that the Flight company would not let me depart at all from Milan, with transit in Dussendolf?
Rescheduling my flight is impossible (they ask me for a 550$ fee!!!)

Alternatively, I was thinking to get a ESTA (tourist visa), enter the states with that, cross the Canadian border after a couple of days (I live in Erie, just 2 hours from Niagara Falls) and then re-enter the States the same day , but this time with my H1B that would be fully working.

This is a weird situation, hope you can give me your advice!



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Essentially it is all up to the CBP at the time of crossing. May be a non issue, or may be a bad day for the officer who intends on following the strictest rules.

Good luck

August 12, 2008 - petition sent
August 16, 2008 - NOA-1
February 10, 2009 - NOA-2

February 13, 2009 - NVC case number assigned
March 12, 2009 - Case Complete

May 4, 2009

May, 26, 2009

POE - June 20, 2009 Toronto - Atlanta, GA

Removal of Conditions
Filed - April 14, 2011
Biometrics - June 2, 2011 (early)
Approval - November 9, 2011


April 29, 2013 - NOA1 for petition received

September 10, 2013 Interview - decision could not be made.

April 15, 2014 APPROVED. Wait for oath ceremony


September 29, 2015 - sent letter to senator.

October 16, 2015 - US Citizen

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your ESTA plan will most likely not work. Leaving the US for a short trip to Canada does not turn off your ESTA entry -- and you cannot change non-immigrant visa status from ESTA. On both your original entry and yu attempted entry from Canada, you have a VERY strong likelihood that the immigration officer will see through your scheme and deny entry, which would end up costing you at least an entire new plane ticket, at best; at worst, it could result in a finding of misrepresentation, revoked visa, and a permanent bar from entering the US. And, for the "few days" that you are in the US you wouldn't even be able to take up your new job anyway. Is it really worth taking the risk for the cost of changing a ticket, even if it is expensive? It's less expensive than potentially messing up your new job and/or future.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I do not understand. I read somewhere that the ESTA and the H1b (already stamped) can actually coexist. I was not thinking on change my status. I mean. If I enter with an Esta (completely legal right?), and then I exit (go to canada) after a couple of days, this is still legal I guess. Now, at this point if I re-enter the States (from Canada), but this time with my (already stamped from Italy) H1B Visa, wouldn't that be completely legal? I cannot understand what is the unlawful part.

I am not doing that in order to work illegally, not at all, since I will have an H1B that will allow me to enter in the states starting from August 12. I am doing that because of this problem with the flight ticket.

Anybody had experience with similar situation? i have heard of many people that, assuming that they have to start their job in the states with an H1B on october 1 (which means you can enter on September 21), they just enter the Sates weeks earlier with an Esta (and their h1b already stamped), spend some time in the states, then on September 21 they go to Canada and re-enter with the H1B. Is that Illegal? I wonder how that could result as an attempt of illegal immigration, since you have an H1B visa stamped on you passport and are entering the states with that!

Edited by oliali

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Technically, to turn off your ESTTA entry, you need to leave the US and its contiguous territories (Canada, Mexico, and the Carribean). You are still considered as being in the US until you do so. So -- when you go to re-enter the US after a day trip to Canada, you resume the ESTA entry. While some officers may not enforce this, it has happened and is technically the regulations. While on an ESTA entry, you cannot change your status -- thus, you could/would/should be re-admitted under the same B2 status. Not saying some officers don't ignore this, but you can't guarantee that. The other issue would be the initial entry -- the officer could easily decide that your real intent is to enter the US to work -- since there is clear evidence of that via the H1B. IF so, your entry could be denied right then, and a trip to Canada would be moot.

The time of entry, BTW, is counted from the time you reach the immigration officer. You could always hope the plane is late, take your time walking to the immigration lines, stop for a cup of coffee (depending on the airport -- some have amenities prior to immigration, some don't), hope for long immigration lines and let people go in front of you to kill a few hours and make you entry on the first day of visa validity.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was also thinking of the taking your time and entering at 00.01am

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would just hang out before immigration. If anyone asks you can tell them, they might tell you to just go ahead.

Seems really arbitrary at that point, but I think worst case is they make you wait.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Unless flight delayed couple of hours, be one of the last off the aircraft, then enjoy artwork in the airport restroom till 11:45.


January 16, 2015 I-130 Mailed, Chi lockbox January 20, 2015 Priority Date, January 21, 2015 NOA1 notice date, Assigned VSC, January 23, 2015 Check Cashed, electronically March 5, 2015 NOA2


March 27, 2015 NVC received April 6, 2015 Case#, IIN# assigned April 8, 2015 Paid AOS + IV fee Invoices May 5, 2015 AOS + IV package submitted May 11, 2015 Scan Date

June 11, 2015 DS-260 submitted June 25, 2015 False checklist (for ds260).. hello? June 30, 2015 Answered checklist Aug 5, 2015 Escalated to Supervisor review Aug 13, 2015 Case Complete


Sept 10, 2015 Interview Scheduled Sept 11, 2015 P4 Letter received Sept 21, 2015 file In transit from NVC Sept 23, 2015 file at Embassy

Sept 28, 2015 Medical Oct 14, 2015 Biometrics Oct 15, 2015 Interview (Approved) Oct 19, 2015 IV visa Issued Oct 23, 2015 Passport Pickup


Nov 2, 2015 Entered the US Nov 16, 2015 Applied for SSN, walk-in Nov 20, 2015 Social Security Card recd Jan 15, 2016 GC received

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you thought about having a little kip/rest before passing immigration?

DFW POE has a few benches (not sure where your POE is) before immigration hall. 3 hours is NOTHING, just wait it out, problem solved.

Filed I-129F: 3 November 2014 (CSC)

NOA 1: 20 November 2014

NOA 2: 2 February 2015

Consulate Notification: 8 April 2015

Consular Interview: 19 May 2015
Medical: 20 May 2015
Administrative Processing: 20 May - ???

Advised approved for issuance: 24 June 2015
Requested re-validated I-129F (expired during shutdown): 24 June 2015
Advised I-129F revalidation received: 30 June 2015
Administrative Processing: 30 June 2015

Visa Issued: 13 JULY 2015
USA POE: 24 OCT 2015

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask our VJ Immigration Lawyers.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
- Back to Top -

Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.