Can I apply for H-1B and after my petition is approved to enter the US on ESTA? 4 Answers as of February 03, 2014

My employer is applying for H-1B (April 1st). In case that get approved: Is it possible to come to the US on ESTA before Sep. 21 (which is 10 days prior to my employment start based on H-1b) purely for tourism? Thanks.

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Christian Schmidt, Attorney at Law
Christian Schmidt, Attorney at Law | Christian Schmidt
You can enter on H-1b visa 10 days prior to employment start date if you come to start working afterwards.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 2/3/2014
Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal
Law Offices of Grinberg and Segal | Alexander Segal
You can travel to the United States through ETSA at any time prior to the start date of your H-1B visa, but you cannot change your status to H-1B while in the U.S. You would need to obtain an H-1B visa abroad and re-enter. You can discuss the matter in more detail with your company's immigration attorney.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/3/2014
Alena Shautsova
Alena Shautsova | Alena Shautsova
Technically yes, but then you need to leave the country and come in on H1B visa, so, practically I do not think you can do it, unless you visit US on ESTA much prior than intended day of employment.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/3/2014
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