Question: I have a H4 until September. I just filed to change status to a F1 student visa, which is approved with a start date of September. I must travel to India on a family emergency. Can I do so without having to go to the consulate?
Answer: If your F1 is approved already, you can travel on your H4 visa as long as you return before the start date on your F1 visa. If you plan to return after the F1 start date, you will need to get the F1 stamped before coming back.