DC family on H-1B and H4 visas stranded in India: report

Saurav Mazumdar was in India to renew his H-1B visa.

Saurav Mazumdar and his wife, Ishita Menon, came to the United States 19 years ago to get their master’s degrees. Mazumdar has an H-1B visa, designed for skilled workers, and Menon has a H4 visa, the spousal companion to an H1B.

With their son, Sameer, 6, and daughter, Sitara, 11, the family has to return to India every three years to have his passport re-stamped and the visa renewed, so the family can continue to live and work here. For kids, it is a vacation to see their grandparents and other relatives.

But their latest trip to India turned out to be a nightmare, reports the Washington Post. Soon after reaching New Delhi in July, Mazumdar submitted his passport at the US Embassy for paper work and proceeded to his hometown. When he returned to pick up the passport, after he received an email that his passport was ready, there was no stamp.

Later, he was asked to come in for an interview, where he had a straightforward interview, got fingerprinted and got a document telling him that his visa papers are being held up. Taken aback, the family canceled their August 13 plane tickets back to Washington and hired an immigration lawyer to pursue their case.

The long gap is affecting their children’s school, not to mention Mazumdar’s work.

His emails to the State Department were returned with a standard caution that “before making inquiries about status of administrative processing, applicants should wait at least 180 days from the date of interview or submission of supplemental documents, whichever is later.”

“I guess we were naive enough to think this couldn’t happen to us,” Isheeta Menon, 41, who holds a Ph.D. from Georgetown University and serves on the special events committee at her son’s DC elementary school, told the Post.

Despite being highly skilled and one of the top scientists in his field — data engineering and artificial intelligence — two fast-developing areas of expertise and the kind of immigrants President Donald Trump wants, Majumdar is stranded in India unable to return to Washington, DC.

“It’s really hard to explain to a 6-year-old why he can’t go back home,” Mazumdar told the Post. His son, Sameer, is keen to return and keeps in touch with friend Owen once a week, while his teacher sends him pictures from the class and tells him how much he was missed in the class room.

Though they have applied for green card, the backlog of highly educated, highly skilled people from India is way too long to say anywhere from 75 to 115 years. For now, Mazumdar and Menon are stuck in limbo unable to determine when they will be able return home to America.


How Netra Chavan channeled her own frustrations to build an H4 and H-1B visa support system (February 14, 2019)

RHC’s H-1B rally demands elimination of Green Card backlog, protection for ‘DALCA’ children (February 10, 2019)

Trump talks about changes in H-1B Visa, including a possible citizenship (January 11, 2019)

Trump’s tweet on H-1B and path to citizenship evokes lukewarm response (January 12, 2019)

Waiting for the Wait to End: The human face of Indian immigrants caught in the Green Card backlog (December 4, 2018)

H-4 and H-1: Time for Indian immigrants to speak up on immigration policy, says author Amy Bhatt (January 5, 2019)

The unstable life of Indians on H-1B visa in the US due to visa renewal policy (October 28, 2016)

High-skilled Indian workers, DALCA kids, rally on Capitol Hill to clear green card backlog (June 15, 2018)

Reverse brain drain – the experience of three couples who moved back to India from the US (January 20, 2014)


  1. All h-1bs who try to return should be denied entry. h-1b is ripe with fraud. 4 more years of trump would solve the problem. It is not for american bazaar or WaPo to decide who is high skilled who is highly educated. It is forthe immigration department to decide. most of the journalists don’t have an iota of knowledge about the subject they are reporting on.

  2. If you take risk in your career, your children also faces that. This is nothing new. There are many NRIs in USA who like me went through that situation.

  3. Hire Americans policy… Good for Americans.

    Please stay in India

  4. 19 years and he cant get a green card. Theres something wrong. stay in India. Besides they R not DC family. Stop portraying these h1b’s as Americans. They are Indian Citizen on H1b visas. thats it….Period…India is getting better so stay and work there…plenty of jobs ….

    • I have the same opinion as OJ. I was in same situation and got my green card in 8 years and having no GC for over 15 years sounds alarming. Better stay back in India and find a job there.

  5. Tanay Mishra

    As if anyone cares! Let’s make sure they don’t come back, enough of them have snuck in and made a royal mess of everything in America. Good riddance.

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